Shooting guns and going hunting has always been part of my life, but it was not until my family and I went to an NRA Youth Day at our local gun club that we were talked into attending a local match. I fell in love and have been shooting competitively for four years now. We started shooting Rimfire Steel Challenge and I was soon asked to be on a team. I now have sponsors who help support my shooting habit, which I greatly appreciate, because it can be expensive. I regularly shoot USPSA and an Outlaw 2-Gun match in addition to Steel Challenge.
Recently I had an opportunity to get my hands on a few airguns from Umarex. I did not have any experience with airguns before, but I have found that airguns can be a very valuable way to practice. Now, before I go on I want you to understand that I am not the only person to think this, other competitive shooters and police officers use airguns to practice shooting skills. Airguns can also help prepare a new shooter for the experience of shooting a centerfire firearm and they are a cheaper way to practice.
As I said earlier, shooting is an expensive habit. So how do we remedy that? Dry firing is a long-used practice that can be very beneficial, but it can also become boring and if not done properly you could actually mess up what you have practiced on the range, because you can unknowingly start to get sloppy with a technique and not notice it.
Practicing with airguns is something I look forward to. I do not have to pack up all my gear and drive to the range just to practice for thirty minutes, or if I am pressed for time I can do a couple of drills in the backyard and be done. Using airguns is also a lot more affordable than doing live fire drills. Live fire drills are still important but if time and money are an issue, airguns are the way to go. You can get everything you need to start practicing for about one hundred dollars versus six hundred dollars just for a centerfire gun.
You can practice safety and grip and sight alignment with airguns because they have a similar weight to their centerfire versions. Safety is of the utmost importance and using airguns is a safe and easy way to help new shooters learn how to handle guns. Having a good grip can make or break a stage at a match. I practice working on my grip with all of my airguns to ensure I have proper control of the gun. Sight alignment is also very important and is an easy practice.
A couple of practice drills that I use are first shots from low ready and transitions. Practicing first shots will help you acquire your target faster and help you achieve a better shot placement. I start from low ready, having the gun pointed at the ground, but if you have a holster that your airgun will fit then you can also practice draws. Transitioning from target to target needs to be fast and efficient so that you can save more time when shooting a match. Snapping the airgun from target to target and seeing your hits will help tremendously when practicing.
You can practice many techniques with airguns, but the most important thing to do is have fun and enjoy your time shooting and getting to know your gun. I enjoy getting to work with each of my airguns and see the benefit of practicing with them in addition to my firearms.
Be safe, and I hope to see you on the range.
Breanna Noble is a competitive shooter from Arkansas who began shooting matches in 2013. She enjoys reloading ammunition and shooting matches with her family. Breanna is enrolled in marketing studies and hopes to work in the shooting industry. She is currently recording short videos about the features of airguns and actively shooting Steel Challenge, USPSA and Outlaw 2-Gun matches.