One of the more popular search terms that brings people to Triangle Tactical is “How to shoot professionally” or some variation of that phrase. A lot of people seem to have an idea that it’s fairly easy to become a professional (i.e. paid a salary by a company in the industry because you’re an awesome shooter/spokesman) but that isn’t really the case.
I probably get more people sent to this website using that search term every month than there are professional shooters in the US.
Part of the reason that people think it’s so easy to become a paid professional in the shooting world is that most people think they are a lot better at shooting than they really are.
Last week I was talking about a similar situation with someone who has been an NRA CRO for many years, and he mentioned how people will come into the square range shoot a shot at a target and yell “wahoo!” while slapping high fives with their friends. The fact is that shooting a small group with no time limit on a target 7 yards away isn’t very hard. The CRO said when he sees this behavior the shooters either get invited to show off their talents at the next competition, or in certain circumstances he’ll just roll his eyes and walk off.
I’m not a professional shooter. Triangle Tactical pays for itself these days, and I make a little side money selling some articles here and there and doing some gear reviews for third parties, but my day job is what pays the bills. Over the past few years doing this though, I’ve read a little about the topic (check out Jesse Tischausers 2014 expense breakdown here) and I think I have a pretty good idea of what it takes to be a “professional shooter”.
- Be extremely lucky, in the right place at the right time.
- Be a world class shooter with the creds to prove it. If you aren’t shooting competitively and finishing with the big dogs, forget it.
- Be a really nice guy (or gal). Let’s face it, a big part of being paid to shoot for a company is also being a spokesperson for that company. If you’re not social at matches, or you’re a jerk or a bad sport, forget it.
- Be prepared to shoot a gun that you don’t necessarily love. I can’t say for certain, but I have a feeling JJ Racaza wasn’t in love with the fact that he was sponsored by Caracal when they recalled
alla whole bunch of their pistols.
So, if you’re here wanting to learn what it takes to shoot professionally, or if you think you’re a hot shot, go shoot some matches. Practice until your hands bleed, and get really good while also being a really nice guy.