Idea for a Shooting Competition


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perdurabo93
February 3, 2012, 10:43 AM
Of all the things that were worthy of criticism of the show Top Shot as a shooting competition, there was one thing that I think was positive and that was holding a shooting competition where the shooters use a weapon that is NOT THEIR OWN. For quite a long time I have bemoaned the fact that just about all competitive shooting is as much if not more of a GEAR race than a test of skill. Even so-called "production" classes of IDPA/USPSA still allow modifications and customizations of firearms that bring them away (often VERY far away) from absolute out-of-the-box bone-stock configuration. At that point its all about gaming the rules in order to get the most out of your gear that still doesn't violate the letter of the law. It becomes a competition about who can afford to spend the most money to buy their wins. This just doesn't sit well with me.

What I'd like to see if a shooting competition that takes a page from IROC racing where shooters are ISSUED a firearm and ammunition that is NOT THEIRS and is configured EXACTLY like everyone else's in the competition. To counter complaints about some guns being "lemons" compared to other guns or those going first having an advantage over later competitors in terms of wear and tear on the guns, have a staff of gunsmiths on hand to verify that all guns are in identical working order at all times (much as IROC racing has a staff of mechanics onhand to do the same for the race vehicles). At that point there is NO DOUBT whatsoever that it is a competition about shooting skill and not how well you can modify your firearm to perform and still not violate the rules for the class you are in.

Competitors are issued a bone-stock out of the box firearm thats been inspected for function by a team of gunsmiths and issued identically loaded ammunition. Competitors compete in identical street clothes or some other uniform that does not contribute in any way to enhancing their performance. No fancy gear such as shooting gloves/jackets/diopters, etc allowed. The whole point is to minimize as much as possible the advantages bestowed by GEAR (read:money) and maximize the competitions measurement of SKILL. To me, this would be FAR more interesting than the current competitions that become nothing but races over who can get the best sponsorship so they can spend the most money on gear so they can practice more and win more. What I want to see is a competition of pure skill and as little of anything else as possible.

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ny32182
February 3, 2012, 11:00 AM
I think you are currently mis-informed about IDPA and USPSA production... both use guns that are very close to stock.

Yes, you need a specialized gun to be highly competitive in Limited or Open USPSA, but that is NOT the case with IDPA or Production.

My SSP gear combined for everything: Gun, gear, mags, belt, etc, can be had brand new for <$1000. It isn't the equipment that wins a match.

holdencm9
February 3, 2012, 11:04 AM
I agree, that would be fun. I think the aspect of Top Shot I liked best was that they really had to be a jack of all trades. Looking at the winners, (Spoiler alert!) none of them were strictly competition shooters. There was a former British Army, former marine and then one "outdoorsman." The competition shooters seemed to be at a disadvantage when it came to adapting to multiple different weapons. My favorite episode was the one where the USPSA Grand Master complained and made excuse after excuse for his poor performance because the weapon they had to use was the M9 and he competes with a Glock, blah blah blah.

perdurabo93
February 3, 2012, 11:10 AM
But the point is that in IDPA and USPSA production is that they allow modifications AT ALL and that the firearms being used are OWNED by the shooters. I want to see a competition where the shooters compete with identical guns that they have never touched before and have no modifications of any kind whatsoever. At that point I think it would become a lot more interesting.

Sam1911
February 3, 2012, 11:14 AM
For quite a long time I have bemoaned the fact that just about all competitive shooting is as much if not more of a GEAR race than a test of skill. Even so-called "production" classes of IDPA/USPSA still allow modifications and customizations of firearms that bring them away (often VERY far away) from absolute out-of-the-box bone-stock configuration. At that point its all about gaming the rules in order to get the most out of your gear that still doesn't violate the letter of the law. It becomes a competition about who can afford to spend the most money to buy their wins.

If you honestly believe this, you have very, very, very, VERY little experience or understanding of either IDPA or USPSA and how competition and good shooters really work.

97% of the game is practice of a set of fundamentals until you can do them precisely without having to think about them, so that you can free up your brain to process the requirements of the given course of fire.

1% is little gun tweaks that make it easier for you to break a shot cleanly or drop a mag quickly, or reload more smoothly.

The other 2% is actual sheer dumb luck that favors one shooter this time and screws him over next time.

I've watched a master class competitor win the CDP Division Champion trophy at IDPA Nationals shooting a very stock S&W M&P polymer gun. He out-shot all the guys with their Custom(ized) Defensive 1911s with a plastic fantastic striker-fired service pistol. All speed and skill, derived through constant practice and mastery of the basic tasks required.

The repeated gripe about "equipment races" shows such a superficial understanding of either style of competition that it reads entirely as the gripe of a person looking for excuses to cover why he or she hasn't excelled.

Are competition guns tuned and tweaked to make them perform better? Sure. Does it separate the winners from losers? Nope.

ny32182
February 3, 2012, 11:16 AM
What would be "interesting" about shooting a gun you don't own? Then you can't control functional issues with it. Having a "staff of gunsmiths" on hand is not realistic in any way. Making sure your gun runs is shooter responsibility.

The "modifications" on my SSP gun cost about 30 bucks all told. There is nothing there that changes the performance dynamics or is hard to acquire in any way.

Have you ever tried IDPA?

perdurabo93
February 3, 2012, 11:26 AM
I'll be convinced that gear is not a factor in who wins in competitions when you run a competition first with all competitors using their own gear (within the same class limitations such as SSP/production, etc) and then run the same competition over again with bone stock identical issued guns and the results come out the same or nearly the same. Once again, I'm interested to see it and I'm certain I'm not the only one.

I'd also like to to see them mix it up a bit so the competitors don't know what firearm they'll be getting. It could start out that you get a Makarov pistol or next you'll be issued a Destroyer carbine. The idea is to measure marksmanship skill divorced from any other advantage as much as possible.

Hawthorne2k
February 3, 2012, 11:26 AM
For quite a long time I have bemoaned the fact that just about all competitive shooting is as much if not more of a GEAR race than a test of skill. Even so-called "production" classes of IDPA/USPSA still allow modifications and customizations of firearms that bring them away (often VERY far away) from absolute out-of-the-box bone-stock configuration.

I have the feeling that Rob Leatham shooting a dead-stock Springfield XD would clean my clock no matter what super deluxe Open class laser blaster I shot.

The gun mods in USPSA Production and IDPA SSP are pretty much limited to what an "average joe" might do to their carry gun to make it a better defensive weapon, such as trigger work, grips and sights. If that's gaming it, then the Hogue grip on my P3AT are a gamer thing as well.

We'll leave the Crimson Trace laser out of the discussion for now. Heck, it's so "gamer", it's even banned in Open! :D

Other than that, yeah, I kinda like your idea of all the shooters using a standardized gun, which is what 3 Gun Nation does in their shootoffs.

Sam1911
February 3, 2012, 11:27 AM
At that point I think it would become a lot more interesting. In what possible way? Really, what's the point?

Assuming shooters of roughly equal skill, all that would show is which shooter has already been practicing with a firearm closest to whichever one is dropped into their laps at the start of the game. It's not like a box-stock Glock is an unknown commodity that no one could have access to ahead of time. Or that they're going to invent some strange new firearm no one's ever shot before.

And so what if they did? Then, instead of showing which shooter has attained maximum proficiency with a firearm, they're showing which shooter picks up and internalizes the quirks of that specific sample gun fastest. Why is that more interesting that absolute proficiency given time and practice with a known firearm?

Sam1911
February 3, 2012, 11:29 AM
We'll leave the Crimson Trace laser out of the discussion for now. Heck, it's so "gamer", it's even banned in Open!

Actually, with the current updating going on with IDPA's rules, I'm promoting the idea of opening up to allow lasers. It would make for very interesting study as folks try them out in competition.

And, unfortunately for the manufacturers, would probably result in a lot fewer lasers sold...

Sauer Grapes
February 3, 2012, 11:30 AM
Well said, Sam!

It may be a nice novelty to see guys have to pick up a unfamiliar handgun and shoot a COF with it, but I would bet the results would be very similar to a match with everyone shooting their own equipment.
The good shooter can shoot, the ones that can't, won't fair any better.
While it might be fun to watch, it would be a HUGE liability to the person\club supplying the firearms and ammo.

Besides, nobody shooting in "open class", is competeing against a guy shootting in "production division".

perdurabo93
February 3, 2012, 11:33 AM
And so what if they did? Then, instead of showing which shooter has attained maximum proficiency with a firearm, they're showing which shooter picks up and internalizes the quirks of that specific sample gun fastest. Why is that more interesting that absolute proficiency given time and practice with a known firearm?

Because it is? That may be a matter of personal opinion but figuring out who has the most general skill and adaptability at firearms of ANY type is more interesting than watching a one-trick pony shoot his $5k race gun all day. I would personally find such a competition quite interesting and if I had the money, I'd put t together in a heartbeat.

Sam1911
February 3, 2012, 11:37 AM
Well, I can't argue you out of what you would find interesting, of course.

It does strike me a bit like watching Richard Petty, Lance Armstrong, and Willie Shoemaker racing remote controlled boats. :rolleyes: All gimmick. Interesting for about two minutes.

I'd much rather watch masters do what they've trained to do, in competition with other masters who've dedicated themselves to study of a craft.

W.E.G.
February 3, 2012, 11:43 AM
This:

http://www.odcmp.com/nm/rifle.htm

Rifle Small Arms Firing School & M16 Rifle EIC Match – 28 & 29 July 2012 (registration Friday, 27 July)

The 2012 Rifle SAFS offers classroom instruction taught by the U. S. Army Marksmanship Unit, on-the-range coaching by military service rifle shooters and 200-yard practice firing. The Rifle SAFS concludes with the M16 EIC Rifle Match. Classroom instruction and practice firing is on Saturday, 28 July. The M16 EIC Match will be fired on Sunday morning, 29 July.

Any persons who desire to learn gun safety and sound target shooting skills, regardless of previous experience, are welcome to attend this school. Special instruction will be offered to all SAFS students who identify themselves as beginners or new shooters with little or no previous experience. After the Saturday morning safety instruction, beginner shooters will go to the range for hands-on small group instruction on the basics of M-16 rifle clearing, loading and unloading, zeroing, shot technique, the use of the sling and the standing, sitting and prone positions.

Advanced students will remain at the theater for continued classroom instruction. Both beginner and advanced rifle SAFS students will fire in the M16 EIC Match. Registration in the Rifle SAFS is required for anyone who wants to fire in the M16 EIC Match. Registration fees are $40.00 for adults and $30.00 for juniors. SAFS students have M16 rifles to fire. All students will receive ammunition for practice and competition, a SAFS T-shirt, a SAFS certificate, a USAMU Service Rifle Guide and entry in the M16 EIC Match. Enrollment in the 2012 SAFS is limited to 700 students.

Owen
February 3, 2012, 11:48 AM
I shoot USPSA production, as a B class shooter. I usually shoot factory ammo, or reloads that mimic factory 124gr ball through a Glock 17. I use the cheapest Kydex holster and magpouches I could find when I started playing the game. The only modifications I've made are the sights...I'm using the fiber/tritium type fixed sights, because the Glock is also my carry gun.

I usually place about third at my local matches, and the guys that beat me are shooting almost exactly the same equipment.

Oh, one more modification...the gun has been thouroughly deburred. The deburring was accomplished by shooting about 30,000 rounds through the gun. The real cost in these games is the ammo used in practice, not the guns and other gear.

ny32182
February 3, 2012, 11:49 AM
I'll be convinced that gear is not a factor in who wins in competitions when you run a competition first with all competitors using their own gear (within the same class limitations such as SSP/production, etc) and then run the same competition over again with bone stock identical issued guns and the results come out the same or nearly the same. Once again, I'm interested to see it and I'm certain I'm not the only one.

This is exactly what SSP/Production is. The guns are very stock. What do you think is on someone's SSP/Production gun that makes it some kind of super-gun that magically allows them to win? There is nothing.

I had the opportunity to put a magazine through Bob Vogel's G17 about 3 weeks before he used it to win the IPSC Production world championship in Greece last year. Actually, I even took it apart and looked at some of the internals too. There was NOTHING special about it. It had a small amount of grip tape, Warren (I think) sights, and the "25 cent trigger job". That is it.


I'd also like to to see them mix it up a bit so the competitors don't know what firearm they'll be getting. It could start out that you get a Makarov pistol or next you'll be issued a Destroyer carbine. The idea is to measure marksmanship skill divorced from any other advantage as much as possible.

This introduces "luck of the draw", which is the opposite of what you try to do to have a fair competition. It is one of the prime reasons why the Top Shot TV format is a lottery, and is NOT a competition.

perdurabo93
February 3, 2012, 11:53 AM
Even the CMP/NRA service rifle matches allow rifles with heavy stainless barrels, diopter sights, and use shooting gloves and jackets. None of this is what I'd consider shooting a combat service rifle under field conditions.

Issue them identical bone stock rack grade non-NM Springfield 03A3s, M1 Garands, AR15s or M1As and have them all shoot in identical BDUs. Standard USGI iron sights only. USGI spec FMJ ball ammo only. No trigger mods, diopters, gloves, jackets or other crap that would never be issued under actual field conditions. Hell, don't even give em a shooting mat.

Lets see THAT rifle competition.

Sam1911
February 3, 2012, 11:57 AM
Lets see THAT rifle competition. That would be basic US military rifle qualification. Done all the time.

Having actively shot something like six different shooting disciplines, I will make the point that known distance rifle shooting is the single WORST spectator sport in the world.

(... well, aside from tennis. Or golf. Or football, baseball, hockey, or -- ugh -- basketball! ... but even those vapid wastes of time still hold the attention of the masses better that watching 50 identically dressed people poke small holes in identical pieces of paper with identical rifles.)

youngda9
February 3, 2012, 12:00 PM
The cost of implementing a system to issue all of the competitors identical pistols for each match disqualifies your idea from the get-go.

perdurabo93
February 3, 2012, 12:01 PM
That would be basic US military rifle qualification. Done all the time.

Somehow I think signing up with the US military would be an unreasonable barrier to entry for most competitors interested in competing in such an event. Lets try it with civilians only, shall we?

Sam1911
February 3, 2012, 12:05 PM
Right. So...putting civilians through the USMC basic rifle qualification course, and filming it.

Fun! Audience would be about three...including a cat sitting in a room somewhere where someone left the TV on.

Having said that -- I admit I am not the end-all, be-all of judges of what would hold the attention. I am a dedicated shooter and competitior. But there is no way in holy heck I'd watch 5 minutes of that show. :)

Hawthorne2k
February 3, 2012, 12:07 PM
The cost of implementing a system to issue all of the competitors identical pistols for each match disqualifies your idea from the get-go.

Not really. 3 Gun Nation does it all the time.

It's a nice idea, but let's face it, if it couldn't work in auto racing with IROC, it has little chance to take off in shooting.

Hawthorne2k
February 3, 2012, 12:14 PM
including a cat sitting in a room somewhere where someone left the TV on.

Yeah, but that cat would be able to shot an MOA group at 300 yards. Think of the benefit to society! :)

Owen
February 3, 2012, 01:41 PM
I'm trying to decide if whipping out my statistics books to show why allowing highly tuned guns to be used rather than stock rack grade guns is, in the end, more fair would be wasted.

Who's up for Monte Carlo method!

Andrew Wyatt
February 3, 2012, 03:01 PM
It's been done before in various places.

I don't like it, because it defeats the purpose of shooting under stress. (testing your proficiency with your carry weapon)

ny32182
February 3, 2012, 03:12 PM
IDPA even does this from time to time by having a "pick up gun" used for a part of a stage. I was at one match (club level, thankfully) that finished a stage with a pick up revolver placed with two rounds loaded by the SO in random positions in the cylinder. So Bob might get "bangs" on his first two trigger pulls, while someone else has to click all the way around the cylinder to get the bangs and finish the stage.

Nothing like consistency there. "Pickup guns" would be one of the things I'd eliminate if I were king for a day on the rule change committee.

perdurabo93
February 3, 2012, 03:12 PM
I don't like it, because it defeats the purpose of shooting under stress. (testing your proficiency with your carry weapon)

Are you certain you'll always have YOUR particular weapon when in a self-defense situation? Wouldn't it be better to test yourself in situations where you might not have a choice of what weapon is available? Isn't it better to master MANY firearms rather than just a few?

Sam1911
February 3, 2012, 03:19 PM
We run a special "House Gun" match one month each year at my club. All firearms and ammo supplied by the club members and each stage is shot with the gun provided.

It is fun. It gets folks a little exposure to oddball guns they might not have tried before. There is a degree of "could you defend youself with ANY weapon?" to it. It is in no clear way indicative of anyone's particular skill with weapons. The better shooters are still generally better. The slower, less confident, shooters are still slower and less confident. It tends to re-enforce WHY we DON'T choose certain weapons for defensive tasks.

Having done this many times, I am far less interested in watching others go through a similar exercise than I might be otherwise.

Sam1911
February 3, 2012, 03:26 PM
Are you certain you'll always have YOUR particular weapon when in a self-defense situation?No.

Wouldn't it be better to test yourself in situations where you might not have a choice of what weapon is available?Better? No. Because the situation in which I'm defending myself with an unfamiliar weapon is far less likely than the already very remote chance that I'll have to defend myself with my own carry weapon.

Isn't it better to master MANY firearms rather than just a few? Absolutely not. The more you scatter your practice time around between platforms the less attuned you are to making one specific gun work its very best in your hands. If you have a LOT of time and ammo money, you may be able to reach high levels of proficiency with more than one gun, but your primary is always your best bet and should be your focus.

Some US soldiers and Marines get a bit of familiarization training with the weapons of allies and enemies they might meet in the field. They seek to learn an overview of how those weapons function, and how they might make them work if they had to in some highly unlikely emergency. They in NO way attain "mastery" of any of them.

But this idea of competing with an unknown weapon has nothing to do with "mastering" many firearms. No one's going to show off their "mastery" of anything shooting a completely unfamiliar platform. There's a reason why we TRAIN with our arms.

Justin
February 3, 2012, 03:45 PM
The cost of implementing a system to issue all of the competitors identical pistols for each match disqualifies your idea from the get-go.

Bingo.
There's no shortage of people with no experience with administering a match who make posts on the internet along the lines of "Competition shooting as it is now sucks, and here's why..."

That said, I'm aware of a couple of matches that have undertaken what the OP is talking about.

The Allegheny Sniper Match awhile back used identically configured FN bolt action rifles with an option to buy the gun at the end of the match.

Locally, there was an action pistol match here several years ago that had all of the shooters using identical 1911s.

The problem with the OP's suggestion is one of logistics. In the case of the Allegheny match, the match organizers had to secure rifles, scopes, ammunition, slings, etc. from various manufacturers who were willing to provide them, pretty much at their cost.

For the pistol match, the entry fee for the match essentially included the purchase of a 1911, ammunition, holsters, and mag pouches.

Matches like this do exist, but the fundamental problem with them is that they are either prohibitively expensive for either the match director or the competitors. As something that you could run as a special match maybe once a year, that's fine, but there's no fundamental way you could run such a match on a monthly basis.

Even if you posit the notion of buying all of the equipment beforehand, issuing it at the match, and collecting it once the match is over, you're still going to have to deal with all sorts of logistical issues:

• Who provides the ammo every match?
• How is that ammunition paid for?
• How often are you going to replace the guns/holsters/magazines/mag pouches?
• Who ensures that the guns are all operating to the same functional level? After all, in order to keep things fair, you're going to have to add a gunsmith to the match staff just to ensure that everything is above-board.
• How do you keep people from cheating, e.g. "I know that gun number 6 shoots slightly more accurately than all of the others, so I'm going to make sure I get that one issued to me."
• Administratively, how do you deal with competitors who claim that they lost out due to receiving a gun that was out-of-spec?

In order to account for all of the above things, the match fees are going to have to be raised to cover the cost of gun maintenance, provide ammunition at every match for every competitor, and replace worn out magazines, holsters, and other gear.

As it stands, the average local match has an entry fee of between $15-$25. To do what you're suggesting would probably require a match entry fee of $50 or more, every month.

Most local matches have a hard enough time accumulating enough staff just to set up the stages and run the administrative side of things as it is. To pile a number of further requirements on top of that would probably result in a match that would be impossible to administer without adding to the number of staff members, would result in a much higher per-match fee for every competitor, and would probably be less fun, as it would require you to use a gun that may or may not be functional.



I compete in USPSA Production Division with a S&W M&P, and the only work that has been done to my gun is a trigger job. Other than that, the gun is bone stock. Such a trigger job is quite common among Production shooters, but to claim that it gives a game-winning advantage would be overstating things by several orders of magnitude. I've seen plenty of competitors using bone-stock guns who've placed at or near the top. Most of the modifications allowed under Production Division fall under "a thing that I personally prefer, but doesn't really offer a true competitive advantage."

After all, no matter how awesome my trigger job is, it's not going to make a difference if the guy I'm competing against finds a faster way to complete a stage. The practical shooting sports are much more about mindset than they are about equipment, even at the highest levels with shooters who are running $3K Open Guns.

russ69
February 3, 2012, 06:48 PM
I understand what the OP is trying to say. I'm not a fan of "race guns". I don't like guns that look like they are from outer space. I get it, but if you are active in just about any shooting sport, there are classes that only allow limited modifications. In high power rifle, you can shoot high master scores with a stock AR15 HBAR, maybe with a drop in trigger, and improved sights. That's only a few hundred over the cost of a basic gun. You can take that all the way to a distinguished shooter badge or the President's one hundred.
You can also shoot a Palma rifle in 308, that only allows certain loads or ammo disbursed at the line. The rifle is expensive but it's a level playing field.
At any rate, if you compete in the firearm sports, your travel and ammo expenses are costing you way more than the equipment needed to be competitive. Go out and shoot some matches, you'll have fun even if you finish last!

Jon_Snow
February 3, 2012, 07:31 PM
Another problem with the idea of having everyone shoot the same gun is fit. Have a match where everyone has to shoot a Glock 21, you just disadvantaged people with small hands. Getting a gun that fits you well is one of the things that's important across all forms of competition. If you can't make your gun fit you, you've hurt everyone you isn't a 5'10" man with typical arm, neck and/or hand size. That's not a measure of skill, it's just dumb luck.

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