Defensive v. Competitive ShootingSteven Lieberman
Defensive v. Competitive Shooting.
A few months back I was having dinner with Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in Scottsdale Az.
(Yeah…. I’m name dropping, but go with me for a second.)
Grossman in his seminars talks about developing hobbies that reinforce the skill sets that are necessary to prevail in a defensive shooting.
Such hobbies include hunting and competitive shooting.
(Golf… according to Grossman is a completely worthless endeavor and a golf course by definition is a willful misuse of a perfectly good rifle range.)
We were talking about my daughters deer hunt in October of last year and Grossman lit up.
He argues that hunting creates an automatic inoculation against some of the negative stresses of combat.
Since the hunter is being exposed to the “realities of life” in a positive environment, seeing those same “realities” in a post combat environment does not seem to create the same psychic scars many non-hunters experience.
While I’m not sure there is any empirical data to necessarily support this conclusion there does definitely appear to be a ton of anecdotal stories.
What about the other hobby: competitive shooting?
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At first blush this would seem like an obvious thing.
If you want to be a better shooter…. do activities that require you to… well… be a better shooter.
I am a huge fan of competitive shooting… especially long distance shooting, but we need to be aware of the types of training scars that can come of it.
If the only shooting you do involves standing static and facing down range, your default under stress is going to be to stand static and face “downrange”.
If you practice at a range with house rules that don’t allow Hammer Drills, or Combat Loads, guess what:You’re not training for muscle memory responses in Hammer Drills, or Combat loads.
If you are a dedicated competitive shooter that MUST follow very specific range rules and reload rules that mandate a methodology that scarifies efficiency for safety.
You need to be aware that you are developing training scars, and must take proactive steps to neutralize or minimize those scars.
Am I suggesting giving up on competitive shooting?
Of course not!
You just need to be aware of what is happening.
The advantages, both physical and psychological that comes from high intensity competitive shooting in my opinion far out weigh the negative training scars.
That does not mean that they don’t exist, and as such must be dealt with.
We had a competitive shooter in one of our recent CCW classes.
This guy was good.
His ability to put lead on target was consistent, and his fundamentals when it came to presentation, sight picture and trigger press were all top notch.
But his reloads needed work.
Since he cannot bring his gun into his workspace to effectuate a reload during a competitive match, he would not bring his gun into his workspace to do a tac load during our training.
Here is the thing:This was not a competitive pistol type class.
This was a : “Holy Crap! That dude is trying to kill me and I need to use this gun to stop him RIGHT NOW, and now I think I may have gotten him because he is not shooting back, but I better reload just in case he is still in the fight or he has friends and I’m not sure how many rounds I have left so I better keep this partially used magazine in case I need it later.” Type class.
He would try, to follow along but would constantly revert to his competitive shooting protocols.
The pressure of knowing that there were “eyes” on him forced him to revert back to the lowest level of training.
Read that as: the most used repetitive exercises.
If you are going to go to a range with specific non combative range rules, or become an active participant in competitive or