I should talk. I don’t compete. I should, but I don’t have time. I should make time. But how can I make time when I’m a single parent running a website and organizing the Texas Firearms Festival and going to the gym five days a week? As Jim Croce sang, there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do, once you find them. How about you? Have you made time for firearms competition? If so, what and how often? And what can you tell a reluctant competitor to get him/her off their keyster and out on the field of combat? I mean, competition? [h/t Todd]

48 Responses to Question of the Day: How Often Do You Compete?

  1. I’ve got a hankering to get involved again. Rifle only this time.
    This bolt gun stuff is a lot of fun.

  2. 4-position smallbore over 50 years ago. I had the time of my young life! Now, I just compete with myself whenever I go to the range.

  3. My local shooting range puts on an action league once a night; we just came off a 6 week run. 2 week break Then we’ll be back for another 6 week run.

    —— And what can you tell a reluctant competitor to get him/her off their keyster and out on the field of combat?—-
    It is SUPER FUN! and has improved my shooting alot. Way more than just going to the range and blasting away at a stationary target.

  4. Maybe 1X per month long range rifle, IDPA, practical rifle or 3gun. Oddly I enjoy what I’m worst at. Probably because it’s easier to see improvement when it’s not 0.4 seconds over a 6 stage match.

  5. So far I’ve only competed in shotgun steel plate matches, three or four a year for the past three years. Looking forward to getting into .22 rifle matches soon. If you’re into firearms and haven’t yet tried shooting in matches, go for it. It’s great fun, but also sharpens your skills. It’s a great way to enjoy our sport.

  6. Never have, probably won’t. The only firearms competition that might even remotely interest me is cowboy action (love me some revolvers and lever guns), but I don’t really feel like dressing up in a costume to shoot.

    • I’d guess that many CAS clubs are easy going like ours in that cowboy costume is optional. At a large SASS match, however, 19th century dress would be required.

  7. Most fun you can have with a gun that’s legal!

    At one IPSC match, the stage was set in a large pit with 5 sets of targets with trees and other bushes set around the stage. Best 2 hits counted. We drove around the stage in the back of a pick up truck an shot as the targets came visible. I emptied five 20-round mags in about 30 seconds.

    It was so much fun that I afterwards I wanted to join a gang.

  8. Once a week, a bulls-eye match on Sackett in the Bronx, of all places (Parkchester R&R club).
    Once every two weeks – a new range in Elmsford (Blueline) puts on an action match styled
    after USPSA. Two very different types of shooting, both are a lot of fun and are good skill
    builders/sharpeners.

  9. In my youthful (and energetic) days, I competed five days a week at varied contests- trap, rifle, pistol. Some time in the following middle years, I lost track of shooting and any kind of competition, and, oddly, hunted very little as well.
    Now that I’m in the shadow years, competition has once again entered my life and I’m enjoying it as never before. Handgun comps as IDPA, Steel, and some milder long distance shooting, and Minute Of Angle extreme distance rifle shooting occupy the time periods now. Between working up accurate rifle loads for MOA and shooting, I find my range time valuable and, for me, a very challenging and worthwhile effort.
    For those “newbies” who have a competitive spirit and enjoy shooting, any competition they enter will prove a challenge worth undertaking, especially those that insist on premium accuracy.

  10. Does trap count? $4 a round at my Fish and Game Club as soon as the snow goes until deer season. I use a $150 shotgun and $70 a case shells. At least it is a start.

    • I had not shot trap in decades. My wife, never. recently we tried it at the local range. I got 18 with my mossberg pump and my wife got 4 with her mossberg pump. She loved it and we’ll be doing it more often.

      Never disparage cheap pump guns. I’ve had a ball with mine over the years and now my wife is getting warm to the idea.

  11. Define compete? Local? State? Regional? National?

    At the local level (which usually means the same guys and often for bragging rights or beer or both)
    – 3P Small bore every Friday during the summer (June – August)
    – 2 or 3 Charity or to raise funds for the CT law suite Sporting Clay events
    – IDPA if I am lucky to have time off when they are having events
    – 1 Glock event
    – 2 3-gun shoots — again if I can time it right

    The biggest issue with any competition is actually finding the time, gun food and money to practice and then go to the event itself.

    This is no different from when I had a racing motorcycle, an M3 for rally cross or golf. These all take time.

  12. For me its been over 20 years since I shot in a completion.
    Just don’t have it in me anymore, No real reason just got lazy.

  13. I shoot in .22 caliber bullseye pistol league. Ten teams in the South Central PA region that compete every Wed. night in 50ft. indoor gallery matches. Great fun with good friends. Not only that but my shooting has improved tremendously.

  14. My son and I shoot the local practical rifle match at aurora sportsmen club

    He started a couple of years ago with a gsg 22 mp5 knock off now he runs a 10 1/2″ AR I built for him

    It’s our time together so for Robert it would be good father daughter time my son now looks forward to the monthly shoots and gets mouthy when he beats dad at a stage till I remind him he doesn’t have a job and he could start buying his own ammo

    It been fun to watch him grow and learn the ROs all enjoy him coming out and it has been the catalist for some other kids starting

    I had to make the time it. Ow father son time and the monthly trigger time is good practice. Not to mention the ASC PR guys, Eric, Ross, Mike, Brian, Carl have become great friends and you can’t beat that

    Make time you and your daughter will both enjoy it

  15. at least 2-3x a month, IPSC pistolero here. if there’s a level 3 match, I’m totally there especially if its a qualifier match

  16. So what’s the insinuation? That someone who competes is somehow “better” than those who don’t? I used to shoot IPSC once a month, a few years ago, until the matches got so crowded that you’d spend an entire day to actually *shoot* a grand total of about 90 seconds. What a waste of time!

    In contrast, taking a class will have you shooting several hundred rounds over the course of a weekend, and serious practice might have you shooting a couple hundred careful shots downrange in the course of a few hours. I shoot with several fellows who have never shot competitively, and would be B class competitors in IPSC without breaking a sweat.

    Competition is great, fun and useful. But so are a lot of other shooting sports, and so are a lot of other, non-shooting activities that also compete for my attention.

      • Hardly. I have lots of guns and my willie is of normal size. 🙂 Just questioning the notion that anyone “should” compete. Do it if you want to, don’t do it if you don’t. I had fun while I did it, but moved on to other things and really have no interest in competing again, at least in the shooting sports.

  17. Probably 6 or so times a month. I shoot about 25k rounds year in pistol alone. However, I am no expert shooter but I do enjoy competing and bringing new folks to the sport.

  18. 1 formal 3 gun match and one less formal 3gun/2 gun, each month, usually, depending on what else I have going on. And practice on top of that.

    Competetion is the best way to play with your toys.

  19. IDPA a few times a year, when I can clear the schedule on a match weekend. I compete against no one but myself when I go, but I use others’ results as a yardstick.

    I’d love to shoot Rifle Silhouette, but there are no ranges around here to do it. There are some rimfire ones; might see if my children are interested in doing that.

  20. Was thinking about IDPA but would need to play in the “Not for Competition” scoring division since I have nothing that fits in a division. If find it odd that they are supposed to be keeping it more realistic but think that that keeping the weapons pretty similar to one another is not at odds with that mission.

        • Still you deal with the “shoot me” vests which are phony as can be, and there’s no provision for open carry. And if I were a bad guy, I’d wear a T shirt that shows hands just to throw IDPAers off for a split second.

          Don’t get me wrong, it’s VASTLY less ridiculous than IPSC. But there are still elements of the ridiculous in it.

          As I’ve said before, I’d love to see an event where one must sign an affidavit affirming that this is how and what one carries, the only allowable difference being ball instead of hollowpoints. Such an even would probably need three divisions: Open, quick conceal (flicking an open coat or unbuttoned shirt over a t shirt aside), and slow conceal (where you have to dig something out of concealment).

    • Would you mind sharing why?

      I’m not a competitive sort, but I found it fun and a good way to use my rifle as it was meant to be used. Good practice. I really didn’t care what my score was compared to anyone else, but comparing it to the previous score was very helpful.

  21. I used to compete in National Match with a Navy team. It was fun, especially because the Navy supplied us with pretty much unlimited ammo. Couldn’t afford it now.

    There is another reason I don’t complete. I have practiced and studied the martial arts for many years, but my mental concept of that has always been building H2H skill, not getting belts or winning trophies. I tried competition and while there were some aspects of it that sharpened me, I found overall it was distracting and not supportive of my main goal. I have seen martial arts made more popular by competition, but I have never seen a one that was improved by competition, quite the opposite in fact. If competition were the basis of combat skill, I would think that would be how combat professionals, Spec Ops, etc. would train. They would just send all the warriors to the IFC. But that is not how they train, nor should they.

    I see shooting as a martial art also and I think making it a sport detracts from that. I much prefer spending my shooting time and money on individual practice and FoF training.

  22. I get out at least once a month for 3gun. Houston has a very decent 3gun and practical pistol scene developing. Plug for Thunder Gun Range, 3gun the first Saturday of the month!!

  23. I was averaging once a month for a while. My spring goal is to go to 2 or 3 times a month. IDPA uspsa and steel matches. I moved a 2a friendly state last year and I need to enjoy it. Competition is extremely fun. Isis having a shooting buddy tho. A lot of the guys I Meet at matches are a little to testosterone competitive.

  24. Service competition nearly every weekend. Yesterday was a 300 metre match with overcast lighting conditions.

    Stage one was 2 sighters and 10 scoring shots on the 4-foot target. Sounds easy but with iron-sights and off the elbows, it was a challenge to keep the shots on the black, much less the bull. I scored 44.05 out of 50.10.

    Stage two was an alternating shoot on two different targets. Single-snap on the Figure-11 (which was jokingly called the invisible man because it disappeared into the backstop), and a double-snap on the Figure-13. So you fired 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, starting and finishing on the Figure 11. Out of 4 and 6 hits, I scored 4 and 4.

    I’ve done better in the past but this was my first 300 metre shoot since October last year and the new handload isn’t working as well as it should.

  25. I don’t participate in any formal competitions.

    As opportunities allow (e.g. about twice a year) I run through informal practices of my own inspiration. I know: that is pretty lame.

  26. used Too Compete, 3 gun, IDPA, However I stopped IDPA because of goofy rules! I was taught in the Service drop the Magazine out when empty put in another one and keep in the fight until over or incapacitated! and it works, getting a procedural for dropping a magazine on reload make me angry, yet a revolver person man can dump their brass with no Penalty! I want too practice seriously not make a game out of it!
    Shooting another person is a life changing situation! Serious business, bringing game habits too a gunfight may get you killed! using a Cliche from various forces you fight like you train! Being a member of the has been used too wuz club the competitive thing falls under the topic of Been there done that! so I make my own scenarios based on life experiences!

  27. My local club has 5 tactical shoots a year (mostly for beginners to intermediate level), and I do a few trap shoots when I get a chance.

  28. Local IDPA 2-3x per week. Monthly matches 2x a month.

    It comes from not having ranges where I can draw from holster, rapid fire, shoot on the move, etc. I understand IDPA is a game, but I also think it helps me with practical combat shooting.

  29. Robert before 2012 I would have highly recommended Ruger Rimfire now NSSF Rimfire Challenge matches. I still think that match has the lowest barrier to entry financially and in terms of skill set. The only hesitation I have in recommending it now is the continued difficulty in obtaining bulk pack 22LR. Aside from that, it’s a GREAT match to get involved with. Especially if you have kids.

    Personally I started formal competitions 25 years ago shooting trap then skeet and sporting clays. A few years ago I started shooting USPSA and 3gun, but have since switched focus away from the action shooting towards the LR action precision shooting realm (ie; Precision Rifle Series).

    I also run a monthly precision rimfire match which is very beginner and kid friendly. It’s really more of a low key casual event.

  30. I used to, but I was always booed for bringing a .308 to Action Rifle. “Whaaaa, it’s too loud, I got sand in my vagina now, whaaaaa!” I stopped going because I got sick of being surrounded by sissies… Last trip I dipped some M855 in pink nail polish to make them pink-tip ammo… Handed them out to all the complainers and told them that if they shoot a bad guy with it, the bad guy will turn into a fairy princess and grant them 3 wishes, none of which was allowed to be “Fairy Princess, please let my gun grow up some day and become a real gun!”

    Then I moved away and there’s no action rifle anywhere nearby… There’s nothing anywhere nearby… Ah, yes. BFE. So nice.

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