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The Rationale Of Combat Handgun Competition

The Rationale Of Combat Handgun Competition

Why do defensive handgun owners shoot “combat matches”? For the same reason professional fighters spar.

In my new book Combat Shooting from the Gun Digest folks, I make the point that, “A shooting match is not a gunfight, but a gunfight most definitely is a shooting match.” It follows the person most acclimated to shooting fast and straight under pressure is going to have an advantage, whether the stakes on the table are a trophy or survival.

I was reminded of this at the South Mountain Shootout, a regional championship sponsored by Phoenix Rod & Gun Club in Arizona  under the auspices of the International Defensive Pistol Association. A well-trained crew set up and ran eight scenarios replicating potential gunfight situations, and well over 100 shooters drew carry-suitable guns from under concealment garments to see who could indeed shoot “fastest and straightest.” The match was run efficiently and fairly: the “level playing field” in action.

Stage One was a pure skill test: non-dominant hand only, dominant hand only, both hands and in between, a “tactical reload” that let you top off the gun to full capacity without throwing away a few precious remaining rounds you might need in a few seconds if things got worse. I’ve talked to guys who survived shooting weak-hand who would have been killed otherwise because their strong hand was out of commission, and can’t help but notice that in some 40 years of NYPD gunfights, 38 percent or more have been 1-handed shooting events.
Story By: Massad Ayoob Photos By: Gail Pepin

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