From Jeremy Law and Keith Garcia

We are going on the third year of the Utah Peace Officers Association UPOA Multigun Championship. The match has grown from 60 shooters in 2014, 80 shooters in 2015, now to over 100 registered shooters in 2016.

In the recruitment for the match I have heard a number of comments attacking competitive shooting. Here are a couple of my favorites “Competition will get you killed”, “You would never shoot like that in real life”, “Tactics are the only thing that will keep you alive”, “I’d like to see you shoot like that when the targets are shooting back” and “If you engage the suspect from the fatal funnel like that you are going to get killed”. Most of these comments have come from officers that refuse to compete or have since changed their position.

Tactics are imperative. Tactics will help keep you alive. Tactics should not be minimalized or ignored. This is not an article attacking Tactics. So, concentrate on your tactical breathing to calm down and continue reading.

Competition is a game. There are rules. Some of those rules don’t go well in the real world. You cannot let you muzzle point up range at any time, no operating in a 360 degree environment. You must engage “Target X” from “Box Y” and not before or after. You must abandon a perfectly good weapon to transition to a potentially unloaded one. You are graded on a combination of speed and accuracy. There are no judges grading how well you “pied” the corner or the technique of your Sul position. You shoot and move as fast as you can without making a mistake or missing a target.

Boxing, MMA, and Wrestling are all sports. These sports have rules, some more strict than others. I am going to use Boxing as an example. Boxing on a regular basis will make you a better fighter. A proficient Boxer knows the rules in the ring and he knows there are no rules in a life-and-death street fight. He may not have done the eye gouge, fish hook, or arm bar in the ring but if he knows the technique he will use it when his life depends on it. His well-aimed jab, cross, and hook practiced within the ring will also prove priceless in that street fight. His level of calm and control will be heightened because he has done this countless times before. His ability to successfully win this street fight drastically increases because he played a game.

Competitive shooting is the same concept. You play by the rules when necessary but know how to play without them. Practice makes your grip, stance, accuracy, speed, and weapon familiarity become second nature. You know when you can go fast and when you need to slow down. You know what shots you can make because you have made them countless times before and you know your limits. You make fewer mistakes because you are learning from them. Competition didn’t hinder your Tactics; it just gave you one less thing to worry about.

If you have good Tactics you will not lose them by shooting competition. I have never felt the urge to clear a building containing an armed subject in the same fashion I would run a stage at a match. Last time I shot someone I didn’t immediately “unload and show clear” afterwards. I have never felt the urge to abandon a perfectly good weapon. I have not found any bad habits that would outweigh the benefits of competition. You cannot look at the top twenty shooters of the 2015 UPOA Multigun and say they are tactically compromised.


Those who master themselves and their emotions win both fights and competitions. Competitions are bloodless battles. Battles are bloody competitions. Use competition with tactical training and you will outperform those who do not.

– Ron Avery

This myth is boring…….the individuals who argue against competition actively ignore literally hundreds/thousands of their fellow officers (many operating at a much more elevated level than the naysayer) who vehemently oppose the view that competition is bad.

I love and take advantage of any opportunity to encourage and help fellow officers become aware of all the ways competition can help their martial skills on the job.

– Craig Outzen

Unfortunately this sort of mind numbing mythology fills classes. Like any propaganda until people stop buying that nonsense it will continue. It only serves to fill the pockets of make believe “warriors” that have never been to war or “fighters” who have done nothing more than fight for a place in line at Starbucks.

-David Bahde

Ron Avery taught me to separate sport shooting from tactical training. He said that if you are doing the sport, then do the sport. If you are still tactically training, the sport won’t hurt your tactics.

-Aros Artimus