A lot more people have been spending time at home recently. Perhaps you’re an independent contractor and always work from home. Maybe you are temporarily working at home or are furloughed. Maybe you’re simply retired.

Regardless of the reason, you can use your extra free time productively. Using a little imagination and creativity, you can make the most of your time at home, especially as it relates to self-defense.

Spring (Gun) Cleaning

Even if you haven’t fired your carry gun for some time, now would be a great time to check it (something you should do at least once a month anyway). Oil can dry up, and things like dust, lint, moisture, etc. can build up even on a gun that spends most of its time in a holster.

Now might be a good time to look at ALL your firearms. I clean my long-range rifles at least a couple of times a year, yet I am always surprised by how filthy the first patches I run through the barrels turn out to be, even though the guns haven’t been fired since the last time they were cleaned.

Home, Home … Not on the Range

Live-fire training is essential, but some training activities do not require going to a gun range. One of the most important of these is practicing your draw from concealment. As a defensive firearms instructor, I do my best to stress how critical this is to all my carry students. After all, being a crack shot is of little help if you are unable to rapidly draw your gun.

Speaking of shooting skills, through the years I have seen students who range in ability from barely adequate to truly exceptional. One student — a British immigrant who had become an American citizen — was nothing short of breathtaking, especially in rapid-fire drills at multiple targets, including when drawing from concealment.

His skill made sense when I learned that he had spent 10 years with the Special Air Service (the British version of our Navy SEALS). But the real point is that even long after he left the service, he continued to spend endless hours at home practicing two things: drawing from concealment and dry-fire drills.

Dry-Fire Drills

Dry-fire practice is simply going through all the normal moves employed in a defensive scenario: target acquisition, presentation and trigger press. But you use an unloaded firearm. Top competitive shooters employ dry-fire drills on a regular and consistent basis.

Contrary to the fears of some, dry-firing will not harm any modern centerfire pistol, but it is not recommended for rimfire firearms (.22 LR, .22 Magnum, .17 HMR, etc.). And please, unloaded firearms only! Put all ammunition away. No exceptions!

Most men and women who carry a firearm combine drawing from concealment and dry-fire practice. This makes perfect sense. Both skills will likely be required in any defensive scenario.

When it comes to targets, you have plenty of options. I use lamps, the center of a closet door, windowpanes and even characters on TV. You can use scotch tape to hang common defensive silhouette targets in different locations around your living area. One friend uses leftover party balloons; floating around, they make great moving targets!

Whatever your reason for being at home more than usual, make your time there count.

And, as always, stay alert, stay prepared and stay safe!