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You’re Not Good Enough To Shoot Your First Match

Most common thing I heard from people who are somewhat interested in the idea of competitive shooting is that they aren’t good enough.

  • If you can draw the gun, and walk around without pointing it at yourself or anyone else, and can do basic malfunction clearance, you have the skills needed to get started.

That’s not to say that you’re “good enough” though.

When you start, you’re going to suck at it. It’s that way with ANYTHING you do in life, so accept it.

  • When I started cycling way back when, I was awful. When I picked it up again last fall, I was awful again. I’m still not great, but the more time I spend on the bike the more I’m learning and honing my skills.

  • It was the same when I really took up shooting as a hobby. When I started I didn’t have a clue what my sights looked like when the shot broke, and if I shot 10 rounds, and 5 of them were in the center of the target, and 5 were low and left, I couldn’t tell you what was different on those shots. Now? I’ll still pull a shot low/left now and then, but I know the very instant that the gun goes off that something went wrong. Because I’ve put in the time and practice to learn these things.

  • There’s a Swedish Psychologist named K Anders Ericcson who’s literally wrote the book on this stuff. I haven’t read the book yet (literally ordered it while working on these shownotes) but I’ve listened to him interviewed on the Freakonomics podcast a while back, as well as heard him referenced in many different audiobooks about mastery and things like that, and basically, the way I understand what I’ve heard about his research is that some people are born with somewhat of an advantage in their given field, but for the most part, if you want to master something, you’ve got to put in the work.

Not just “work” but deliberate practice.

So, if you know you’re going to suck at competitive shooting when you start, why should you start?

I’ve found it to be incredibly rewarding for several reasons:

  1. Not to sound cocky, but I’ve become one of the better shooters out there. If you put me and 10 random gun owners on the range, and have us shoot for accuracy with a handgun, I’ll finish near the top, because I’ve practiced a LOT more than the average person.

  2. I’ve built a level of confidence in myself, my gear, and my abilities that I didn’t have before I became a competitor. Certainly before I was a competitor I would pretend I had confidence when talking to my buddies about shooting, but now that I shoot a lot, practice a lot, and know what I’m capable of (with the numbers to prove it) I’m very confident should I ever need to use my gun for self defense.

  3. I’ve got to meet some of the best in the world at my craft. If I were a runner, I probably wouldn’t meet Usain Bolt at a random 5K in North Carolina. If I were a competitive cyclist, the chances of rolling up to the line with Chris Froome just wouldn’t happen. BUT, there’s something about competitive shooting that’s different. When we invited Chris Tilley to come over to Ben’s house, and record a podcast around his kitchen table, he was happy to do it. When you roll up to the starting position and Todd Jarrett has the timer, chances are he’s going to drop some knowledge on you at some point if he thinks you need it. When we had Ben Stoeger on the podcast, he invited us into his hotel room to record it. These are world class shooters, all of them, and they’re available and approachable.

When we interviewed Tilley one of the things he said was that he loves teaching brand new shooters how to shoot. Not the A class guys who should practice more, and make excuses for not doing it, but the people who have never shot before. I think that’s freaking cool.

All this to day: if you’ve EVER wanted to try competitive shooting, do it. If you’ve ever wanted to gain more confidence in your shooting, try competition. If you’ve ever heard that competitive shooting will get you killed on the streets, come try it, and if you’re just looking for something to waste your Saturday’s on, we’ll see you on the range.

Gear that Doesn’t Suck:

If you’re looking to become a better shooter, you need a shot timer. If you’re shooting drills on the range and you’re not timing them, I think you’re wasting ammo. Just get a Pocket Pro 2 timer, and be done with it.

The News

Mike Vanderboegh passed away this week. He was a fervent 2A supporter, and he did a lot of good work. I’ll miss him.

There were reports of an Active Shooter at Crabtree Valley Mall here in Raleigh in Saturday. At this point on Sunday there are a lot of conflicting reports from witnesses, some saying they heard a shot, some saying they heard 4 shots, others saying they heard 12-14 shots. The police still say they don’t have any evidence of any shooting taking place. While it was all going down, apparently some dude approached the mall dressed in camo, carrying a rifle, and said that he was there to help the police.



There’s a new way to contact the podcast. If you want to send in a voicemail through your phone, just dial 7817BULLET and you’ll be connected to the Triangle Tactical voicemail line. Boom.

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.

One comment

  1. “I’m not good enough yet…”

    You’re not good enough? Most of the targets are 18 inches wide and between 5 yards and 15 yards away. You get more points for hits in the center of the target. Sometimes, there may be targets that are smaller, further, or more challenging. Are you trying to tell me that you’re not good enough to hit an 18-inch wide target?

    It that doesn’t work, I ask if they’d get out-shot by an 11-year-old? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JX8Wy5pTSA (the steel counts as a “more challenging” target)

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