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I’ve got a bone to pick with IDPA, IPSC, the NRA and all the other firearms competition and training courses I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes. What the hell happened to don’t shoot? Yes, the IDPA has “friend or foe” targets, but the escalating round counts at these competitions are biased heavily towards the foe-you-m’fer end of the spectrum. Click here for a clip of the gun rights group’s NRA Tactical Police Competition. Compare the NRA’s “Warehouse surprise” course with Dirty Harry’s gun range competition . . .

In the former it’s all guns blazing all the time as “Officers respond to a warehouse loading dock after being called by an alarm. After engaging the first target from the starting position, competitors can either go right or left as they search out for the remaining fourteen suspects.” In the latter, there are a fair number of “don’t shoot” targets. Is it any wonder today’s police have a tendency to shoot the wrong person?

Don’t let this happen to you.

It’s entirely possible that you could change your mind about firing your gun in the midst of a self-defense scenario. The situation—or your perception of the situation—can change in an instant, in the moment between bringing your weapon to bear and the first [potential] trigger pull. The perp may see your gun, think better of their attack and stop the threat. You could see another threat that’s more dangerous than the first. Anything could happen.

You want to have the option not to shoot, remembering that you can’t un-fire a bullet. You will have to live with the emotional, physical, financial and legal consequences of every one of those projectiles. So every time you go to the range, practice NOT shooting the target.

At some point, draw your gun (where allowed), aim and keep your finger off the trigger. Maintain your stance. Look left, look right. Look back at your sights and re-acquire your sight picture. Then PUT THE GODDAM GUN AWAY. Otherwise you’re training yourself—as these competitors are—to shoot your gun whenever you aim it at a target.

Better still, set up three or four numbered paper plates. Ask someone to call out a number. Shoot the numbered target. Ask them to call out the number and “don’t shoot” at random, as well. That way you practice getting a target in your sights without shooting it. How great is that?

I call on all of these competitions and all firearms training courses to put “shoot – don’t shoot” elements back into their programs. Meanwhile, David Kenik’s video of the same name is the best DIY training instruction money can buy. Buy it.

[Enter “TTAG” without the quotes in the coupon section during check out for a 15% discount. Note: TTAG doesn’t get a kickback from Kenik.]

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  1. Dunno where this fits in but…. what about all those “friend or foe” targets. Don’t they count? I see them in a lot of competition (though I see more IDPA than any other form of competitive shooting sports).

  2. I practice not shooting all day and all night. I’m getting really good at it, too. Just yesterday, I didn’t shoot a grocery clerk, thirty-seven shoppers and six neighbors. Oh, also thirteen squirrels and a stray cat. In fact, over the course of my lifetime, I probably did not shoot a million people, which makes me as big a life-saver as Albert Freakin’ Pasteur.

  3. Shooting Matches are for Shooting. Dry Fire is the best time to practice not shooting stuff since its free and you didn’t have to drive anywhere to do it. Break it up. Do your draws, sighting, scans, and re holsters separately from most of your trigger presses. This will ensure that the half dozen draw/shoots you get at a match don’t become reflex.
    Drawing and getting on target is the hardest/ most perishable skill. Pressing the trigger is much easier.

  4. I think you mean IPSC – not IPSIC.
    IPSC is International Practical Shooting Confederation. IPSIC is how some people pronounce the mnemonic.

    USPSA is the US version of IPSC.

    …and both have no-shoot targets. Shooting one kills your score.

  5. Robert said, “Meanwhile, David Kenik’s video of the same name is the best DIY training instruction money can buy. Buy it.”

    Is there a TTAG discount?


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