19 July 2010

Slice of Life: Adjusting to your Surroundings

Some areas of Maryland are still rural, enough so that you can shoot in your own back yard.  I used to live in one of those places, and didn't realize how good I had it until I got married and moved to a more urban area.  I regret not having a higher degree of interest in perfecting my shooting at that time in my life.  Ammo was cheaper, range time plentiful and now it's a struggle to complete house projects, entertain guests, run to see friends, and make sure I fit in enough family time that everyone is happy and shinny and new. 

I still have not adjusted to the fact that the fire house a block away gets a medic call about once every hour and worse still, the drone of 695 is heard when my windows are open.  Factor in police helicopter fly-byes every now and then, or the dog barking it's head off, and it's no wonder I sometimes awaken in the middle of the night to assume something is afoot.

As the saying goes, train as you fight, fight as you train, and I know my ability (location) and time to train is severely lacking.  What's worse is the cost to train those skills has also increased.  I recall when I purchased my first handgun some 7 years ago, .45 ammo was a lowly 9 bucks a box of 50 when it was on sale.  Last time I made a .45 purchase, it was  forty cents a round.  That's a huge contrast in ability to put rounds down range.  Even .40 cal ammo is pretty pricey, which has me thinking it's time to trade the .40 down to a 9mm at 3/4 the cost for 500 rounds.  Thankfully, I have an AK that eats all of the cheap mil-surp ammo all day long and still keeps on going.  My heart goes out to those of you who chose to shoot .223 or .308, outch!

Fortunately, I still have access to that free area to shoot, but many people I know, don't.  They are either forced into paying for memberships at gun clubs and ranges that don't afford them enough opportunities to exercise their Second Amendment Rights.   If you consider some clubs can run you as much as $200 a year in membership dues, or public ranges that are not feasibly accessible due to distance or lack of hours, shooting has started to become a rich man's sport.  Somewhat...

It is nice to see leading manufactures offer their popular models in .22 LR chamberings, simply due to the cost effectiveness.   Don't get me wrong, you won't learn how to control the recoil on a .22 handgun like you will on a center-fire, but trigger time is trigger time.  As I start to enter the world of long range shooting later this year, the research has shown me .22 LR round has similar windage correction at 200 yards as your standard 308 at 1000 yards.  Cost difference?  One thousand rounds of .22 LR match ammo will probably run you 20 buck compared to $1.50 a round for 308 match. 

I have also seen some nifty products out there from manufactures like Laser Lyte that allow you to actually get trigger time on your gun in your home.  From time to time, it's good to just practice draws, sight downs, and other basic, non-firing techniques to be able to perfect the motor skills while we dream of our trips to the range (or zombies to kill). 

So, for you urban readers (or central Marylanders), how do you adapt to finding places to put rounds down range?  Do you belong to a club / range?  What kind of costs do you see?  Do you use any of the available training provided by the range or club?  Do any of you spend a significant amount of time dry firing or using products like the Laser Lyte system?  

Happy shooting! 


  1. Don't forget airsoft replicas of popular pistols for cheap in-home practice (especially when one tries to work with a holster). I used to think it was a bunk idea, but when you can't get to a range and/or can't afford a pistol in .22LR, it doesn't seem that unreasonable to consider the pellet gun approach. The best part? The better replicas (particularly those from brands like Tokyo Marui) are generally pretty accurate.

  2. Forgot to mention...airsoft guns make great cricket hunting guns. :)