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Shooting On A Shoestring

One of the more common things I hear from people who want to get started in competitive shooting is that they don’t have the money.

Before I get going on this topic, I want to make one thing very clear: If you’re trying to scratch together the money to eat, now is not the time to get started in competitive shooting.

With that said, I don’t think being a regular competitive shooter has to cost a whole lot more than most other hobbies. If you’re into hiking, you’re going to have gas costs to get you to the trailheads, boots wear out, stoves, fuel for stoves, tent, backpack, etc.

The same thing with cycling. Chains have to be replaced somewhat frequently, chainrings wear out, tires, tubes, suspension work, etc. It all adds up.

So, here’s some things I do to save money so I can shoot more:


When I got started with this stuff, I had more time than money. I bought a cheap, used, Lee Turret press, and all the peripherals I need to get started reloading for about $300
Once that investment was made, I was able to start cranking out $0.10 9mm ammo, which was half the cost of the factory ammo I was buying.

Consolidate guns:

Don’t have a suitable gun for competition? I bet you’ve got a blaster (or 5) in the safe that you could sell, and use the proceeds to buy a suitable shooter.
If that’s not an option, check the used market. There’s usually some decent deals on police trade-in glocks, and other gats like that.

Shoot a less expensive division:

Let’s be honest, Open division probably isn’t for the guys looking to save every penny. Optics break, guns break etc. It happens, and don’t any of you open shooters try to debate me, I see your Facebook posts about sending your guns back to manufacturers to get fixed.
Even Carry Optics is becoming a more expensive division, because slide ride optics break. A lot.
Saw a guy a few months ago break the Vortex optics on both his regular, and his backup gun in the same match.

Work for a free match:

I used to volunteer to setup, RO, and tear down at a local match in addition to being able to shoot for free. It was great when I had more time than money.
Not every match offers this sort of thing, but it’s definitely a thing that exists.

Carpool to matches:

Especially if you don’t have a little gas sipper car like I do.
I’m pretty lucky here in the Raleigh area to have TONS of matches, however, sometimes that still involves an hour and a half drive to matches if I want to head out to Carolina Guns and Gear’s USPSA match, etc.
Back in the day, I used to drive over to Cohost Ben’s house, which was like 35mins from my place, and then jump in with him for the rest of the ride.  Added bonus is that you can talk shop the whole way there and back, which is great, and makes the drive seem shorter.


If you’re considering the Triangle Tactical Patreon but you’re not sure what you’ll get on the new News Blast podcast, here’s a little taste for you:

If you want more, there’s two News Blast episodes up on Patreon RIGHT NOW, with more coming. Patreon.com/triangletactical

Plugs of the Week:

There’s been a bunch of really good competitive shooting podcasts over the last week, so I’m plugging them all:

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.


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