Five Around the House Items You Can Train With

Firearm training gear can be really freaking expensive. It’s easy to see why due to the fact it’s a relatively niche genre of gear. I’m not blaming any particular company, but their gear is often designed and priced for the professional shooter and ranges. That drives up the price for the average Joe and can make it tough to afford the gear needed to train and build skills. However, today, we are going to bring you five pieces of gear that you can probably find around the house.

Training Around the House

The items on today’s list can be found around the home, but that doesn’t mean they have to be isolated to around-the-house training. These items can be used at ranges for live fire or at home for dry fire. Maybe a bit of both if you have your own range. These items can be valuable for a variety of training purposes, from defensive to competitive, and just being handy to have for administrative firearm tasks. These items are easy to find, and you likely half them lying around the house anyway.

The Around the House Training items

A Six Foot Ladder

A six-foot ladder can be a really fun and interesting item to add to your dry fire or range time. It can perform numerous functions for a variety of weapons. It’s often a great choice to act as notional cover. It’s typically wide enough and tall enough to duck behind. You can lean out from one side or the other to practice using cover.

Additionally, the various rungs create different gaps at different height levels. You can practice shooting and dry firing in different positions and in more awkward than usual positions. The various heights can be a blast to train around. I have also used a ladder as a way to brace a rifle to zero it. It’s almost like a tripod that makes it easy to stabilize the gun for longer-range shots and zero an optic.

Ladders are great because you likely already have one. Plus, they are designed to be easy to move and lightweight. A ladder gives you tons of training potential. With that said, don’t try to climb the ladder and shoot from it. At Crossbreed, we don’t endorse dangerous practices.

55 Gallon Water Barrel (Or Trash Can)

A big barrel or trash can offer you a ton of training potential. It can be a great piece of cover that’s about waist-high. You can practice leaning out and shooting over it. Standing cover is easy, but getting low and skinny can be awfully tough. You might not have a 55-gallon drum around the house, but you probably have a trash can you can take to the curb. It’s a great way to simulate cover for dry fire practice.

Additionally, if you compete and help organize matches, rain barrels are great. They are lightweight, easy to arrange, and weigh almost nothing. This makes it easy to build stages, and if shot, the bullet goes through without risking ricochet spall.

Pencil, Paper, and Tape

I wrote about a method of dry fire I read in an old US Army marksmanship manual. It involves taking a pencil and coating it in tape until it just barely fits in the barrel. The tape keeps it centered and in position inside the barrel of your handgun. Clear your handgun, and store the ammunition in a separate location prior to inserting the pencil in the barrel.

Tape a piece of paper to the wall. Make a very small circle on the paper, no larger than a pencil eraser. I actually used a marker to apply ink to an eraser and then stamped it on the paper. This small black circle is your point of aim. With the pencil in the barrel, the pencil’s eraser sits against the firing pin.

Find a good standing dryfire position where the pencil is ¼ inch from the paper. Aim at the small circle and pull the trigger. The pencil will be propelled slightly by the firing pen and will mark the paper. Your goal is to dry fire and create a group of pencil marks that are as small as possible. Preferably one small dot. The tighter the group, the more control and trigger pull.

A Backpack

Who doesn’t have a backpack lying around the house? A backpack is a great tool for rest shooting. If you need to zero the red dot on your handgun, you can use the backpack as an improvised rest. Shove a pillow into it and set it down on your table.

Use the backpack to stabilize your arms to get that perfect shot. It’s a simple but handy way to avoid buying sandbags, plus it’s much more comfortable than any table rest with bare arms.

3×5 Index Cards

Are targets getting too expensive? I feel the pain, so why not just purchase index cards? A mere 3×5 index card is super small and acts as a great target. Mount it to a piece of cardboard, and you have a very demanding target. Good luck making consistent hits on a 3×5 card if you aren’t practicing the fundamentals.

3×5 index cards are super cheap, easy to find, and even come in a peel-and-stick variety. These make it super easy to mount to anything to shoot. There are a number of drills that specifically use 3×5 index cards for a reason. If you’re short on target, raid the home office (or, in my case, the Crossbreed office 🙂 and go shoot on the cheap)

Around the House Goodies

Creativity can go a long way…and save a lot of money. The above are my ideas, but what are yours? What around-the-house items do you employ in your training? Share below!

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Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.

He serves as an NRA-certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.


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