How do you get to Carnegie Hall? First you buy a cheap violin and saw the hell out of it, right?
Thanks to rising commodities prices, nefarious government manipulation, increased demand, or whatnot, ammunition is expensive these days. That means that practicing shooting is harder on a budget. One answer is .22 Long Rifle, since a box of 550 still goes for under $20. But even the venerable rimfire has its limits. It’s not legal to discharge within cities, generally. My fellow home residents would likely object to me popping off rounds in-doors, anyway. What’s a cheap bastard to do?
Get a pellet gun.
Since I have a deep affection for the M1911, I bought a Crosman Stinger P311 for $15. In shape and controls, it’s a good copy of the real thing, but it uses a spring to shoot BBs, so it’s quiet and not particularly powerful–thus safe to use inside the house. (Always with eye covering, of course.) A bottle of 5,000 rounds set me back another $10 or so. For under $30, I can practice point shooting and getting the sights aligned on target quickly. Since I have to rack the slide for each shot, I also get a kind of malfunction drill. If you don’t go in for the 1911, there are plenty of other designs that have been copied–Sig Sauers and Berettas in particular. The only thing missing is recoil, but if you’ve developed a flinch, a pellet gun could be a good way to overcome it.
As with real guns, following the basic safety rules is a good idea with a pellet gun. Those pellets will punch a hole in cardboard and some other materials, and they can cause injury. But for all kinds of practice, including dry firing and drawing from concealment, the copy gives an additional layer of safety.
Cheap and safer practice–what’s not to love? Go forth, and enjoy.