The cost of ammunition went sky-high in 2021. Although it has come down a bit in recent weeks, certain calibers and grains that used to cost 25 cents per round are now pushing $1 or more.
A dollar per round is better than five, but whatever the price, target practice has become more expensive. If you shoot dollar-plus rounds at the range, you could quickly spend more money in one afternoon than you paid for your handgun in the first place.
That’s if you can find ammo at all. If you’d like to practice shooting at the range, but worry about the cost for the extra ammo, here are some options to consider.
1. Shoot with your less popular handguns/obscure calibers
If you normally shoot a 9mm handgun like a Glock, you should probably save your ammo because 9mm is getting hard to find. However, if you’re shooting a .45, you’ll probably find more ammunition, though it will be expensive.
Even if you’re short on ammo for your less popular handgun, there are several reasons it might be the better choice for target practice:
· Obscure calibers are getting harder to find. It won’t hurt if you run out of .276 Pedersen or .43 Mauser, because if the ammo shortage continues, you probably won’t be seeing any more available, anywhere.
At first, this might sound like a reason to conserve that ammo. But if your less popular firearm isn’t a practical self-defense weapon or EDC, you won’t likely be using it for anything but target practice anyway.
· If you practice with common handgun calibers, like .22 or 9mm, you’ll have less ammo for your EDC and home-defense pistols.
· Even in hard times, standard calibers will be manufactured in higher quantities. They will also be priced higher. If you rely on a common type of ammunition, don’t waste your current stash that could cost you ten times more to replenish in the future.
Unless your obscure weapon is your EDC, it’s better to practice with the ammo you’re less likely to see again so you don’t waste the ammo you’re going to need. The point is to use up ammo you won’t need for self defense in the future if it becomes unavailable for good.
2. Purchase a replica pellet gun
Several popular gun manufacturers, including Glock and Sig Sauer, make replica pellet guns to mimic the look and feel of the real model. For example, Sig has a P320 air pistol that fires flat-nosed pellets.
This model is an exact replica in terms of look, feel, and weight, although parts are not interchangeable. So try to find an air gun replica of your usual firearm.
If one doesn’t exist, you should be able to obtain something similar. For instance, if you normally shoot a Smith & Wesson M&P 9, buy an air pistol replica of any 9mm handgun. It won’t be exactly the same, but it will feel real and you will get the same benefit from target practice.
Just remember not to shoot a pellet gun (or even an Airsoft gun) when you’re not on private property. Many replica pellet guns don’t come with an orange tip, and cops have crashed Airsoft matches with guns drawn.
3. Dig your own shooting pit or range (if it’s legal)
Check your local and state laws regarding discharge of firearms in your area. If you live in an apartment or in a dense urban zone, you won’t be able to make your own legal shooting pit or range.
But if you live in a more rural area, the chances of it being legal are better. Once you get confirmation that it’s legal to make and use a shooting pit in your backyard, choose your materials and get to building.
There are plenty of ideas on YouTube that use simple materials like Earth berm and railroad ties, for example. With your own shooting range, you won’t have to spend money on gas, gun rental, or fees just to enter the range. This little bit of savings will make it easy to blast through the boxes of ammo you have stashed away.
4. Get an Airsoft gun
There is no comparison between an Airsoft gun and a real gun, but when you’re itching to shoot at targets, it’s better than nothing. If you have a large property, you can shoot at moving targets safely or while running without having to worry about accidentally firing into the street or at your neighbor’s house.
As long as you’re using a spring-loaded Airsoft pistol, your shots won’t have much power or go very far.
Ammo prices will probably drop soon
While you’re finding ways to save money on ammo, try not to worry much about ammo prices. Like everything else, prices should eventually subside to normal levels. Until that happens, enjoy shooting targets with a replica air gun.