Economical training tips: Part 1 of 4


Lee’s note: This is the first of a four-part series from Michael Sheesley – a true expert – a practicing lawyer, firearms trainer and lethal force expert living on St. Thomas, USVI.


 by Michael Sheesley, Esq.

With the recent increase in prices of ammunition and a marked decrease in availability how can you maintain your razor sharp edge in training?  Outlined in this series of articles are some ways to train cheaply (or free!), efficiently and virtually anywhere.

The absolute best way to become proficient with a firearm is to practice, practice, and

Michael Sheesley attending a carbine class at Thunder Ranch. Photo courtesy Michael Sheesley

Michael Sheesley attending a carbine class at Thunder Ranch. Photo courtesy Michael Sheesley

practice.  The silent professionals that have most recently been the subject of news reports, movies and books are the men of the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) formerly known as Seal Team Six (although I am sure now that the code name for the DEVGRU operators has changed).  It is rumored that these men shoot hundreds of thousands of rounds a year and their ammunition budget is more than the ammunition budget for the entire United State Marine Corps.  These individuals have virtually unlimited access to the best schools and facilities available all over the world.  As civilians we do not have a practically unlimited ammunition budget, the facilities and time to train like the operators at DEVGRU.  We can however maximize our training to develop the skills that may one day save our lives.

A very small part of a gunfight is actually shooting.  All the things that lead up to shooting can be practiced at places other than a shooting range.  In this series of articles I am going to discuss the importance of the draw and presentation of your firearm.  I will talk about movement and verbal commands.  I will talk about the importance of dry fire practice.

These skills are absolutely critical to winning the fight.  Perfecting these skills does not require that you send lead down range.  These are some of the most overlooked skills and are the easiest, most convenient and cheapest to practice on a daily basis.

Who among us that carries a firearm for self-defense or part of their job feels that they train as often as they need to?  If you are one of the few people who can honestly tell me that you train with the frequency and intensity that makes you absolutely certain of your abilities if and when a fight happens then this series of articles is not for you.  However if you feel that a little more (or a lot more) training would be useful this series should prove instructive.

A day at the range is not always possible or convenient.  A day’s worth of training ammunition can easily cost a couple of day’s wages.  On top of the obvious costs many of us do not live in close proximity to a shooting range.  Shooting for a couple of hours can quickly turn into an all-day event.  Packing gear, traveling to the range, shooting, traveling home and then cleaning and storing equipment can easily be a 6-10 hour ordeal.

All of us have other responsibilities.  Work, family and social obligations, chores around the house and just some time to relax and read a book all can make a full day at the range easy to skip.  I will discuss ways to train in less than an hour a day if you want to make the time.

The training discussed will also more realistically mimic what you may encounter in real life.  These training suggestions can be individually tailored to replicate what is the most likely scenario of how you may encounter a fight.  Unless you are very fortunate and have access to private facilities, most of the training that I describe is not even allowed on most ranges that I know of today.

This series of articles will give you the foundation and building blocks to train the skills that will prove to be lifesaving in a confrontation.

Train hard, stay safe.

Michael Sheesley is a practicing attorney, a firearms instructor and a partner in Virgin Arms, a FFL holder serving the law enforcement and civilian community in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Mr. Sheesley regularly deals with criminal matters involving the use of lethal force and is a consultant to expert witnesses.  Mr. Sheesley is a member of the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors and the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association. He can be contacted at:


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

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