Olympic Shooting and the value of sport

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Recent interest in #rio2016 Olympics resurected a post about whether shooting is a real sport:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/is-shooting-a-real-sport/

Interestingly, Duelling has been a competitive shooting event.

One of the lesser known Olympic events, pistol dueling was a popular sport in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was certainly not the deadly past time of generations earlier, where young gentlemen killed each other over matters of honor. Rather pistol dueling had transformed in a safe sport. Conventional pistols were used, however they fired cartridges with wax bullets which lacked gunpowder, the wax bullet being propelled by the force of the primer only. Contestant wore a mask to protect the face, and the pistols had special shields to protect the user’s hands.

Pistol dueling was introduced in the 1906 Olympics, but was discontinued after the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. A poll conducted before the 2000 Sydney Olympics showed that 32 percent of respondents would like to see dueling pistols reinstated as a sport.

So force on force was used as a competition shooting event in the Olympics over a century ago. Here’s yet another example of competition shooters doing something long before tactical types found it cool.

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Force-on-force Gunfight Training: The Interactive, Reality-Based Solution

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In this book the author compares dry practice to shadow boxing, live shooting to the heavy bag and force-on-force to sparring. I think that is a perfect analogy. All are equally important and a skilled boxer will use them all. As a shooter/trainer whose primary experience is in organized competition I recognize the need for training on a target that reacts and shoots back. Suarez’s approach is a good way to get started.

Range training with a thorough grounding in fundamentals will always be key. Too many “high speed” types fail to do so and try to justify range performance failures instead of acknowledging and amending a lack of measurable shooting skill. The ignorant bleating of “games’ll getcha killed” to justify low scores is a typical cover excuse.

On the other hand, no matter how skillful at range exercises one becomes, there is a need to go hands on. This book defines five levels of simulation, with each level have a series of drills. I think most shooters will find the first level, Line Drills, to be most educational. Ten Line Drills are described, each one based on typical range exercises, but the guns are replaced with Airsoft/Simunitions and targets with live role players. The live fire (heavy bag) training is critical but the dynamic changes when the “targets” can now move and react. Suarez emphasizes the importance of avoiding childish “bang bang, you’re dead” games and suggests controls to prevent that, especially as the later simulation levels build the complexity.

There are other methods of conducting force-on-force training but Suarez’s methods are sound and this book is a good, inexpensive primer on the topic.

 

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