Trapped at home. Many if not most ranges closed, depending where you are. How can shooter folk get some trigger time for skill maintenance, recreation, and the all-important boredom prevention?

Airgun fun is quiet…don’t forget eye protection.

Well, for one thing, consider air guns.  Silent.  Easy to make a bullet trap  Airsoft, BB or pellet trap at home if you have a big cardboard box, some carpet scraps or an old rubber mat, and a pile of old books or magazines at the back to be sure to prevent over-penetration.  No toxic indoor gunsmoke, no loud noises to frighten the neighbors, and if you’re careful no projectiles going through apartment or condo walls.

My local gun shop is bare of AR15s and suitable defensive shotguns, and has only a few handguns left. Oddly enough, their air gun inventory has been untouched in the mad rush to purchase home defense firearms.  WalMart gave up on handguns in all their stores a long time ago, except in Alaska, and word is they’re not going to be selling them there anymore, either. The shorter barrel shotguns and autoloading centerfire rifles got dumped by Wally World in the PC aftermath of the Florida school shooting.  Yet when I went in there to buy food and hardware, my local WalMart had a full display of air guns and related accessories.  Hint, hint. I have an article on this coming out in the July 2020 issue of Airgun Hobbyist.

MantisX10 with Umarex Airsoft copy of Glock 19.

Of course, there’s also dry fire. With the air guns, you get everything but recoil and, unless you have a helluva system  you can set up indoors, moving target and reaction practice. “Clicking”  your empty “real gun,” you lose both of those things and also the ability to see your hits on target and analyze them.  However, the flip side of that is that with no recoil, you get great follow-through practice, and the sights on your gun will tell you whether you jerked the trigger or not.

OR…you can invest in a MantixX. This neat little device has been out for a few years now. You synch it with your smartphone, and it tells you where you hit, how quickly you did so, and with the appropriate app, what your score was. I became a fan (and the Evil Princess became a huge fan) of the Mantis-X when it was introduced, and both of us are even more enthusiastic about its updated version introduced this year, the MantixX10, which among other things can also analyze your draw-to-the-shot if you have a handgun/holster combination that can accommodate the device. (If you don’t, it’s small enough to allow you to draw from holster-less “stuffed inside the waistband” carry. That’s not perfect practice, obviously, but you’re not going to shoot yourself by accident with a gun you’ve tripled-checked to be unloaded for dry fire…are you?

Information on the MantisX can be found at

Obviously, dry fire practice has to be done SAFELY, and because we’ve run out of space here, we’ll address the subtleties of that in the next blog entry here.

Umarex Airsoft closely duplicates handling and feel of “real” pistols.
MantixX10 with Turkish SAR9 9mm.


  1. Besides not having to bend over or squat to pick up brass, the quality of dry fire practice is another of the great things about revolvers. While it isn’t as good as live fire, it does maintain muscles and help you maintain the trigger stroke muscle memory.

    A few years back I rebuilt the Daisy 717 airguns I bought my kids decades ago, having been shocked speechless at the price they bring new now. Airguns really help you on follow-through.

  2. Speaking of “draw-to-the-shot,” I am reminded of the illustrious Chesty Puller’s early gun-slinging USMC career in Latin America, where threat conditions demanded that he be constantly ready to draw and fire his issue 1911 .45 ACP. At least a couple of photos from over the years show him wearing a standard military leather drop holster in about the 2 o’clock position. He spent a fair amount of time on horseback in those days, and I expect he chose to move the holster to a different place while riding, but I don’t know that. I don’t know that he ever had an accidental discharge worth reporting, either. What is the best way to carry a pistol in the appendix spot. though? Very. very carefully.

    • The absolute best indoor or outdoor practice pistol is a SIRT lazer handgun. I’ve bought three of these and there is nothing on the market that can come close to them next to live fire practice. If you get one, get the more expensive one because it has the same weight as a real glock 17. They aren’t cheap but they are worth every penny. I use mine while watching TV and my instinctive shooting has really improved.

  3. Did someone mention air-gun? Daisy 415, pistol. Almost 600 feet per second for about the first 40 rounds, then it loses pressure. Same long-a$$ed trigger travel as a Glock and about 7 lbs on the break.

    Policing and reusing the BB’s are easy. Magnet on the end of a telescopic rod picks ’em up without the need to bend over or squat down.

    As for this “Scamdemic,” if I recall in the MAG classes, Mas explained the two chief reasons for FEAR, “that which we cannot control,” and “the unknown.” Accurate explanation as we see how the sheeple are responding.

    Stay safe!

    Ps. Bump stocks were never used in Nevada and Epstein didn’t kill himself.

    • Epstein committed suicide with the help of his close buddies HillBilly Clinton. Hey, what are good friends for? Besides, sneaky Jeffrey may have secretly taken videos and photos of the Clintons messing around with little girls on his infamous Orgy Island. Epstein was a loose end which needed to be quietly eliminated.

      • The NY medical examiner recently updated Epstein’s autopsy report in light of recent facts. The cause of death has been changed from “suicide” to “COVID-19”.

        [Yes, this is snark. 😉 ]

  4. I have been doing dry fire practice with the Dri Fire system. It appears to be similar to the Mantis system.

    Love the column and keep up the good work.

  5. I loved my original MantisX. I was an early adopter. (I have tried a number of dryfire systems including laser and cellphone/laser systems.)

    So …

    The latest ’10’ version (with a great trade in program) was a nobrainer.

    Love it! And I haven’t even put it through all it’s tricks yet.

  6. What a great idea. I can shoot an air gun on my half acre property. We do have acreage acredge south about 20 mi for regular shooting practice.

  7. Back in the day, when my father was teaching me to shoot my Red Ryder, we used to “make diamonds.”

    Take an old-fashioned glass Coke bottle (if you can find one), turn it on its side. If you could send a BB through the middle of the neck, it would pop a glass “diamond” out of the bottom.

  8. Coincidentally: Being bored out of my gourd today, I carried my office waste basket out to the shop. My wife asked me what I was doing so I simply stated, “Making a pellet trap.” to which she chuckled, thereby confusing us both. Tipped on its long side, with a board placed at a 45-degree angle inside and a bit of “stuff” in the bottom to discourage ricochets, it was set up in less than 5 minutes. After taping a target to the mouth of my new private target range, I proceeded to empty two CO2 cartridges through my Crosman 2240 and practice all those things one does when trying to ensure perfect hits (and avoid putting holes in the wall or favorite tools). It was nearly as much fun as a range trip and a whole lot less time doing setup and cleanup.

  9. Fortunately, the outdoor gun range I go to has not closed due to the C-19 virus and I continue to shoot every other week there. I do practice dry firing and use my Laserlyte devices too. I originally bought their .45 ACP laser emitter cartridge with two target boxes and later ordered a made in China 9X19mm cartridge which appears to be of equal quality and has worked flawlessly so far (six months) for less than half the cost of the Laserlyte version. I especially like using these laser cartridges in my SIG and Beretta DA/SA pistols as I don’t have to cock a hammer or pull back on the slide for each shot, which is necessary for my Glocks, Kahrs, and 1911 pistols. When I win the lottery, I will buy six .38 Special caliber laser cartridges for my S&W .38/.357 revolvers and maybe a .44 caliber version too, if they’re available.

  10. I’ve the original MantisX, haven’t upgraded yet, but thanks for the positive report. Dry fire does help but thank goodness our local outdoor range is still open for members only with the usual restrictions and no meetings or events.

    • I have had the Mantis X-10 for about seven weeks and have made over 3,500 shots. I usually do 20-30 minutes in the morning and the same later in the day. I can train whenever I have a few minutes without going to the range or expending expensive ammunition. The sensor will attach to the picatinny rail on your pistol, rifle, or shotgun. I have a baseplate adapter for my pistol magazine bottom because the sensor does not fit in my holster.

      The application has 20 training programs that can all be used either dry fire or live fire, except recoil analysis which is live fire only. You should use snap caps because if you are dry firing enough to make a difference, you may also be making a difference in your pistol. They are cheap.

      Go to and watch the videos about other features.

  11. I’ve got a Benjamin pump pellet pistol that I can shoot indoors. A large metal coffee can with some towel rags stuffed inside, snap the lid back on, and use shoot n see stick-on targets. The coffee can lid is “self healing” up to a point. Just be aware of where the kids are!

  12. I haven’t heard anyone mention the CoolFire system. I spent a couple of hours with my 34 year old daughter this afternoon, working initially with a SIRT laser system, and then the CoolFire trainer. It replaced the barrel and recoil spring in a Glock 19. It recoils the same as when firing a round through the gun, and makes a louder sound than air soft (similar to a real shot with ear muffs on). 15 shots per CO2 charge. This was her first experience with handguns. Then we went to the Leesburg indoor range (open 7 days a week, because it’s essential). She punished several IDPA Targets with mostly 0 down shots, and all 9 zone hits on NRA blue man targets, from bad breath distances to 7 yards. She was fine with all of the live fire, never flinching once. She felt the CoolFire G-19 prepared her for live fire better than anything else we did. Great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

  13. One of the best airgun pistols is the Umarex M92A1… this pistol is an amazing replica of the Beretta..
    Umarex has some pretty nice replicas of other firearms…
    I also have a Umarex MP-40 and their Mauser C-96…. all are BLOWBACK ACTION air guns… a great way to practice indoors…

  14. As a 4-H certified trainer and instructor, I was bitten by the air gun bug many years ago. There are plenty of amazingly accurate air rifles and pistols, but don’t be surprised by the price tags of the higher end high quality ones. With that said it has greatly improved my rifle skills especially my precision rifle shooting. For that practice I use either one of my high end competition rifles, or an extremely accurate hunting air rifle that I actually shoot at the range too at 100 yards and more. Same goes for the pistol side I have a couple of 10M pistols, and a couple of higher power pistols I shoot at 25 yards. Like Mass said, any practice is better than none, and air guns can be used both indoors and out. One final note, long range precision rifles shooting with my very accurate hunting air rifle is a great aid in learning to read the wind, and here in Colorado we have plenty of wind.

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