Two tactical takes

A couple of days ago Brandon Wright emailed me a link to a post he wrote on how competition shooting can benefit tactical guys. You can check the post out here. Brandon’s a USPSA GM and IDPA DM, and he makes some really excellent points about tactics and competition.

Tactical yoga mat
Tactical yoga mat

Then just this morning, a post by Craig “Sawman” Sawyer, former Navy SEAL and current tv personality popped up in my newsfeed about the difference between competition shooting and “real world” shooting. You can read the entire story here. Sawman’s article focuses primarily on the differences between competition and real life, and sort of comes apart at the end into a “gamer guns suck lolololol” – and focuses entirely on 1911s. Which is interesting, because the most popular gun in IDPA or USPSA competition by a long shot is polymer and striker fired, not some fancy $5,000 racegun.

So when you compare the two articles, you’ve got Brandon Wright saying “competition will make you better at shooting” and Sawman saying “competition isn’t a gunfight and 1911s suck.” Which is fair, because some 1911s do suck, and competition isn’t a gunfight.

But here’s the thing, and it’s something I think Brandon touches on a little bit and I wish he’d fleshed out more: no one is saying that competition shooting will make you better at tactics. We’re just not. We do frequently (and correctly) say that competition shooting will make you better at shooting and gunhandling, but it’s not going to teach you to do a solo room clear or how to negotiate a t-shaped hallway by yourself.

We’ve reached a point now where tactical training guys have erected this strawman argument that competition will get you killed so many times that other tactical trainers buy into it without bothering to check to see if any competition guys are saying “hey, shooting competitions will make you better at tactical ninja skills.” Which, as I’ve mentioned, we’re not. Personally, if an instructor says “don’t shoot competition” to their students, I’m far less likely to take them seriously on other topics. However, if an instructor says “hey, competition is awesome because it makes you better at shooting, but just be aware it’s not about tactics” – that seems like a reasonable approach for a tactical guy to take.

Which leaves us with the question of why certain tactical instructors who don’t shoot competitions also don’t recommend competition to their students; but that’s another post.