On Competition

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“Difficulty is a severe instructor … He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.”
– 18th-century philosopher-statesman Edmund Burke

That is, my enemy is my friend. Competition demands that I make myself physically and intellectually fit and that I strive toward constant self-betterment.

– John Tate

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Who needs enemies with friends like this?

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Post video of a skillful display of shooting and/or gunhandling, preferably one with a specific competitive focus.

Wait for other gun owners to explain why what was demonstrated didn’t count, isn’t realistic/relevant, uses unrealistic/gamer/rooney equipment, was faked, how they could do better if the shooting was more like the real stuff with real guns they use, etc.

It’s almost as if it’s an affront for others to be skilled.

Most gun owners are low-skilled and novice levels, including (especially?) law enforcement and military personnel. Most gun owners that aren’t involved in formal competition or higher-level instruction have never seen truly skilled shooter perform. Given that video demonstrations sometimes fail, the best way is to do live and in person, preferably at an event where everyone in attendance will also try. This sorts out who can and can’t and provides a deeper appreciation for those that worked hard to perform well.

Conditioning

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Condition
[kuh n-dish-uh n]
noun

  • a particular mode of being of a person or thing; existing state; situation with respect to circumstances
  • a circumstance indispensable to some result; prerequisite; that on which something else is contingent

verb (used with object)

  • to accustom or inure
  • to subject to particular conditions or circumstances

The primary point is preparing for and becoming accustomed to particular conditions or circumstances. That requires defining what your particular conditions or circumstances and realizing that one can’t realistically claim to condition for “everything.”

Note, the definition of conditioning does not include “flail spastically”, “getting smoked”, “thrashing about for as many reps as possible”, “pushing until you puke”, nor any idiot catchphrases from nitwits in campaign hats.

Why Has Competition Slowed?

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http://gunsmagazine.com/classic-guns-magazine-editions/
Review these old gun magazines and you’ll see the importance of competition back in the 1950 and 1960s.

http://www.gunsmagazine.com/1956issues/G1256.pdf
page 5-6, lists various match results

http://www.gunsmagazine.com/1958issues/G0258.pdf
page 5, Bill Toney, Askins, Hebard competition shooters writing articles with content about competitions
“My Favorite Gun” section features a conventional pistol competitor.

http://www.gunsmagazine.com/1956issues/G0756.pdf
page 14, “Why Doesn’t Shooting Go Professional?”
That issue began with an interview with pistol champ Harry Reeves.

http://www.gunsmagazine.com/1960issues/G0260.pdf
Four competition articles. The magazine has a specific “Competition” section because it regularly published enough material on this in every issue to warrant a dedicated section.

Consider the state of the NRA membership and its Competition Division back in 1961.

Back then, with a membership of 418,000 total, the NRA boasted 120,367 classified competitors and the Marksmanship Qualification Program had 374,112 participants. That is, roughly 29% of the membership was classified in formal competition and 90% participated in the MQP. Page 49 of that same issue details a drive for 500,000 members by using the Marksmanship Qualification Program and a push to get every NRA member involved.

Today, with over 4 million members, a tenfold increase, less than 100,000 members are classified shooters (about 2%) and the Marksmanship Qualification Program isn’t even tracked despite advances in information processing and computers.

Some time ago, I was considered for a writing job sponsored by a nationally-recognized firearm/outdoor distributor and edited by a nationally-recognized publisher with a readership of around a quarter million subscribers. The Editor-In-Chief, who knew me from my various writing and editing work as well as my competitive shooting background, told me plainly they would not entertain any formal marksmanship instruction material and specifically shunned competition-specific coverage. This wasn’t due to a bias from the company, publisher, or editor, rather, it was due to them tracking reader feedback. Detailed marksmanship training beyond introductory fluff tracked the lowest interest and anything competition specific was notably poor. The subscribers simply weren’t interested. They were rather interested in gear reviews, product releases, and gun politics. So the general gun owning public is vitally interested in being told what toys to buy and maintaining their right to continue doing so but has little interest in how to actually use the stuff beyond a novice level.

Operator Readiness Test vs. Bullseye

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Operator Readiness Test from Redback One Training
The Operator Readiness Test was developed as a baseline assessment to test several key weapons manipulation skills relevant to fighting in close quarters.

Three tier levels of time allow for Unit / Agency benchmarking of individuals or sub-units.

Tier-1: 15 seconds
Tier-2: 18 seconds
Tier-3: 20 seconds

Individual skills being assessed during the ORT are: High Ready presentations, sustained recoil management, pistol change overs, combat reloads, reduced target size for extreme accuracy. The test is shot cold and on demand from 7-yards using the Redback One Zero target. The test must be performed in the presence of multiple observers where possible in order to place the student under performance pressure.

This is a test that should not be practiced. The elements of competency required for the test should trained and practice repetitions should be high to build correct neural pathways to success.

Other comments:
http://www.doodieproject.com/index.php?/topic/1249-operator-readiness-test/

Other Redback One training

More about Jason Falla:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/competition-experience-works/

Train like you Fight

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Wisdom from Frank Proctor

We’ve all heard it or said it: Train like you Fight. A lot of times, folks think that means wearing full kit in order to train to better shoot your gun. I disagree with the party line that you have to wear full battle rattle to train to shoot better.

For tactical shooters I would strongly recommend shooting ‘slick with no kit’ and learn what they can truly do with their guns, what their full capabilities are, how fast can they really put bullets on targets, maneuver through a challenging course of fire, get into positions, etc. Once that base line of what’s possible is established then put your duty gear on and see if you can still do the same stuff.

If you can’t, why?

If it’s because your body armor is too restrictive, there are plenty of ways to keep the defensive capabilities of your body armor AND be mobile and able to mount your gun to shoot well, and give yourself and your team mates some valuable OFFENSIVE capabilities. This concept applies to all the gear you carry to duty; if it hinders your optimal performance I would fix it or get rid of it and stay as light as possible.

Here’s a proven concept that we all as tactical shooters can use to ‘Train to Win’. Every organized sports team in the country (especially the ones that win) use a similar concept to train. Football teams don’t go full speed in pads everyday in practice. That would be the conventional shooter’s wisdom of “train like you fight”. What they do instead is break down individual skill sets and train them to perfection. Then they’ll put on the pads and put all those things together and scrimmage. They take note of what went well and what didn’t go well, and then they take off the pads and train again. When it comes game time they are prepared to WIN.

On Shot Timer Use

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I use one constantly to gauge the level of my performance so I can identify weaknesses that I must address. If we take the element of time away, all of this is easy.. The element creating the greatest degree of difficulty in any of this, competition, defense etc is the time element. If we had all day to analyze, decide and shoot, anyone could do it. In real life, as in competition, time is a factor and doing it “fast enough” is critical. The timer helps one know how fast one is actually going.

– Rob Leatham

I hate to beat this horse again, but it ain’t dead yet! In drumming, OUR “shot timer” is the metronome. The relationship between shooting and drumming is AMAZING! I see it regularly because I am passionate about, and do both. Much like the shot timer, the metronome is a tool to gauge progress. NOT just to play passages FASTER, but to gauge how fast you can play passages while remaining fluid with note placement OR remaining “ACCURATE”. Speed and precision are huge factors in drumming just as they are in shooting. The balance between the two is CRITICAL for both. Playing a passage fast means nothing if the notes being executed in the process are not spaced precisely and placed accurately. Much like presenting a firearm rapidly, but not executing combat accuracy with your shot placement. The idea while learning a “drum lick” is to play your passage slowly with a metronome to keep you on point with your time. Then gradually increase the metronome speed to find the threshold where playing the passage starts to feel uncomfortable. You STAY at that tempo until it becomes comfortable and then once again, gradually increase speed. The metronome is an AMAZING tool to help progress where the balance of speed and precision are paramount. This is why I have brought the metronome into my firearms training. In particular for presentation from the holster. I use a 4 step presentation. Each click of the metronome is a step in the presentation. I start with the metronome very slow and run some reps.Then I gradually increase. This keeps the space between steps equal. By the time I get “up to tempo”, meaning as fast as i can go while maintaining combat accuracy, my motion is very smooth. The motion becomes very close to being on “auto-pilot”. Not thinking about the steps anymore, just about the fluid motion. Like the shot timer, the metronome will NOT be there in a DCI, but it the practice realm, its an incredible tool for developing skill and making progress!! BTW…I discovered after the fact, that there are some folks on YT that use a metronome as well. I just use mine a bit differently. I use it with a bit more complexity. Subdivisions, etc, like I do in the drumming realm.

– Fran Merante

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