Patrick McNamara spent 22 years in the US Army in several special operations units. McNamara developed a training methodology that is effective, combat relevant and encourages a continuous thought process. This methodology teaches how to maintain safety at all times and choose targets that force accountability. While serving as his unit’s Marksmanship NCO, he developed his own marksmanship club with NRA, CMP, and USPSA affiliations. Mac ran monthly IPSC matches and ran semi annual military marksmanship championships to encourage marksmanship fundamentals and competitiveness throughout the Army.

He retired from the Army’s premier hostage rescue unit as a Sergeant Major and is the author of T.A.P.S. (Tactical Application of Practical Shooting).


So, based on his Special Forces combat experience, what does this operator-turned-trainer have to say about competition shooting?


“Though there is no instant solution to shooting well, I truly believe that the illusive shortcut is in competition. How does one compartmentalize the pressures of a gunfight? Well, you won’t learn to do it during the gunfight. Competition forces pressure on the shooter and it is mostly self-induced. We experience anxiety because of self defeating beliefs. The more one trains under pressure, the more he learns to compartmentalize those pressures.

There are many who believe that competing in the likes of an IPSC match has no tactical relevancy, and it is all just a game.

OK, it’s a game where you are shooting your gun at targets, under time, and with people watching you. You must handle your weapon properly, and follow all rules or be DQed (disqualified). You must discriminate between “shoot” and “no-shoot” targets. You have got to move and make use of cover. You will have to fire from awkward positions. You must find a solution to an ambiguous situation within your skill level.”

Patrick McNamara
SGM, US Army (Ret)