Competition vs. Tactical Shooting

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If you Google competition vs tactical shooting, the top result lists 5 differences between the two.  Let’s just say that there’s a reason I’m not linking to it.  I’m hoping no one ever reads that kind of crap.

Listen, I’m not here to rag on another brother in blue, but it’s patently clear from reading the article that he doesn’t have a clue, and probably has never participated in a shooting competition.  The article does do a great job of summing up the nonsense that some “tactical trainers” claim are the downfalls of competition.

COMPETITION VS TACTICAL SHOOTING: ASKING THE WRONG QUESTIONS
https://sofrep.com/gear/competition-vs-tactical-shooting-asking-the-wrong-questions/

Matt Little (Greybeard Actual) on Performance-Based Shooting

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Matt Little (Greybeard Actual) is a former member of 20th Special Forces Group, retired Chicago Police Department SWAT leader, and high-level competition shooter.

Competition Shooting in Special Operations

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SGM (ret.) Patrick McNamara (1st SFG, SFOD-D) interviewed by LCDR (ret.) John “Jocko” Willink (SEAL Team 3) about shooting experience within special operations forces. While serving as his Unit’s Marksmanship NCO, SGM McNamara developed his own marksmanship club with NRA, CMP, and USPSA affiliations, running monthly IPSC matches and semi-annual military marksmanship championships to encourage marksmanship fundamentals and competitiveness throughout the Army. This is common throughout military special operations. All Army is an annual Service Conditions match held by the Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, similar to Service Conditions matches held throughout all NATO and Commonwealth militaries.

https://armyreservemarksman.info/tung-nguyen-memorial-match/


3D SFG(A) Soldiers report that “Most members of SOF (Special Operations Forces) use competitive shooting as a training tool. Our gear looks like that used in 3-Gun because that sort of practical competition is how we set up equipment.”

Tactical Application of Competition Shooting

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Listen to Mike. And shut up.

Mike Pannone is a former operational member of U.S. Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces (Green Beret) and 1st SFOD-D (Delta) as well as a competition USPSA pistol shooter holding a Master class ranking in Limited, Limited-10 and Production divisions. He has participated in stabilization, combat and high-risk protection operations in support of U.S. policies throughout the world as both an active duty military member, and a civilian contractor. After sustaining a severe blast injury Mike retired from 1st SFOD-D and worked as a Primary Firearms Instructor for the Federal Air Marshal Program in Atlantic City and the head in-service instructor for the Seattle field office of the FAMS. He also worked as an independent contractor and advisor for various consulting companies to include SAIC (PSD Iraq), Triple Canopy (PSD Iraq), and The Wexford Group (Counter IED ground combat advisor Iraq and pre-deployment rifle/pistol/tactics instructor for the Asymmetric Warfare Group). Mike was also the Senior Instructor for Viking Tactics (VTAC), and Blackheart International. He started his own consulting company full time in late 2008.

Competitive Shooter Wins Fight

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Not an isolated incident. I’m convinced the only reason we don’t see more reports like this is it requires a low percentage event to meet with a low (but top) percentage of the gun owning public.

https://citizentv.co.ke/news/inayat-kassam-meet-the-52-year-old-hero-who-saved-lives-at-westgate-and-14-riverside-227173/

Inayat Kassam: Meet the 52-year-old hero who saved lives at Westgate and 14 Riverside
In a previous exclusive interview with Citizen TV, Mr. Kassam said he was at a shooting competition when his phone rang and when he answered, “the caller said, ‘Shots fired. We’re scared.’”

Mr. Kassam got into his car with fellow licensed firearm user – Peter Bonde – and off they sped towards Westgate Mall where they exchanged fire with criminals, fought side-by-side with Kenyan law enforcement, and led hundred of Kenyans trapped inside the mall to safety.

See also:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/ipsc-shooter-wins-fight/

Cognitive differences between competition and application of deadly force

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All great points, but the vast majority of firearm users (military, law enforcement, or civilians carrying concealed) are not being hampered because they’re spending too much time getting too good at improving their match scores.

This applies to already-skilled tactically minded shooters (I’m confident SGM(R) Pressburg’s students are an example) that are a second-ish off pace on a speed shoot or drill compared to a gamer.

This does not apply to folks that can’t keep up with Level 2 (C class, Sharpshooter, etc.) participants “because tactical.”

Getting good at anything begins by learning the most introductory basics. Getting good with firearms must start by improving on those things that will be universally beneficial to all applications in all situations always. Call them fundamentals or call it developing a shot process, the idea is the same. This is the part most humans fail to address as well as they could. Increasing improvement also increases the amount of diminishing return. Getting “better” must get more specific. The shot process has to become more refined and works for a decreasing range of contexts.

In competition terms, I’d peg this at around a Level 3-4 classification. Given a reasonably relevant discipline, this would be an NRA or IDPA Expert, USPSA B class, CMP competitor with some leg points, or something similar. Prior to this point, all improvement was very general and readily translated to any other use, however, now they’re at a point where improvement is beginning to demand shooting in the specific context of the game and may not translate to other contexts.

We can argue where this point (or area…) of diminishing return begins (feel free to comment below!) but the important idea is that it does exist. Just don’t confuse that fact as being an excuse to avoiding the general improvement that a lesser-skilled shooter (which is most humans) would benefit from.

My point is that we want to avoid very avoidable incidents like this:


https://www.personaldefenseworld.com/2019/02/re-holstering-range-shooting/

I’ve witnessed plenty of similar sloppy gun handling done by military personnel that had to be corrected (thankfully, done prior to live fire.) I have never witnessed anything like this done by folks that had participated in more than one or two matches.

Rooney Guns FTW, again

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USPSA started creating different equipment divisions in the 1990s. Prior to that, there was almost no restriction on what could be used. While detractors, including the original founders that had purposely created this no-restriction environment to allow for free experimentation, derided the “race gun” that had become the runaway favorite for serious competitors as “rooney guns” as something simply unsuitable for street and service use.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/tag/rooney-gun/

The sad thing about this is these same people always used “rooney guns”.

After other competitors began surpassing their ideas did this evolution of experimentation begin to be deemed unsuitable.

Now, don’t tell anyone, but equipment divisions are far less important than most people realize, especially those complaining about them:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/race-guns-vs-regular-guns/
https://firearmusernetwork.com/skill-classification-works/

Police have begun issuing “rooney guns” already. The military is following as well.

https://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/1602348/

Trijicon Inc., Wixom, Michigan,* is awarded a $7,626,587 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a five-year ordering period for handgun reflex sights for the miniature aiming system – day optics program. The handgun reflex sight is a low profile, wide field of view, passive sight for rapid day and night pistol target engagements in confined spaces, while prisoner handling, or in extremis after the primary weapon malfunctions. Work will be performed in Wixom, Michigan, and is expected to be completed by August 2023. Fiscal 2018 defense procurement funding in the amount of $1,158,052 will be obligated at the time of award and funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with three offers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Indiana, is the contracting activity (N0016418DJQ25).

https://www.overtdefense.com/2018/08/15/us-navy-awards-trijicon-a-handgun-reflex-sight-contract/

At the beginning of the last year, it became known that the US Navy has accepted the M17/M18 pistols to become its next sidearm after these handguns were chosen by the US Army. About a year later, the US Navy has announced the procurement of 60,000 M18 MHS handguns. Both versions of the Modular Handgun System pistols have a provision to mount a reflex sight.

All of these guns would be competitive IPSC Modified guns (anything goes, just fit inside the box). Again, this has been the trend for years now and isn’t a new development, just military and police further and formally authorizing their use:

https://firearmusernetwork.com/ipsc-ftw/
https://firearmusernetwork.com/competition-shooting-ftw-again/
https://firearmusernetwork.com/competition-shooting-ftw/

This part from Houston PD is most important:

The resulting data from required qualifications (scores using a red dot versus irons), fielding (models, mechanical/electronic failures) battery life and other variables will be important to law enforcement and civilian shooters alike. Real-world field testing is invaluable when it comes to picking the best guns, sights, holsters and related gear. Let’s hope that Houston PD is willing to share sanitized data.

Here’s the sad downer. The Department of Army first adopted general-issue optics in the mid-1990s and retained the same qualification procedures and course for two decades after. Even the Training Circulars released starting in 2016 that replaced this qualification were not fully implemented for years after that. With a quarter century of common, general issue optics qualification scores did not change. As always, it’s the indian, not the arrow.

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