Rocking the .38 Special

.38 Special ammo remains popular

Smith & Wesson Introduced .38 Special ammo in 1898. S&W designed the centerfire cartridge as an alternative to its .38 Long Colt. The military had used the Long Colt as a service cartridge, but complained that it lacked stopping power in battle. Law enforcement officers from the 1920s up until 1990s, used the .38 Special as a standard issue service cartridge. WWI soldiers carried the round into combat. The revolvers and ammunition faded from every day use, but remain the symbol of the law.

Shooters buy .38 Special rounds frequently for competition shooting, pest control, target practice, and self-defense. Most opt for a full metal jacket round for plinking or range training while jacketed hollow point rounds are chosen for self-defense and personal protection.

Military Use

The U.S. Army used the .38 Long Colt as a standard issue sidearm from 1892 – 1911. However, as the M1892 progressed, the military said that the round was no longer effective. They complained that it performed poorly during the Spanish-American War as well as the Philippine Insurrection. Soldiers said the ammo wasn’t accurate, nor did it have adequate stopping power.

Smith & Wesson produced the .38 Special Military and Police revolver in 1902, which quickly gained recognition among troops and civilians.

In 1909, Colt also introduced a revolver chambered in .38 Special ammo. The gun compared to the .38 S&W Special, however, Colt’s firearm had the flat-pointed bullet design.

The Colt Detective Special

John Henry Fitzgerald, an employee at Colt, designed the “Fitz Special” in the mid-1920s. Fitzgerald’s snubnosed revolver was a pared down version of the .38 Special Police Positive Special. He believed that reducing the barrel size would make it easier for law enforcement officers to carry concealed. He shortened the ejector rod and removed the front of the trigger guard. Fitzgerald shortened the ejector rod, removed the trigger guard, and changed out the hammer spur so it could be a faster draw. Colt made some alterations to the design of the Fitz Special and rebranded it as the Colt Detective Special. Since its release in 1927, the six-shot revolver has been called the most iconic snubnosed revolver in firearms history.

Self-Defense

People choose the .38 Special as a standard for self-defense purposes. Police officers carried lead-nosed rounds, dubbing the ammo “.38 Special Police.” It is known for deep penetration and causing extreme damage to its target. Shooters choose the .38 Special for concealed carry when use with snubnose revolvers. The small size is easy to conceal in a purse, jacket, or in an ankle holster.

Target Shooting

Competition and target shooters purchase full metal jacket bullets as a preferred round, followed by hollow point. Likewise, when range training, the FMJ is the preferred choice as it doesn’t expand when impacting a soft target. Target shooters choose the ammo for its economical price and aren’t dissuaded by the less than perfect performance.

Experts train novice shooters with .38 Special ammo because of the ease of use, low noise, and low recoil.

Today’s Best .44 Mag Revolvers

.44 Magnum is still a popular model

Firearms enthusiasts have one thing in mind when they see a .44 Magnum – Dirty Harry snarling, “Make My Day.” The iconic 1970s movie boosted sales of the gun and kept it soaring ever since. Clint Eastwood cherished his S&W Model 29 and called the .44 Magnum “the most powerful gun in the world.” The statement wasn’t exactly true, but Dirty Harry was cool, and no one seemed to care.  The .44 Magnum has been surpassed by more powerful cartridges, but the legend keeps the gun in the public eye. Surprisingly, law enforcement never embraced the .44 Mag as one might expect. Most people who buy one may not need it, but they want it, and that’s good enough for me.

The .44 Magnum is most often sought as a self-defense weapon. The round will do the job, but it may be more than what the shooter bargained for when firing the monster revolver. The recoil is heavy, and the muzzle flash is equally strong. It is especially daunting to novice shooters and those of a smaller stature. Hunters also flock to the .44 Mag for medium to large game although there may be better choices for bear and big game.

History of the .44 Magnum

The .44 Magnum was designed by Elmer Keith, the legendary sportsman, writer and firearms enthusiast. Keith is well known for developing the .357 Magnum. Keith began to design the round by lengthening a .44 Special cartridge and altering the bullet weights and grains of powder. The final product was designed in 1950, and available on the commercial market in 1955.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers

1. Smith and Wesson Model 29

The S&W Model 29 remains the most iconic of the .44 Mag revolvers on the market. It still sells well and will get the job done. The gun is accurate and versatile in the field and on the range. Plus, it will definitely make you the cool kid on the block. The Model 29 is moderately priced and will most likely be something handed down to your grandchildren.

2. Ruger Super Redhawk

The Super Redhawk has been called the best big game handgun. It has less power than the coveted Ruger Super Redhawk for Big Game Hunting, but the .44 is more manageable than a .454 Casull. The price is moderate, and it will serve you well in the field.

3. Pietta 1873 SA Revolver (Colt Peacemaker Reproduction)

Every collector wants to own The 1873 Colt Single-Action Army, and while they are still in production, the hefty price tag scares off most buyers. The second best choice is the Pietta 1873 SA Revolver. It’s a workhorse of a revolver and the price is good enough that you can easily buy two guns to complete your weekend Cowboy Action Shooting outfit.

Whichever gun you choose to buy and use, test your ammo, practice often, and most of all, have a good time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.380 for Self-Defense

.380 is a popular off duty weapon for police.

People who carry concealed for self-defense often choose larger calibers for their stopping power. The .380 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) remains one of the most popular rounds on the market. Shooters prefer the round because it is lightweight and easy to carry with minimal recoil and muzzle blast. Police officers often carry a .380 as a backup weapon. Hobbyists and competition shooters choose the ammo for backyard shooting, competition and plinking.

 Development of .380 Ammo

John Moses Browning created .380 ammunition for the Colt Model 1908 Pocket Pistol in 1908. Browning designed the ammo after the .38 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) cartridge, which was made for blowback pistols. The military used .380 ACP ammo until it was replaced with the 9mm.

In 1912, .380 ACP ammo was introduced in Belgium, where it was named the “9mm Browning Short.” Military forces used the round throughout World War II until many replaced it with the more popular 9mm cartridge.

Other names for .380 ACP cartridges  include 9mm Browning, 9mm Browning Court, .380 Auto, 9mm Short, 9mm Corto, 9mm Kurz, and 9×17mm. The .380 Auto should not be confused with .38 ACP.

The .380 Auto for Self-Defense

People looking for a self-defense weapon may choose the .380 ACP for its accuracy. The round has a moderate recoil and muzzle blast which works well for novice shooters. The round feeds easily and the guns chambered for this round are dependable. The ammunition is better than the .32 Auto, especially when it comes to stopping power. As a result, the .380 ACP has become the standard minimum chambering for law enforcement, military and self-defense use.

The popularization of the 9mm caused a decrease in sales for the .380 ACP until the mid-2000s, when the demand increased for lightweight pistols suitable for carrying concealed. Manufacturers have responded to the demand for weapons chambered in .380 ACP and have also begun to mass produce the ammo to be sold in bulk. The mass production allows consumers to buy .380 rounds for less money at retail sites as well as through online markets.

Stopping Power

The stopping power of .380  ammo is sufficient to stop a threat.  Some experts dismiss the round because it is smaller and less effective than larger handgun calibers. For example, the 9mm has more firepower, but the performance isn’t much different. The .380 round performs like a .45 cartridge rather than the .32 ACP, which is closer to its size.

While the cartridge may be weaker than larger calibers, the lower recoil is a benefit to novice users since the gun is easier to fire. The shooter also has less recovery time and can fire faster, which means a great deal when the shooter is acquiring a target. Manufacturers continue to chamber handguns for the .380 ACP, including subcompact models that are ideal for concealed carry.

 

 

 

How to Make Wildcat Cartridges

WIldcat ammo includes all shapes and sizes

What is a Wildcat?

Wildcat ammo, AKA “wildcats,” are custom-made rounds. People create the rounds rather than ammo companies. People make wildcat cartridges to improve upon existing rounds to get better accuracy, range, performance, velocity, etc. The downside  is the lack of precision. Law enforcement and military can’t use the rounds because of the differences.

Creating Wildcats

Creating a new type of ammunition can be  fun. Patience, time and skill to make a good round are key. Makers of wildcat rounds want to create something new or to change a load that doesn’t meet their needs. Below are the reasons for creating a wildcat:

  • Increased efficiency: Increased efficiency means better accuracy.
  • Increased energy: The round increases energy by changing the capacity of the case or changing the caliber.
  • Higher velocities: A higher velocity is a result of reducing the caliber or increasing the case capacity .
  • Greater consistency: Changing the diameter, weight or velocity will increase consistency and accuracy.

Methods

Methods used to make wildcat rounds include:

Fire Forming

Fire forming changes bullets in one of two ways. The method changes the parent case by cold forming. Then it is loaded with a light bullet and light powder, and then loaded and fired from the gun of choice.

Cold Forming

Cold forming changes the case by using heavy lubrication and then carefully forcing it into the right reloading die.

Trimming

Both fire forming and cold forming  have the same problem: The case is too long for the end product so it has to be trimmed to the correct length. Trimming is a standard reloading method.

Changing the Case Diameter

Changing the case diameter expands the range of bullets that can be used in the case. Shooters refer to it as “necking up” or “necking down,” Changing the diameter can improve the wind resistance, power and/or velocity.

Necking Back

This uses a cold forming method to push the neck back, reducing the case capacity. Cold forming is used on rifle ammunition to make rounds for an autopistol.

Changing the Shoulder Angle

This means changing the casing to resemble a standard cylinder, which allows for a more efficient burn.

Rim Modifications

Experts avoid making rim modifications by hand. The process is difficult.  It is a highly difficult method usually performed by commercial ammo manufacturers.

Increased Case Length

Increased case length allows for added propellant. As a result, the round gains energy. The process is difficult, therefore it is simpler to make a new case than to change a commercial round. It requires special skills and tools.

Blowing Out

Blowing out uses a fire-forming technique. It moves the shoulder forward to raise the case capacity.

Should You Make a Wildcat?

We may not need new cartridges, but we still want them. The advantages they offer aren’t great; the gain rarely justifies the expense.  If you plan to make wildcat rounds, educate yourself. Makers should have skills for the dangerous process. Manufacturing rounds also needs enough space, special tools and equipment for each process.

Pros and Cons of the .40 Cal S&W

Pistols chambered in .40 cal S&W

The .40 Cal S&W is a rimless pistol ammunition created for the Federal Bureau of Investigation by firearms manufacturers Smith & Wesson and Winchester. The .40 S&W (10x22mm) was developed from scratch after the failed FBI shootout in Miami in 1986. The confrontation left two FBI agents dead, with five wounded. The agents fatally wounded the two criminals.

The FBI commissioned Smith & Wesson and Winchester to create an ammo that could be retrofitted into their existing 9mm semi-automatic handguns. S&W and Winchester based the new ammunition on 9mm and .45 ACP cartridges. The new cartridge would function as a medium velocity round mimicking the accuracy of a 9mm, but using the parameters of a 10mm load.

The team satisfied FBI requirements. The new medium ground ammo could be used by agents in a standard issue semi-automatic pistol. The FBI believed that the new standard issue would prevent another disaster like the one they faced in Miami.

Development of the .40 S&W

The FBI determined that the standard issue .38 Special revolvers had lost their effectiveness. They switched to 10mm cartridge and the S&W 1076 Auto shortly before the Miami shootout. The FBI determined the agents’ deaths were caused by lack of ammunition, heavy recoil, and the difficulty of reloading quickly in the field. It was imperative to find a new, more effective ammo to prevent future debacles.

S&W and Winchester completed the development of .40 Cal bullets in 1990, along with the Smith & Wesson Model 4006 pistol, six months after receiving the request from the FBI. The result of the collaboration was an ammunition with the stopping power of a .45 ACP round, with the ease of use of a 9mm.

The FBI adopted the .40 Cal S&W. Law enforcement agencies around the country quickly followed suit. The United States Coast Guard and police forces in Canada and Australia also adopted the .40 S&W and still use it today.

The FBI currently endorses the Sig Sauer P226 and P228, chambered in 9mm and .40 cal.

Specs

The .40 Cal S&W uses a 0.40-inch diameter lead bullet ranging in weight from 105 to 200 grains.

The middle ground ammunition has adequate stopping power for self-defense and concealed carry. The recoil is manageable for novice and shooters with a smaller frame.

The .40 S&W casing measures .85-inch-long, .424-inch at the base. It has an average pressure of 35,000 psi. The energy of the ammo exceeds the standard-pressure of the .45 ACP.

Based on ideal terminal ballistic performance testing in the 1980s and 1990s, the .40 S&W was touted as “the ideal cartridge for personal defense and law enforcement”. The .40 Cal S&W is almost identical to the ballistics of the .38-40 Winchester introduced in 1874, with the same bullet diameter and weight, as well as having similar muzzle velocities.

Alternate Names

  • .40 Caliber
  • .40 Cal
  • .40 Auto
  • 10×22mm
  • 10mm Kurz

The .40 Cal S&W for Self-Defense

The .40 S&W is attractive to civilians due to its ease of use and light recoil. People seeking ammo for self-defense situations demand accuracy and stopping power. The .40 cal meets those requirements. Consumers have a variety of options for bullet weight and design.

Civilians appreciate the same features coveted by law enforcement, including magazine capacity, muzzle energy, and light recoil. The round is accurate and easy to manage, making it ideal for concealed carry and self-defense. While it isn’t the most popular round on the market, most new firearms offer compact and subcompact models chambered for the .40 Cal.

 

9mm: America’s Most Popular Ammo

9mm handgun

Designed by DWM weapons designer, Georg Luger, the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge was introduced in 1902. Luger designed the round as a service cartridge for the DWM Luger semi-automatic pistol known as the Pistole Parabellum, more commonly known as the Luger.

The cartridge was compact and accurate, an improvement over previous ammo which was heavy. Pistols chambered for 9mm ammo held more cartridges than previous models, and they were highly accurate, surprising for its small size. Luger intended for the round to be lethal at 50 meters.

Alternate Names

  • 9mm Luger
  • 9mm Parabellum
  • 9x19mm Parabellum
  • 9mm NATO
  • 9-millimeter
  • 9mm
  • 9mm Para
  • 9mm P

Law Enforcement and Military

When World War I occurred, the military introduced submachine guns. Chambered for 9mm ammo, the guns were able to penetrate field gear, an essential part of eliminating the enemy. The submachine guns were fully automatic, and magazine-fed, firing up to 900 rounds per minute.

In 1935, the Browning Hi-Power was introduced. The gun played a large part in World War II, and therefore, 9mm ammo became widespread. Not long after the war, law enforcement agencies adopted the cartridge, replacing the .38, a standard issue sidearm. Civilians followed suit, using the 9mm for self-defense due to its size, weight, and low recoil.

Other milestones include:

  • In 1955,  NATO adopted the 9mm Parabellum as their official sidearm round.
  • The U.S. Military replaced the .45 ACP with the 9mm as their standard cartridge.
  • Law enforcement agencies, including the NYPD and LAPD, adopted the 9mm cartridge.
  • In the 1990s, many civilians replaced .38 Special and .357 Magnum handguns in favor of 9mm semi-automatic pistols. Being able to buy cheap 9mm ammo has encouraged users to keep up the trend.
  • In 2014, The Federal Bureau of Investigation returned to 9mm ammo after graduating to 10mm cartridges.

Police cite the following reasons for their preference:

  • Shootability: High accuracy, easier to shoot, low recoil.
  • Selection: The selection of pistols is vast. Many law enforcement agencies allow their officers to select their choice of guns chambered in the cartridge.
  • Longevity: Less wear and tear on the firearm. 9mm pistols will fire as many as 100,000 rounds.
  • Increased Capacity: Most 9mm duty pistols have a capacity of 17 rounds; extended magazines can hold 20 rounds or more.
  • Reliability: They are the most reliable handguns.
  • Ammo variety: Ammo has many variations and is easy to obtain.
  • Cost: Low-cost ammo, especially when buying in bulk.

Over 60% of police forces in the U.S. use 9×19mm Parabellum pistols.

9mm Ammo Design

The 9mm cartridge is a well-known handgun cartridge. However, it has reinvented itself over the last century. Pocket pistols, full-size handguns, revolvers, and submachine guns, among others all use this cartridge.

The 9x19mm Parabellum measures 9mm in diameter; its tapered case measures 19mm in length. Derived from Latin, the name “Parabellum” comes from DWM’s motto, “Si vis pacem, para bellum,” which means “If you want peace, prepare for war.”

Self-Defense Ammo

The ammo is often chosen for self-defense purposes due to its lightweight and mild recoil. Women and novice shooters tend to prefer it over a .45 caliber weapon. The FBI has run field tests to dispel the myth that the load doesn’t have the same stopping power as a .40 or .45 caliber firearm. In combat, proper shot placement proves that the 9mm is equally lethal.

Civilians prefer the caliber for its excellent control and accuracy. Gun owners tout the ease of  carrying concealed with a subcompact gun.

With the wide variety of uses and easy access to bulk 9mm ammo, the round is sure to remain popular for many years to come.

 

Sports Shooting For Kids

Youth Sport Shooting Competition

You think your kid may be a natural in the sports shooting arena, and you want to get him involved. Sports shooting can teach kids several skills including responsibility, independent learning, handling peer pressure, and functioning in stressful situations. However, there are some things to consider before you get started. Consider the child’s age, interest, and ability to focus.

Age

There are differing opinions on the age when a child should be introduced to guns. Some organizations will start at age 8 while others suggest ages 10 and above. For the most part, it depends upon the child’s interest and maturity level. Children at younger ages tend to start off with simple weapons like BB guns and air rifles. As the child ages, the weapons become bigger and more lethal.

Interest

One parent stated that you should wait until the child expresses interest in guns before heading out to the range. If a child is not interested in shooting, then pushing the issue is not going to have a great result. Consider the reason for wanting to teach the kid to shoot. Is it because he is interested or simply because you want a plinking buddy or future Olympian? No matter what the reason, start off easy and gauge if it’s a sport that interests your child.

Ability To Focus

The ability to focus is the most important aspect when it comes to being educated about guns. A child should never be given a gun without knowing the basics and being versed in safety. Keep the instructions short and to the point, but reinforce it often. If the child only wants to play and refuses to listen to the rules, then forging ahead can lead to disaster. Table the activity or choose another sport that is less dangerous.

Lessons Learned

There are many lessons that can be learned from sports shooting. Many can be transferred to other areas of a child’s life. The best part is that the child will probably not realize he’s in a school of a different kind.

Learning To Fail

Learning to fail may be one of the best skills we can teach our children. While no one wants to fail, it creates great opportunity for growth. A child that never learns to fail won’t be able to handle it when things don’t go his or her way. In sports, success and failure are instantaneous. If you hit a target, you’ll know it. If you miss, that too is obvious. It gives the child the chance to use critical thinking to correct what went wrong and fix it. Success after a failure is more powerful than hitting the target on the first try.

Competition

Sports shooting is highly competitive and can teach the child how to challenge himself. In competition kids are often pitted against adults. This may seem unfair but it’s one of life’s best lessons. It creates persistence and tenacity. Additionally, children will be exposed to every type of competitor, from the newest of the new to old timers that have been competing before their parents were born. It teaches children how to relate to people in other age groups, learn from experience, and perhaps gain a mentor.

Quality Time

Shooting sports are not age or gender specific. Unlike Hannah’s soccer game or Bobby’s wrestling match, shooting is a sport that everyone can participate in at the same time. The entire family can have a great day plinking or attending a competition. If one or more members of a family compete, the family may have the opportunity to travel across the country. It’s a bonding experience that will last a lifetime.

Education

Ray LeBlond said, “You learn something every day if you pay attention.” What can shooting sports teach children? Critical thinking, time management, math, and physics, for starters. Children who participate in sports show much higher levels of success in math and science than children who do not.

Choosing a Sports Shooting Rifle

Introducing Shooting

 The Gun

After educating your child on the basics and safety procedures involved in shooting, the next step would be to find an appropriate gun. Until you gauge your child’s interest in sports shooting, using a gun already on hand is the smartest and most economical way to go. When choosing a gun, make sure it’s one that the child can handle safely. If a child is injured on his first day out, chances are that’s the end of it.

When choosing a gun, consider if the child is best suited to using a rifle or a handgun. Also, consider the ammo needed and the amount of recoil. 

Fun Targets

Shooting should be fun, especially for kids. To keep it light, pick out some fun targets. There are paper targets on the market that incorporate several games to keep the child’s interest. Family members can compete against each other in a lighthearted way. It builds the child’s confidence and skill level without adding pressure. You might also want to choose tin cans or steel targets that create a noise when hit. Moving forward, you may want to incorporate skeet shooting. Every kid likes to see things explode.

Keep it Simple

Remember that teaching shooting should be easy and fun. Approaching a lesson like an Olympic trial isn’t going to make the kid want to continue. Always keep safety measures in mind, but create games to engage the child. If the child makes a mistake, point out what he did right and help him to correct his mistakes in a gentle way. Pushing too hard will cause a child to lose interest.

Bring a Friend

Kids like to be around other kids. If your child has a friend who would like to tag along, encourage it. Maybe that friend has a parent or sibling that also enjoys shooting. Creating a fun day out will only encourage your child to continue, and by continuing, to improve.

The History Of Sport Shooting

 

Sport shooting has changed a great deal since its inception as technology has advanced. Along with those advancements came new sports and competitions, many of which culminate at the Olympic Games. As of 2017, 9.38 million Americans aged six years and older participate in some form of sports shooting activity. But where did it all begin?

The Beginning

As you may have guessed, early sports shooting revolved around rifles. The first recorded competition, most likely using matchlocks, was in 1477 in Eichstäat, Bavaria. In it competitors shot at targets at a 200 meters (200 yards) distance.

A 1504 painting depicts a Swiss shooting set up that appears modern. Competitors fired at targets from enclosed shooting booths. Target markers measured their shots and reported each value to the judges.

European Sport Shooting

The 16th century saw leaps and bounds in the European sports shooting arena. Germany appears to have had an unusual purpose for target shooting. Many museums display wooden targets that were crafted as part of wedding celebrations. Guests would shoot at the targets. At the end of the event, they gave the riddled targets as gifts to the bride and groom.

Russia officially joined the target shooting world in 1737, when Empress Anna opened a target shooting range at the royal court. Competitors shot at live birds and the best of the best received gold and diamond studded cups. The sport caught on and in 1806, Russian military officers founded the Society of Shooting Amateurs, a group whose interests lay in handguns.  Societies began to blossom in St. Petersburg including the Riga Shooting Society and the St. Petersburg Society of Salon Shooting. The first official set of rifle competition rules were established in 1897 by the Imperial Society of Reglemented Hunting.

By the mid-19th century, sport shooting had a strong foothold on both sides of the pond. European countries had begun having fierce competitions on a regular basis. England was so devoted to the study and development of arms that the National Rifle Association was formed in 1860. Queen Victoria fired the inaugural shot at the first meeting of the association.

Sport Shooting in America

The mid-18th century also saw target shooting thrive in the New World. Everyone from colonists to frontiersmen participated in the sport. Every settlement had some form of shooting match with as many as a hundred marksmen in attendance.

By 1830, shooting became organized with clubs dotting the map. The National Rifle Club, a benchmark society, was formed in 1850. The Civil War had a hand in propelling sport shooting to the forefront when National Guard Officers formed the National Rifle Association in 1871 to improve military marksmanship and safety.

In 1896, the cultures came together when sport shooting was added to the Olympic Games.  Five events featured the sport. As technology grew, so did the number and variety of events during the Games. Currently, there are fifteen events for men and women, utilizing rifles, shotguns, and pistols.

5 Reasons to Practice Dry Firing, Even When You Don’t Think It Makes a Difference

Mention dry firing your gun in a room full of shooters and you’ll soon discover they quickly divide into two groups. One that doesn’t believe dry firing  does anything other than improve your draw, and by very little at that. And the other that swears dry fire practice can fix every shooting mistake from trigger control to eye dominance.

Regardless of your position, there’s no reason not to include some level of dry firing into your firearm practice. As long as your gun was made sometime within the last five decades or so and you’re not shooting a .22, dry firing doesn’t hurt your gun. Let’s repeat that, as long as you have a centerfire gun that was made in the modern world, you’re safe to practice dry fire.

Even if you think dry firing won’t improve your aim at all, it’s still worth  practicing. Here are five reasons why.

1. The more you practice, the better your skill

Shooting, like most things in life, is a skill. And to make any skill better, you must practice it. Therefore, the more you practice shooting, the better  you become. And while many objectors may want to pipe in here and say that dry firing isn’t shooting, which is true, there are other skills involved. Things like trigger control. Aim. Follow through. And these things do, in fact, get better with dry fire practice.

2. Dry firing can happen just about anywhere

One of the biggest benefits of dry firing is that you can do it anywhere. In your backyard. Your kitchen. A hotel room. You can do it places you normally couldn’t shoot and you don’t have to worry about the noise bothering your neighbors or making the dogs howls. Since you can do it anywhere, practice often. Even 10-15 minutes of practice 3-4 days a week shows up at the range after just a few sessions.

3. Recoil doesn’t hide your errors

When you live fire a gun, there’s always a recoil, and if you make a mistake, it becomes easy to blame it on the boom. But when you dry fire, there is no recoil to hide behind. This allows you to really examine your shot and see where mistakes arise. Where’s your finger on the trigger? Is your grip too lose?

4. Dry firing lets you fix them

Once the recoil disappears and you discover where your mistakes occur, dry firing allows you to fix them. Dry fire practice can help you correct your grip, reduce recoil anticipation, and turn your draw into muscle  memory, without costing you a fortune on the range while you hone in the skill.

5. It’s inexpensive

Speaking of costing  a fortune, which is what shooting regularly at the range does, dry firing is an inexpensive way to practice handling your firearm. After the initial low cost of purchasing snap caps (fake bullets that allow your firearm to act as though it’s loaded), dry firing is free. Compare that to the cost of a 100 rounds of .45s for your 1911 and suddenly dry firing seems like the economic alternative.

There’s nothing that can compare to live firing your gun, which should be done on a regular basis to both improve and maintain your skill.  But dry firing does have it’s benefits, even if it doesn’t fix the world.

3 Skeet Shooting Tips for Beginners

If you’re considering skeet shooting, be prepared. This American sport is fun and addictive. But if it’s the first time you’ve been to an event, it can feel overwhelming. That’s why, here at Bigger Better Shooting, we’re giving you three skeet shooting tips for beginners. That way you know exactly what you need to do when it’s your turn to pull, aim, and fire.

3 Skeet Shooting Tips for Beginners

1. Keep both eyes open.

Shooting a shotgun is a whole lot different than shooting a rifle or 1911 handgun. With no real sights and only a dot to use, you don’t pull your gun and carefully aim like you would with a Ruger 10/22. Instead you simply pull and shoot when the target, in this case a clay pigeon, comes into  view.

And remember to keep both eyes open. With a moving target, using both eyes improves your depth perception and makes a solid hit more likely.

2. Stay relaxed.

When shooting skeet, stay relaxed in your stance, throughout your swing, and in your follow through. Once you tighten up, your movements become forced and jagged, making you more likely to stiffen and miss your target.

While many skeet shooters like to have their shotgun pulled to their shoulder before the pigeon is released, if you ever want to go an international competition, start practicing with your gun’s buttstock at mid-torso. This is the requirement for Olympic skeet shooting and other international events.

3. Watch and learn.

Your last skeet shooting tip: watch and learn, especially at an event with seasoned shooters. See how they move, how they grip their shotgun, and what happens after they shoot. Also watch the clay pigeons and observe how they rise and drop, if there’s movement to their angles, and what kind of speed their traveling at.

With as little as 20 minutes of simple observation, you can and will shoot better and with more accuracy.