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Practical shooting competition is fun: but are there practical benefits?

By Dave Anderson
American Handgunner 
Practical shooting competition had its roots in the late 1950s. Itdeveloped into unrestricted, freestyle competition, encouraging shooters to come up with creative solutions. Jeff Cooper was the first torealize its value as a research and learning tool. By analyzing and publicizing which techniques worked best, Cooper initiated a revolution in defensive handgun shooting.

To give a basic example, practical shooting competition proved conclusively two hands on the gun was the best way to deliver an accurate shot fast with a full-power handgun. This seems self-evident today,but it was not always so. Check out old cop shows such as The Untouchables or The FBI, or the one-hand crouch position in old gun magazines--like Handgunner!

Competition proved the auto pistol could be made reliable, and it was easier to shoot well. Many factors influenced the law enforcementswitch from six-shot revolvers to high capacity autos. How big a role competition played can be argued, but it was undoubtedly a factor. Autos are the overwhelming choice of today's cops, and I know several, whose pistols are equipped with compact optical sights.

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