The question comes up about the validity of competitive shooting and “real world” training.

This is brought up typically by novice shooters that don’t yet understand marksmanship, as if the skills needed to hit similar targets in similar environments magically change somehow. The firearm and bullets don’t care what they’re pointed at and will go where and when they’re directed.

There are only two kinds of people that criticize organized shooting formats, such as competitive shooting, as useless:

  1. Those who have never tried it.
  2. People whose shooting skills are low and are compensating by deriding the event for their poor results.

Competitive shooting has a few flaws, but so does every conceivable range exercise. No single course of fire is all encompassing and knowledgeable shooters will seek a variety of methods to maximize skill.

Kyle Lamb (VTac) discusses this in his book, Green Eyes & Black Rifles: Warrior’s Guide to the Combat Carbine.  Mr. Lamb has served in combat with the 5th Special Forces Group and is an active competition shooter. He states the purpose of his text thus:

This book is not for the competition minded; this book is for the shooter show hopes to use ballistic tools to eliminate a threat if the need arises. You may be a law enforcement professional, full-time military, National Guard or Reservist, tactical consultant, or instructor. You will find information here that you can use along with practical training techniques and exercises to improve your skill.

So what does this Delta Force operator and trainer say about competitive shooting?

I have also been heavily involved in competition shooting with pistols, rifles, carbines, and shotguns. This competition experience has helped to make me a better rounded tactical shooter.

Competition is a great place to experience shooting stresses that you might otherwise not experience until the day you become engaged. I, for one, want to feel the stress in competition, know what it is to deal with it, and learn from it. Being overcome by events in a tactical crisis is not the time to feel your first dump of adrenaline. So get out there and place yourself in an unfamiliar, stressful environment. It will pay off.

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