When I run into people who took my classes many months or years earlier I'm accustomed to asking them two follow up questions. The first question is, “How often do you carry concealed?” The second question, “How often do you train/practice for self-defense?”
An alarming number of my past students only train or practice a few times per year. The human naturally acts based on incentives. We are wired to avoid paying money for things while seeking pleasure. For most, something about taking a class or going to the range to practice with the weapon feels prohibitive or “painful” and thus becomes a burden instead of a regular and enjoyable practice.
In order to change this, one must identify what it is about the process that holds them back and make changes to overcome it. Today I'm going to address one of the more common reasons I hear, “It is too expensive.”
It is true. Training and practicing with your firearm is not very cheap. You have the cost of your time (most valuable), the range fee, ammunition, gas/transportation, and of course all the upfront fees for the weapon and your gear. If you are taking a class you can add in the course cost as well. I get it.
Here are a handful of tips to lower your cost of training:
Buy Your Ammunition in Bulk
You can often get as much as 60% off the cost of your ammunition by buying it in bulk. Check out online re-sellers like BulkAmmo.com first. Be sure to factor in the cost of shipping. Also try calling your local gun shops (better to try the small guys and avoid the big-box retail chains) and ask them if they sell ammunition in bulk.
Beware reloaded ammunition which is less reliable and more prone to malfunctions. If they have reloaded ammunition that comes from a respected manufacturer and includes the same warranties as factory ammunition that will probably be fine for training purposes.
Supplement Live Fire Training with At Home Simulated Training
As we discussed in a detailed blog post, simulated at home training is not a perfect substitute for live fire training, but it sure does help and costs virtually nothing. Get a quality training weapon and find a place in the house to map out a few targets (I use post-it notes) at 10-15 feet and run a few drills for 20 minutes. No cost of ammunition, no range fee, and no transportation fee. You will be out the initial cost of the training weapon but it will pay for itself very quickly.
Buy A Membership At A Gun Range
The range fees do add up but if you are truly committed to regular practice and training you can save BIG dollars by paying for an annual membership at the gun club near you. While often it is a heavy upfront cost, it removes the pain of paying a fee every time you go shooting. In fact, it acts as an incentive to go shooting as you get the satisfaction of using the membership you are paying for.
What tips do you have for keeping training costs down? Let us know in the comments below.