Is Competition Training?

What I initially sought out by learning how to use a firearm was to get into the whole running and gunning competition thing. I got inspired by watching videos of these competitive shooters on YouTube taking down paper targets, steel plates, and flying clays. I was more so impressed with the speed these guys were going at.

Since then, I’ve started learning the firearms in a basic manner. Just the fundamentals to get me started. But somewhere along my education and training, I realized that I wasn’t as good as my imagination led me to believed. In fact, I really sucked at shooting, both in the manner of competition and defensive.

My speed is lacking and my accuracy aren’t something worth bragging about. Still, as I dove more into the art of self-defense, I realize that I had to change the way I was thinking about carrying firearms. So my mantra and way of thinking started to shift more to a defensive carry. While some of the classes that I’ve taken could be considered “tactical”, I was more concerned about the mindset the instructors were emphasizing when it comes to self-protection or my family.


This year took a different course. I’ve decided to start using competitive shooting to supplement my fundamentals and the training that I’ve gain over the last couple of years. In fact, I haven’t been taking any real training classes this year, in regards to defensive shooting. With that said, I’ve learned that competitive shooting has both its good and bad.

Is It About The Ego and Fancy Shirts?

If you’ve hung out with certain “hardcore competitive” shooters, you’re probably going to hear to some extent that competitive shooting is “real world training”. If you don’t believe them, then you need to recognize all those named “sponsors” on their shirts. Cause we all know having “sponsors” on your shirts is your accolades of your worth as a “competent” shooter.

Hang around a lot of “tactical” shooters, you’ll hear that competition shooting is not real world training. That’s because no one “tactical” will sport a chest rig filled with nothing but 100 plus rounds of #8 12 gauge birdshot strapped all across the rig with no armor and nothing else. Meanwhile, these are the same dudes that show up all kitted out with armor plates, ballistic helmets, and drop leg rig at a fundamentals pistol course while wearing a tactical man-dress kilt.

So which is it? What is considered training and what is considered gaming? More importantly, what kind of impact will this have on one’s self when he/she decides to walk that line of a gamer and a tactical shooter?

In short, the answer is simply this, if it’s the only thing to take away from both of these type of events:

In reality, the most common thing that both competition and tactical shooting offers is the opportunity to refine and work on your fundamentals of marksmanship.

That is it. From my limited experience, this is what I was able to find as a common shared skill between both styles. In the next article, I will break it down further and dive into some of the training scars that I’ve experienced and have seen reoccurring at any of these events.

Until then, to be continued…