My friend Kathy Jackson had an interesting post on Facebook this week. She’s one of the pre-eminent firearms trainers out there today, specializing in training women on the safe use of firearms, and I take her opinions very seriously.
In some parts of the shooting world, it is popular to say that competition shooting “will get you killed on the street.” You know what will really get you killed on the street? Not knowing how to effectively draw and use your gun!
When competition encourages you to practice important gunhandling skills that your range otherwise won’t allow, like drawing from concealment or shooting very fast or shooting multiple targets, and also lets you test those skills under time and performance stress, it is a good thing. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
(Nuance: just be sure you are practicing techniques that are also friendly for self defense and not *only* appropriate for competition. And remember that in both venues, you must know the rules of the road before you drive the gun.)
I’ve never felt that competing in practical pistol or 3 gun has interfered in any way with my tactical training. If anything, it’s made me a better student. Every single stage in a competition is a new challenge: There is no “Ok, I got this, I can stop learning now” moment in competition, because you will lose if you try that during a match. You are always watching your hits, thinking about your movement and trying to plan what to do next during a stage, and that same mindset comes in very handy when learning a new self-defense technique.
Plus there is the element of stress inoculation. Every self-defense class I’ve been in has had an element of competition, be it directly as in a one-on-one shoot off, or indirectly, to see if you can deliver the shot when needed. 8 years of competition has pretty much made me immune to the stress of having to deliver the shot when needed in a class, but will that same immunity show up if, God forbid, I need it on the street?
Dunno, and I hope I never find out. I do know I’d rather go into such a thing with a measure of confidence and the ability to adapt quickly than without such things.