You may have heard this before and I know there are quite a few evangelists out there who advocate training.
"Oh here we go again" I hear you say. "Get more training; make the guys at Thunder Ranch or Gunsite some more money. Let's get real" (This is still you talking by the way). "Let's get real; I do not have the money to go prancing around the country to professional training centers. I don't have the time either I work for a living!"
Tom Gresham from the radio show Gun Talk repeats it at least every Sunday. His points are good enough to repeat here:
1. Get some professional training - not just a CCW class, or a competency class in my neck of the woods.
2. Shooting at the range is not training; it is just shooting at the range. You can probably improve some fundamentals, but that's about it.
3. As soon as you think you have completed your training, you probably need some more as training and firearms skills are perishable.
These are all fine and valid comments. So what's the solution?
Well for a start, you can try to get some instructor time at your local range. This may not be as fancy as one of the pro schools, but I will bet you a cold beverage that you will learn something that you didn't know before.
Then as a step two you can purchase some of the excellent DVDs that have been brought out over the years. I recommend Magpul Dynamics and the new ones produced by Travis Hayley and Chris Costa as they have both left Magpul to start their own separate endeavors. Gabriel Suarez (although I have not seen them myself) also produces some training DVDs which I hear are very good.
Now the second step and this is the kicker get an airsoft gun. Ok I can hear your comments all the way here, no need to be rude, but bear with me and let me tell you why. How do you think the pros get as good as they are? They practice a lot. I mean a heckuva lot. Kim Rhode shoots around 1000 shot shells a day. When she can't shoot she is shooting mentally (this is a whole other article). I cannot afford 1000 rounds a day through my Glock and even if I could I really don't want to put that many rounds through it.
However, that just leaves dry-fire, which is ok for the basics but does not help with mag changes, shooting on the move and a whole bunch of other issues. There is also a school of thought that says dry firing any gun continually does it no good. My G23 is my only self-defense weapon on my license (yes we have those things) and I don't want the firing pin to go when I need it. Shooting someone with my 375 H&H might be seen as overkill in some quarters.
Modern airsoft copies are incredibly close to the real thing. Weight, sight picture, and look and feel are identical. Trigger pull, (you can work on this) Slide tension and recoil are not the same, but I am happy to live with that. Using the KJ Works Glock 23 shown in the picture I can practice moves in the garden without shooting the dog and having a few hundred policemen descend on me.
You could easily go through 500 BBs in an afternoon and your muscle memory will have been built up nicely. You can also do scenario play to see if you can really get out of your car before an armed attacker (your shooting buddy) puts one into you. Wear a paintball mask if you do this because your mother was right those BBs can "put your eye out."
The FBI, Military and a bunch of other Law Enforcement bodies are using Airsoft guns for training now. Simunitions are still being used but the easy availability and low cost of Airsoft is making this a no-brainer for training departments. Safety should never be relaxed, but there is very little damage a plastic BB can cause unless it hits you in the eye.
Here are some photos of the Glock 23 Gen 4 next to a KJ Works Glock 23 Gen 3 (I think). I think you'll agree that they are remarkably similar. The weight is identical to a fully loaded 23.
Here are some other scenarios to try. Shoot one handed, Shoot lying down between your knees, cover your airsoft Glock in dishwashing liquid or silicon grease to simulate blood and try keeping it accurate and running. Shoot going backwards at speed away from a "knife" wielding "thug" (your other shooting buddy). Run carjacking scenarios. Even run "active shooter" scenarios, the list are only limited by your imagination.
One last note of caution. These things are so real you will end up getting shot or arrested for brandishing one. Be sensible about who is going to see you with an airsoft pistol and where you practice and remember to be safe. Some jurisdictions require an orange tip.
Keep it on.
If anything it will remind you which is real and which is not!