I’m surfing YouTube, checkin’ out shootin’ videos from those acronym “practical”/”combat” pistol competitions (you know the ones), when I stumble upon a couple videos of Todd Jarrett (of Blackwater and aforementioned acronym competition fame) giving advice, stuff like how to shoot on the move, the Todd Jarrett “kung-fu” pistol grip, etc.

 Any who, I see a couple videos people have taken of themselves trying what he’s showing, and it’s all mostly right. Did you catch that? Mostly right.

 I say that, because their accuracy is never quite as good at TJ’s, or they aren’t as quick as he is, or what have you.

The thing is, and is more of a problem with those acronym pistol competitions in the first place, most of that stuff isn’t really based in real world combat. Sure, you can call it real, but when the bullets fly (or in the case I experienced, simunitions) it’s a totally different ball game. There are a lot of things that simply can not be simulated. The adrenaline rush, the loss of final motor control skills, the psychological overload, and a multitude of other factors. 2 shots (or even 3 or 4) might not be enough to fully stop a threat. Someone could go through a competition and be just fine, but once they got in an actual firefight, they could freeze or worse.

Do I believe those acronym pistol competitions to be completely useless? Nope. I believe there are some skills that can be learned from them, however, I could easily teach them to myself with a couple of paper targets, and several good weekends at the range practicing.

And don’t even get me started on those useless thousands of dollars race guns….

One Response to “Rant”

  1. Agree/Disagree.

    There is no substitute for force on force training. Getting out of the square range mentality is an eye opener for most people when there is incoming fire and the target moves and talks back.

    “Do I believe those acronym pistol competitions to be completely useless? Nope. I believe there are some skills that can be learned from them, however, I could easily teach them to myself with a couple of paper targets, and several good weekends at the range practicing.”

    Gotta disagree there. The competition is not about teaching you skills that you could learn on your own. It is about testing those skills and being able to perform them on demand under pressure. Sure it is NOT the same as being under fire but it is as close as most people will ever get. As far as I’m concerned, some extra level of stress is better than none when it comes to exercising those skills. Personally, I think force on force is better but most people will never take a class that includes FoF so they will never experience it. It would be far better for them to have experienced some shooting under pressure and to have developed the confidence of knowing they can perform those skills under pressure if, God Forbid, they ever experience the defecation contacting the rotary oscillator.

    DISCLAIMER: I teach FoF classes and do so because I am such an advocate of them. and recognize the difference between standing in one place calmly shooting one piece of paper that neither moves nor shoots back and having living breathing reacting opponents. Square range may teach you to shoot but does not teach you anything about tactics.

    That having been said, IPSC/IDPA do not teach good practical tactics no matter how much people want to say they do. They do provide the opportunity to test shooting skills against others under pressure and there is nothing wrong with that. Often the scenarios are not true to life defensive but honestly, if they were, most people would no longer compete because that is not much fun. Not many cases of being attacked by 20 vampires, some of them swinging from the ceiling and most of them behind barricades. But sure is a lot of fun to practice/play/run.

    As far as “Race Guns” go, it is a game! Sure a dot sighted comp’d open gun may not be practical to carry but that is not what they are designed for. They were purpose bred for competition. Kinda. I’ve carried my SV Limited gun on more than one occasion. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Having 18 rounds in the gun that I know goes bang every time I press the trigger and something that I KNOW I can make ocular window head shots at 25yds with on demand is comforting. Will I need that skill every day? Most resoundingly not but it is nice to know it is there. I know more than one officer who carry an STI. Where do you think those guns came from? IPSC is where.

    There is a practical use for these games. They just need to be approached as such. They are another tool that you can use to develop and hone your ability and confidence. Or just an excuse to go out and have fun with guns in the sun.

    Not everybody is Todd Jarret and they don’t have to be. When my wife shoots, she is usually the slowest shooter through the course of fire but she will not be last because she will out shoot many of the other competitors and she has fun doing it. If you go out to one of these competitions and have fun and are safe, then it is all good. You don’t don’t have to be a Grand Master to have fun or to get something out of them.

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