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


Training: The value of competition shooting to your type of shooting

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This is a great write up by Andy C at Guns.com about the value of organized shooting as found at competitive events. If you’ve never been to a match or have gun-owning friends that haven’t, do yourself a favor and read this.

Some choice quotes:

I guess you might develop a “training scar” from habits like moving around an IPSC course without taking cover, but then, I might also forget to wear pants to the grocery store because I never wear them inside if I can avoid it.

While competitive shooting may get you killed on “the street”, some training looks likely to kill you on the range. (Photo: Everydaynodaysoff)

There’s a spectrum of investment with shooting, like any sport. My wife shoots IDPA with a hoodie, a holster she made and a police surplus S&W Model 10. She shoots next to a guy who spent thousands on his Sig X-Six, a custom Kydex holster, a 5.11 vest, and a camera on his head. There are certainly shooting games that let you use what you have, and if you like it, you can slowly invest in specialized gear.

Speaking of investing, I often find that the people who lament the expense of competitive shooting own dozens of different guns. Instead of buying another rifle that gets shot twice a year, why not invest that money in competitive shooting fees, ammunition and equipment?

The main reason is it provides a reason to go and shoot. There’s a date on the calendar that says “use your gun.” This is a pretty strong motivator to get said gun out of the nightstand. It also provides meaningful feedback with scores and rankings. Whether you try to beat personal records or develop a competitive edge, once values are assigned to the quality of your shooting, it’s a natural to try and improve those scores. That has a good chance of leading to more frequent range time and may even lead to that most secretive of arts, dry fire practice… For a lot of people, it’s more important that it’s “organized” than “competitive.”

Pro Gun People Can’t Count



It’s Time The NRA Stopped Acting Its Age

While this was a great interview on RecoilWeb‘s site, they made a misstatement.

While there are 76 board members, it’s safe to say the majority are older, well-established white guys. This explains why the NRA pumps the membership’s dollars into traditional, one-handed, timed-fire pistol matches while it’s slower to adopt more modern competition formats, such as three-gun and other practical shooting disciplines.

No, it does not explain this. In fact, it reveals the Recoil Staff is as ignorant of these events as the NRA board members.

There still are more classified NRA Pistol (bullseye) competitors than USPSA members. The National Matches at Camp Perry continues to draw more participants than national events for practical and 3 Gun competition. “More modern competition formats” are great events with highly-skilled competitors and worthy of attention and support, but conventional bullseye-type competition still has more total participants.

Regardless, it’s more important to support whatever events can get people to actually show up. No single event type will attract everyone, so find and support those events that do appeal to people.

The real reason the NRA board is “slower to adopt” is because the NRA board as a whole is ignorant or disinterested in such events. Yes, there are board members with solid competitive shooting experience and impressive marksmanship credentials, but they are the minority. Promoting organized marksmanship events is simply not a priority or interest for the NRA board and the NRA as a whole.

>> Adam Kraut: I think the biggest threat will be the complacency amongst gun owners.

Excellent observation. Shooting is outpaced by golfing because golf club owners are much more active:

Complacency and inactivity is much worse than any other threat. Just look at the numbers:

Rifle Marksmanship: Competition Shooter vs. Military

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A very good bit of instruction from Patrick E. Kelley

Offhand Rifle Shooting Tips

A 10-inch steel plate at 170 yards is about 5.8 MoA. As you can see in the video, the Burris XTR II reticle used has an interior dimension of 1.75 mils (about 6 MoA) which appears just slightly larger than the target.

For reference, basic Army and Marine rifle grouping standard is a 6 MoA group (4cm at 25 yards) fired prone supported. Mr. Kelley is performing this demo offhand unsupported. That’s the skill difference between military-trained personnel and a good competition shooter.

Botswana Defence Force Marksmanship Programs

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CPT Letsomo of the Botswana Defence Force


An overview of marksmanship programs in the BDF.
“You have to start right now!”

Competition Makes the World Go ‘Round

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“If the question is whether you should compete, then the answer is yes. If the question is when, the answer is now. NOTHING will take your training to the next level the way training for a competition will.”

Competition makes EVERYTHING better. Period. The simple act of someone trying to do a job better than another person leads to dramatic increases in work productivity. It drives performance in business, causes students to “compete” in education for awards and scholarships, instigates guys to fight over the most attractive women, has given us the Super Bowl, and has led to the $1 double cheeseburger – all great things.

Our history has been painted with the importance of competition. There was a day when our lives depended on it. We competed with other men for the best women. We competed to kill food to provide for our family. We competed to be predator and not prey.

Competition is what our country was founded on. Capitalism, democracy, an entire government, built upon the shoulders of competition. It has contributed greatly to the United States being the most powerful nation in the world. Consider also, ironically, that in the few places where competition was allowed to thrive in the Soviet Republic, it succeeded. Communism and Socialism are founded on a non-competitive world view. It is the antithesis of Democracy. And while a society, government, and economy built upon a lack of competition failed, the two places where competition was encouraged – the space program and the Olympics – succeeded incredibly well for the USSR.

We now live in a country where everyone has a sense of entitlement, part of which is learned though the “everyone is a winner” mentality. We no longer keep scores in elementary-level sports, and every kid on the team gets a trophy and a ribbon. We actually had the mom of a 3rd grade kid who participated in our “field day” last spring call up the superintendent of our school, infuriated because her son did not receive a ribbon when she saw that only 1st through 3rd place students were awarded ribbons in their various events. Anti-competitive viewpoints such as this, coupled with the pussification of America, is leading us down a dangerous and emasculating path.

Lack of competition is the single biggest problem with our public school system. There are no incentives for one school district to be better than the next district down the road, no incentives for teachers to be excellent, and no incentives for the students to compete and perform. As a middle school Industrial Technology teacher, I became frustrated a few years ago with the quality of the balsa wood bridge projects my students were building. The simple act of changing the project to a competition – where the bridge that held the most weight got the highest grade in the class and a small gift certificate to a restaurant in town, and the one who held the least got the worst the grade – dramatically improved the design, quality, and craftsmanship of the bridges all-around. Competition gave the project a purpose.

– Matt Reynolds


Special Operations Find Competition Shooting Valuable

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Competition produces better performance. Special Operations personnel know this. Everyone in the know does as well. Only the ignorant or people with an agenda wrongly claim otherwise.

Master Sgt. Scott Satterlee says the military could learn a lot from civilians
View story at Medium.com

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