If you’re interested in starting competitive pistol shooting, the key to success lies in finding the right match for your skill level and learning how to shoot your best. This handy guide will take you through the 10 steps you need to take to become a competitive pistol shooter, from choosing your first gun to shooting in your first competition. Let’s get started!

1) Set Goals
The first thing you need to do is set goals for yourself. If you know your goal, it will be easier to make sure everything else falls into place. The best way to set your goals is by setting up a timeline and figuring out what you want by the end of each year. For example, if you want to shoot competitively in three years, you might decide that this year your goal is just learning how the gun functions and next year your goal would be shooting at more competitions. Next year your goal could be competing in regional matches and eventually being able to compete nationally or internationally. You should always have a small achievable goal that you are working towards as well as larger ones so you don’t lose sight of your ultimate goal too quickly.

2) Research the Sport
Competitive pistol shooting is a sport that requires skill and discipline. There are many organizations that sponsor pistol competition. You can start by researching the NRA competitive shooting programs. Or, you may be drawn to the United States Practical Shooting Association or the International Defensive Pistol Association.

3) Invest In Good Equipment
The most important thing to invest in, if you are going to start shooting competitively, is quality equipment. A good pistol will not only help you hit targets more accurately but can also save your life. Make sure your pistol has an adjustable sight and grip safety and be sure that it feels comfortable for you. You don’t have to buy the fanciest gun on the market; just one that suits your needs and is of good quality will do the trick. Visit several local gun shops, discuss your goals with knowledgeable professionals, and choose a pistol that fits.

4) Know The Rules
The NRA has created a guide for the new shooter, which will outline all of the rules and basic information that you need to know before showing up at your first match. Before you start shooting competitively, it is important that you know the rules so that you do not inadvertently violate any of them. Each organization has their own set of rules. Best of all, they are very welcoming to beginners and will happily guide your through your first match.

5) Practice, practice, practice!
Pistol shooting is a sport, so you should try and get as much practice as possible before your first competition. The best way to do this is by going to the range and practicing your pistol shooting skills.6) Don’t Get Discouraged

6) Don’t get discouraged!

Doing anything new can be intimidating. You are trying something that you have never done before and there is always the possibility that you will not be good at it. However, as long as you don’t give up, and keep practicing, there is no reason why you cannot become a competitive pistol shooter!

7) Don’t Expect Instant Success
Pistol shooting is one of the most competitive sports out there, with every athlete trying their best for a spot on the podium. However, don’t expect success overnight. It takes time and dedication to become a competitive pistol shooter.

8) Keep Learning & Improving

Find an instructor to learn the fundamentals of shooting and safety techniques from an experienced shooter. Join a weeknight league at your local gun store or range. Ask questions and observe the more experienced shooters. Shoot lots of rounds – you won’t improve by just shooting a box every once in a while. To become good, expect to burn through hundreds, thousands, of rounds.

9) Have Fun
Pistol shooting can be very intimidating at first, but it’s not as hard as you might think. If you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a competitive pistol shooter!

10) Enjoy The Journey!
Pistol shooting is all about the journey, and not just the end result. The goal of any competitive pistol shooter should be to grow their skills as much as possible, regardless of the outcome. That being said, it is important to set goals for yourself and have something that you are working towards. All of this experience will also serve to make you more comfortable, and more confident, with concealed carry.

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Publisher of Tactical Gun Review and Texas Outdoors Network. I love hunting for Texas whitetail deer, wild hogs, and high-volume Argentina dove. When not hunting you can find me fishing along the Texas Coast or on a wild Colorado river.

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