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This page is strictly to inform people. If I can get one person to get out and train then its a success. This isn’t meant to make anyone feel bad but I do have some strong opinions on the matter of training. If you are MIL/LEO or carry, you have an obligation to get out and do some firearms training. In my opinion if you are LEO or MIL shooting is the most critical task because it has the potential to have the most severe consequences if you’re not proficient.
Leave your ego at the door. “Ego is not your amigo.”
Just by strapping a gun on your waist doesn’t make you prepared.
In a lot of MIL and LE we have a problem with ego. We are told we are the best over an over and over. This may come as a reality check. But we’re not. When it comes time to go out to a competition we get crushed by some fat real estate agent. And its a shocker. So from here you have 2 options: 1) Let your ego take over and never go back or 2) make the decision to train and get better.
Frank Proctor - “Competitive Shooting is quantifiable. It is easy to identify your deficiencies when shooting competitively.”
I cant claim the credit here on this one: “I don’t believe in luck, i believe in faster split times.”
You’re never going to challenge yourself and progress if you keep shooting the same easy thing on a flat range. One thing I really like about competitive shooting is it forces you to shoot from very awkward positions at times. In order to be successful in combat or LE we have to fight from the positions we have, not necessarily the positions we want.
I started competitive shooting in order to get better. If you want to learn from the best shooters in the world, I’ll tell you right now that they’re not military or law enforcement. They’re civilians.
Aaron Cowan from Sage Dynamics - “The difference between competition and self defense is the scenario. A stage is a long drill. Its not a scenario. Its working on core competencies so that when i need to engage tactics, I’m not thinking about trigger press and the dot, or the sights, or when a malfunction occurs the wheels fall off. Everything is executed subconsciously so that i can use my mind to figure out the rest of the (tactical) situation.”
“Competency leads to confidence. Proficiency takes repetition and consistency.” Usually in military operations and executing warrants etc. we undergo this long planning process. Plans are always subject to change. The enemy always has a vote. If we are proficient at the basics it doesn’t matter if the plan goes slightly off track. We can still execute all the skill level 1 tasks required to complete the mission because we’ve done them 100’s-1,000’s of times. Under extreme stress we revert back to our level of training. We don’t rise to our expectations.
USPSA Handbook Rules Handbook 2019 - “Accuracy, power and speed are equivalent elements of practical shooting and competition must be conducted in a such a way as to evaluate these elements equally.”
There is also the competitive element to a course of fire where it is done under time. Which adds stress inoculation. This is important. We need to be executing firearm manipulations under stress in order for it to be relevant training. The more reps we get the better.
During a course of fire during a competitive setting all these things are graded and then plugged into a tablet against all the other competitors. You work on flash sight picture, hard on the sights, shooting on the move, shooting weak hand, strong hand, shoot advancing, backing up, super awkward body positions. You’re out of your comfort zone and forced to shoot in ways given the scenario, props, and barricades. A normal USPSA match consists of about 6 stages (scenarios), requiring about 150-200 rounds. Major matches are usually quite a bit more. About 350-400 rounds shot over about 12 stages and a two day format.
Episode 99 FNP featuring Ron Avery - “Shooting is a fine motor skill, you’re only moving your rigger finger not your whole hand. you’re training yourself to operate extreme fine motor skills in a deadly force situation where it matters. whether you’re a shooterr or a LE or military, you can learn skills and cross train, from leo, from mil from competition. Take those mental skills that we use to produce peak performers. And put those in gun fights in situations, mentally manage emotions, target the right emotions, get the right values, to condition your mind, to always do what you’ve trained yourself to do. What you believe in, what you live, and what becomes your identity. And if you’re not ready to assume that identity you’re not prepared. Just strapping on a gun does not make you a performer. And you have to become a performer not just a shooter.
I’ve hard the saying competition will get you killed. If all you do is compete, you’re lopsided. But if you use competition and put in what you’ve learned as a person, you’ve put in your training, you’ve put in your tactical skills, you’re gonna be better than the guy that just does one or the other.
Learning never stops…LE and military qualifies 1-4 times a year roughly. They shoot similar courses. The time limits are fairly generous. They get do-overs if they fail. All these things lead to people that aren’t that well trained and they go against people that shoot for fun, that shoot on a weekly basis or 2-3 times a week. And these guys shoot only 1-4 times a year. They cant even begin to hang with people like that. they dont even have the volume of training under their belt. They feel well im a cop and your’e not. Time out guys. Lets not let ego put blinders on us. Heres an analogy. We are going to get in really good shape but lift weights only 4 times a year but you’re gonna get really strong, flexible and fast. Its just not going to happen.”
Where do I start?
Dry Fire - Dry fire is an absolute must. It must be implemented into your training regiment. I think it is equally valuable as live fire training. You can see what the sights and the gun are doing when manipulating the trigger. Some things are covered up or just not noticed when a controlled explosion is going off in your hand.
There are a lot of books out there that will help develop skills. Any of the Ben Stoeger Books I would recommend. Get a timer. This is important. “The timer doesn’t lie.” All the Ben Stoeger books are great because they have par times for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skill levels. Also any of the Steve Anderson books are good from what I’ve heard. I have not personally used any of them.
Live Fire - I try to get out and conduct at least 1 live fire training session a week. If time, money, ammo allows I will get out more. A lot of the time I dry fire a few 30 minute sessions per day during the week and then get out and shoot a match on Saturday and/or Sunday.
Matches - A lot of people think that they have to be at a certain skill level to go shoot a match. They are hesitant to go because they don’t think they’re good enough. This is simply not true. Everyone starts somewhere. One of the absolute constants I have seen across competitive shooting is the quality of people you meet. Everyone there is willing to help you regardless of skill level.
Practiscore.com is a good resource to find matches in your area. USPSA.com is also another one.
Podcasts - If I’m traveling or driving I might as well listen to something and educate myself. Here are a few podcasts I listen to that I think are pretty good:
Firearms Nation Podcast
Vortex Nation Podcast
Armed American Podcast
Shoot Fast Podcast
Practical Shooting After Dark