The Lie Against Competition Shooting


“Not long ago, I supervised a standoff situation where our officers were placed in positions to engage a dangerous suspect. Several officers were armed with M4s. Bystanders were thickly mixed-in! Range to suspect was between 10 and 30m. Happily, our situation was resolved without our officers having to shoot.

As a precaution, I asked all officers to report, with their red-dot-equipped M4s, to the range the following week. I set-up a situation with parer targets that exactly duplicated the situation with which were confronted a week earlier.

Given generous time, stable, braced firing positions, and stationary targets, not one of our officers was able to deliver required shots, even after several attempts! When asked about sight settings and zeros, most officers were not prepared to answer definitively. Some didn’t even understand the question! An examination of the M4s present revealed that, in most cases, the red dot and the back-up iron sights did not agree. Some were not even close!”

This episode echoes many similar episodes I’ve experienced in the military as well. It isn’t unusual to find personnel in an instructor capacity (drill sergeants, etc.) just as confused.

You know a demographic in the gun world that intimately understands this and doesn’t have this problem? High Power competitors. Smallbore competitors. Pretty much any competitor in any rifle shooting discipline requiring a degree of precision will have a handle on this. It’s the reason such events were created in the first place.

I use this episode specifically because it comes by way of John Farnam, a “name” instructor of the Modern Technique camp that has poo-pooed competitive shooting in the past.

We’re sometimes warned about the “dangers” of competition, even though there is not a single documented incident where competition shooting experience ever caused a problem.

Competitive shooters possess a commodity concerning firearms skill that is rare among public-sector personnel: GAS. It’s a guarantee that a competitive shooter, someone making an effort to obtain improved scores and achieving that result, really does Give A Shit about their skill because they’re motivated to spend free time and money doing it. Hell, they do it for fun!

I worked ranges for over 30,000 deploying military personnel from 2003-2009. My peers were involved in range activity for nearly every service personnel deploying through the Department of Defense during that time. There was not a single problem or concern caused by someone arriving having prior competition experience. Not one.

Personnel having competitive experience are routinely better performers and more knowledgeable than their peers lacking such experience. They had the same tactical/military/police training as everyone else in the unit but performed better by having a heightened capability developed via competitive experience. The same is true concerning physical fitness and those pursuing other sports. Amazingly enough, competitive runners have better run times during unit fitness tests and competitive lifters are notably stronger.

This improved capability happens when one genuinely Gives A Shit and does something beyond required, minimum qualifications and standards. In contrast, every person requiring remedial training was someone lacking competition shooting experience.

Published regulation backs this up. There are many references in military and police policy describing competition shooting as beneficial. There is not a single published regulation, order, doctrine, or policy in any military or police organization suggesting competition shooting is bad or harmful with personnel recommended or ordered to avoid it. None. Not one. Plenty of examples advocating its use as beneficial, but not one saying otherwise.

Facebook is not anti-gun

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Some guy who fondles an inflatable spheroid with his feet gets 23.2 times more love from Facebook than all the fans of the National Rifle Association combined.

Tom McHale had a great write up on Facebook’s policy to delete pages and posts about gun trades and sales from non-FFL holders. He also inculded a good break down of the demographics of shooting and pro-gun involvement compared to more mainstream interests, such as sport ball athletes and movie celebrities.

Facebook doesn’t care about you or your issues. Facebook cares about three things:

  1. How many people use Facebook.
  2. How many hours those people spend on Facebook.
  3. How many dollars marketers will pay Facebook for access to those people.

The same can be said for all media outlets. Replace the name of a broadcast or print media outlet or news program in place of “Facebook” and this is still true. It’s also true for pro-gun publications and websites, even though they are focused on a specific niche and demographic instead of the public at large. After Kim Rhode medalled in six Olympics in a row, some claimed her lack of media coverage was due to media bias. However, USA Today, the New York Times, CBS Sports, SB Nation, NBC, WGN, and the Chicago Tribune published articles about her. Other publications such as Time, Forbes, the Huffington Postand NPR published articles about Rhode’s accomplishments that highlighted her views on the Second Amendment.

This isn’t some nefarious anti-gun plot, it is simply catering to the majority. Gun owners are largely ignorant of organized shooting activity. Non-gun owners are even less aware and interested. This is the simple result of a market in action, not back-room politics trying to steal your guns. If the issue is controversial but of interest to a small minority, it’s probably easier to just avoid dealings and prevent alienating the majority, and especially alienating people and companies buying advertising/marketing trying to reach that general public.

Even among those gun owners that are active, activities such as golf eclipse them by a large margin. Again, the market speaks. If more people golf and are willing to pay for it, then more golf courses are built and more golf coverage is seen in the mainstream media because more people are voting with their dollars and feet. Gun owners are simply not as active, even when various reports claim that they are.

This is not an anti-gun plot. Garnering publicity and inspiring public interest is a tough row to hoe for every organization.

Common, accepted estimates place at least 80 million Americans as owning at least one firearm. I don’t know why there is such a vast lack of interest in organized shooting events among them but given that there is, shooting will never be a mainstream activity. It’s not politics. It’s not anti-gun policy. It’s the result of the market voting with their dollars and feet.

Read the full article here:

Stress Recovery Adaptation

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Dr. Mike Israetel discusses training principles and the stress-recovery-adaptation cycle regarding technique (skill), strength, and fitness.

Tactical Training Is Silly


How often in a tactical scenario are popularly-espoused, school-taught tactics employed? Review various fights caught on video and note how often the solution was (or ideally would have been) to present a firearm and land quick hits with the only additional necessary tactic being a little bob and weave.

Some examples:

While not common, shootings do happen to good people sometimes. When they do, those people often have zero formal tactical instruction.

The successful ones respond simply: Draw and land a hit, with little else needed. You’d be hard pressed to find a video of a successful defensive shooting where the defender used any of the techniques popularly taught at various schools.

Many of the most feared gunfighters of the 20th century used tactics and techniques that would be considered passé today. A surprisingly large number of them were involved in competition emphasizing static slow fire (Bullseye, PPC, etc.) that doesn’t test the movement and rapid fire found in practical competition. But they fought successfully many times. If they were still in service and in their prime, they’d probably fight quite well today as well.

Cops same as Novice Shooters

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[T]he research shows that officers on average are only marginally better than lesser-trained shooters in terms of getting rounds on target

Despite being a low percentage occurrence, a high stakes event such as a fight warrants developing sufficient skill and is the reason police and military expend resources attempting to build this. Success rates are sometimes lacking. Hit rates and percentages are bandied about. Some suggest curriculum changes, increases or decreases to standard square range exercises, changes of doctrinal shooting positions, and the increased or decreased emphasis of sighted fire.

Here is the terrible truth almost everyone fails to address. Any change in doctrine, curriculum, or funding is doomed to failed improvements until a progressive skill standard is enforced. It doesn’t matter if the number of required qualifications are quadrupled if participants are continually held to the same, elementary, basic, easy, low standards merely sufficient to graduate academy/recruit/basic training. And training isn’t “advanced” unless it includes an actual, measured skill assessment students are held to, one that increases in difficulty over time. The number of training hours or successful qualification results are meaningless until faced with scored tests that are more challenging over time.

Studies of this nature continue to find police and military personnel are only slightly more skilled than those never having fired a gun before. This is because most police and military personnel are in fact only slightly more skilled than those never having fired a gun before.

Based on the personnel chosen for “expert”, “intermediate”, and “naive” groups in this study, every one of them are actually at a novice level. There’s no difference in results because there is no real difference in skill between them.

The skill difference between a completely untrained shooter, marginally-qualified personnel, and personnel capable of “expert” or near “perfect” qualification scores is marginal. They’re all still novices, though some of them are slightly worse than the others. It’s like the difference in mathematics knowledge between a second-grade child scoring a 70 or 90 on an elementary arithmetic quiz. It’s the reason there is no connection found between combat and qualification range results.


Study: Newbies Better Able to Kill Assailants With Head Shot Than Cops


Double/Single Action Service Pistols


I’ve NEVER liked the double-single design of a semi-auto. (I didn’t like the 3-shot burst design either … as there were/are subtle differences in the trigger on single shot mode.)

So, my question is, after reading this article – what do you think. BS? Poor training? Or a legit issue.

The Armed Forces have been using the double-single Beretta for years. What do you think?

Double-single doesn’t make a pistol easier to shoot and is probably a solution in search of a problem. Modern striker-fired pistols (Glock, S&W M&P, etc.) are probably the best compromise of shootability, mechanical safety, reliability, and price currently and commonly available.

Still, there isn’t anything wrong with DA semi-autos. Issues with the heavy first shot and transition from heavy-light exist but they’re grossly overstated. Certainly nothing proper training won’t fix. I have not yet met a genuinely good handgun shooter incapable of shooting double-single semi-autos well. They may not prefer it, might even shoot measurably better with something else, but a good marksman shoots them well. Shooters that can’t overcome this “problem” probably aren’t good handgun shooters to begin with.

I went from tuned 1911s in practical competition to rack grade M9s for military Service Conditions matches and now mix that with NRA Conventional don’t find the transition difficult. Every platform, even individual samples of the same design, exhibit unique idiosyncrasies that have to be trained/practiced around. Nothing a bit of dry practice won’t fix. Oh, I have plenty of issues in becoming a better marksman. So does nearly every human if they’re honest and knowledgeable. None of that is fixed by blaming the equipment.

I’ve shot the new M9A3 and was favorably impressed. To date, it is the most accurate factory service pistol I’ve ever shot, very ergonomic, and a great update. Given that Beretta is willing to offer these as an update on the existing contract and that they are parts compatible with no New Equipment Training needed, the DoD would be foolish to bother with anything else.

The only troops I’ve met complaining about the M9 were Americans. Every foreign military shooter we’ve had try the M9 liked it. Definitely a “grass is greener on the other side” bias.

Reading Exercise Science Literature

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Dr. Jonathon Sullivan is the Associate Director of the Emergency Medicine Cerebral Resuscitation Laboratory and Course Coordinator of the Emergency Medicine Basic Research Elective for Wayne State University. He has served on the Scientific Review Committee for the Emergency Medicine Foundation and as a Reviewer for the Brain Research Journal.

He earned is MD from the University of Arizona College of Medicine (MD) in 1992, Ph. D. from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1999, and did an Emergency Medicine Research Fellowship in 1998. His Residency was at Detroit Receiving Hospital, Wayne State University in 1992-1995 and he currently an ER doctor at the Detroit Receiving Hospital at Michigan’s first Level I Trauma Center. In addition, he’s also a certified Starting Strength strength coach and owner of Greysteel Strength and Conditioning, a barbell gym catering specifically to people age 40 and older.

Here is his approach to reading and understanding scientific papers, specifically those in the exercise science literature.

NSFW Warning: Dr. Sullivan is a former Marine and current practicing ER doctor and his language is salty. Part of interest begins at 8:15.

Here are his thoughts on the importance of strength training.

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