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What's the best way to say this?

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting' started by 1911 guy, Jul 12, 2016.

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  1. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    I shot a USPSA match last week. Didn't set the world on fire, but I didn't embarrass myself either. But I didn't shoot the match to win. I shot it to have a good time and take advantage of the training opportunities the stages offer.

    That's the problem. The club (I'm not a member, it was open to the public) is made up of 90 percent "gamers" (not meant derogatory). They are really into their hobby, they were friendly, they offered a lot of tips. Good bunch. However, my goals shooting stages are different from theirs. What's the best way to explain this to a "gamer" without coming off as a jerk?

    I don't want to cause hard feelings and I enjoyed my day with the club, but I also don't want to pick up habits suitable only to a closed course.

    Any advice from competitive shooters here?
     
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Just say so: "I am using this match to exercise my defensive weapon and not to try to run up the best score." It won't hurt MY feelings.

    I shoot mostly IDPA which has a nod towards "tactics" but still does things not offered by gunfighting trainers. But you will be less questioned or ridiculed for being "relentlessly tactical" there.

    You must still go by range safety requirements. Gun pointed straight down? Good if you are in a "stick" but the RO might worry about you sweeping your own feet. Gun pointed up? A common police technique, but a risk of launching a bullet over the berm... or up your nose. "Sul?" Forget it.

    Assess the situation after the shooting is over? OK, I don't care if I hear the eyeballs click, but you may not track them with your muzzle past USPSA 180 or IDPA safety markers.

    But enough about me, what ARE you doing in line with your concept different from the gamers?
     
  3. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    My difference with the competitive shooters is running the stage flat out sprint, not using available cover, arms extended straight out downrange sprinting to the next target, walking the stage beforehand pre-planning reloads, standing on one leg leaning over the edge of the shooting area to get an extra target from a particular position rather than moving, that kind of stuff.

    The bottom line is that I enjoyed my time there, I don't want to step on toes being the "FNG" and, let's face it, they enjoy the game for the sake of the game. I'd like to participate without being a wet blanket.

    As for the safety rules, I didn't see anything out of the norm, other than cold range. No big deal to me. I'm not one of those "hot range only" people. The 180 rule was actually helpful to me because it gave me an opportunity to move every direction, including backward, while shooting.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
  4. redbone

    redbone Member

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    What Jim said.
     
  5. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

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    Yes, that will be much more of a "problem" at a USPSA match because those are not intended to test tactics at all. IDPA is a hair more cognizant of the fact that bullets might go both ways and you don't want to be rushing around standing in the open, but it's still a game and pushing up to the limits wins matches, but doesn't do much for street survival.


    But really, you show up at a USPSA match and want to shoot "tactically". Fine, that's ok, as long as you follow the same safety rules as everyone else, but it's a little like showing up to a pickup football game and saying "Oh, guys, I'm going to be practicing my rugby skills -- I'm just not much into football." It's a different thing, that only sort of looks the same.

    But if you don't mind being a bit of a square peg being pounded through a round hole, go ahead and be as polite as you can be. Once they get to know you the local guys will eventually mostly stop asking or (in a friendly way) hassling you about it.
     
  6. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    You can do what you want; people may snicker a little, but if you aren't there to impress other people, that is pretty much irrelevant, right? As long as you are following the safety rules, no on really cares.

    But at the end of the day (and the sooner you can accept this, the better) you will need to let go of the idea that any gun game is directly about whatever your definition of "tactical" shooting is. Play the game for the game, and it will greatly improve your technical shooting ability. Yes, as a newbie, you probably got stomped in the results (everyone does). But if you look to compete and make small steady improvements, you will become a better shooter. You can then apply that new found ability to your (completely separate) face-shooting activities.

    The only people that reside in the "competition will get you killed on the streets" camp are people who are not good at competition. There are several very high level competitors that are past military special forces type guys, and you won't find a single one of them that thinks they are going to be less effective in a gunfight because they are really good at USPSA.

    It is kind of like boxing or UFC. Those are sports with rules, not a street fight. But I sure wouldn't want to run into one of those guys and get into a street fight with them, right? Same concept applies here.

    Play the game for the game... you'll be happier, the people you are with will be happier, and the downside you think you see now is not really a thing.
     
  7. waktasz

    waktasz Member

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    You are free to do what you want, but the gamers will make fun of you. Being a battle hardened gent, I'm sure that won't bother you.
     
  8. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I don't use either for training other than training to play the game. In USPSA "cover" is an obstacle you want to avoid, if you can stand in one spot and see/shoot all targets, that is likely the fastest way to shoot all of the targets.

    IDPA has other rules put in place that slows things down and uses cover doesn't drop mags with ammo in them etc but it too is a game with gamers.

    Training it is not, if most of the stages I shot were real life, at the buzzer I would have ran the other direction.

    It is good for your gun handling skills though, just tell them you're there to put bullets down range and have fun, they should understand that's why most are there even if they are more on the competitive side.
     
  9. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

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    We have a running joke at my matches that in IDPA the stage descriptions should all read,

    "You're confronted by a gang of armed men who are approaching in a menacing way. At the signal the shooter will retreat from P1 towards the parking lot. Shooter shall enter his or her car, start the engine, and drive down the club lane. At a safe location, the shooter shall stop the car and dial 911. Give the dispatcher a description of the event and a detailed description of the men who were threatening you ..."
     
  10. Hoser

    Hoser Moderator Staff Member

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    Just say "Hey thanks. Never thought of doing that. I will have to try that next time."
     
  11. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    I agree with the first part, but definitely not the 2nd. I agree with ny32182 - that you're not obligated to game it, and that no one will care how you choose to play the game, so long as you're safe. If I were the match director, I'd have some serious words for anyone who makes fun of another shooter.

    +1. I'll take it a step further - IME, many who go out of their way to poo poo competition as "irrelevant" often greatly overestimate their own basic proficiency with a firearm.
     
  12. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    I think that that is a common misconception in the shooting sports, and probably keeps many people from participating. My experience is that most shooters will try and help newbies as much as they can and don't really care how proficient you are as long as you are safe. I think that the "gamers" you refer to are more worried about their own scores and the friendly completion among their buddies than how a first time shooter performs.

    Laphroaig
     
  13. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    Shoot it how you want. Thats the best part of USPSA. Your free to tackle a stage completely opposite of everyone else (as long as the stage description allows for it). Or do a number of other things slightly different than the rest of the squad to achieve the end result. (Following the safety rules of course)
     
  14. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    Your are leaving out the Keys to the car are in the boat up in the tree... :)
     
  15. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    +1
    This has been my experience as well.

    Don't over think it.
    Its the same as when somebody tells you that you need to anything.

    "Thanks, I appreciate the tip."

    Then shoot it how you would shoot it.
    I have found, though, that lots of competition shooters discover ways and tactics that are 100% relevant to the defensive shooter.

    After all, a main goals of both camps is rounds on target quickly.
     
  16. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Just politely say "thanks for the tips. If you don't see me using them it's because I'm here to get more proficient handling and shooting my gun, not to win. I appreciate your advice, though."

    Or just smile and nod. :D

    I can't imagine anyone would have hard feelings. At least the people I shoot with wouldn't. They are there to help where help is needed or wanted, and to have fun and improve their skills. If someone doesn't have the same goals... fine, just keep the range rules and be safe.

    For example, Position sul is one thing that will give an RO fits and probably get you DQed. You must make SOME concessions for shooting on a square range.
     
  17. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Thanks for the replies. A few things mentioned might need to be addressed for clarity of my position.

    I don't think that competition will get me killed. If I thought so, I wouldn't be asking this question in this sub-forum. I do view it as a good tool for practicing skills. For example, the cover provided in the stages is a good thing. While those competing to win might view it as an obstacle, I can use it as a training aid. Just as an example.

    Sul has been brought up a couple times. Yep, it's a no-go at a USPSA shoot. And that's fine. I have done actual CQB work in the past and know that the position is of such limited utility that not using it isn't an issue. Let's face it, I'm shooting these stages alone, not stacking up and waiting for the buzzer.

    As for those who take a dim view of competition (not exactly my position, by the way) generally overestimating their proficiency, quite the opposite. I know what my capabilities once were and I know what they are now. Skills deteriorate with lack of use and I'm trying to fix that and see these competitions as a way to get on the road to that. I've spent too much time these last few years (almost two decades) on a square range.

    Again, I enjoyed my time there, appreciated the invitation and would like to do it again. I want to go about accomplishing my goals without being a horses ass and was seeking the advice of those who shoot competitively for the best way to address the potential issue.
     
  18. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Sounds to me like IDPA would be more your cup of tea, but no reason why you can't keep going to USPSA matches and shooting it your way.
     
  19. Dudedog
    • Contributing Member

    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Did you enjoy it? I had a great time at my first USPSA match. (looking forward to the 2nd one next month:)) If you had a good time keep doing it if not look else where. IDPA maybe?
    There were quite a few people shooting open at the match I was in. A couple of them were kind enough to give me some tips. I am not going to be at their level since I don't have the time or $ (and quite possibly the ability even with $ and tons of practice) I am mostly there to have a good time, and get some practice.
    Congrats on your first match.
     
  20. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    If you tell other match shooters your intent with sincerity, they will understand and may even join you.

    I shot USPSA with a modified 1911 until my defensive shooting instructor challenged me to run the matches with my SD/HD gun saying "We fight like we train".

    So with two factory stock Glock 22s and 10 round CA legal magazines with major power factor loads, I started shooting matches. When others asked me why (This was mid 90s when Glocks weren't that common in match shooting), I told them I wanted to practice with defensive pistols so I knew I could hit whatever target I needed to shoot, if I needed to.

    As they saw me improve stage scores with factory Glocks (climbing to top 20 percentile of Limited Division), many changed their minds that only "match pistols" could shoot accurate/fast and supported the idea of shooting matches with their defensive pistols. Our stage designer also shot IDPA and often incorporated "practical defensive" shooting features where use of cover was required, at times with one hand (strong/weak) from various shooting positions (prone, back, kneeling, etc.) along with mandatory malfunction drills that required one hand cycling of slide/chambering of round.

    The "gamers" at first thought these stages were "impossible" stages that slowed them down but we set up practice stages and repeated how to engage them until we mastered them and over time the gamers saw the value in such shooting as it improved their overall stage scores and shooting techniques. Our stage designer even joked about single weak hand only stage with mandatory mag change and we told him "Do it" and practiced on mock up stage with single weak hand with dismal results but we all had fun with the understanding that we all needed more practice to shoot proficiently with single weak hand.

    Over the decades, Glock 22/23/27 have been my SD/HD pistols and match shooting with them has enhanced my confidence to know what I can and cannot do with them. I am forever thankful of the RSO who dared me to shoot matches with factory stock pistols.

    Did I mention it was fun too?
     
  21. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Lots of great advice already. A few thoughts, many of which have already been shared:

    1. When you get advice, take it (or ignore it) in the spirit in which it was intended. Almost nobody is good at USPSA when they first show up (the exceptions are kind of remarkable, even legendary). So USPSA'ers are used to seeing folks struggle, and wanting to help them figure out the game. There's an unstated assumption, of course, that the new person is trying to compete, and would prefer scoring well to scoring poorly. Don't be offended at the advice; it's not criticism or denigration, just an attempt to help.

    2. Respond by laughing and saying, "Yeah, I know, I'm doing [use of cover or bringing gun back to retention or whatever] on purpose. I know it's not optimal for this game. That's OK, I'm not going to win anyway. But thanks!" That's going to take care of it 99% of the time.

    3. Here are a few things that people WILL care about, and won't care about "tactical soundness" as an excuse:
    a. Breaking the 180
    b. Sweeping yourself
    c. Not following range commands
    d. Handling the gun before "make ready"
    e. Any other DQ-able offense per the USPSA rules. I get the sense that you know all this and aren't doing it.

    4. If you do the tactical-timmy-threat-check before reholstering, yes, you will be laughed at. Especially if I'm there. That's silly. We can go out for wings and beer afterward, but, yes, I will laugh at you. USPSA'ers as a group aren't too gruff, though, and there tends to be a decent amount of good natured ribbing and banter anyway. That's a lot of the fun of a match.
     
  22. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    you mean to say..... "I Quit" :cool:

     
  23. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Yeah, that always makes me laugh. But even funnier to me is the idea that guys are training themselves to "threat scan" before reholstering because they're worried they will compulsively re-holster after downing a tango at the food court. So, by "threat scanning" during a USPSA match (or at the range generally), you are training yourself to look around, see a BUNCH of other guys (few, if any, in uniform) with guns, and then re-holster ANYWAY. I'm not sure how that's better...
     
  24. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    Yeah I've never understood it either...
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  25. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I've competed in most walks of competitive shooting types, from slow-fire Bullseye and IHMSA to IPSC and 3gun types, even Cowboy Action (and that's just with handguns).

    Other than IHMSA (for obvious reason), I can't say I've ever done anything in a match which wasn't also reasonably applicable off-line. There are certain attributes in any shooting sport which might not be useful outside of the match structure, especially many rules or activities which might not be pertinent outside of competition (i.e. clearing a pistol and putting it down instead of holstering before running for your staged shotgun), but overall, there's nothing I've seen done which really isn't applicable to the overall proficiency in handling of firearms.

    If you find yourself in a stage where you have the option of firing from an exposed position which offers view of MORE targets and a "gamer" would fire exposed in the context where a "tactical operator" would avail himself to cover, that's just crappy stage design. Take it up with the organizer - the CoF isn't designed properly to simulate the pseudo-real world scenario, more often than not, it's just a matter of a less-than-creative stage designer. Even if the range lay out doesn't allow the stage design to change, the CoF instructions can include those simple words "from behind cover" or "behind the barrier" or "from indicated shooting position," etc etc...

    On the other hand - I will also offer this question: If all you want is practice, why are you going to competitions at all? Signing up for any competition basically implies your interest in competing, and signing up for that particular competition format implies your interest in that particular format. If you just want to practice, go practice. But you didn't - you came to a competition. You're expected to compete. Football teams don't show up on Monday night wearing hockey pads and wearing ice skates, lose the game, then say "eh, we really just wanted to practice hockey."
     
    thomas15 likes this.
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