I am very pragmatic when it comes to realistic training. My training partner is a Combat Pistol Gamer and we are on opposite poles when we discuss training for an armed encounter and Matches. I participated in Matches–and still do sometimes–but always used my duty gear and my duty pistol. I would come in 4th or 5th in the Locals but people thought it was strange.

Anyway you cut it, competition is not training…one can come close by using AirSoft and paintball…rubber knives and Force on Force exercises but paper targets usually do not move and never shoot back. I would equate this with heavy bag training vs training with a sparring partner. “Tactics” used in matches are not remotely realistic and would get one killed in a real encounter. The most important element is extreme stress which can not be duplicated at a Match event. I began my research on this topic when I was in a deadly force encounter on 2 occasions where, after the fact, my entire upper torso and arms froze up in a contraction about 10 minutes later during the de-briefing. (No one was shot but 1mm close) Some people have experienced this DURING the encounter.

When I joined the military, Dad confessed something to me: He said, “It’s no dishonor to “mess yourself” in combat!” He was a WW II combat veteran had several very close encounters with the enemy and with what he described as a Komodo Dragon that nudged him while he was asleep in tall grass in SE Asia. I learned that the body is lightening its load before Flight or Fight. You may publish this letter.
– Ted Sames

>> Anyway you cut it, competition is not training

Preparation for competition is. It is literally a dictionary definition of the word. Scores and results provide useful objectivity as to the effectiveness and progress on one’s training.

>> I would equate this with heavy bag training vs training with a sparring partner.

Good boxers and martial artists are wise to incorporate both. Just because a given training or practice approach doesn’t incorporate everything that might possibly be useful doesn’t invalidate what it is useful for.

>> “Tactics” used in matches are not remotely realistic and would get one killed in a real encounter.

Prove it. You claim this is injurious so the onus is on you to provide proof of documented injuries.

https://firearmusernetwork.com/training-and-competition-the-dark-side/
https://firearmusernetwork.com/does-competition-shooting-kill/

If you can’t cite specific, by-name examples this is empty conjecture.

Topping that off, I can cite numerous successful fighters stating their competition experience was directly beneficial.

Just for starters, every member of the US Army Reserve Marksmanship Program that has deployed and saw combat has stated their experience with the Teams was beneficial to their personal training and the training of their subordinates. Not one member has made any claim this competition experience was detrimental in any way.

Besides, “tactics” are merely an expedient towards a goal. The context matters.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/context-matters/

The most important element is extreme stress which can not be duplicated at a Match event.

Or duplicated in any environment where the trainee doesn’t truly believe he will be killed. If nobody is actually being killed (or realistically perceiving they might be) then it is a simulation. Of course, there are those with both competition and combat experience that have said they felt competition stress was greater…

>> I participated in Matches – and still do sometimes – but always used my duty gear and my duty pistol. I would come in 4th or 5th in the Locals…

Fascinating. You mean this experience has not yet gotten you killed? Or forced you to instill “training scars” upon yourself and students?

>> When one believes that matches are realistic they really fooling themselves.

Good training is that which builds better usable skills and capabilities. The only people fooling themselves are those failing to measure if skills and capabilities are actually improving or maintaining. Group shooting and zeroing and other range exercises aren’t “realistic” and they don’t simulate lethal encounters. Shall we abandon this as useless as well? How about fitness. Chin ups, deadlifts, and fitness tests aren’t simulating lethal encounters either.

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