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The following was written by Karla Herdzik and is reproduced with permission.

My basement is kind of a man cave. Yes, it has a washer and dryer and it’s painted pretty turquoise, but otherwise — total man cave. Across from my instruments of laundry, I keep my instruments of shooting.  My workbench has stacks of targets, wrenches, optics, target pasters, and gun cleaning supplies.  Underneath the workbench (and actually, at the bottom of the stairs) are veritable mountains of ammo.  I also stash a piece of PVC pipe so I can work on my overhead squat form, as well as a couple of kettlebells.  Seriously — total man cave, with a few small girly touches . . .
image_3-2 My basement is essentially my shooting dojo.  It’s where I go to practice away from the distractions of people, pets, and the prying eyes of neighbors.  I’ve even decorated my walls with some high-class artwork!


But there is one very important fixture in my basement that I haven’t mentioned yet. It’s not a piece of furniture, or lighting, or a decoration. It’s a pair of pants, which I affectionately call my Reloading Pants. My Reloading Pants are a pair of Vertx Ladies Phantom Pants (translation: what I wear at the range) that are permanently adorned with a velcro belt and are accompanied by a pair of sneakers, in Team FNH USA colors of course.


Why, you ask, do I keep a pair of Reloading Pants in the basement at all times? Because I know myself. I hate to practice dry firing, and I’ll come up with any excuse so I don’t have to. Excuses such as:

  • Oh man, I sure would love to practice right now, but I’m wearing my stretchy gym pants and they don’t have belt loops and I’d have to go ALL THE WAY upstairs to get a real pair of pants.  Or how about…
  • My shooting belt doesn’t fit these jeans I’m wearing right now.  There’s no sense in practicing my draw if my pistol’s not sitting in quite the right place.  Or…
  • I can’t practice reloads in my bare feet!  I’ll drop a mag on my toe and that will hurt!

Seriously, I can be a total lazy wimp sometimes. I’m currently reading The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John C. Maxwell.  Two of those qualities are Commitment and Initiative.  In Chapter 3, Maxwell notes that “commitment starts in the heart” — you’ve gotta WANT it.  Next, “commitment is tested by action” — you’ve gotta DO it.  (This is where the quality of Initiative comes into play.)  And third, “commitment opens the door to achievement” — there will be obstacles in your way, without a doubt, and sometimes commitment will be all you have to carry you forward to that achievement.

So what does that have to do with Reloading Pants? In shooting, as in life, there will be plenty of obstacles standing in the way of you achieving your goals. Some of those will be external and unavoidable:  you get a big assignment at work and are stuck working late every night for 2 weeks; or your kids get the flu and you are on constant puke bucket duty; or your extended family decides to come visit for a week so you have no time to practice. But some obstacles will be internal, such as laziness, or frustration at a lack of progress, or actively choosing to do something else that you feel is more important at the time. These CAN be avoided — even preempted! — and can be overcome. I keep my reloading pants in the basement because I know myself too well. So I have done whatever I can to remove any excuses that would stand in the way of me achieving my goals. And then I got my boyfriend to pester me every day to make sure I actually get my practice in.  (Sometimes external motivation is required.)

What are you trying to achieve? Go put on your Reloading Pants and make it happen!

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  1. Commitment and initiative! And, thanks for the book suggestion, I’ll order that immediately – I want to be faster/better this year in USPSA. The only thing I wish I could find is a pair of “reloading pants” like you have. I’m shaped like a middle aged mama and I haven’t yet found a pair of tactical-ish pants to shoot in with all the great pockets that fit my shape (sigh).

  2. I’m wearing my reloading pants right now as I type this and they are also Vertx brand. Except mine are men’s Vertx Tactical. I love ’em they are light weight, comfy and durable. Also the color hasnt faded much at all after many a wash. I use to just wear them on range days but lately I’ve been pulling them out of the drawer more often.

    • This is a really wonderful article with some great points!

      …but what exactly do you mean about using a PVC pipe for overhead squat? Are you talking about weighting it for home workouts, or just to train form?

        • Appreciate the info! If I could make a small request, a neat follow up blog post that’s related to the topic at hand would be what your shooting specific workout routine is, especially anything for those that work out at home. There’s been a couple of articles in a similar vein, but I feel the more the merrier, especially as it’s an area that most people ignore or gloss over and is hugely beneficial to one’s shooting performance.

          Thanks again, look forward to reading more from you!

  3. I completely misunderstood the term “reloading” in this article and was wondering why someone would change pants before sitting down at the Dillon.

    • “Reloading” + “Basement” = reloading spent cartridges.

      TTAG tends not to talk about reloading that much, or at all.

    • Likewise. I had a mental picture of a progressive reloading press or something along those lines.

      On re-reading more carefully I guess she means practicing changing from one mag to another loaded in the firearm?

      • In retrospect, I can see why you would envision something like a Dillon press… but yeah what I meant was practicing my magazine reloads in conjunction with dry fire.

    • Oh good, it took m a second or ten to figure that out too and I thought I was just being dense. Lucky on all y’all for having fancy progressive presses. If I wanna go from sizing to priming to loading, I have to get out the hand primer and swap dies.

  4. Good excuses, I learned a lot. Wait, you mean that wasn’t the point? Ok, I’ll stop procrastinating…tomorrow sounds good.

    • I checked this statement by standing up and dropping a steel pistol mag on my bare foot. Didn’t hurt… but I didn’t have the guts to try it with a rifle mag.


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