It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in the northland, which means many things. It means that the ground is too frozen to stake down range props, footing gets slippery, fingers don’t work so well, and about 60% of our community is less than enthusiastic about being outside if its anything less than 50 degrees and sunny (…maybe we should have “40%er” moral patches…hmm…). Anyway, this time of year, vast majority of competitive action shooting moves indoors. Mind you, indoor action shooting is about as exciting as Diet Coke and baked potato chips, but unless you sign up for a long winter’s nap it is the only option to hook the bang switch against your friends.

The bummer of indoor matches can pretty much is summed up in one word: space. Even big indoor facilities are small compared to their outdoor counterparts. In addition, they are the epitome a flat range because all of the bullets must go straight forward; hitting the cement walls, the floor or the ceiling with a bullet is a big no-no. Of course the limited opportunity to shoot also generally attracts a standing room only crowd. Though we would all rather be outside, if you desire to breath cordite smoke (you know you love it) and socialize with your shooting buddies, there are actually productive uses for the indoor season.

Of course there is the obvious course of action for the indoor season, which is shoot the same gun and equipment you always do. Trigger time is trigger time and while dry practice is a great tool, it pays to go live once in a while to make sure the bullets still actually land where they are supposed to. Beware the man with one gun… so on and so forth. Since most folks are also feverishly cranking away on their handloading presses in the winter, this is also a great time to function-check that sweet new recipe you’ve been working on. Shooting indoors also is great practice with front sight discipline because the lighting is usually… challenging.

Another good use of the winter season is to break out the fun or obscure guns in the safe that don’t normally get used in competitions. Indoor season is the perfect time to get some reps on your carry rig, or maybe guns that you enjoy as an enthusiast but aren’t really competitively advantageous. It might also be the perfect time to try a different division that you don’t normally shoot. How will you know if you aren’t the next revolver fiend if you don’t try it once in a while?

Aside from enthusiast desires to try something different during the indoor season, there is also a more productive reason to do so. The idea of cross training on different platforms is a philosophy I bought into a couple seasons ago. The idea being that shooting fundamentals are the same no matter which gun one applies them toward; therefore shooting different guns on a periodic basis helps one to be more self-aware of weaknesses in technique. Using reduced capacity guns and/or guns with smaller magazine wells also helps hone reloading and stage planning skills. By changing things up a bit, cross training is a great way to work on you.

Overall, winter is a great time to take inventory and make an effort to stay sharp on the little things. The courses aren’t nearly as technical or elaborate as they are during the outdoor season, but it still is a great chance to get out of the house, see your shooting friends, and do a little gun racing.