Stuck at Home? Ten Ways to Train and Thrive

Many of us are working from home or remaining out of the public for a while. With time on your hands, you can binge-watch Netflix and overeat or you can study something useful and train. As a trainer, I have some suggestions for you based on what am I doing and some of my favorite training systems.

It is OK to feel a little smug if your preparations have worked out thus far. Don’t be complacent. Watch out for the next thing, even if it is good news like the return of competitive shooting.

Airsoft

Shooting is a perishable skill. There are many benefits of training with airsoft, but the biggest thing it has going for it now is that you can do it inside and …

Airsoft Glock 17 with red dot optic built for law enforcement training. Everything you need for airsoft is available online from great vendors like Black Ops Paintball
.

Airsoft ammunition costs less than a penny for five BBs and provides a realistic replication.  Modern quality airsoft guns are not the fragile toys seen in big box stores. They are built to survive the abuse of a training environment.

The orange tips make it obvious to everyone that they are safe for force-on-force exercises (maintain social distance). These guns include Picatinny rails and M-Lok slots for modular configuration so accessories like lights, lasers and MantisX can match those on one’s duty guns.

Airsoft guns are available as clones of just about every major make and model of handgun and military rifle, making them a perfect platform for training.

If you shoot a SIG, SIG AIR ProForce products are designed as exact replicas in look, balance, and feel.

SIG AIR ProForce airsoft offerings include the M17 airsoft pistol, P229 airsoft pistol, and the newest model, the MCX Virtus airsoft rifle. Other manufacturers like Glock and Walther have licensed copies of their guns.

While you can shoot at a cardboard box, real targets keep the BBs under control making clean up as simple as emptying a trap.  The IC13 FAT (Firearms Adaptable Training) lets you practice any firearms mechanics at home an airsoft gun.  A few of them together can build scenario-based training. 

F.A.T. Airsoft Target and Trap Kit

You can hang one on your wall or get a FAT Stand.  The cardboard target itself is based on an IPSC target, with printed “A” zones and mounts to the trap with slots.  Inside the “A” zones are printed triangles (head and body) and a vertical line (body only) for segmenting. The backside of the target is white, for use as “no shoots” in multiple target scenarios.

The trap portion is directly behind the “A” zones to catch BB’s from good hits and features a door on the right side that slides open, allowing the BB’s to roll out into the trash receptacle of your choice with ease.  Add the optional FAT Challenge Cover leaves only the printed “A” zones open

Airguns

Airguns have many of the qualities of airsoft, but you can shoot pests and varmints with them. Rats in the basement. Some of the larger guns will take deer. Like airsoft, they are available through the mail. I like cocking air guns because I don’t need support equipment like air tanks and CO2, but the big guns all require a pump or compressed air.

If you want to train inside, you need a pellet trap rated for the caliber you are shooting. These guns are powerful and can be dangerous if you don’t treat them with respect.

Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger (SIRT) Dry Fire Training Guns

The SIRT is a training system with a shot indicating laser and a resetting trigger allowing the user to dry fire without having to work the action every shot and receive immediate feedback on shot accuracy.

During the trigger pull, a red laser will light up to indicate that the trigger is “prepped.” A second green laser emits when the trigger pull is completed. This secondary beam indicates where the shot would have been placed, were it a live fire drill. The laser positioning is adjustable, and the SIRT also features a switch to engage or disengage the red trigger prep indicating laser.

The red slide on the SIRT from NLT is a good way to ensure you are dry firing the right gun.

There are SIRT trainers which model various SIG, Glock and M&P handguns as well as a laser bolt for an AR rifle. The metal slide models provide comparable weight and balance to a real gun but it does not move. SIRT does have a functioning magazine release, and its magazine is molded and weighted to resemble a loaded magazine.

The SIRT features a rail for mounting light or laser accessories. This allows the user to train with a tool that emulates their pistol while performing speed reloads, mock IDPA courses, or even force-on-force training.

 Use Discount Code “GreenBeret” (not case sensitive) and get 10% off your new SIRT

There are also some great training videos at Next Level Training

MantisX Training App

MantisX is a tiny computer surrounded by gyroscopes and accelerometers. It talks to the computer in your phone or tablet and tells you a story about your shooting. After it tells you how you shot, a coaching feature tells you how to do it better with tips and video.

MantisX is a powerful tool that coaches you to improve your shooting. Photo courtesy of MantisX.

The MantisX connects to the accessory rail or magazine base plate of any firearm. It’s sensors report the movement of the firearm, describe your trigger pull and coach you for better performance. It works with rifles or pistols in live fire, dry fire, airsoft, and even CO2 powered airguns. MantisX let’s you evaluate shooting performance, identify areas of improvement and track your progress over time.

The MantisX app has a great tutorial to get you up and running fast. It also provides detailed images and descriptions for all the technique flaws MantisX identifies in your trigger pull.

If you have time on your hands, Mantis is the perfect training partner and coach. It may be your best friend in the post-virus quarantine. The new Mantis X10 has features that train draw and reloads as well as accuracy. There is even a hostage shot evaluation if you are watching old movies and feeling confident. There are cheaper models available if you don’t need all the features of the X10.

The Smart Firearms Training Device is an inert pistol replica with a resetting trigger that activates MantisX. This allows you to safely get maxim reps without building the habit of reaching for the slide to reset the trigger each time.

Get your very own MantisX HERE There are four models to choose ranging from $99 to $249

Discount code GREEN BERET will get you $10 off Mantis X10!      

Dry Fire

I know what you are thinking, dry-fire is super boring.  If dry-fire is not fun, we don’t do it as often as we should. One way to improve things is interesting targets. Tough Targets give you a fun variety of targets and drills to make every second of training time as effective as possible.

Tough Targets are made of fabric. Easy to store and easy to clean.

Tough Targets are 39”x39” with more than 50 fun and unique base drills you can do with the Tough Target.  Add in movement, rotation, and multiple targets and your options are limitless.

There are several different combinations of center-mass and head targets, all different shapes, and sizes with varied spacing. On the torso, there is a blue FBI QID rectangle on the left, the FLETC racetrack & an 8.5×11 vital zone in the center, and the grey 8” high-center-mass on the right. 

You can use the black & grey B8 center or the yellow & black Secchi target—6 options. The head has an FBI pattern, a business card, 2 3×5 cards, a CNS triangle, a CNS dot, and the blue 3” dot—7 head options. There are numbered targets around the edge for dice drills or as command targets with a training partner…take your pick and shoot the big 4” target or the precision 1” target.

The only place to get tough targets is HERE. You can get Tough Secchi Targets HERE

Need drills? Try DryFireTrainingCards.com

Take a Class

You can only do so much on your own. There is a lot of good content online, you just have to sort through it to get to the good stuff. One of my favorite instructors, Mike Ox is offering a free concealed carry workshop you can take from home. His training is science-based and I learn something every time I listen to him. I am working through his PRAXIS class right now.

Inventory Your Guns and Gear

My garage is a mess. I have my guns pretty much in order, but I have ammo mixed up and don’t have a good handle on all the gear I have. One of my quarantine goals is to sort it all out. If my friends and neighbors are short, I will know how much I can help them. If I need something, the internet is still open.

Love these magnetic labels from ammocanmagnets
.com

Start a Build or Finish One

Many of us have projects that are half done. Companies like Grey Ghost Precision and SmallGunParts.com are still hard at work shipping parts.

Icarusprecision.com aluminum P320 frame with Grey Ghost slide and Faxon barrel. Smallgunparts.com provided the internals.

I am working on a JSDsupply P320 build and a Polymer 80 build. Don’t have a project started? Get an 80%er and start working.

Polymer 80 build with Lone Wolf top end and Streamlight.

Reload Ammunition

Even if you never loaded a cartridge in your life, it is easy to start. Straight walled cartridges like 9mm are a great place to start. You probably have some brass sitting around. Start with a reloading manual and buy what you need.

I like Lyman, they have quality stuff at reasonable prices and if you get it from one place there are no compatibility issues.

Even if you never loaded a cartridge in your life, it is easy to start. Straight walled cartridges like 9mm are a great place to start. You probably have some brass sitting around. Start with a reloading manual and buy what you need. I like Lyman, they have quality stuff at reasonable prices and if you get it from one place there are no compatibility

Though it’s been out for a few years, the 50th Edition is the perfect place to start.

Go Outside

As any zombie moviegoer knows, aerobics are key. The body is the most critical piece of gear. Nobody says you can’t go outside. Go for a run or take a walk with your get home bag.

https://wazoosurvivalgear.com/products/adventure-kit

Many people build a Get Home Bag and never try to carry them. Water weighs eight pounds a gallon. A loaded AR magazine weighs one and a half pounds. It all adds up.


Covert Carry Bag from Tactical Tailor

I have a primary bag with direct life support stuff and sub loads with shelter and food if I have more capacity. If I don’t have a vehicle or it stops working, I have options.

Don’t have a Get Home Bag? Well, no time like the present. Wazoo Survival Gear is my favorite stop for lightweight quality basics. https://wazoosurvivalgear.com/

The future is uncertain. I don’t think we are going to see the worst-case scenarios, but things could also get worse. It looks pretty certain that Covid19 doesn’t make zombies but there are plenty of other bad things that can happen. Tornados, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and tornados don’t stop for a virus. Express your love for friends and family by doing everything that you can do to take care of them and be prepared.

Featured image: Wazoo Zombie Crew Tri-Blend T-Shirt. $20.30

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About the author: Mark Miller is a former Customs Agent and a Green Beret who served in Afghanistan and a number of other live fire locations. A student of firearms and shooting, he is an FFL and a SOT. The guiding philosophy of his life is that terrain and situation dictate tactics and the enemy always gets a vote on any plan.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Nate March 26, 2020, 10:12 pm

    Great job and some excellent points! Airsoft makes some great training tools!

  • WH Gaddy March 25, 2020, 9:15 pm

    Thanks for the excellent article, we need all the help we can get right now.

  • David Welsh March 23, 2020, 9:42 am

    Thank you for taking the time to put together all of this timely, valuable information!

    • Mark Miller March 23, 2020, 11:20 am

      I am happy I can help. I am hoping we can use this time to make ourselves better and prepare for the next thing. It can always get worse.

  • Al M. March 23, 2020, 6:54 am

    This is one of the best stuck-at-home articles that I’ve read. Several of products that you mentioned are new to me and the Mike Ox course looks very useful. Thanks.

    • Mark Miller March 23, 2020, 11:19 am

      Thanks for the feed back. I am happy to share some of my favorite things. As a writer and a trainer, I get to see a lot of products. Most of them are not very useful. This post has things I use almost every day that I really like.

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