By TTC Partner Sam Callahan, Callahan Training Group

“Competition”, “Action”, “Performance Shooting”…..there’s a lot of fancy words for it now. I’ve become known as a “Competition Shooter” in the general sense, but my full-time career is in Firearms Instruction and Training. I own and run a company that primarily trains the Average gun owner and Law Enforcement/Military Professionals, as well as Competition shooters. Not JUST competition, even though that is where I started for me…and its where I encourage people to dabble. You don’t need to become a champion but trying the world of competition should be an experience any gun owner should feel.

So, WHY does Competition shooting stand out so vibrantly? Why does EVERYONE know who Jerry Miculek is? Well at the end of the day, all levels are shooters are measured against the performance standards of competition shooters. What is the highest level of skill that can be squeezed out of any given gun? Well, we look to the Competitors. The “Drag Racers” of the gun world, they prove what CAN and CAN NOT be done with firearms, period. Limit off human capability, gear ability, and the envelope gets pushed further every year. No ego, no “tactics” or “this is the way it used to be…” discussion…just raw skill, dedication, and pushing limits.

The comparison I like to draw to these Competition Shooters that they’re just as valuable to the gun world as race car drivers are to the car world. Why? Whether you know it or not, the guys racing things like NASCAR are doing more research and data collection on car performance than nearly anyone else. Your Tires, Fuel, Air Filters, even the sensors in your car…they all get better each year due to people who go out and push the limits. So Firstly, THAT is one of the biggest credits that should be given to the National and World Champion level shooters…showing us what CAN and CAN NOT be done, and that simply training and fundamentals are the way to get there.

Well, what about the AVERAGE guy? The guy reading this going “Well, I never intend to go chase down my State title. Why bother with this kind of shooting?”…Competition Shooting is where people have the BIGGEST and most profound breakthroughs not only in their physical shooting… but their mindset. Figuring out how to run their Gun SUBCONSCIOUSLY, while concentrating on a task. THAT is why Competition shooting will make you better. Sure, in a sterile environment like an indoor range, you can shoot. But what if a challenge is presented in which you have to think? Much like a home invasion, or self-defense encounter? Your Conscious mind will be on the threat, can your Subconscious run your gun? Can you Align sights and press triggers smoothly under stress? Competition Shooters can, or are at the very least are more familiar with the feeling.

That brings me to the STANDARDS of Competition Shooting. Knowing the metrics of your draw, your reload, etc. are all great marks of measuring your progress. But as far as a Practical skill…why would that be Important. Confidence. Confidence in knowing I can do something the FIRST time, at a certain Metric I’m confident of, due to repetition and experience. A very Prominent figure in the Defensive world goes to say “There 100% is a timer in every gunfight” Meaning knowing the Metrics of human Reactionary Gap, and knowing the Time of your Draw from a COLD standard…those are 2 very important numbers to know if you’re ever going to carry your pistol in a self-defense capacity. Below is an excellent visual example of why knowing your metrics are important ALWAYS

In closing, it’s always up to the END USER to be confident and comfortable with their gun. Yes, it is your right to arm and defend yourself, but it is your DUTY to be knowledgeable and trained in the deployment of your gear. I simply present that Competition Shooting is one of the absolute best ways to master your gear and become confident in your metrics and capabilities. And at the end of the day, we can tip our hats to those guys shooting 50-100,000 rounds a year for testing what DOES and DOES NOT work under stress. So go start to Dryfire, and jump on and find a competition near you. I have never met a person who REGRETS trying competition shooting….except for maybe their wallets sake….