Question of the Day: What Are You Doing to Stay Sharp During the Ammo Shortage?

I’m a firm believer that practice time away from the range is more important than practice time at the range. I unload and triple safety check my carry gun (talking aloud to myself as I do it) and practice presentation wearing my cover garments—always moving of the X. I also unload and triple check my rifle and shotgun and practice moving around the house (shades drawn). I don’t feel the necessity to pull the trigger on my gun when training in the comfort and safety of my home. I figure it’s safer not to. And it trains me to keep my booger finger off the bang switch while bringing my gun to bear on a target. In fact, I reckon if you practice dry firing every time you train you train yourself to become trigger happy. Not good. Anyway, I also have a laser trainer (review to follow). What are you doing to maintain your armed self-defense skills now that ammo is obvious by its absence on the shelves?


  1. avatar Thomas Paine says:


    1. avatar Mamba says:

      But only for use as a barter item….lost all my guns in a tragic boating accident.

    2. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      ^This – just scored some bullets, brass and powder. Need small pistol primers. Thankfully, .40 S&W is not being stripped form the shelves like 9MM.

  2. avatar Blehtastic says:

    That thing where any two points are sights and anything beyond them is a target. No firearm required.

  3. avatar David says:

    Shopping around more and jumping on good deals faster.

  4. avatar Davis Thompson says:

    Laser trainer. I position the target at different places around the house and practice engaging it from different spots. I only do this when the wife and son are out, and, obviously, with all the shades down.

    I have the Laserlyte. It’s okay. A lot of problems. Having to rack the slide on my M+P to re-cock the hammer for each shot is a bummer (and hopefully won’t result in bad habits when really shooting!)

    The target only registers hits after you shoot a “display” spot. It would be better if it displayed the hits as you made it.

    Finally, a miss which wipes across the target face can register as a “hit.” Or a single hit can register as several. (Which explains how I can get seven hits on a target when only firing five shots.)

    All that bad stuff out of the way, it has allowed me to practice at home and conserve scarce ammo.

  5. avatar Anthony says:

    stay home and shoot BB

  6. avatar William says:

    Beer. Cigars. Cleaning my guns, but not that often. They’re already clean, which is the point.

  7. avatar Aharon says:

    1) I have enough ammo to keep practicing at a moderate rate for several long months and that’s before I would need to consider re-loading (provided I could find re-loading materials).

    2) Buy a pellet rifle. Seriously, I think quality ones are practical and most survival blogs suggest that everyone ad one to their survival gun collection. Ammo is super cheap, small and lightweight, and air the powder is currently not yet being taxable. They’re a good and effective quiet hunting gun for small game. I probably should buy one before government requires a background check.

    3) It is a good time to focus on other things such as creating a bug-out and bug-in bag, and acquiring other survival emergency gear in the event of a collapse of the food supply, utility power, unavailability of medical care, a breakdown of law and order, drone strikes, etc.

    4) Practice with my Trumark sling shot.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      +1 on the bug out bag/disaster preparedness. Hurricane season is coming soon.

      Everybody’s got a bathtub, right? (warning: autoplay video)

      1. avatar CarlosT says:

        No, not everybody, but if you do, it’s a good idea to have one of these.

    2. avatar In Memphis says:

      +1 on the BOB

      I’m starting to work on a Get Home Bag for my car and once I have a few extra bucks a Bug Out Bag is next.

      Although this winter was only my second in Tennessee, I found it to be unusually warm. Im no meteorologist but frankly Im a bit concerned over weather to come, including tornado season. Also who knows whats going to happen in the future as our rights in this country are stripped away.

      I would like to focus on becoming a better shooter, especially because I have only been at it for a year. For now though, I am trying to stock whatever ammo I can find.

    3. avatar jwm says:

      Having lived in various parts of the country I have experienced blizzards, was snowed in with small children, tornadoes and hurricanes and was in the bay area for the 89 Loma Prieata quake. My sons and I watched a convoy of fire trucks responding to the Oakland hills fire.

      What I’m trying to get at here is I am a true believer from a lifetime of hard experience in being prepared before the next disaster hits.

      As for marksmanship. A pellet gun does wonders for cheap training. It would also be quite usefull for a pot meat gun after a disaster. I have a crossman .177 now that is very accurate and quite deadly at reasonable ranges. I’m checking into .22 cal air rifles also.

  8. avatar zack says:

    Always been a big fan of airsoft, hard to beat the price for 6mm

  9. avatar Pascal says:

    Next Level Training SIRT + this L.A.S.R.: Laser Activated Shot Reporter against living room wall while watching TV

  10. avatar Avid Reader says:

    Lots of dry fire practice.

    Watching lots of Hickock 45 videos.

    Fantasizing about Jessie Duff.

    Hunting for the elusive .9MM.

    1. avatar Scrimshaw says:

      +1 Hickock 45

  11. avatar Hazzard Bagg says:

    I shoot a box here and a box there and then go and chew the fat at my range’s bar.

    Where is all that ammo going anyway? Is the govt just buying it all up in a sort of de facto effort to disarm the citizenry?

    1. avatar luigi22 says:

      sounds like a great idea, a range with a bar.

  12. avatar DrVino says:

    The answer used to be: “shoot .22”. Then I went to a chain sporting goods store yesterday and learned I’m going to need to make the box of Remington 22LR (500 count) last. .22LR is nowhere in sight …..

    I guess I could go back to making wine….

  13. avatar mike says:

    By continuing to practice AT the ranges using caches of ammo I supposedly “crazily hoarded” before the SHTF recently. Everyone who called me insane the last few years can just stay home and fondle/admire your guns instead. Now it’s me acting calm and normal while everyone else is acting crazy. No sympathies here.

  14. avatar Nick says:

    .357 sig According to my LSG only 3 people ask for that caliber.

  15. avatar Nazgul says:

    As much as I enjoy reading this blog, I would be spending more time at the range instead of surfing the web if I could find ammunition to purchase. Bummer. πŸ™

  16. avatar Aharon says:

    Another consideration is to barter with other gun owners. If you don’t already have a network of contacts you can locate local gun community blogs that serve you’re geographic area. The next time that I see magpuls or another in-demand product I might buy a few and since I don’t need the magpuls I would post an ad up on a local blog offering to exchange them for good .22 LR.

  17. avatar DisThunder says:

    I’ve been practicing my “hide and pray” drills. Also, drilling with my board-with-a-nail-in-it.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      Mine has 11 nails and a folding handle. It’s an assault board.

      1. avatar AlphaGeek says:

        I hear in NY state, you can have 10 nails but 3 of them have to be bent over parallel to the board. Also, you’re only allowed to have flat-head nails with the points protected by the board.

        1. avatar Matt in FL says:

          Sadly, that seems more reasonable than “only load 7 rounds into 10 round magazines.”

  18. avatar ensitu says:

    I do not own guns

    1. avatar PavePusher says:

      That is an easily corrected problem. 8>)

      1. avatar Scrimshaw says:

        For now

  19. avatar Mike in NC says:

    The ammo situation appeared to be getting better on a trip last week to the local Gander Mountain (Morrisville, NC). At the time they had a large selection of hunting calibers with a notable hole where .308 Win should be. They also had 525 round boxes of Remington .22LR; 1000 round boxes of UMC bulk 9mm; 650 round boxes of bulk .40 S&W; 200 and 500 round boxes of .45 ACP; .223 Rem in 50 count boxes from Fiocchi and 5.56mm in 20 count boxes of Independence (Israel).

    They had a daily limit which I though was quite reasonable: max of 10 boxes total; 4 box limit for any one product in small packages; one box limit for each product in bulk packages.

  20. avatar miforest says:

    I burned a couple of boxes at for 22 and one of 9mm at the range yesterday. I have set aside a few boxes of gold dot for emergency use , and I’m shooting the rest of the stuff I have int the gun safe . I am not buying any more for a while, untill the supplies become better. I also have air guns. If anything good comes out of this mess I hope it is that more people will discover how much fun they are.

  21. avatar Don says:

    Making thousands of rounds of my own ammo.

  22. avatar Del says:

    An old Russian proverb reminds us: “Forget the past, lose an eye…”

    Ever since the rise of the Obamabots in 2008, everyone’s ammo floor should have been at least 5000. 48 months x 100 rounds…This shortage is not new. It happened in 2008. Our FFL’s allocation of .45ACP was one box of 50 per week….25 rounds went in one baggie and 25 rounds went in another baggie.

    We offered cases of 9mm/40/45/223 last Spring while ammo was replenishable and only a couple of shooters bought some.

    So make a “Memo to Self.” 5000 rounds in reserve…always. Shoot, replenish.

  23. avatar JebNY says:

    Have enough .22 ammo to continue for awhile with that. Also picked up a pellet rifle and a few thousand pellets. Sent an old Crosman pellet pistol out for resealing to give myself some cheap handgun practice. If things continue the path that NY has started I have two more pellet rifles in line to rebuild.

  24. avatar DutchinDC says:

    I got a laserlyte target for Christmas which I’ve been using every day. Ive saved at least it’s original cost in ammo and can practice shooting on the moving as we’ll. I also have a couple of less than popular calibers (357 sig and 45 long colt) whos price and availability havent been affected by the shortage.

    1. avatar Cecil B Demented says:

      I bought one of these and like it alot

      Didn’t feel the need to get the target. I just get in the dining room and practice move and shoot and reloads with empty mags. I shoot at things on the tv in the living room that are moving.

      It’s kind of silly at first, but it is better than no training at all.

  25. avatar Dale says:

    It’s not so much the lack of ammo that is tripping me up, it’s the lack of JOBS .

    1. avatar miforest says:

      sorry to hear that , Dale. The administration is adeptly pushing divisive social issues to keep attention off the fact that the economy is still a train wreck . The media are a great friend to him in this task .

  26. avatar Alan says:

    Practice Dry firing…. IPSC holster draw and magazine changes. Wishing I could find a set of 9mm dies for my reloader. cant believe reloading dies are all sold out. Starting to think about casting bullets again. 10 years ago I decided it wasn’t worth it. Changing my mind.

  27. avatar James1000 says:

    Skipping the range time and only shooting IDPA twice per month. My LGS has had a good supply of ammo, so I shoot a box/buy a box at this point.

  28. avatar In Memphis says:

    Im working on my stockpile of books to throw at the bad guy(s) while I wait for the good guys. Right now I think I have about 13 hardcovers on my shelf and 18 soft covers. I might survive the average burglar but not confident about home invaders.

    1. avatar In Memphis says:

      But the good guys fort is just down the street from me… on the other side of the tracks. Hope a train dosnt hold them up.

    2. avatar Aharon says:

      I know a deeply religious family. They have a front room filled with hundreds of books, a front door that can be kicked in within 30 seconds and no guns or other serious weapons apart from kitchen knives. They also have five little children. The father ie man of the house knows nothing about fighting. When I used to go to their home for a meal I would sometimes wonder what he and his wife would do if attacker(s) intruded into their home. Sarcasm on: would they offer them a meal? Throw books at them? Pray?

      1. avatar In Memphis says:

        Before I converted my anti-gun mother her mentality was if someone breaks in she will tell them, “take whatever you want just dont hurt me.” I was all out harsh and blunt in my response, “If they know youre home before they break in, bargaining wont work while they rape you.” My (now ex) wife was very pi&&ed that I went that direction but my mother wants a few guns and a home emergency kit now.

        1. avatar Aharon says:

          Good for you for being so direct with her. It’s great that your mom now wants or at least recognizes the value of guns for being important tools. My parents are now gone yet they were too close minded to ever consider anything my sister or I ever tried to teach them about anything.

          The sheriff’s deputy who taught my CC class told us that many intruders don’t want to leave witnesses. He said that a hammer strike to our sleeping heads guarantees no home owner will testify against them. He went so far to tell us that if someone tries to carjack us to take the risk they will shoot us vs. being a tortured sexx slave before they eventually murder us.

  29. avatar Derek says:

    Pretty much what you do.

    Few times a week I spend about 30 minutes before bed slowly going through the motions per-fect-ly. Getting off the X, garment clear, draw stroke, presentation, trigger slack. sight alignment, trigger press, reset management, reloading, checking my surroundings, and re-holstering. Pretty much everything but actually sending lead down range. I do each step, one at a time, and then practice as one fluid motion. “Practice perfectly and the speed will be there when you need it.” – My CHL instructor.

    On a less serious note, every now and then I get into NERF fights with my lil brother. Those get intense πŸ˜†

  30. avatar B says:

    Airsoft versions of my real guns. Much cheaper to shoot, weight and feel are close enough to build muscle memory.

  31. avatar LionoftheTransvaal says:

    Here in RSA we use air guns and BB pistols for practice and simulation. Cheap and quiet.

  32. avatar Rob says:

    No rifle ammo available, so I’m shooting the scatter guns. Sporting clays, and range time with slugs.

  33. avatar scooter says:

    The guns are clean and cared for, but they don’t get out nearly enough. Just like my kids. Lack of ammo is like a rainy day, so we have indoor family time, just like my kids. My guns, unlike my children, suck at PS3 and don’t enjoy building models. They do seem to enjoy new slings, grips, and other accessories, so they play dress up. Guns are my Barbies. Don’t judge me. Also, thumbs up on bb/pellet guns. The Umarex Steel Storm is select-fire fun without ATF paperwork! A moment of silence for the Coke Cherry Zero cans and Darkotic zombies that have given their lives for my family’s enjoyment…

    1. avatar Ed Rogers says:

      Don’t forget the Tannerite targets…for the few rounds you do expend…

  34. avatar Dave S says:

    i go to the basement and count rounds. just look at them, you understand!

  35. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    Since I have a moderate amount of .22 and .38 ammunition I don’t mind plinking a box at least once a month. I too, have a pellet gun (Gamo Varmit Hunter) and love shooting it. The scope, laser and flashlight are way cool.

    My perception is that the latest trend in scarce ammunition is because newcomers are buying it up as fast as they can. Many will end up selling it in a few years, after they decide they don’t want to be responsible for a weapon they’ve never used. At this point there should be a pretty good surplus. I don’t intend on even looking for additional ammo for a month or so.

  36. avatar Ralph says:

    I’m shooting what I can replace at a reasonable price, like 7.62X54R. It’s still less than 25 cents per round.

  37. avatar JAS says:

    I’m staying sharp buying more knives for my EDC collection :).

    1. avatar Derek says:

      I see what you did there. πŸ™‚

      Benchmade Onslaught EDC

      1. avatar JAS says:

        Great choice! I want one :).

        Just bought a Spyderco Carbon Sage. Always wanted it…..

        1. avatar Derek says:

          Nice. I love the humpback on Spydercos. They look so sinister 😈

  38. avatar Javier says:

    I have been working on getting my wider than before silhouette slimmer. Not a-lot slimmer but slimmer none the less.

  39. avatar Russ Bixby says:


    I fail to notice an ammunition shortage. While there are indeed long lines at the gun counter and people are taking numbers in the hope of snapping up the last Glock or Bushmaster, and the ammunition shelves are largely bare, I pay no attention.

    My arms are Russian, and old. They are neither flashy nor particularly pretty, but neither is a Carhart jacket. Also like a Carhart, They just work, are indestructible and I’ll wear out a hundred years before they do.

    They also use ammunition that most other weapons don’t, and therefor isn’t being snapped up by the bushel. I buy new to stay sharp, and keep ’em loaded with milsurp SPAM when they’re at home standing watch.

    Y’know, I’ve never been subject to peer pressure and snide comments at the range about my “Ruskie junk” typically don’t bother me.

    However, as I watch folks making like ants in their self-induced ammunition fammine, I cannot help but feel a tidge smug.

    Russ Bixby, curmudgeon of the plains

    The day I need a hundred rounds to bag dinner, I’ll move to dynamiting fish in a barrel.

    1. avatar GH from Boise says:

      I too have a Russky battle bar. My kids love it. Ammo is still abundant here. While it isn’t good for teaching ranged targeting, it still keeps the family practicing good targeting principles on the range. It is very heavily modified though. Boise has seen an increase in interest recently in these types of firearms, lucky for me. My battle bar was built locally. All the reliability of Russian tech with American genius in mod-ability built in. Texas Weapon Systems gave me a leg up in ranged shooting (300 yds). Good company, good people, easy to install product. And while ammo is available for it, it will be my Go-To rifle for most things. My Beowulf is for home defense, my Black Widow for everything else. At least until ammo becomes more available. My MATEN is needing a lot of love, but 308 is getting harder and harder to get/afford. πŸ™

  40. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    On a side note, drilling out .22 calibre pellets and filling ’em with lead azide makes for some interesting and fun shooting ’round the farm…

  41. I a bought a Woodman’s Pal. Einstein said WW4 would be fought with rocks and sharp sticks. My sticks will be the sharpest.

  42. avatar Jan says:

    Thinking of getting an arrow target and practice knife throwing πŸ˜€

    1. avatar Derek says:

      Lots of room, give yourself lots of room. If you get the spin wrong the knives like to… bounce. 😐 lol

  43. avatar James says:

    I too was fortunate like others to have stocked up before the madness. I now face a new problem. I tried to take a newbie shooting today and there was a 2 hour wait at the range. 2 hours!!! Doesn’t seem like people are holding back. And it wasn’t all newbies because the majority had range memberships. Now it doesn’t help that the range had three lanes down, which is ludicrous to me. Robert, think you can do a post on exactly what takes a lane down, how long it takes to fix, and how much money? I just can’t believe with the current demand it is good business to leave three lanes down over a holiday weekend.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      Usually when a lane is down, it’s because someone shot down one of the cables that you run the target out and back on. Sometimes you get really unlucky and they manage to blast the pullet at the far end, which is a much bigger deal, and certainly won’t be fixed during business hours. Restringing the cable takes 5-10 minutes, sometimes more, during which they have to shut down the entire rest of the range. Whether or not they stop everything to fix it is based on the ratio of down:up lanes, as well as how busy it is and how many are waiting. The three that you saw down were probably not down all weekend. They were very likely broken just today, because if it had been yesterday, they’d have fixed them last night or this morning before opening.

  44. avatar Air Force TSgt says:

    Black Ops 2 on PS3….way too much of it, now on prestige 10 :(. According to the NRA I am 16 levels away from being a spree killer…

  45. avatar Jesus says:

    Training with my knives.

  46. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

    I’m liking my:–177-cal.html

    Have a pellet trap in the basement, can work on aiming and trigger with shots up to 25-30 feet. Good fun.

  47. avatar Mike says:

    Air guns … fundamentals are fundamentals.

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