Why do you participate in shooting matches?


Smokin Gator
March 12, 2011, 06:37 PM
There's now a second topic being discussed about why shooters don't participate in shooting matches. Let's see why people do choose to participate in matches.

It is true that you may go to a match for 4 or 5 hours to shoot for a couple of minutes. I find that the opportunity to shoot the varied types of stages and the different targets that most clubs have available in a timed and scored event has helped improve my shooting and gun handling. This includes shooting on the move and around barriers.

I also just enjoy the heck out of the matches too. All of the disciplines have things that could be improved, but I find the benefits of the ones that I participate in far outweigh the negative aspects that they may have.

As far as costs go, some people really are stretched to the last dime and can't afford to participate. Others could afford it but have other priorities. I could have spent $15,000 more on a bigger fancier truck, than my Tacoma, that does what I need, but some people want that big truck, even if they don't actually need it. We don't spend a lot of money on some things that others do, going out to dinner, top of the line cell phones, for instance. Luckily, I can afford enough guns and reloading components to shoot when I want.

Bottom line for me, I enjoy it and I've improved my shooting far more than when I used to try and practice at the range on my own. Smokin Gator

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March 12, 2011, 06:40 PM
Because it is a ton of fun, I meet some great people, and I learn more about my shooting and my rifle in a competition then I do on bench.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
March 12, 2011, 06:45 PM
When I used to as a kid, sometimes I asked the same question. It was only after about a three-hour match where there was a tie between two of us (out of about 20) and, first, they were going to call the "LAST TARGET" the winning target, until they saw mine was better than the other kid's who frequented that (indoor 50' .22 rimfire) range.

So, they told us both to shoot another target. I was really worn out, it had been a long afternoon and the other guy shot better than I. He won the trophy and I went home wondering if I was going to continue in any kind of competitive shooting again, and I never did, and that was back around 1969!

March 12, 2011, 06:49 PM
Few felons, all friendly armed polite people. I only have a 27" TV.

March 12, 2011, 07:03 PM
Many reasons.

I think my biggest is that competition gives me a reason -- a compelling, constant, driving reason -- to try every week to work a little harder and push my skills a little more. Without that, it is very hard to imagine a very realistic driving force that would make me push my shooting practice beyond the comfortable, sedate, self-congratulatory plinking I'd be likely to do on my own.

Most folks I know have the possibility of needing to defend themselves with a firearm as a compelling reason to buy a gun, learn to shoot, maybe take some training, and even practice. A bit. For a while. But the years pass and most of us aren't attacked. Most of us don't have to face real lethal threats even once in their lives. Therefore, the impetus to develop, sharpen, reinforce, and hone our skills dwindles, and complacency is often only a few "decent" bullseye groups away.

Competition is, of course, far from training to defend one's self, but mastery of gun-handling, maneuvering, and shooting on demand and from odd positions, while moving, weak hand or strong hand only, at occluded targets, and such skills are part of the mindset-skillset-toolset equation. And the continual pressure to exceed your past performance, or even to best your peers, is a useful substitute for the kind of personal eternal vigilance that would drive us to strive for mastery on our own.

March 12, 2011, 09:18 PM
- Because comps are a motivating reason to build skills, and a fun way to maintain/grow those skills.
- The guys and gals work together to put on a creative event (social).
- Cheap way to pick up and share some great tips.
- Quality trigger time, for score against the clock.
- Chance to compare your progress against that of others with similar skills - get a sense of your own progress.

March 12, 2011, 09:31 PM
It's fun, I learn a lot, the people are usually nice and a day shooting is a day better than a day at work!

I started competition to learn to shoot better (handguns) and stick with it for the enjoyment.

I have shot IDPA, Tactical Rifle and ONE High Power match (though I'd like to do that again with an AR instead of a 1903A3).

March 13, 2011, 12:15 AM
I compete first and foremost because it's a tremendous amount of fun. I get to shoot in complex scenarios that I would have no hope whatsoever of being able to set up and run all on my own.

Competing also gives me regular access to shooters who are way more talented than I am, and more often than not they're willing to give pointers and share what they know about shooting. It's pretty cool when a Master or Grand Master gives you some hints on how to do something better, and you find out on the next stage that those tips work.

Competition also offers the most objective measure of my abilities to handle a firearm in an induced-stress environment. Sure, it sucked when I first started and I was ranked as a D-Class shooter. However, that crummy feeling from a low initial ranking gave way to a feeling of accomplishment as I became a better shooter and achieved a higher rank.

March 13, 2011, 12:21 AM
I could literally cut and paste everyone's responses from above me.

March 13, 2011, 01:14 AM
I like to compete and I like being around others that work as hard (competing) as I do. I will admit that it's hard work (highpower) and I have less energy for it than I did when I was younger.
The lack of participation, I've seen in other sports in addition to shooting, is a growing trend. A lot of younger guys just don't like competing. They have more interest in activities that are subjectively judged rather than head to head competition. They will all take shooting classes and are really into shooting but few are interested in anything that has a raw score to show how well you shoot. Things are changing, guys are more social shooters than competitive shooters.

Thanx, Russ

March 13, 2011, 01:26 AM
With all this talk of shooting competitions, could we make a poll to see what people participate in?

I'm curious about the breakdown.

Something where we could select multiple disciplines would be great.

Anyone else interested?


March 13, 2011, 01:47 AM
"...why shooters don't participate in shooting matches..." Most are not confident in their skills and are afraid of looking bad. They don't seem to understand that nobody cares and that most experienced shooters will go out of their way to help a new shooter.
Gets worse when a guy's lady out shoots him.
Match shooting is far too much fun to worry about any of that. Some guys you just can't convince though.
"...meet some great people..." Absolutely. Even the rectal orifi, found at any club, are better than the non-shooting rectal orifi.

March 13, 2011, 10:19 AM
My hands still shake a bit when I finish a competition stage, just like they did 40 years ago when I was on the high school ROTC rifle team. When I stop getting that rush, I will stop competing!!

Red Cent
March 13, 2011, 04:25 PM
This 69 year old enjoys kickin' butt.
Cowboy yesterday. 5th overall out of thirty some. Tried too hard.
Saturday, I will purpose to be better than the middle of the pack at PCCA.
I will improve in Ruger Rimfire.
I will get up enough nerve to qualify for CDP:cool:. Then SSP.:D at Caswell Ranch.
Then I will...........

March 13, 2011, 07:54 PM
They don't seem to understand that nobody cares and that most experienced shooters will go out of their way to help a new shooter.

If there's one commonality to the participants of every form of competition I've tried, be it Ten Meter Air Pistol to Bullseye, to High Power to USPSA and 3 Gun, it's this.

March 13, 2011, 08:31 PM
I compete because I enjoy it and enjoy hanging out with like-minded shooters. A day spent in the sun (or rain, or wind, or whatever) at a Highpower match sure beats a day at work anytime.

This winter I've been shooting a smallbore league for fun and to keep my skills from getting too rusty. It's another great challenge I've found frustrating and enjoyable at the same time. (For the record, shooting a .22LR at 50' indoors WELL is deceptively harder than it looks.)

Besides, what would I do if I didn't shoot rifle matches? :confused:

March 14, 2011, 11:19 AM
I compete for the usual reasons; to get some trigger time under stress, hone my skills, with rifle - to get immediate shot feedback at long range, and to have FUN.

March 14, 2011, 11:45 AM
There are many reasons, but most of them can boil down to:

1) Competition offers infinitely more variety of shooting scenarios and challenges than 99.9% of people will ever have the means to set up on their own. Definitely me included.

2) And this is the big one; even practicing by yourself against a clock is not the same or even close. Competing, preferrably head to head against someone of similar skill, with at least a few dozen people watching and recording for posterity's sake (:)) takes the stress up to a level you simply can not duplicate in any other situation I have found.

March 14, 2011, 12:00 PM
Ninety-five percent of bullseye competition is mental. I enjoy the challenge.

March 14, 2011, 12:01 PM
The few matches that I shoot in every year are fun but extremely time consuming. They are however great skills builders and they help to point out weaknesses. Most of the places that I shoot don't let you move and shoot. The matches require it. This is just one example. The use of cover is another example. Most of the matches require the use of cover and many of the shooting positions are not allowed at my local ranges.
Now if only there wasn't 90 seconds of shooting and 2 hrs of standing around in order to shoot a match.

Chris Rhines
March 14, 2011, 05:04 PM
The primary reason is that competitive shooting is more fun than anything else I've ever done.

The second reason is I think that skill at arms is important, and competition is the best way to develop such skill.

Third is all of the cool people I meet at the matches.


March 14, 2011, 05:15 PM

I get free coaching from good shooters

I'm motivated to practice more

shoot better today than I have in over 40 years

March 14, 2011, 05:35 PM
Cause I know I suck so I am free to just have a really good time.

March 15, 2011, 03:21 AM
Our club has two, informal, no-stress, spring Bullseye leagues that are designed for beginners and experts alike. One is a "Friday Night Stress Relief League," and the other a "Fun" league. Any safe handgun is allowed, and they even allow two-handed hold for beginners. Being Bullseye matches, everyone gets to shoot a lot, (no waiting an hour then shooting 1 minute). Great fun with no stress.

I also enjoy shooting in several online matches each month. Several over at RimFire Central and a couple on the Crosman Air Pistol Forum. Strictly the honor system, but still fun, (the air pistol competitions requires that you post an image of your target, though). The air pistol shoots allow to shoot in your garage/shop/house. Great for when it's been raining for a week straight.

March 15, 2011, 05:36 AM
It improves my shooting.
It makes me calmer under pressure.
I get to meet other shooters and see their guns and gear.

March 15, 2011, 04:28 PM
1. Trigger time is good. I like the boom.
2. Practice on the basics under a modicum of pressure.
3. Get to practice malfunction drills with my 'bad word' here 1911. Ducking for cover.
4. Practice with my carry guns
5. Good buddies and yakking, crowing and other posturing with the folk

IDPA and Steel are my main choices, three gun if they are around and a carbine match.

March 15, 2011, 11:14 PM
I only shoot archery matches now. Reasons? It's great to socialize, and there are some around that aren't too formal (as in no fun). Also if I don't lose an arrow it costs me all of $10 and the gas to shoot them. Plus my kids love it where as try bringing a kid to a firearms shoot and keep them interested. Not easy. Make a firearms match that way and I'll be there.

Smokin Gator
March 16, 2011, 01:18 AM
It seems like a lot of people think that people in organized, timed and scored shooting competitions are not having fun because it is too serious. I've only seen a handful of shooters who don't look like they are having fun. Nearly everyone is having the time of their life, or they wouldn't be there. That's why it's worth the several hours to shoot for a couple of minutes, match fees, ammo, gas, because they are having fun. The very top shooters almost without fail help others and do more than their share of the work with their squad.

Most shooters that get out and participate in shooting sports are enjoying themselves, win or lose. Yes, they do like to do better but still enjoy themselves even on a bad day. I think that some of the people who decide that competition is not for them are those who will only have fun if they are one of the best. If they are in the middle of the pack or find out they aren't as good as they thought, that equals no fun for them.

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