from OrigamiAK

I started shooting competition in late 2010, starting with GSSF. In 2012, I started shooting USPSA also. My competition journey is really slow – less than one USPSA match per month, and two GSSF matches per year.

As a person with an essential interest in self-defense, and coming from the defensive training world where competition’s value is sometimes underestimated, I now believe it to be one of the most important methods of preparation available.

As a non-cop and non-soldier, if things go right in my life and I do a good job avoiding problems, I will never amass any significant quantity of experience dealing with the actual use of deadly force. There are a number of things I can do to prepare despite that, and I now believe that learning to address a higher level of technical difficulty in shooting, particularly under the pressure induced by competition (and I certainly feel that pressure), is one of the best things that can be done to prepare. It is far from the only thing, but it’s one of the best things.

I wouldn’t have said that at one point, having not yet recognized the value of competition. I’m grateful that I saw the light.

My best suggestions:

I would not recommend waiting until you feel ‘ready.’ Just get on and ride the train. Almost no amount of preparation will really get you ‘ready’ without participating. I wish I had started shooting competition years before I actually did.

Deliberately allow yourself to get sucked into caring about your performance and how you do in the rankings. Few things ignite motivation to improve like genuine enjoyment and interest in winning or doing well. Measuring my abilities in practice and competition and caring about how I performed strongly motivated me to do the work to perform better. If I didn’t care, there would be no need to do better.

I would wholeheartedly suggest USPSA as a mentally taxing and technically challenging action pistol sport. I have been shocked and humbled at how difficult USPSA can be. I’ve come to appreciate that USPSA contains no pretense of tactics and thus emphasizes the technical challenge to an apparently greater degree than IDPA.

Defensive practitioners need a technical reckoning at some point and competition is a place where that reckoning can pretty reliably be had.

I hope you decide to participate in organized shooting competition and that you get the same enjoyment and benefit of self-awareness and drive to improve that many of us have found there.