With various states issuing “Stay at Home” orders for varying lengths of time and with degrees of enforcement, not to mention avoiding contamination with the COVID-19 virus, you may very well be finding yourself spending a fair amount of time around the house.
Now, we’re certainly not going to advocate you abandon your “to do” list in favor of tinkering in the gun room (although that does sound like a good idea…), but here are some ways to consider using this time at home to your advantage.
1. Start handloading
With the recent surge in firearm and ammunition sales, the supply chain might take a little bit to settle back down. If you’ve been waiting until you “had the time” to start loading your own ammunition, well, guess what you have a lot more of right now?
How often do you hear the refrain “powered optics will fail” in discussions on sighting systems? While battery construction and longevity is a lot better now than just a decade ago, why not haul out the red dots and scopes with lighted reticles to check on the batteries?
3. Refresh your first aid kit
While bandages and gloves don’t go bad, antiseptic cream does. Check your first aid kits (car, home, personal, etc.) to make sure nothing’s gotten wet, expired or otherwise become unusable. If everything is fine, but has been in the bag for a bit, consider swapping out for newer items and putting the older stuff in the medicine cabinet.
4. Update the range bag
I recently swapped my range bag from the ancient tool carrier I bought at [large orange box store] about two decades ago for a newer, dedicated range bag. Among the things I discovered were a 2AA Maglite (with batteries way out of date, hence #2), lens cleaning wipes that dried out some time in the Bush administration and a tool for an optic I no longer owned. I also found that I didn’t have a few common Allen wrenches that were subsequently added to the new bag.
5. Properly mount a scope
Now, this assumes you have levels and torque wrenches, of course, but if there’s a magnified optic that was added to a rifle in a less-than-perfect manner, now would be a great time to pull out the tools and make sure everything’s squared away and on the level (I’m sorry, I can’t resist the dad joke).
6. Sharpen your EDC knife
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I use my EDC knife to open boxes and get boxes ready for recycling a zillion times more than as a defensive tool (it’s running like 1,000,000 to zero right now). Now’s a great time to break out the sharpener and put a fine edge back on that blade.
7. Put a sling on your rifle or shotgun
I’ve had a sling hanging from the corner of one of my storage shelves for about, oh, six years now. I keep saying I should put it on a rifle or shotgun, then I forget about it for another two years. Now’s a great time to put it on, make sure it’s adjusted right and get used to carrying it.
8. Set up a dry-practice area
It could be as simple as hanging a target in an area that’s away from your safes and ammo, but having an area where you bring an unloaded firearm (check it twice before you start and once more before you pull the trigger to make sure it’s unloaded) with a solid back stop (a bucket with sand or a pile of old books can do in a pinch; there are also dedicated plates and such for this purpose as well).
9. Go through your box of holsters
If there are holsters you don’t use anymore, consider donating them to your gun club or offer them up on a local board for new shooters to try. Make some room for new holsters!
10. Clean your guns
As mentioned by my Shooting Illustrated colleague, there's never been a better time to make sure your guns are clean.
Now, of course, there’s plenty of other things you can choose to work on. These are just a few suggestions for ways to pass the time at home so you stay on top of things and stay safe and sane. And remember to wash your hands!