Equipment and supplies for rifle training

Rifle training is going to entail more than just going out and "target shooting" thus, a survivor who is actively training with a rifle is going to need some more equipment than a simple range bag and some targets.   

First of course, you will need the rifle and some ammunition, that is in most cases.   You may be able to get by for a while and as a supplement, by using some sort of sub caliber weapon or non-gun to walk through shooting drills and develop basic marksmanship.   This can include BB guns, Airsoft guns, pellet guns, and even some of the modern laser simulators.  

You want to take some effort to examine what is going to work for you and your people in the terrain and weather you go shooting in.   While everyone wants to talk about "training" with realism, you also have to look at the wear and tear factor on yourself and your equipment.   A shooting bench may not be the kind of thing you expect to take to combat, but they can be quite valuable at an impromptu range set up to test the accuracy of rifles and scopes while eliminating the distracting factors of mud, rocks and awkward shooting positions.  

If you want to stick to training and get other people to stick to training, you need to make it fun.   I have personally seen both civilian and military training totally ruined when the "fun factor" was removed by people who I think had no business being in charge of producing competent and motivated shooters.   In some cases, it was a direct effort to sabotage the organization that was attempting to have meaningful training by officers and senior NCOs who felt those particular personnel should not get "combat style" training because it might threaten the "bottom line" by taking time away from other work that those officers felt should be a higher priority for the people involved. 

One way to make the shooting fun is through the use of dynamic targets.   These are targets that move and or react to being shot.   Anything that falls or breaks can be interesting and challenging.   Clay pigeons can be just as entertaining to shoot when laid out on a hillside as when they are flying through the air at the trap club.    A rifle shooter who can consistently hit clay pigeons at 100 yards with their main rifle is going to be "good enough for government work" and thus, it would be a good idea to take that skillset and start pitting it on a timer, then add in a competitive factor to the game.   Other interesting targets are bottles, milk jugs full of water, balloons (a personal favorite), and binary exploding targets.   For a little mischievous fun (and only out in the desert where there is no major fire hazard)  exploding targets stuck to bottles filled with gasoline can be particularly entertaining.   Regular heavy steel plates suspended from a steel tripod or stand can make pretty entertaining "gongs". 

To expand on the use of balloons, you can not only shoot them and pop them, but use them to activate moving or falling targets.   For example, a ballon has enough structural integrity to hold a knot in place, then when it is hit and the knot collapses, the string can release a swinging target.

A shot timer is going to be very important if you are going to be realistically training it is the single most important piece of training gear that sets the casual shooters apart from the serious trainers and competitors.   The numbers don't lie, and a shot timer is going to be critical in determining your progress as a competant shooter.  

A stopwatch will be needed for most of the training scenarios that require longer time standards.   The stopwatch function on a common digital watch is usually good enough.  

Basic safety items like eye and hearing protection are important.   Most ranges, both formal and informal will not even let you in unless you have these basics covered.    The basics would be some cheap safety glasses or sunglasses and a pair of 20 cent foam earplugs.   Experienced shooters will usually upgrade to shooting glasses and electronic hearing aids or earmuffs that amplify quiet noises but cancel out loud noises.  

You will need targets, and target maintenance supplies.    Targets can vary, from paper and cardboard to steel plates.   You usually need a stapler to put paper targets up on the target stands and masking tape or pasties to cover up bullet holes until the target is so riddled you just replace it.   Most people will use a heavy duty carpenter's stapler.   

You will need your normal "range bag" stuff.   This usually includes a cleaning kit, some lubricant, sight adjusting tools, a pair of pliers, screwdriver, spray sight black, and some paper towels.   It also helps to have some lens cleaner.   

A flag safety - This is a device that you stick in the chamber of a rifle to show that it is not loaded and does not have a round in the chamber.   These are required at some ranges during competition and are a smart idea to use when you are with a larger group of people of varying skill and attention to safety.   

As you are likely to be off the beaten track when you do some rifle training, you also want to have some basic survival supplies with you.   This should not only include what is needed for your people, but what might be needed for vehicles.   Make sure your spare tires have air, jacks work the way they should, and you have jumper cables handy.  

A good complete trauma level treatment first aid kit is also a smart idea in the hopefully unlikely event that someone is accidentally shot.   For that reason, it can also help to have a cell phone and GPS handy in case you need to call in some help from the outside.  


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