Many people avoid trying out shooting matches because they are intimidated by the competition nature of it. This episode strives to dispel myths surrounding competition to get more people into shooting sports.
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Hello, I’m Brian Purkiss. And welcome to the crossover of competition and concealment. This is a podcast devoted to helping people get better with their firearms doesn’t matter if it is for primarily for defensive purposes or competition focused, very, very big advocate of both. So it’s what we talked about. I push people to get better with their firearms for defensive use, and I advocate pursuing competition to get better for defensive use. It’s what Episode One was all about.
But whenever I push people, so many people just like, I don’t know where to get started. I’ll come back when I get better, that there’s all these various different excuses and questions. So in this episode, I’m going to try to dispel some of these excuses and answer some of these questions. So many people often just say, oh, I’ll come when I get better. That is the equivalent of saying, I’m not going to go play basketball until I practice a bunch more free throws. Sure, free throws are useful, but that is just a sub component of a basketball game. I apologize if you’re not that into basketball, that’s the analogy that I picked and I’m just going to be using it a bunch.
So going to a single firing line at a shooting range where you have one target in front of you, and you just put some holes into it. If it’s like most ranges, then you can’t even shoot fast. That is the equivalent of shooting free throws go to a firing line. You have one target in front of you and you shoot bullets or shoot hoops. And that’s all you do. That is what most people do for their training. Yes, it’s a valuable fundamental skill. It’s just one piece of the very big puzzle. shooting free throws and shooting Bullseye marksmanship can be fun, but it’s going to fade.
That is where matches or the full game of basketball comes into play. There’s so much more going on. You’ve got community, you’ve got a it’s just a lot more enjoyable just because there’s so much more. So this is why I very much advocate for concealed carriers. To go to practical pistol matches, you’re going to learn shooting on the move you’re going to learn quick transitions draw from the holster, move from position to position hard lean around covers, shooting from compromised positions such as kneeling on Stover, etc. There is just so much going on in These matches, but I went over a bunch of that in the previous episode.
So just get out and shoot, stop making excuses and stop saying, oh, I’ll go when I get better just get out and get to a match and give it a try. Don’t go research the best gun, don’t go spend $5,000 on all sorts of gear that you may or may not like, take what you have, and go to a match. All you need is a semi automatic pistol, a safe holster, and three, four, maybe five magazines depending on what shooting competition format you’re shooting and what division you are shooting in that competition format.
Generally, if you can get four mags on your belt that’s going to cover you for pretty much everything. local clubs are very, very welcoming, very laid back. Very friendly, very, very excited to have new shooters. There’s often loaner gear if you reach out and ask and everybody is going to be extremely happy to give you all sorts of advice. The most popular people at these matches are often the new shooters. They just get more advice than they can handle at first match the the friendship and the camaraderie. It’s just it’s one of my favorite part of matches. There’s very few jerks most everybody is very happy to help you out and give you pointers if you ask there will be people give you unsolicited advice. Generally, often not advice worth. seeking out not not not not advice worth taking.
But if you seek out advice from the people who are demonstrating skill and they’re putting up good times if you ask them for advice, they will almost certainly give it to you Think of a local club match as going to play a game of pickup basketball, but you’ve got some, just some newbies next to NBA players, you’re going to have some really good shooters at these matches and you’re going to have a bunch of people who are just out there for the first time. And people aren’t gonna make fun of you. They’re just not I’ve I don’t think I’ve ever encountered anybody making fun of somebody who is legitimately trying and legitimately seeking out questions. The only people that get made fun of are the cocky jerks who think they’re all that and can’t hit the broadside of a barn.
Go with an open mind, go to learn, go to practice, and just go, just go. I’m going to say that a bunch because it’s really important. Just go to a match. It’s going to be so much fun, you’re going to want to come back and that is the best way to get better. It really is. If you want to get better at shooting competitions. The just go shoot one. You’re not going to know what to practice. You’re not going to know what’s important without just going.
So I yeah, I’ll tell a personal story on that point. My first three gun competition. I had a rifle that was I was pretty proud of that I put a bunch of research into and built and I had, I had just a stock semi auto pistol. I don’t even remember what it was. And then I had a pump action shotgun. I did pump action five round Mossberg shotgun, and I went to a match because I’d done research and shotguns I didn’t, there were expensive. There’s all sorts of conflicting opinions online. personal preference comes into play. I picked any of these things up. I know there was just so much I didn’t know what to do. So I just went and shot a match. rather than go spend a bunch of money on a shotgun only determine I don’t like that shotgun I don’t like that shooting competition format or whatever the case may be.
I don’t know if you’ve shot three gun or I’ve seen people shoot three gun but shooting in TAC ops with a pump action five round not tuned shotgun in any way it did not go well. I timed out on literally every single shotgun stage. Not a single person made fun of me I didn’t time out on the stages that were Rifle and Pistol only I did pretty good at those. I hadn’t had a blast, a timed out on every stage and I did not care. I was learning so much. Every person on my squad I went up to them and ask them about their shotgun. Nobody said no, I’m not gonna. I’m not gonna let you look at shotgun. I even had somebody offered to let me use his shotgun. I turned him down. Because I was you know, I was new I was young that just it seemed, seemed like a bit much. I didn’t know how it operated. I was just gonna I just shot with with my pump action shotgun.
But I had so much fun I learned so much about the sport. And I was able to make an educated choice on a semi auto shotgun that I went out and purchased later. Then I went and practice because I’d gone to a match, I knew what to expect. And so I was able to practice skills relevant to the match with my new shotgun and the next three gun match I went to I didn’t time out on a single stage, and I don’t remember how I placed but I remember placing decently for it being my second three gun match. I didn’t expect to be at the top of the scoreboards. I mean, I was going up against people who had been competing for years. Going in just plinking at the range for years is not the same as competing for here so don’t go to these matches expecting to do well if you do well great but just don’t expect it go with the proper mindset go with the mindset to learn and have fun and meet new people
what else I got on my notes Oh divisions. I’ve had people say oh, I want to go shoot uspsa but there’s so many divisions there’s major power factor, minor power factor Ah, what do I know what to do? Don’t worry too much about all of that. Not for your first match. Get your favorite pistol go to go to the match with for at least four or five mags and say this is my pistol. What should I what what should I division Should I shoot and then shoot that while you are? Then at the match?
Do what I did. At my three minute match asked why This is my gun. What gun is that? What division are you shooting, etc. Most people tend to shoot production for their first match, because they’ve got a double stack nine mil iron sight pistol. This is going to have you downloaded to 10 round mags. That’s fine. I enjoy town 10 round mags at a match because it creates a puzzle of a stage. Just don’t worry too much about those specifics. It’s your first match.
Another story time, I was at a match where there was a lady shooting. She was her first match. And people were giving her help and advice and whatnot. As the match went on. We found out that the previous week, she had shot a handgun for the first time at an NRA basic pistol class weekend before that was when she bought and touched a pistol for the first time. So she went out, bought a pistol, went to a class went to a match all in a three week time period. And it was great.
So don’t stress about Do I have the perfect gun for the division to maximize my competitive nature to get towards the top of the scoreboard, you are learning so much and doing so much for the first time. Do not focus on the scoreboard do not go expecting to do well. Again, you will be competing against people who have been doing this for years and years and years and have hundreds and hundreds if not, sometimes thousands of hours practicing for this stuff. Don’t expect to be at the top of the scoreboard. Don’t stress about having the perfect gun for the perfect division. To maximize your skill set for the best performance.
Just get out and compete and don’t care about your placement for the first match. I’m getting a little circular. I apologize. I just really really want to stress it because those are the most Common excuses I hear for people not going to matches near it productions most likely the way to go for uspsa maybe carry optics if you have a gun with a.on it or if you really like your your 1911 single stack maybe I guess if you’re going to go for idpa SSP is most likely where you’re be maybe carry optics or ESP if you have some upgrades to your gun again, just take what you have, and go compete. If you’re nervous about moving and shooting, you know running around all that stuff.
If you’re nervous about it. I don’t blame you. It’s a lot going on. Don’t worry too much about it. If you can walk around with a coffee cup in your hand. You can walk around with a gun in your hand pointed downrange. Don’t worry about running hard and maximizing your speed focus on keeping the gun pointed downrange in a safe direction. All you got to do that as you’re wanting, learning and being safe are your two primary goals and it’s not hard. But if you are still concerned about all of that, maybe if you have a pistol caliber carbines give that a try.
I’ve got a bunch of buddies who shoot PCC a lot. They have said that it’s not hard to keep a PCC pointed downrange, when you’re not moving fast, you’re not pushing hard. Or maybe try out something else. If you don’t maybe try some sort of Bullseye match format. Or maybe try out steel challenge steel challenges, a lot of fun. If you’ve never shot steel, it’s got some very satisfying rings. That’s always cool. And you don’t have to move. You stand in one spot. There are five targets in front of you. You shoot all five targets, and you shoot those five targets five times and then you go to a different stage and shoot a different array of five targets five times. That’s all there is to it. Very easy. Very straightforward is a fantastic first match. It’s also a great match format. A lot of people look down on it because you’re not moving, but it practices some very important skills.
Okay, so I’ve touched on a little bit but gear needed, just whatever pistol you have whatever you pistol you currently have. Just go out and use it. And you need, like I mentioned earlier, you need a holster, some magazines and some mag carriers, generally, you only need four, maybe five mag carriers on your belt. I’ve seen people use their pockets, that’s perfectly fine if you’re just trying out.
I know a guy who went out and competed for a while he’s a broke college student who had no money and the only ammo he shot was at matches. And that was pretty much his only hobby and then he dropped furred for practice, he put mags on his belt using rubber bands. That’s how cheap he was. That’s how strapped for cash he was. That’s how poor his gear setup was. So I don’t want to hear any excuses about not having the whiz bang whatever double alpha popular competition thing. So this guy would get his magazines on his belt using rubber bands, and when he yanked the mags out and the rubber band would go flying across the bay and people were picking up rubber bands to help him out because of course everybody’s cool at these matches and very happy to help people out. Finally, after you’ve been doing it for several months, a guy that he was shooting with regularly was the you know what? I’ve got some extra mag carriers I’m tired of picking your up your rubber bands here are these mag carriers for free. And so that’s how he got started.
Like I said, I love the shooting sports community. Amazing. Guys and and and sometimes clubs have loaner gear.
If you don’t know if you still don’t know where to start Feel free to message me ask questions I love getting new people involved in the shooting sports I’m very happy to ask questions also reach out to your local clubs say Hey, I heard you’ve got USPS a match going on you know this is what I’ve got asked questions and the they’ll be happy to help you out and get you an encourage you to get out to the match. While at the match, ask everyone about their gear. Like I’ve never met a gun person who wasn’t eager to tell you about their gear. Most of them will let you hold it. Try out the trigger. They’ll tell you about all the whatever stuff they’ve bubba-ed into their gun.
People love talking about gear. They shouldn’t be talking about skill and technique and practice more but people love talking about gear. So just get out. Go practice. Don’t stress about the gear. Don’t stress about your placement. Don’t stress about, oh, I’ll go when I get better. you’ll wish you had gone and competed sooner. I have heard it time and time again. Oh, I’ll go when I get better. They go and practice they go and they go to a match and like, wow, this is just so different. There’s, there’s so much going on. I wish I had started competing earlier. I have heard it time and time again. I wish I had started competing earlier. So just get out.
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