So you’re not content to simply stand still on and indoor range; you’ve dove into competing in firearm competitions. Whether it’s IDPA, IPSC, PPC, bullseye or any other competition the question remains….is it going to be enough should you have to use your skills in a self-defense situation? Lets look at the potential benefits and limitations to competitive shooting.
What are the benefits to competitive shooting?
These are numerous but include getting you off a static range setup; allowing you to see exactly where your gun handling abilities are presently. Additionally, competitions start to place you under various forms of stress, either through time limits, physical stress or just the talent of the competitors around you. They also take place with very strict and specific safety rules which allow you to practice safety while under stress. Competitions force you to practice your skills more frequently, because no one likes being beaten, it’s just human nature. They help you hone the fundamental skills needed to place a shot under stress when it counts. There are any number of different competitive shooting sports to get into so there is no reason not to find one you like and wish to progress in.
What are the limitations to competitive shooting?
Competitions take place in very strict and controlled environments, something you are not going to encounter in life. They place restrictions on how you move through a course with a gun; most do not take place in a 360 degree atmosphere; therefore it’s not teaching you to keep your head on a swivel during a fight. You are allowed to look at the stages/set-up before you shoot it, wouldn’t that be nice to know exactly where the bad guy is going to pop his head out from! Like any other sport people are there to win and will run equipment and set-ups that would never be used in a conceal carry or self-defense situation. People form bad habits during competitions; to shave off a few tenths of a second they will shoot through doorways and run headlong into a room.
What does this mean?
Competitions are great, they give the average person a means to better themselves and become more proficient shooters; however be mindful that these are competitions first and foremost. Your ability to keep a sound mind and better tactics during a gunfight will be what keeps you alive, not your ability to run a “stage” faster than the next guy. The next step in your training should be realistic force on force training or advanced pistol classes with qualified experts in the field to ensure your tactics and skills are up to the task.