I have been competing in action shooting sports since 2001. I will readily admit that I wasn’t even a middle of the pack shooter at local matches until 2005-2006. I learned a lot about gun handling and marksmanship shooting matches. I learned through trial and error and watching better shooters. This took a long time, but I had time, money for ammo, and the desire to persevere. When I started getting newer shooters into competition shooting it became apparent to me that the diverse skill set I often take for granted involved so many different things that learning them match to match might be too frustrating for novices.
Some clubs do offer training for shooters new to action shooting sports; but the ones I have seen were primarily safety and scoring classes and did nothing to effectively prepare a shooter to actually participate. If someone only gets to shoot at a Texas Star for example on one stage and they don’t do it right they may have to wait until the next week or next month to try to get it right again. If someone does not know how to effectively use barricades and props for support on rifle stages they may end up missing a lot and get frustrated. Frustration at matches often goes hand in hand with expending more ammunition making attending the match even more costly. Most people are also not introspective enough to be aware of what they did wrong or what they could improve upon the next time. With these things in mind I developed a curriculum to prepare shooters to attend matches by giving them the knowledge and skills they need so they don’t have to learn the hard way on the clock. I am currently offering two courses through Suarez International; Intro to Multigun Competition and Intermediate Multi-Gun Skills.
Intro to Multi-gun Competition covers match safety rules, match etiquette, scoring methods, and equipment divisions. I cover how to move safely on a course of fire without breaking safety rules. We cover shooting around and through common props and using supported positions. Shooting for speed on paper vs shooting for points. How to engage targets on the move relative to the course of fire. We also shoot match specific target systems like Texas Stars and Plate Racks. I can’t cover everything in one class, however the goal is to give the student the skills to successfully complete local match stages and to be able to self-identify what they can improve upon.
Intermediate Multi-Gun Skills is intended to prepare the student for the challenges they will face at a major match. We shoot out as far as the rifle range will allow. We work with a variety of props and awkward shooting positions. We engage slug targets at 50-100 yards. We shoot at aerial clay targets when available. Pistol shooting is done on more complex targets and at farther distances. Being able to attempt these challenges multiple times gives students the confidence to handle those shooting problems when they face them at a major match.
At the end of both classes we assemble all the individual skills together into stages to test it all under pressure. Here’s the video of the final drill from my recent Intermediate Multi-Gun Skills Class.
Students advance at different rates, but everyone I’ve taught has taken something from class and applied it to their next match. If you’re a tactical/self defense oriented shooter and you’ve considered competing I encourage you to come to these classes so we can take the skill set you have along with the will to prevail and show you how to apply it to action shooting sports.
Discuss on the competition forums here
Suarez International Specialist – Competitive Shooting