Home / How to Get Started in Competitive Shooting:

How to Get Started in Competitive Shooting:

Starting something new can be intimidating.  When that new thing involves firearms and a timer, it can be overwhelming to get involved in if you don’t know where to start. Do not worry, young padawan, I am here to help.

I’ve noticed a trend on local shooting forums where people will add a comment to a thread about a shooting match and say something like “I wish I could do that, but I’m not a good enough shot” or “I need more practice”, or something to that effect. Some of these people have been making the same comments for years. If you want to try competitive shooting, do it. Nobody cares how bad of a shot you are. Chances are, they will all be stuffing magazines, or BSing while you are shooting anyways. As long as you are safe, you will enjoy your time. You will also be surprised how fast you improve.

Who wouldn’t like to spend an afternoon at the range, with 100 other gun nuts, blasting holes in cardboard targets? Somewhere, somehow, people got it into their heads that competition shooters are all professional shooters, and there isn’t room for the little guy. This is false. 100% false. Shooting sports are for the gun nuts.

I started a thread on a local shooting web forum, asking people why they are not involved in competitive shooting and the overwhelming response was that they either did not know where to start, or they didn’t want to show up unprepared and be “that guy” that shows up unprepared, or breaks some unspoken rule, or whatever.

Being in Eastern NC, we very possibly live in one the best areas in the country for competitive shooting. On any given Saturday or Sunday, you can drive an hour or so from downtown Raleigh, and shoot any number of disciplines, from action pistol matches like IDPA or USPSA, to tactical styled matches like the Gunfighter League at Range 37psr, to rimfire games like Ruger Rimfire, or the Zombie Shooters Association matches, and multi-gun matches like the Tarheel 3-gun competition. There are also some long range rifle matches, such as the Designated Marksman match, and just about anything in between.

The first thing you need to do, is decide what type of match you want to shoot. I’m going to focus primarily on action pistol type matches because they are the most popular, and probably the easiest to get started shooting.

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  1. My daughter is 12 yrs old and wants to do this. We live in Denver, Colorado. We te can we start

  2. Hi Lucas,
    Just recently found your podcasts, and subscribed. I’ve been shooting for a few years, recently started reloading 9mm. I have a Magnum Research Baby Desert Eagle II (The BDE III is on IPSC Production list) made by IWI, which is not on the IPSC production list, but is identical to the Jericho R. Would it be allowed in a Production Class as IWI/Jericho is the actual manufacturer or would it fall into some other class? Classed at the discretion of Competition Director?
    I see that I will need to develop loads with 125 grain or higher rounds, rather than the 115 grain Hornady Action Pistol rounds I’ve been using.

  3. My granddaughter is 9 years old , we live in North Carolina. How can I get her started in competitive competitions

  4. Live in Calif where can I go for more info for my daughter

  5. Good article.

    I’m not new to shooting.

    I am a newly certified NRA RSO.

    I’m 61 y/o retired Navy that wants to work at any range be that will hire (albeit part time).

    I’ve done some defensive pistol at local range action bays and thought getting into competitive shooting would be fun in retirement.

    Your holster info was helpful, being that I have a SERPA. I’m going to see if Safariland has an ALS for my S&W 2.0 40 cal


    Mark L Halsten
    OSC (SW) USN ret.

  6. Hi! You had really nice posts, when do you plan to continue writing them? 🙂

    • I am glad that you enjoy it. I went to observe at a couple of matches and found it to be exclusionary and not friendly. Too much of a money game. No one shooting production in USPSA or stock service pistol in IDPA. Carry optics, pistol caliber carbines, and unaffordable “John Wick” guns. A real turn off. I begin to see why 90 million people own firearms for protection, and only 20 million compete. Obviously it is a personal choice.

  7. I live on long Island ny any chance there’s competition shooting by me

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