Safe Handgun Training on a Budget

Firearms drills with practice tools

Home Firearms Training

Welcome to our guide on mastering safe handgun training without breaking the bank – a journey that revolves around the highly effective and budget-friendly practice of dry firing. In firearms education, dry firing stands out as a valuable technique for honing your skills without expensive ammunition. In this blog, we’ll explore the ins and outs of safe handgun training through dry firing, offering insights into proper techniques, recommended drills, and the essential principles that make this cost-efficient method an invaluable tool for any shooter. Whether you’re a seasoned gun owner or a novice looking to sharpen your skills, join us on this exploration of safe, accessible, and budget-conscious handgun training through dry firing.

Shooting Range Concerns

When it comes to handgun training on a budget, one of the first things I hear is, “How can I train with my firearm if I cannot go to the range?” Some of the common problems individuals face when it comes to firearms training that I hear of time and time again are:

  • Availability of a range that they can draw from the holster
  • Ammunition Costs
  • Range fees
  • Instructor fees
  • Commute to and from the range
training at the firing range

These are to name a few. Firearms training can be accomplished at your home safely and cost-efficient if you are willing to do it. These skills will transfer to live fire against recoil, where you can check the fundamentals you have been training on at home. Most Special Operators and Competition shooters incorporate dry fire drills at home on time coinvent for their schedule. We will review some alternatives for safely training at home with what you have and options for other training tools you can look into.

Firearms Training Alternatives

Training safely with what you have is the cheapest route, and you get to train thousands of repetitions for the cost of the equipment you already have. As with anything, there are always pros and cons. Any training that does not require live ammunition and range time is considered Dry Fire Training. I will go over the procedures of Dry Fire Training with what you already own, then go into other training tool alternatives and the pros and cons of each.

Safe Dry Firing

Safe Dry Fire Training with your weapon always comes down to SAFETY, SAFETY, and SAFETY. Therefore, we must always keep the 4 Primary Firearms Safety Rules at the forefront.

  1. Finger off the trigger and along the frame until you have an acceptable sight picture and are ready to shoot.
  2. Never point your firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy or pay for.
  3. Know the status of your firearm at all times.
  4. Know your target, what’s behind it and around it.
clearing firearm

Steps for Clearing Your Firearms

Start with clearing your weapon of any live ammunition by dropping the source of ammunition (magazine), racking your slide three times to remove any ammunition, locking the slide to the rear, and visually and physically checking your magazine well, slide, and barrel for any ammunition (3 times), and if someone else is present that can check it as well wouldn’t hurt. After this is accomplished, remove any live ammunition from the training area, I suggest putting it in a different location or room. You can have unloaded magazines to practice within the training area. In the designated safe place, you intend to train and put a target up of your choosing. Now get your gear on and train.

Pros and Cons of Dry Fire Drills


  • You already own the firearm and equipment
  • Get to rep with the gun you shoot
  • Don’t have to leave your home
  • Train when you can
  • Can break training down into sections


  • No bang
  • Have to rack the slide to reset the trigger each time
  • No visual feedback
  • Could build bad habits from lack of knowledge
  • The complacency of not checking weapons and having live ammo present
  • No recoil

With your personally owned firearm, you can add a laser training bullet for visual confirmation with the above configuration. However, you still have to rack the slide after every trigger pull. Many companies make these; the internet is a great source, and like anything you buy, do your research. Here is a link to an example:

Pink Rhino - Laser Training Cartridge


Available in 9MM, 380 Auto, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, .223/5.56, .38 special/357 mag.

It provides instant laser activation when the trigger is pulled. Train with your pistol using any visible laser target system or simulation.

Retails for $20 to $39.

Laser Training Pistols

Laser Training Pistols are great tools that allow you to train at home. Quite a few companies are making these tools for firearms practice. These tools enable you to run thousands of repetitions and trigger pulls with visual stimuli. Some come with shooting programs and games to keep the boredom of repetition down. These programs come with apps for your phone or tablet, timers, timer beeps, shot splits, and scores.

They can also shoot behind barricades, downed positions, move, and force on force. Training these tasks and building firearms skills safely before going to a range or class to do them live fire is an invaluable tool for firearms skills safely before going to a range or course to do them live fire. Please research various models to fit your needs; many designs closely resemble commonly used firearms but are not the exact replica, so they may require buying an additional holster, etc. Please adhere to the Primary Rules of Firearms Safety as with all weapons.

Laser Training Pros

Cons of Laser Training

  • Additional cost
  • May not have an exact version of your firearm
  • Weight difference
  • May not have magazines
  • Trigger pull difference
  • No recoil

Below are links to some examples:

LaserLyte LT-TTL Laser Trainer Pistol Full Size Glock 19

Realistic size of a: GLOCK 19

Resetting trigger flashes dot

5.5lb realistic trigger pull

Familiar weight to the actual pistol

Retail Prices are roughly $150

Sirt Training Pistol

SIRT offers a variety of training pistols with a variety of features, different colors, and even metal and polymer finishes. Prices range from $239 to $479.

Rail Mounted and Attachable

Another option is the MantisX, which you can attach to your personal firearm, laser pistol, or airsoft gun. I have not used it, but I have heard very good things from many different shooters and instructors. This tool will evaluate your shooting performance, identify areas that need improvement, and track your progress over time.


  • Evaluation of shooting performance
  • Identify Areas of Improvement
  • Progress tracking
  • Can be used on multiple platforms including live fire
  • Don’t have to leave your home (Unless you are doing live fire)
  • Train when you can


Airsoft and Recoil-Enabled Gas Guns

The last options we will discuss are airsoft and recoil-enabled gas guns. First on the scene were the airsoft guns utilizing green gas, C02, or compressed air. These shoot different millimeter plastic BBs and are pretty accurate. They do make these tools electronic, but they do not have recoil, or they are not as close to precise as real recoil. The gas-operated guns have a closer recoil resemblance to a real firearm. After years of laser guns with slides that did not cycle, some companies blended these two. This hybrid resulted in recoil-enabled gas guns. The gas operation of the weapon allows it to cycle the slide for felt recoil and produces a visible laser with each shot without the need to rack the slide.

Airsoft Pros and Cons

PROS Airsoft

  • Don’t have to leave your home
  • Felt recoil
  • The visual stimulus can evaluate shots on the target
  • Close to the actual trigger pull
  • Train when you can
  • No need to rack the slide after every trigger pull

CONS Airsoft

  • Additional cost and upkeep
  • Clean up of BB’s
  • Weight difference
  • Must wear protective glasses
  • Recoil not as pronounced as real gun

Below are links to some examples:



This GLOCK 17 blowback airsoft pistol is patterned after the Gen 3 model. The GLOCK 17 Gen3 runs on green gas, shoots 295 feet per second, and holds 22 rounds of 6mm Elite Force BBs.

This airsoft version faithfully replicates the same GLOCK 17 Gen3 firearm features. The pistol works with regular Elite Force Fuel green gas and fires with a crisp, fast cycle.

I hope this has given you some insight into the possibilities of training on a budget and the other options available to you. You do not need to go to the range every time to practice. The skills learned at home by Dryfire or with other tools you purchase should be verified against recoil at the range to see if any changes need to be made to how you are training. Here is some additional on why Dryfire work is important. Thank you for reading my blog and hope you have fun training!


  • Dennis Rousseau

    Mr. Rousseau is a former Army infantryman where he learned hand-to-hand combat, squad tactics, close quarter battle training, and multiple weapon platforms. He has deployed to Iraq and is an Operation Desert Storm Veteran.

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