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  • Michelle E.

Competition Versus Self-Defense Training

Welcome back to another edition of shooting tips and tricks! Last week, we talked about some misleading tips given to women by gun store employees and older people who think smaller is always better for women when that's not the case for most women. This week, I want to look at some of the differences between training at the range and training for self-defense. Training for both is equally important but training at the range isn't always training for self-defense. There's a common misconception that training in general will also be training your self-defense skills.



Training For Range Drills And Competition

When it comes to shooting at the range and practicing for competitions or just general range drills, typically people will shoot with a complete belt system that allows their handgun and spare magazines easily accessible. Your range belt is going to be set up for the fastest motions possible when it comes to magazine changes and movement. Practicing at the range does a great job working the fundamentals of shooting whether it's sight picture, trigger manipulation, or recoil management, but that's about it. The fundamentals of shooting as well as reloads can be beneficial for overall skill building but are drastically different from actual self-defense shooting. When it comes to your pistol choice, oftentimes you will have two very different options when it comes to competition versus concealed carry. Competition guns are typically full-size and weight pistols. Competition shooting really is centered on engaging targets and moving from area to area in the least amount of time possible. Practicing shooting and moving from target to target is an incredibly important training aspect.



The main goal of competition pistols is to have the most amount of control and ease of shooting without worrying about size or weight. As a result, competitive handguns are extremely easy to shoot quickly most times with minimal felt recoil. In most cases, these handguns will have a standard capacity of 17-21 rounds in their magazines with metal or texturized grips. When it comes to the gun belt, there's usually a holster with slight retention to keep the gun secure but easy to draw. Magazine holders on a shooter's belt are typically slightly further away from the body to make it easily accessible for a quick reload. Everything is built for speed and efficiency but as a result, can be bulky and noticeable when walking down the street which means it's almost impossible to conceal.


Self Defense Training

When it boils down to someone on the outside looking in, shooting for competition and shooting for self-defense can look nearly identical. While the base skills and fundamentals can be very similar, everything else will be very different from drawing and even the type of firearm used during training. Like I said earlier, the competitive side of shooting uses equipment and handguns that are designed to be the easiest to shoot quickly. Concealment holsters are designed to be as slim and low profile as possible. The main goal of a carry holster is to offer stability and retention to your carry pistol while keeping it as close to the body as possible. Compared to competitive gear, this mindset is almost directly opposite because it purpose built.



Self-defense firearms are built to be easily concealable and depending on the model of the handgun can end up being tricky to fire under stress. Having a gun like the SIG P365 or original Glock 43 can offer a gun that's super easy to conceal but when it comes to shooting can start to be a real handful at times. Being able to draw consistently from concealment and fire accurate shots on target is a completely different experience from training in a competitive aspect. When drawing from concealment, the handgun will have a barrier that needs to be cleared before drawing the pistol. This is typically not a big deal with even minimal practice but it is always better to put in regular training to develop that muscle memory. Given enough reps and practice, drawing and presenting the handgun will become second nature and will become effortless rather than a stressful ordeal.



Why Both Are Important

If you're someone who is interested in both the competition space as well as the self-defense, you definitely will get skills being reinforced and your fundamentals will be built up by practicing both skills. Doing both aspects allow you to practice the fundamentals while also practicing the various skills associatied with each style of shooting. Of course not everyone will be shooting both and some will lean more into the competitive space while others will be exclusively shooting for the self defense aspect which is perfectly fine eithe way. The biggest take away from this concept is to get out and make training a priority wherher its for competitive reasons or practicing for concealed carry, training is the number one way to improve your skills.



Overall Thoughts

Learning to train for what you are focused on is an important skill. For those of you who are new to shooting it may be tricky knowing exactly what skills you should be focusing on but competition shooting involves more shooting and moving from target to target where self defense shooting is all about drawing from concealment and engaging threats if you absolutely have to.


Either way its great to get out and train at the range to develop your skills but training with purpose ill accelaterate your ability to grow and will make you advance that much faster. What are some of your favorite drills to practice when at the range? Let me know down in the comments below. If you have questions about range tricks or guns in general feel free to shoot myself or Marcee a message on Instagram @marcee.mae . Stay safe out there and we will see yall back here next week for another edition of shooting tricks and tips.

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