The Home Range

by Brian M on September 18, 2012

I know some of you (ahem, Singapore) aren’t allowed to bring your Air pistol or rifles home, but for those who have it as an option, it’s a Wonderful thing to have available.  There’s just nothing that can replace the ability to just decide you want to shoot, walk into a different room and start shooting.  I find it MUCH easier to train that way as I’m more likely to pick up a pistol if there’s no commuting involved.  I’ve found I’m the same way when it comes to exercise.  So, if you know you’re the kind of person who needs external motivation (going to a gym to exercise, or a range for shooting), this may not be for you… but then again, when it costs as little as it does, what’s the harm in trying?

So, my first iteration was a full 10m distance in an unfinished basement.  I went simple as could be by using an existing shelf we had, piling up empty boxes till I was able to get the target face at 55″ (1.4 meter).  I poked holes in the top of that box for clothes-pins to hold the target to the box, and stuffed it with shredded paper from work.  I found that the shredded paper really broke down and compacted, so it needed to be refilled often AND it created a ton of dust.  But it stopped all the pellets and contained them in a handy, um…  box.

My second iteration, I tried the same but used old carpet.  It only took a few dozen shots to realize that wouldn’t work at all as the carpet just fell to pieces.  Apparently Rags work much better as a back stop.

My 3rd iteration I finally took the advice I’d seen online to use a product called ‘Duct Seal’ ~ Home Depot ~ Lowes ~ Amazon ~ and built a simple box out of scrap wood I had laying around (wooden supports to a bed frame, we’d replaced them with metal supports).  I made the box big, big enough to hold a NRA B40/4 target (14 inch square).  Then I realized it was going to take Dozens of bars of duct seal to fill it, AND it was getting heavy.  So I just filled up the top portion, for 2 bulls, and went from there.  The stuff lives up to the hype.  Totally silent, a 1″ thick bar will stop thousands of rounds without allowing one through (given there’s a support behind it), you can pick out the large lump of lead that collects and smoosh it back together to fill in the depression and keep right on going.  I was sold, still am sold actually and that target box is still going strong.  (Click either for a bigger photo)







Today I built myself a new box.  This time I’m shooting at 5m instead of 10m.  *sigh* not what I want, but I’ll take what I can get.  Thankfully, 10m air Rifle bulls are the right size for 5m air Pistol shooting.  So I ordered up some new targets (wow, those rifle targets are a THIRD the cost of pistol targets!).  I’ll put up thumbnails for you to click on of the build process:

Raw Materials, cut to size.  Base (L) sides (R x2), top and bottom of the target area (bottom center) and backer (center top)

Duct Seal

Assembled and filled, only needed 2 bars for this application

Base, fitted to my shelves.  These shelves are a corner-unit, necessary for me to get 5m (a splurge, not needed)

And painted, fully assembled with my RIKA trainer attached.

This is my view.  I’ve since added a task light to show the target better, still waiting on my targets though.


I bought the wood for the sides of the box, a piece of 1×4 (you could get away with 1×2, probably even fence pickets), so including that my total cost was just about $10.  Oh, the light was another $20, so for the cost of a pizza I have a target box and light that’s silent, will trap all I care to shoot, and probably outlast me.




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Hence the delay.  This time is was a complete failure in competency on the part of my web host (company who stores and presents my web pages).  So, after finding a new host, which is a full time job in and of itself, I started the move.  Lots of issues later and I think I have the blog up and running again.  Needless to say, I’ve spent a good bit of my time working on these issues (and others, I get paid to host and administrate web pages, this has been a rather big issue in my life).


But, I have started my physical workout routine and that’s what I’m going to focus on here.  Obviously, standing around for 1~2 hours isn’t That big of a deal if you can shift your stance, lean against something or otherwise make yourself comfortable.  But to do so in a Precise manor, without moving, adds considerable difficulty.  You call upon the core group of muscles that form a girdle around your mid-section for all stability while standing.  The more effort you put into the development of these muscles, the more stability you’ll have while shooting (and it sure doesn’t hurt through the rest of life either).  Important stuff.  I’m sure this isn’t a resource widely used outside of the USA, but the US Army Marksmanship Unit often has Very good information on the subject of shooting, posted for free.

There are 4 simple (well, simple in the way of not needing equipment, YOU try to do them as prescribed and see how simple they are… heh) exercises that really do a job of working the core.  There are probably thousands of different “core” exercises out there for you to google and find.

Past that I do just general cardiovascular training (I ride a stationary bicycle when I can’t get outside, otherwise brisk hiking, kayaking, or part of high intensity interval training.  Anything that gets the heart-rate up for 20~30 minutes at a time.  And I focus on weight training 3 times a week with  specific shoulder exercises that are due to an old shoulder injury but may be of benefit to all pistol shooters.

I focus on the 2 for the rotator cuff as that’s what I damaged, but rotate through all of those exercises on Both shoulders.  They were essential exercises for me to even be able to shoot 20 shots and now I’m capable of shooting for 3 hours/well over 120 shots without issue.  Even if you have never damaged your shoulders, these can’t hurt anything and may help.  :)




Ok, that was the longest renovation we’ve had yet, and it’s still going (need to install a new front door, finish the trim on the window and paint their exterior, then little issues).  Have you ever heard the saying “You can’t polish a turd”?  Well, you can, but it’s still a turd…  and that describes this house.  It’s a poorly built structure, LOTS of shortcuts made and very obviously an entry-level house.  Problem is that it’s our 3rd, and even our first was better than this (granted, it cost twice as much to buy too), and the 2nd that we left in Denver was a MUCH better structure.  Just hard to go backwards.  But it’s done, it’s our home and it’s time to make the best of it.  There’s no room for a 10m air range, but I do have 5m (while standing on carpet) and one of the next projects is getting the range built and running.  Of course, that’s going to require table-saw use again…

Which brings up my thumb.  The cuts have all healed, scabs have all dropped off, Extreme sensitivity set in and them subsided a little (hopefully more to come).  If you didn’t see the original photo (it’s not for the squeamish, very graphic), I’ll only show you the link and you can decide if you want to click.

But this is how it looks now:


And to prevent future issues like this, I’m starting by using a Completely different push device.  Rather than just a “stick”, it’s a whole platform that’s between your hand and the saw.

As soon as time, space and money allow, I’m Also going to buy my own table saw that has a built in safety so even if the above fails me, the saw has it’s own safety.


So, since I haven’t even picked up a pistol in over 6 months (again, *sigh*) I know there are going to be challenges.  First is that the muscles used for long-term support and stability have atrophied.  So I have to get back into a weight training routine so I can build back the muscles that lift and hold the pistol, the muscles that stabilize the shoulder (I had a shoulder injury in the late 1990’s), and the all-to-important core muscles that stabilize the whole body.  I think I’ll document and demonstrate those in my next blog post.


Hope I haven’t lost too many visitors, I know 2 of you are still out there though.  Thanks for asking how I’ve been!




Still working on the house and dealing with injury

June 11, 2012

Funny how running your thumb through a table-saw kinda puts the brakes on everything.  I did that 2 weeks ago and am just now coming off pain meds and getting back into the small routine of life.  I’m afraid that I’m still more than a month out from even finding my air pistol, much less […]

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Sorry for the LOOOOOOOOoonnnnnnnnggggg delay!

May 3, 2012

This house I’m renovating just has been a nightmare.  Far worse than any of the others I’ve done, very clearly occupied by people with zero “owner pride”.  Unfortunately, that means I’m being pushed back further and further on getting back to the normal daily routine.  Good thing I have all summer to work on my […]

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Training Log, Mar 4~10

March 10, 2012

3/4: 90 minutes live-fire, one match.  Unfortunately, I’m writing this on 3/10 and I don’t recall exactly what was going on.  Whatever it was, it wasn’t what I would classify as “good”, so perhaps it’s a good reason I forgot. 3/6: 30 minutes dry fire training.  Not much to comment on here either, I didn’t […]

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Training Log, Feb 26 ~ Mar 3

March 3, 2012

2/26: 2 hours live fire.  I’m finally feeling good enough that I decided to start back up again, though it was apparent that I had taken a break.  It took me the better part of the first hour just to get myself settled mentally and physically. The one group on the top right of the […]

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Training vs Practice

March 1, 2012

There’s a common misunderstanding of what it takes to improve as a shooter.  Most shooters seem to believe that if they just keep putting shots down range, that they are going to make marked improvement.  All you really do in those situations though, is Practice what you already know.  Let me back up a second […]

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Training Log, Feb 19~25

February 25, 2012

2/23:  I’m finally starting to feel a little better today so I picked up the LP10 and dry fired for about 30 minutes.  The long brake is now becoming evident as my arm has lost strength and endurance.  Lots of muscle burn and wobbling.  I only really noticed the wobble in the last 10 minutes […]

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Training Log, Feb 12~18

February 18, 2012

2/12: So, apparently being sick does negatively influence ones ability to function highly.  So does being cold, and today I’m not yet recovered from whatever illness I caught on Thursday but my “range” was also somewhere near 35F degrees.  It was so cold that I’d have to stop shooting so I could warm up my […]

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