Competitive Shooting Tips for Beginners

Posted by Team Springfield

Sep 2, 2014 10:22:00 AM

Are you a recreational shooter who wants to learn more about getting into the competitive side of the sport? Have you never shot a handgun in your life but want to learn how? As most pros will tell you, entering a competitive shooting match takes as much bravery as it does skill. When first contemplating the idea of competitive shooting, consider these tips to make sure you enjoy the sport to the fullest.

Dedicated Practice

When it comes to starting out with competitive shooting, don’t expect to win your first time around. Even seasoned shooters in some situations, such as law enforcement officers, often find themselves out-shot by regular civilians. Many people find competitive shooting difficult and never go back to the game after their first failure. These people are missing one of the most important components of competition: endless practice.

You can practice without live ammunition by do shooting drills that require you to draw, acquire targets, press the trigger, move to cover position, acquire new targets, and more. Always make sure your competition pistols are unloaded. Then, run through the stage a few times. Try it every day for a month—you’ll be surprised how quickly you improve. Also, get in plenty of practice time out on the range with ammunition.


Be patient with yourself, both during practice and at competitions. At your first few matches, you may have questions or need help, and that’s perfectly fine. Shooting communities are full of friendly individuals who are almost always glad to lend a hand to newcomers who need gear loans or have questions about what to do. 

In addition, while practicing will most certainly improve your shooting skills, you may not always find yourself performing as well in a competition as you do in practice. As long as you stick with it, you’ll hone your skills further and further.

Safe, Quick Troubleshooting

When participating in a competition for the first time, many recreational shooters already know the basics of clearing malfunctions, loading and reloading their semi-automatic competition firearms. However, a competition requires participants to deal with problems like smokestack jams, tip-up jams, double feeds and the “click” trigger even more quickly and effectively than usual. Part of your practice should include switching magazines, recharging and knowing how to address a problem immediately should it occur.

Topics: Competitive Shooting

Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual.  These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory®.

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