I had a nice young man in a class recently that was very skilled. He was an active USPSA competitor and very quick and accurate. Every time his relay would finish their drills, he would quickly unload and holster his pistol (magazine out, slide quickly to the rear and catch the ejected round in his hand). Even though I told each relay to top off their weapons and then holster prior to scoring and pasting targets… He did this every time, and was never ready to shoot when his relay was called to the line the next time.

Later in the day as his relay finished and everyone else was reloading and holstering, he was still clearing and unloading his pistol. I finally walked over and asked him, “Why in the Hell do you keep unloading your sidearm when you are finished with a shooting task?”

– Ken Hackathorn

OMG, bad habits caused in competition! At least that’s the popular implication. It’s also very wrong.

Why wait until “later in the day” before “finally walking over” to confront a problem that had been already been previously identified? Especially if it was noticed this was happening “every time, and was never ready to shoot when his relay was called to the line”?

This is not a failure of competition shooting causing “bad” habits. It is a failure of an instructor failing to help a paying student.

This student paid money to take that class to learn things he didn’t know before. He already had established proper training procedures as that is the only way he could become “very skilled… and very quick and accurate.” Even if he didn’t overcome this one particular habit on the first try, it is a simple matter of building in a new habit while practicing/training in the future. Given that he was already motivated to develop good habits with regular, on-going practice and motivated enough to take a class to learn something, this particular student is most likely to successfully implement such a fix.

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