Competition Pros and Cons
Competition shooting is a highly controversial topic in self defense. Some of the things you learn from competition can be very beneficial, but some can be a detriment. It is, in fact, a game, but what can we learn from this game?
The advantages of competition are many. First, it is a regularly scheduled range session with people that will notice if you do not attend. If you can't get out of it, you have to go practice. In addition to just being a good time to work range drills, we have other people setting up our range drills. This means that it may not be a problem we would normally set up for ourselves. Solving someone else's problem can add yo your ability to solve the problems you might encounter in real life. In addition to how you perform at a match, you will get to see what is possible when it comes to speed and accuracy. The best competition shooters are simply good shooters that know how to be efficient in movement, smooth at trigger press and accurate with their firearm. These hard skills do transfer over to defensive use of the firearm.
All of the cons stem from the way competition is set up so the game is fair and safe. It also stems from the way people view the competition as a game. When you view a competition as a game, you may be tempted to take the minimum cover requirements, not totally using the cover offered as you would in real life. It might also lead to target priority issues where people prioritize a further target rather than the one right in front of them. One of the worst culprits to watch for is putting your muzzle on a target you do not intend to shoot. Often, there will be "no-shoot" targets arranged with the shoot targets. While there is a penalty for shooting them, there is NO penalty for pointing a gun at them. In the real world, this is reckless and potentially criminal.
Competition can be a great training tool, but remember to take in in the context in which you wish to apply it.