Jan 15, 2011

Tom Gresham On Competition Shooting

Words of wisdom from Tom Gresham, http://www.guntalk.com

How to be a better shot? Compete!

Every shooter wants to be better. More accurate. Break more targets. Reduce the time on a stage of action shooting. So, how do you do it?

Sure, practice is important. Lots of trigger time will make a big difference.Getting instruction will fast-track your improvement. But getting into competition is a surefire way of getting better.

Competition is the engine driving improvement in everything: business, sports, dating, engineering, and certainly shooting. Shooting by yourself at the range can take you only so far. Working with an instructor always makes you better. Getting into competitive shooting, though, gives you purpose, and with purpose you have motivation to do everything better.

If you are a shotgunner, try trap, skeet or sporting clays. Rifle shooters have metallic silhouette, traditional high power and rimfire events, international style shooting, long range competitions, and more. Handgunners can go all the way from bullseye to international (Olympic style), to practical police to Steel Challenge to the action pistol events such as USPSA and IDPA.

For a bucket of fun, there’s three-gun competition, where you shoot handgun, rifle (usually AR-15 platform), and shotguns. This is defensive-style run and gun shooting, so don’t expect wingshooting to play much a part.

Why competition? Even if you are just into a local shooting league for fun, competing drives the focus. You pay more attention when shooting in competition. You develop the ability to maintain your focus over a long string of shooting. That might be a run in IDPA – taking a few seconds – or a 250-bird shootoff in trap. When you compete, you also begin to practice with purpose. You’ll find others you can shoot with, and through that, you learn techniques which make you better.

You also shoot at events with people who are much better than you are. Don’t underestimate the value of watching top shooters in action. They move, shoot and think differently, and if you pay attention, you’ll learn. Besides, there are no secrets. Other competitors usually are quick to share ideas and tips.

Every shooting discipline has an organization that controls competition. Google is your friend, here. Put in “action shooting competition” or “sporting clays” and you’ll find the organizers. Add your city or state to the search and you’ll find events and locations near you.

You know what the hardest part is? Showing up the first time. Here’s the key to making it easy: Call the shooting range, talk to the manager, and say, “Hi, I’m new at this. How do I get started?”

That’s it. Magic. If it’s pistol, rifle, shotgun, or all three, you just opened the door to being a better shooter. You also began the process of making friends with a lot of people who share your passions and your values.

Oh, one other thing. Many shooting sports have classifications, so you won’t be shooting against the world champions (even though you may be at the same events). There are classifications for your shooting ability and even your age. As you improve, you’ll move up to a higher classification. Sounds complicated, but the governing bodies of the sports handle it all for you.

Find a range, find a sport, make the call, and get into competitive shooting.

Jan 1, 2011

Colonel Rex Applegate on Point Shooting

What does Rex Applegate have to say about Point Shooting?

The late Colonel Rex Applegate is still referred to as a point shooting authority. In fact, most point shooting advocates today are influenced by, if not outright copying, Applegate’s methods. During World War II, then 2nd Lieutenant Applegate was tasked with adapting the training being given to British Commando forces for use by OSS agents. Applegate’s methodology was published in his 1943 book Kill or Get Killed. Here’s a quote.

“[T]o say that skill with a hand-gun acquired in the usual kind of target shooting is not desirable for the man who principally carries his gun for use in combat is a mistake. … Target training and combat firing are both needed to make a proficient, all-around combat shot…”

Regarding police training specifically Applegate said,

“Aimed, accurate fire (single or double action) has a definite place in police combat training. After bull’s-eye target accuracy is achieved, the police trainee should then be projected into practical police-type combat ranges, where he shoots at silhouettes under simulated conditions such as he may encounter during routing performance of his many and varied duties.”

You read that right. The man that remains the poster child of point shooting felt that aimed group shooting, on bullseye targets no less, was an important component of combat handgun training. It would seem the point shooting advocates that copy him so often never bothered to actually read his book!

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