Claims abound that competition shooting is detrimental, that regular participation and success there will cause you to make deadly mistakes in a real fight.

Here’s an example of a typical “report” making such claims.

“The main reason we don’t advise competition is taken from an example where a Law Enforcement Officer who when confronted by a Nasty went into the surrender position. Lucky for him he was wearing a vest as a round in the chest really hurts. He eventually killed the nasty and immediately gave up competition…”

Note the complete lack of details. I followed up with the person (David Monier-Williams) that originated this tale, asking for specific details. Here’s the response he emailed to me.

“He was a LAPD officer and the incident happened in Sunland/Tujunga, CA. If I’m remembering correctly it was at the Jack in The Box on Foothill Blvd. in Sunland/Tujunga by the Sunland City Park.

“What was related to me [from Kent Turnipseed], by another LAPD officer who shot competition with him, he went into the El Presidente starting position which begins with one’s hands held in the hands up position. Before he was able to draw and fire, the person who shot him hit his protective vest.

“Right now, that is the best that I can do.”

That’s it. The tale now gives a place at least but no date (or decade) when it happened. No names, of course. In fact, even these sparse details get changed on a whim. In a different place, this same story teller spins the tale in this fashion:

“One of the dangers of IPSC and IDPA are bad habits. The story goes, I believe, of a police officer when confronted with an armed assailant went into the ‘surrender’ position. The assailant fired, missed, the cop shot back finally.”

In this version of the story the same story teller (David Monier-Williams) claims the assailant missed, where he hit in the other version of the story and the cop was saved by his vest. So he can’t even keep his own story (lie?) straight.

Despite making claims this was due to competition experience (and ignoring inconsistencies such as if the assailant hit or not…) there are no specifics of competitive experience. Did the cop in the story participate in two matches or two hundred? Prior to this, had the officer been shooting events for a few months as a bottom rung D-class competitor or was he posting Master class scores for the previous five years?

Of course, even though the cop ultimately prevailed (in all versions of the same story) it was competition shooting’s fault. Because police officers that don’t participate in formal competition have never been shot and are all known to be blazingly fast with perfect gun handling skills under stress all the time… (riiiiight…)

It’s also worth pointing out this story was offered as an example of the “dangers” of competitive shooting, yet the competitive shooter survived and won the encounter. It could be suggested that despite making making a mistake, the competitor’s heightened skill allowed him to immediately recover and ultimately prevail.

To top it all off, the entire episode is a fourth person account from David Monier-Williams, quoting Kent Turnipseed talking about a cop he allegedly once knew recalling a story about a different cop that was in a shooting. Pertinent information can’t be recalled and details about whether the cop was hit or not change from version to version, but somehow, exact details of his hand position at the moment the shooting took place are vividly recalled… fourth person. A competition training scar? Considering most practical shooting events have used mixed start positions for decades this episode and the claimed problem, as described, seems unlikely.

Interestingly, a number of the serious competition shooters I compete with also have combat experience, ranging from law enforcement to military and special operations to civilian encounters. They all view their pre-combat competition experience as positive and their combat experiences have not deterred them from continuing to participate in competition shooting.

The only people complaining against competition shooting are those who have never participated or never developed any significant skill there. Nobody earns a Master classification or similar higher level skill achievement in a relevant competitive shooting discipline, gets in a fight, and renounces competitive shooting for almost getting them killed.

Or do they? There could be contrary examples I don’t know about. If they exist, I want to see them.

Specific details are needed. Name, date, place, competitive experience, department, etc. I’m looking for actual, real accounts of shootings with competitive shooters involved with verifiable details of the incident, not random, nameless, unverifiable anecdotes.

Shooting incidents are newsworthy so there should be a story published somewhere. Organizations putting on shooting competitions keep records of classifications, awards and match results and that information is publicly available. Police and military organizations, if they are good at nothing else, produce plenty of paperwork.

I’m looking for the good, the bad, the best and the worst. I want incidents of where competition shooters prevailed and where they failed… provided, of course, it’s an event that actually happened.

Events that actually happen have real, verifiable details. Submit what you have with those sorts of specifics and I’ll post them here. Here’s an example of what I’m looking for.


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