Who doesn’t enjoy a chance to show off their skills? As we grow more confident in something, it’s a common part of human nature to want to highlight that ability. Spending a few hours at the range is a good way to keep your skills well-honed, and going out for an afternoon of plinking is just downright fun, but what do you do when it feels like the excitement is no longer there? It may well be time to challenge your skills by signing up for a shooting competition.
Where To Start
Shooting competitions are definitely not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. There are competitions strictly for pistol/handgun, rifle, or shotgun, and there are competitions with rounds for different firearms. Some are strictly steel target competitions, some only paper, and some a combination. There are single distance, multi-distance, stationary position, and multi-position or moving competitions. Basically, if there’s a specific area in which you’d like to challenge yourself, odds are good there’s a competition already out there for it. Check with your local range or gun club to see what’s on offer in your area, or check with the various competition governing bodies if you have a specific competition style in mind.
There are a multitude of different reasons why people take part in shooting competitions — and, surprisingly, prizes aren’t even the biggest draw. For many, shooting competitions are a way to test their mettle against others. They are also, just as easily, a way to track your growth in terms of skill across specific intervals of time. Reasons many firearms owners compete include:
- Gauge of skill — this is often a big reason firearms owners will bother to compete, especially when just starting out in competitions. It’s a way to see how you stack up against others, not just the target at the end of your range lane.
- Challenge — once you know how you measure up against others in your area (or nationally), continuing to participate in competitions is a good way to challenge your skills and encourage improvement. It’s a good break from the routine of range time.
- Learning — some competition types include challenges or shooting conditions you don’t normally experience at a standard range. That can be a good incentive to push your own boundaries and learn new skills.
- Prizes — just because we said they aren’t the only reason doesn’t mean the prizes are a throw away. Some competitive shooters have honed their skill and compete often enough that they can make a living strictly from shooting competitions. Whether that’s your aim or not, the prizes are a nice bonus if you can earn them.
Join The Club
The reasons to take part in shooting competitions are as varied as the people competing. One of the more universally agreed upon reasons for joining in is that shooting competitions are downright fun. Think back to your first visit to your local range and how welcoming and helpful people were when they found out you were new to the scene. Competitions are often like that, but better. Sure, there will be that competitive edge, but by and large, other competitors will be just as likely to offer advice on the best AR accessories or help you adjust your stance. Just take their advice with a grain of salt; everyone has opinions, and are more than likely to clash with others. Then again, that’s probably not new information.
Shake Up Your Routine
Routine can have its advantages, especially when it comes to building up strong muscle memory for each of your firearms. One of the big pitfalls of only using your firearms for range time, however, is the potential to become complacent in your skills, at which point your progress is likely to stall. Competitive shooting is a good way to push yourself out of your routine and encourage growth of your skills. It’s also a good way to justify those custom AR parts or a bevy of the best AR accessories — not that you really need an excuse.
Let Bootleg, Inc. help you prepare your AR 15 for your next competition. Explore our upper assembly parts and find the best AR accessories to help whether you’re shooting prone or on the move. Shop online to learn more.