We all love saving money, and we all love training. The problem is, those things frequently oppose each other.
Range time costs money, ammo costs money, and - you know it - targets cost money, too.
I can't get you free range time or free ammo, but I can help with targets. And not just free targets, targets capable of making sure you're using your range time effectively because they're designed to intensify your training.
I've written about dot torture before, its a drill I love and one I use regularly. Dot torture is both a target and a training scenario. It involves two magazines, a holster, a mag pouch, and at least 50 rounds.
The target is made from 10 2 inch dots, each with a corresponding training drill. These drills involve slow fire, drawing, reloads, single-handed fire and more.
Dot Torture is designed for both beginners and seasoned pros. It gives you a real challenge and it takes very little time, and very little ammo. It's a drill that becomes increasingly difficult as it advances. You should start the drill at 3 yards and aim to finish it in under 5 minutes. A miss counts as a failure.
Once you've mastered that back out to 5 yards. Master that, then try to do it under 3 minutes.
Dot Torture exercises numerous skills and it can be invaluable when your ammo budget is as tight as your target budget.
Sage Dynamics is a firearms instructing group that teaches LE and Military training courses around the country. The trainers are top-notch and some of the best in the business. They also designed some super simple free targets.
This is actually two targets that can work together. The targets are known as the Cranial Vault and Thoracic vitals. They are realistic representations of the face and torso's vital areas.
The most important areas are outlined in red and secondary areas are outlined in blue. These targets define the T-zone as well as the heart and spine. They are simple and quick to print targets that give you a target you can practice combat shooting on with realistic targets. With these targets, you can train yourself to exercised proper shot placement.
The Kill Zone Target is similar to the Sage Dynamics Cranial Vault target but looks exceptionally different. It's a headshot target that is an accurate representation of a human head, specifically a skull.
The target has a small A zone and the rest is the B zone. This target does offer training variety by giving you a challenge by hitting that smaller A zone target, as well as being able to see how your fire would affect a target.
The simple design of the Kill Zone Target works and, as far as free targets go, it's simple and effective when it comes to practicing shot placement. RE Factor Tactical offers a variety of different free targets on their website you can download and use the next time you hit the range.
Baer Solutions is a firearms training company that has a focus on defensive shooting and practical application to the armed citizen, the police officer, and soldier. The Baer Solutions Standard Target is a target and a drill, designed for shooters to use before and after a class, and perfect for a variety of skill levels.
The target works for both rifles and handguns and is made up of two rectangles and one small circle. The drill itself is simple. You'll need two magazines, a holster, mag pouch, and thirteen rounds. Load one magazine with ten rounds and the other with three.
Draw and fire 5 rounds into each rectangle, perform a slide lock reload and fire 3 rounds into the small circle. The par time is 9 seconds at 5 meters. It's quick and easy, but effective for a variety of skills.
Baer also offers a number of other free printable targets, which you can check out here.
Guerrilla Approach is another professional firearms training outfit that offers top-notch firearms training. The Consistency Target is a target and drill that demands precision with small targets, as well as multiple strings of fire that add variety. The drill makes you think and remain consistent with your shot placement.
The drill is fired at 3 yards and requires 24 rounds. The little circles take a single round and the big targets take two rounds. Start from the top and move left to right. Par time is 24 seconds.
It may seem easy at first, but when you factor in the inevitable reload, it means you have less than a second per shot.
This one is free, but you have to go through the website and add to cart and check out. It's slightly more complicated, and by complicated I mean it takes about 2 minutes total.
Get out there and train. Train hard, train often, and be prepared to protect you and yours. A few free targets can give you an amazing opportunity to tighten up and learn new skills. These targets will give you one less excuse to get some practice in this week.
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.