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5 Things you can do over the winter to become a better shooter

Snow and colder temperatures are here, and for many people that means no more trips to the range. Even if the weather outside is frightful, you can still get better at shooting this year without waiting for the good weather to return. In fact, it is actually possible to get a lot better at shooting without firing a single round. Keep reading for 5 things you can do over the winter to improve your firearm skills even in the middle of winter!

Dryfire, dryfire, dryfire!

Believe it or not, you can learn and perfect 95% of shooting without ever firing a single round. Draws, reloads, trigger press, sight alignment, target transitions, movement, stage planning, malfunction clearing, all these skills can be practiced from the comfort of your house, for free! Consistent dryfire, even if it is only 10 mins a few times a week will net you much better gains than a once monthly range trip. If you want to spice up your dryfire you can add accessories like laser targets, dryfire mags, airsoft or trackers like the Mantis X. Whatever it takes to keep your interest, if you can stick with it you will see major improvements.

Make sure to dryfire safely!

Strength and conditioning

Whether you are into action shooting sports like USPSA or IDPA, or just simply want to better defend yourself, physical fitness and conditioning will always give you an advantage. Fitter people are faster on a stage and harder to kill on the street. Simply sticking with your normal fitness routine is great but you can also tailor your workouts specifically towards shooting. Working on agility and grip strength will lead to gains in the competition world and in real-life situations.

There are specific workouts to help with your shooting...this is great for defending your home in the middle of your ab workout!

Study up

There is a massive amount of information out there about shooting. Winter is a great time to see what's out there. Check out videos from various instructors, watch match footage, get a book on shooting, there is always more to learn! I recently picked up "Practical Shooting Training" by Ben Stoeger and I'm always looking to see what my favorite instructors are putting out on Youtube.

Ben Stoeger book
Great book for developing a purposeful training plan

Get to know your gun. Clean, repair, upgrade

If you aren't going to be shooting for awhile it is a great time to give your gun a good cleaning. If you have put a lot of rounds through it (and by a lot...I mean thousands) it might be worth it to take it to an armorer and have them do a deep clean. They will detail strip the gun, then clean and inspect it. With that being said, with the power of Youtube you can definitely learn how to do this yourself. If you own something like a Glock you can take the entire gun apart by yourself and clean it without any special tools or skills.

This is a great time to check if anything needs repairing or replacing. It is also a good time to order spare parts for things that tend to break. My Shadow Systems gun has been very reliable but I did wear out a recoil spring and had a trigger housing pin walk out by itself and disappear. Replacing these parts was cheap but it is much better to have them ahead of time instead of having a dead gun while you wait for a $5 spring to ship to you. I would also suggest replacing any optic batteries and tightening screws on optics, holsters and any other gear!

If you are already inspecting and taking your gun apart now might be a good time to add some upgrades. Simple things like grip tape, magazine wells, and extended magazine releases are all easy to install. If you happen to have a Gen 5 Glock I'd highly suggest upgrading to the Glock OEM performance trigger. You can switch it out yourself, it only costs around $100 and it is a fantastic and reliable trigger.

Even I can take these apart and work on them so you definitely can!


Now is a great time to experiment with different gear. If you conceal carry try different carry methods and holsters. In winter you are usually wearing bulky clothes so it is easy to hide a gun if you want to try different carry options that you might not usually do. You could try off-body carry, or switch from appendix to outside the waistband or vice versa. Heck, go full FBI and get a shoulder holster and a sweet leather jacket, the sky is the limit!

FBI agent
How you doin?

Just because it is winter doesn't mean you have to do it all alone! If you want help setting up a dryfire regime or a strength and conditioning plan to help you with your shooting, contact me and I will make sure you are set to start a new season the best shooter you can be!

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