Differences and similarities of civilian competition and combat shooting
by Karl Rehn

The value of competition has to be assessed in relation to what other training options are available. For the average armed citizen, the affordable, available choices are:

  1. stand in a stall and shoot one target, at a rate limited by the range rules, drawing prohibited, movement prohibited
  2. take a week off work and spend $1000 or more (not counting travel and lodging) on a “tactical band camp” school
  3. 1-2 day class with a local trainer at around $200 per day
  4. shoot local matches

Competition has value to the armed citizen as a readily-available, low cost, local option for practicing “building block” shooting and gunhandling skills in a context more relevant than simple target shooting. Complaining that it’s not perfect cross training for SEAL missions is like whining because a standard, street-legal pick up truck is a bad vehicle because you can’t win the Indy 500 with it.

There are few popular shooting sports developed specifically as cross-training for teams of cops and soldiers. The focus has always been on equipment and skills relevant to individuals. The scope of what can be done at matches is often limited by range rules and the experience level and training of the range officers and competitors.

I suggest reviewing history. Infamous gun fighters such as Herbert McBride, Sam Woodfill, Bill Jordan, Charles Askins, Bill Allard, Jim Cirillo, Simo Häyhä and Carlos Hathcock – among many others – all participated seriously in competitive shooting and all found it to be useful, certainly a better use of their time than golf or tennis or some other sport with zero cross training benefit. They all also did quite well in combat.