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For the Love of Competition

8 Things New Shooters Need to Know About Competition

by Mike Seeklander   |  July 24th, 2012 17

Like many shooters, my passion began for competing in high school, but unlike many, I had the opportunity to join the rifle team and was introduced into small bore and high power competition rather early.

Years later, after some competitive shooting in the Marine Corps, I found my true competitive love while watching a shooting video of the top United States Practical Shooting Association shooters.

Practical shooting began decades before in the form of leatherslap competitions, where the shooters focused on fast drawing defensive firearms from their holsters. The original informal competitions became governed by the USPSA and the International Practical Shooting Confederation. The sports became known as “practical shooting,” and the shooting and gear evolved at a very fast rate.

Practical shooting has been in my blood for over 20 years now, and I have competed in both USPSA and IDPA, as well as other variations of steel or practical type competitions. This experience has led me to figure out some stuff along the way, things that would make life for a new shooter much easier.

Lets keep the list short for this article, so you can focus and absorb each one, and in future articles I will expand on all the other things you will need to know to shoot competitively. While my focus (and background) is in practical shooting, this list addresses things that can be applied across the board.

Mike Seeklander is the owner of Shooting-Performance LLC, as well as the president of the U.S. Shooting Academy in Tulsa, Okla. Mike has extensive formal training and experience as a full-time professional instructor, and has authored numerous pieces of curriculum. In 2010, Mike published the incredibly popular book Your Competition Handgun Training Program, as well as a logbook and two DVDs (“Competition Handgun Training Skills and Drills,” volumes 1 and 2), to complete the Shooting-Performance training system. Mike teaches a wide variety of programs through USSA and his company Shooting-Performance, including defensive firearm and competition classes.

  • jeepers creepers

    Thank You for helping the shooting sports and the new shooters. Thank You.

  • shannon_f

    Are yall really not going to post anything about the Colorado shooting?….

    • Jerry

      Yeah. About Coloradao, too bad he was not stopped before or when he first started by a lawful carrier. Now we will have trials for ever and he probably will be an old man before justice is served.

      • shannon_f

        I completely agree. I am a 22 yr old CHL holder and hearing all the stuff on the news about how useless it would have been to have armed citizens in the theater has infuriated me. I have been researching the matter a lot, since I carry a Sig p238 .380. And from what I've found, even that small caliber would have at least slowed down the shooter. Especially if several people had been armed and all fired back at him. Maybe someone could have gotten a headshot and significantly reduced the casualties. And I for one find it ridiculous that Guns and Ammo hasn't posted a single god damn thing about the incident. It's times like these that the shooting community looks to gun writers for some insightful commentary.

        • Wolvie

          There is a story about it in the online sister publication, "Handguns".

          My guess is that it's the same company that own both publications, they decided not to post the same thing in 2 places.

          • old vet

            Most of the places that attract these crazies are the very ones that prohibit conc, carry. Such as THEATERS, some restaurants, and where potential targets are found, If any well meaning holder were to actually use his firearm to stop an incident in such a place, his life would probably be legal hell..

          • Alan_T

            Vet ……. ever notice that these so – called " active shooters " are always captured without a shot being fired at them ?

            As soon as somebody arrives on the scene that has the capability of taking them out …. they surrender .

            You would think that , that would be a clue to the politicians and the " Brady Bunch " , but apparently they aren't intelligent enough to figure THAT ONE out .

          • old vet

            Alan, one thing I have always observed is those out there with "superior intellect" have never had any use for common sense. And yes, as soon as these active shooters meet a real threat. they usually "fold".

        • Alan_T

          The thing is there was / is NOTHING you can do about someone like James Holmes until they act .

          Holmes had the knowledge , the means and the motivation ( no matter how crazy it was ) to carry out his rampage . Even if he had been denied access to firearms , he still would have been fully capable of carrying out his assault with explosives or other means as attested to by his making of sophisticated booby traps / bombs .

          As an aside it gripes the living hell outta me that the so – called news media keeps referring to Holmes as having an arsenal . I hardly think that a rifle . a pistol and a shotgun qualifies as an arsenal ! Further more , they keep making a big deal out of him using a 100 round drum magazine . SO WHAT ? ! The same thing would have been accomplished ( and probably better , figuratively speaking ) if he had used 3 – 4 , 30 round stick mags ( which probably wouldn't have jammed ) .

        • Alan_T

          Shannon , first off , congratulations on your CHL and on choosing your SIG . Don't run – down your . 380 though , if you can control it and put your shots where you want them . THAT'S the main thing !

          Secondly , life is a big scary place and because some people are afraid of it , they want to try to legislate things so that it's safe for THEM , but the thing is , it doesn't work .

          There will ALWAYS be evil and insanity in this world and there is nothing we can do about it except accept that fact and educate and train ourselves to resist it as best as we can .

          Winston Churchill said quote , " The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good men ( women ) to stand by and do nothing ." close quote .

          I don't know ( because crazy is crazy ) but I will venture a guess and say that if there were no restrictions on concealed carry and the theater in Aurora had had armed patrons , Holmes may well have chose not to attack OR he very well could have been neutralized by a person( s ) with concealed carry permits before he caused as much damage as he did .

          • old vet

            Very good Alan, Shannon, you may have a .380, but you also have very good taste. It is one of the best out there. Pray to the lord you never have to use it, but if you do, I'm sure you will use the same good judgement. All the best.

          • Alan_T

            Now vet …….. if you could just convince a few other people of that ( about me ) !

  • Vanessa Henry

    Amazing blog, this things are really essential for a new shooter. Shooting is also my passion from childhood. Thanks for sharing such great information. I’ll again visit your blog to see new update.



  • ScottUSMC Competitive shooting for beginner to master shooter. Friendly environment and great prize schedule!

  • ScottUSMC

    Challenged division as well, with cash ($75) for top challenged, adult female, junior male, junior female, senior and super senior!

  • Target Is Moving

    We tell shooters training with our moving targets that setting realistic goals is a huge part of competition. Not just “finish in second” but things like “Score on 10/15 targets” or “hit every moving target”. These shorter more realistic goals will enable you to more accurately assess your improvement and mark your achievements.

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