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Old March 13, 2014, 10:24 PM   #1
jutinlee
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Join Date: January 15, 2014
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Competition warm up

I am fairly new to shooting and have never shot competition in any form. I've grown up with guns nearby but bought my first two in 2013.
I'm a young guy, (25) so I have a long road of refining and competing ahead of me.
With that said, on my range trips what should I practice on to prepare me for competition.
Accuracy is obviously up there.
Besides tight groups on the paper, what do I need to focus on to hit the ground running in the right direction?

Also, is there anyone in the Belleville, Ill area that wouldn't mind taking on an apprentice of sorts? To act as my coach or to give me some feedback? A second pair of eyes does wonders when training in any field, especially one as dangerous as shooting should I unknowingly be using improper technique.
My goal for now is tight groups and during 2014 I will take a self defense/ home defense course and probably a couple of one-on-one lessons. But, my training I spend good money on will focus on defense and the such, for competition, I'm hoping the skills trickle down from the defensive mentality.

Any thoughts or comments on these matters? Any advice would be helpful. I posted it here bc I do want the discussion focused on training for competition shooting.
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Old March 14, 2014, 07:35 AM   #2
MrBorland
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What kind of competition are you interested in? Pistol or rifle? Target or practical (i.e. RunAndGun)?

The usual recommendation is to read the rulebook, then jump right in. It's usually good advice, as there are many skills to potentially work on, so it's just as useful to start shooting matches.

If you'll be shooting IDPA or USPSA, one thing (other than understanding the rules) you could do ahead of time is to get comfy safely and smoothly drawing and reloading your gun during live fire practice. It can be unnerving at first to actually draw, knowing there's live ammo in the gun.

There are numerous dry fire drills available online that might be some help. Check out Ben Stoeger's 15minute program, for instance.
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Old March 14, 2014, 11:41 AM   #3
jutinlee
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Eventually I want to do both pistol and rifle but primarily pistol for now. (I don't have a quality rifle, yet.)
As far as joining a match, do I just show up and compete or do I have to join any organizations or anything?
Otherwise, I'll check out Stoeger's program and come back when I have more questions.
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Old March 14, 2014, 12:58 PM   #4
MrBorland
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Generally, you can just show up at a local level match and they'll be happy to have you. To compete in the larger sanctioned matches, though, you generally have to be a classified member of the sport. You can distinguish sanctioned from local matches in that sanctioned matches have names (e.g. "Illinois State Championship", etc), and are all-day affairs that start 1st thing in the morning.

Anyhow, plan on arriving early - about an hour before the match start time. When you get to the match, leave your gear and gun in the car, and find the match director. Tell him (or her) you're new and would like to shoot, and they'll register you as an unclassified shooter or as a novice.

Importantly, ask where you can put on your gear. Some ranges will just have you "gun up" at your car, while others have a specific safety zone. If the latter, do not touch your gun until you're at the safety zone. In either case, once you've got your gear on, your gun must not have a magazine in it (loaded mags on your belt are ok), and must be unloaded (duh). Double and triple check before the match starts. And from this point on, don't touch your gun until you're told to do so at the firing line. I once saw a guy take out his gun to show another, which normally results in an immediate DQ.

As far as shooting your first match, familiarize yourself with the basic rules, but know ahead of time that you're going to feel slow and clunky. That's totally cool, and we've all been there. Much more important, though, is that you're safe and have fun. You'll likely meet some there who'd be happy to work with you to show you the basics via a little 1on1.


Here's Stoeger's "15-minute dry fire" video. I think you can find more info on his website, which would be useful, as it goes through the rationale and the process of the drills. The 2 most important things in dry fire drills are to get the movements technically correct and to see what you need to see. So don't make it a goal of trying to do them as fast as possible, or you'll actually be helping yourself develop bad habits.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NGyHcb-eIk
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Old March 14, 2014, 03:00 PM   #5
jutinlee
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Thanks for the info. I appreciate the advice
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Old March 24, 2014, 01:30 PM   #6
lakeside
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I'm not sure if you are looking specifically for "run and gun" sports, but I got involved in Bullseye a few years ago and my precision has increased 10-fold. Bullseye is one handed (off-hand) shooting, but it teaches you the basics for any type of shooting. I've taken a Bullseye course from Gunny Zins (Top Shot) and learned more in that training than all my other training combined. You have a lot of years ahead of you to practice!
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Old March 24, 2014, 01:57 PM   #7
ATLDave
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If you're talking about something like USPSA/IPSC, my advice would be to go to a match and either watch and/or shoot. Once you've seen - or, better, shot - a match or two, what you need to work on will be much clearer. Just be prepared to shoot and move at what feels like a pretty slow speed until you get more comfortable.

The two things to work on at home, in addition to whatever shooting you're doing, is reloading smoothly and quickly, and familiarizing yourself with the procedures for loading and unloading at the beginning and end of a stage (snap caps/dummy rounds are critical for this practice!).

But mainly, just go. Once you see it, all the instruction and advice will make a lot more sense. Trying to train yourself for a sport you've never even seen live is not a good approach. How do I know? Because that's what I did! I didn't want to show up before I was "ready," and so delayed for about a year. It was pointless. Just go.

[Shoot, just saw I was posting in response to a thread from 2 weeks ago! Maybe my comment is still useful.]
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Old March 25, 2014, 11:24 PM   #8
jutinlee
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I do appreciate it. That's the kind of advice I looked for
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Old March 25, 2014, 11:51 PM   #9
Nickb45
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Good thread, I'm going to shoot my first match on Sunday.
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