Firearms Competition: A Driving Force to Officer Survival
Serious participation in competitive shooting enhances your chances of survival while on duty. In fact, each competition you participate in is a step in the right direction, driving you toward improvement, and making you more prepared for the hazards of law enforcement.
The skills, knowledge and attitude which are required to handle firearms safely, confidently and accurately during competition are the same skills, knowledge and attitude that are essential to all armed law enforcement officers while on the job. The fundamental proficiency and wisdom that you gain during firearm competitions are invaluable to your livelihood.
At the risk of dating myself, an experience early in my career shows an example of one of the ways in which competition drives training. After making a pretty good showing at some local matches, I borrowed a 6” revolver with adjustable sights and entered the NRA National Police Revolvers Championships. I shot the first six rounds, unloaded and I dug into my right front pants pocket to grab six loose bullets. I thought I was pretty fast when I finished my first six, and started to reload the next six loose rounds.
To my surprise, a New York City police officer, on the next target to my right, had already started shooting his second six shots before I was able to reload the first two cartridges in my empty cylinder. I almost panicked. I thought that I had lost all sense of time! Finally, when that stage was over, I asked him: “How did you reload so quickly?”
His reply: “Don’t you have speedloaders?” I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, but you can bet your boots that before I left that competition, I had speedloaders too. This is just one example of how we learn from others while at competitive events. New equipment, new techniques; new methods of shooting the various stages and positions are always cropping up, and these improvements always show up first at firearms competitions. I saw this personally, and as a result of my competitive experiences, my own department discarded our traditional dump pouches from our duty belts, and replaced them with speed loaders for all troopers.
Those old revolvers and speedlloaders have long ago been replaced by semiautomatic pistols with 16-round magazines, and dedicated lights and new holsters. However, today, just as in the past, new weapons and accessories are constantly being tested in the ultimate proving ground–firearms competitions which require competitors to use equipment that is carried while on duty. Officers who enter these matches get to see how the equipment works in actual operation, another benefit of competition. And, more importantly, they get to see this happen while they are under the real-time stress of competition. If you want to learn how to do something the right way, ask an expert.
Firearms competitions have their own brand of experts — they are the ones with the best scores. Shooting champions are normally more than happy to answer a few questions. All you have to do is be friendly and be a good listener. They will normally share their secrets with you, if you approach them properly with respect to their concentration and preparation time for the match itself.
United States Practical Shooting
National Rifle Association Competitions Division
International Defensive Pistol
MGM Ironman Match
Superstition Mountain Mystery 3-Gun
D & L Sports
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