This can be a beautiful season for those of us that live in temperate zones. Christmas, Hanukkah, and other holidays offer decorations everywhere, multicolored lights adorn even the most ordinary structures and make them look splendid. And if you’re really lucky, Old Man Winter will dump a few inches of fresh white powder on your town just in time to hear the sleigh bells off in the distance. And then you snap out of your eggnog-induced winter bliss and realize that it could be MONTHS before you’re able to enjoy a trip to the range again!
When your weekend greets you like this, it’s doubtful you’ll be packing for a range trip!
Well, that is the cold harsh reality of winter – but it needn’t mean that you have to let your love of the shooting sports and all things guns languish and your skills atrophy while you take a long winter’s nap. Here are some ideas of productive ways to make the best of the indoor months and still be deeply involved in your beloved hobby.
Read those gun books you bought
If you’re even a little like me, you have a stack (or three) of books about guns, shooting, self-defense, reloading, disassembling, etc. We pick them up on GunsAmerica.com, at gun shows, online book sellers, and even from those emails we get from the NRA and others. But we’re usually so busy “doing” our beloved shooting and related activities that we set them aside with every good intention for ‘later’. Well now IS later – this winter try to read one ever week or two. Thinking this is a great idea, but you don’t actually have any books yet? Gotcha covered. Here are just a few I recommend:
- Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America by Dana Loesh
- Deadly Force – Understanding Your Right To Self Defense by Massad Ayoob
- No Second Place Winner by Bill Jordan
- Practical Shooting : Beyond Fundamentals by Brian Enos
- Deadly Deception the new novel from GunsAmerica writer Wayne Lincourt
Build an AR-15
Winter months can be a perfect time to start a project that might otherwise seem daunting. And if the weather sucks, you can get your gun fix now by taking on a project like building a sporting rifle, or working on some mods to that old 1911 or Glock. Pick a project that is within your budget, skill level, and will result in something you desire – and go for it! With the resources available today via books, videos, and the Internet (carefully selected sources, that is) those of us that would never undertake such intimidating projects can tackle them proudly. And that feeling of accomplishment you’ll get when it’s done… priceless.
Take up Reloading
If you don’t already, consider whether reloading ammo is something for you. If you think it is, there is no better time than winter to get all the equipment you need and get it set up, then study the subject and learn how to get started. Again, there is a wealth of good information sources if you choose carefully. GunsAmerica.com has some good resources right here to help you. Reloading is not just a way to save some money and be more self-sufficient, but can be an enjoyable and relaxing hobby in its own right.
- Dry Fire Practice!
How would you like to emerge from your cocoon in the spring shooting more accurately, faster, and smoother than you did all this summer? It’s possible to accomplish that without firing a single shot or making one trip to a range. Dry fire is the practice of pulling the trigger of an empty gun, put in the simplest way. But the term has grown to mean the art of training and performing skill building drills without using ammunition. There are a number of fantastic products on the market that make dry fire not only more productive, but downright fun. Most employ lasers and reactive targets to the subjectivity out of it and make it interesting. There are also a number of good training manuals (the above Brian Enos recommendation included).
Get more training
You probably had a basic gun safety course from the NRA or a local club, or maybe a hunting class that combined safety and basic skills. Maybe in the past couple of years you have acquired a concealed carry permit and took the requisite training. Good – all of it. But unless you think that Driver’s Ed qualifies you for Daytona, there is so much more to learn. The amount of good quality training available today is astounding. And it’s not all about being a mall ninja. Taking your understanding and skill to the next level in whatever way turns you on: Competition skills, Self-Defense training, Tactical skills, Armorer and gunsmithing skills – you name it. Consider taking a few days’ vacation and spend the price of a decent gun on some training that will make you better at whatever you want to be better at. And you can almost certainly find destination opportunities in warmer climates!
Those are just some ways you can spend the winter months staying in touch with your passion for firearms. You get the idea; actual shooting is only a small part of our sport or hobby. Learn to embrace the other elements of it when you can’t shoot!