NEW SHOOTER!! Competition Shooting Practice Help


December 26, 2010, 02:14 PM

I'm new to this forum and fairly new to shooting. I'm using a Smith and Wesson M&P40 and have been shooting for about a year now (~500-700 rds). I'm looking into competition shooting and the more I read the more I like the idea of it, and the more questions I have.

What is the Tyro course? And my biggest quesion is WHAT/HOW to practice?!?!

Right now I shoot at 18" x 4" x 4" (L xW x Depth) and I'm approx 10-12 yds away. I dont know of any drills or anything like that so anything would be helpful and Youtube videos would be GREAT!



If you enjoyed reading about "NEW SHOOTER!! Competition Shooting Practice Help" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
December 26, 2010, 03:08 PM
nskyline34, welcome to THR!

There's a Competition Shooting category -

From NRA's Action Pistol Shooting Competition website -
Courses of Fire
There are currently 16 recognized courses of fire for record, plus a Tyro course. The Tyro course is designed, as an option, to allow tournament sponsors to test the proficiency of a brand-new shooter, who must complete this course before participating in any of the record courses. The following courses of fire have been approved by the NRA Action Shooting Committee.

* The Tyro Course is divided into three stages with three targets per stage, a total of 24 shots. All firing is from 10 yards. This course of fire must be successfully completed by all newcomers before advancing to record matches.

December 26, 2010, 03:35 PM
Right now I shoot at 18" x 4" x 4" (L xW x Depth) and I'm approx 10-12 yds away. I dont know of any drills or anything like that so anything would be helpful
I think attending some local USPSA/IDPA pistol matches and observing how the matches are run/course of fire is probably my best recommendation for getting yourself started. Google USPSA/IDPA and your city/county to locate the various clubs and matches. Most match stages are setup with stationary cardboard targets at 7-25 yards but some will also include swingers/pneumatic/railed moving targets. Match shooting requires deliberate practice specific to each stage type (ask to volunteer with stage setup and you can see how the stages are set up and get free tips from other shooters). I practice with 1/2 sheet of 8x11 copy paper as my targets set at 7-20 yards. Start out at 7 yards and practice your double taps and move them out as you become more proficient.

Check out these Todd Jarret and US Army training video for competition shooting.

Todd Jarret -
US Army -

December 26, 2010, 03:50 PM
A timer is a great purchase as with most drills you don't really know how your doing until you put your scores against the clock. It also makes for better pratice as you can set clearly judge your progress during range sessions, instead of just turning money into noise ;)

Link to the FASTest below with PDF of target you can print off on legal paper. little rough for new shooters, but gives a good score of where your at, and you can print the targets off at home to save money.

Like reloading USPSA/IDPA is something I kick myself for not getting involved in when I was much younger. Shot my first match at 38 and have been addicted ever since.

December 26, 2010, 06:15 PM
I usually drill beginning students on 8" plates (6" centers) and work down to a 3"x5" card while building pace to shooting 4-5 shots per second.

My recommendation is to go to your local club and see if they have a New Shooter's Orientation Class (usually pretty affordable at $25-35) to get a feel for the commands, procedures and distances you'll be shooting at.

Than if you want to become better, I'd recommend a shooting (not tactical or gaming) class to learn to shoot more accurately and faster (~$200/day in a group class)

December 26, 2010, 06:30 PM
Check if you have an indoor range. Most run a night fun match each week and is good cheap weekly practice

December 29, 2010, 12:05 PM
Wow thanks guys! I'm looking into all of these ideas as they come so keep 'em comin!!!


Hk Dan
December 29, 2010, 03:19 PM
<chuckles> Just go shoot one. They'll have a new shooter brief (if they're smart) at the match, so go early. You might call the local contact guyand chit chat for a minute, see what the local club is doing, what to bring, what they have at the facility, etc. But shoot the first match. Don't waste time observing, go SHOOT IT.

Predictions: You will be shocked at how good some of them are. You will be stunned at how your brain turns to mush on your first stage. I shot mine clean, but couldn'[t recall one single sight picture (it was a fixed time El Pres, and I got 5 targets in 6 seconds with a reload. I wasn't happy, but that was enough to place second, behind Iowa's only GM) GO SHOOT IT.

When you're done, every time you close your eyes you'll see the sights bouncing up in recoil on a metric target. Your pulse will pound as you remembermoving from firing position to firing position. Dude, it's more fun than human beings should be allowed to have, but you have to go shoot it to have the fun. Start now!

David E
December 29, 2010, 03:34 PM
A couple things to practice for IDPA/USPSA competition:

Unless you're actively shooting, KEEP YOUR FINGER OUT OF THE TRIGGERGUARD!! (not off the trigger, but OUT of the guard)

Don't violate the 180. IE; if you're facing downrange with the gun out, practice moving left and right without coming 90 degrees past the direction you're moving. Imagine a bungee cord coming out of the muzzle attached to the backstop and keep the gun pointed more downrange than not.

Once you have that down, practice doing a RELOAD while moving in each direction.

For your first match, reload BEFORE you move to the next position so you can control your muzzle with your full attention.

December 29, 2010, 08:23 PM
For your first match, reload BEFORE you move to the next position so you can control your muzzle with your full attention

You're giving away secrets again :D

I agree, don't try to go too fast the first'll almost always be moving faster than you think...remember safety first

December 29, 2010, 09:41 PM
Remember, smooth is fast.

After you learn the various stage set up and course of fire, do not rush but mentally do a slow "walk through" from start to finish. Asking to help with stage set up/take down will also allow you the opportunity to walk the stages if there is time (depends on the club, so ask).

Imagine in slow motion how you would engage each target and smoothly move between targets without running out of ammo (yes, you'll need to anticipate your reload points to shave off even more time). If you are able to reload with a round in the chamber, you will shave off additional precious seconds.

One of many things that really help a new match shooter is to have your stages video recorded. Like reviewing a football game, watching yourself shoot a stage will reveal a ton of information as to what you did right and wrong. When I first reviewed my video, I saw myself doing a lot of sight adjustments and not moving through the targets smoothly. Not having to adjust/repeat any movement will shave a lot of time.

You will find that most match shooters are very approachable and willing to share (there are exceptions, but rare). They are great resources to tap into. Have them watch you shoot and welcome their constructive criticism - believe me, they'll see everything you do wrong. If you are able to correct your deficiencies, they'll become your best friends.

If you have room in your garage or back yard, you can setup mock ups of stages and practice your walk through in person.

Did somebody already cover have lots of fun?

December 30, 2010, 12:29 AM
Everyone above is correct. Follow their advice.

I'll add: Know the gun handling, loading and firing safety requirements "FIRST".
Tell them it's your first time , and ask them to be gentle.
Ask, Listen, and Watch.
GO Slow and SMOOTH the first time or two. SMOOTH is the only way to be fast. The speed will come with experience.
Learn the right way the first time. It's way easier than having to "UN"learn the wrong way.
Don't even try it if you're not prepaired to become addicted.

I was almost 60 when I started. I'll be 65 next year; and as long as I can hobble out there, I'll be there enjoying the rush.

Didn't bds already say, enjoy it!

If you enjoyed reading about "NEW SHOOTER!! Competition Shooting Practice Help" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!