Classification and Divisions

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Attendance fall off at organized shooting events is the biggest problem facing advancing gun owner skill and improving the perception of gun ownership by the general public. Ignorant gun owners scoff about not caring what their non-gun owning neighbors think while ignoring the fact that pro-gun initiatives would be much easier if those neighbors had a reason to hold a positive opinion on it.

As it stands today, only 2% of the card-carrying NRA membership has never attended a NRA Sanctioned or Approved event. Back in the early 1960s, this was over 30%. Worse, the raw number has declined from a high of about 130,000 participants to around 95,000 today.

Part of that attendance fall off is shooters deciding to take up a different discipline. Camp Perry attendance peaked in the early 1960s and that was when rifle shooters could only choose between High Power or Smallbore and Pistol was Bullseye (or perhaps PPC if you were a cop.) I know some shooters in traditional disciplines don’t like the new options but I’d rather have gun owners participating in something that appeals to them than not at all.

Equipment isn’t the biggest factor concerning score but it is a factor. I’d address this by expanding the Classification system and equipment Divisions. Five or six skill groups for all shooters isn’t broad enough. High school sports have more than this and that doesn’t take Little League/Pop Warner/Pee Wee leagues, Junior Varsity, and other local leagues into account. College, semi-pro, and pro are entirely different groups with their own strata.

A competitive shooter “disadvantaged” by equipment but consistently capable of shooting a given score is at no real disadvantage when assessed in a peer group of people consistently shooting similar scores regardless of the reason why.

Add to this recognition of different equipment. As an example, USPSA has about six recognized divisions (it might be more by the time I finish this email) and it makes for a diverse group of options where almost any handgun can find a competitive role.

To keep some sanity and avoiding a “trophies for everyone!” issue, I’d only recognize a given division or classification if there is at least a minimum number of participants (say, about 6 or more for local matches) so there is a sort of mini match inside the match that is competitive for each group.

FWIW, but experience indicates the NRA doesn’t seem terribly interested in furthering their shooting sports by increasing participation. Their own membership base is a 98% no-show

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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

Competition Will Get You Killed On The Streets?

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https://primaryandsecondary.com/competition-will-get-you-killed-on-the-streets/

Choice cuts from a great article at Primary and Secondary

-Is mission planning not a thing anymore?
-Are mission rehearsals not a thing anymore?
-Is having ISR units recce targets and conducting recce handovers to the assault force not a thing anymore?

People who cannot differentiate between competition tactics and small unit tactics are probably not good at either.

Why is it relevant that competition shooters cannot perform at their best level while wearing a basic load, to include PPE? Can most “tactical dudes” perform as well as competition guys using competition gear? Most likely they would get smoked.

Bottom line, don’t get too wrapped up in being tactical or what not. Understand that different principles apply when shooting a match than when you are doing break contact drills in rural terrain.

Creating a divide seems pointless, and only serves to keep people away from an activity that could help them become better shooters. I know that my shooting has improved, with no detriment to my “tactical abilities”.

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

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http://www.guns.com/review/training-the-value-of-competition-shooting-to-your-type-of-shooting/

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.”

SACRA Competitor Overview

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Civilians, South African National Defence Force (SANDF) enlisted and commissioned, Department of Correctional Services, and the South African Police Service compete at provincial and national competitions around the country.

New Zealand Service Rifle

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http://www.sportsground.co.nz/nzservicerifle

An overview of competitive shooting with members of the New Zealand Service Rifle Association.

Johan Horn, SAPS Armourer

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Johan Horn, a police officer and armourer with the South African Police Service discusses setting up R4, R5, and Galil rifles for Service Conditions competition.

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