The author found that when he stopped making excuses and started setting personal goals in competitions, he made more progress and had more fun. (Courtesy Robert Brantley/)
What are the barriers that keep people from shooting precision rifle competitions? Allow me to count the ways.
After talking to lots of different folks about this over the years, I’ve seen that their reasons for not competing vary. For some, it’s the cost of the equipment. For others, it’s the misconception that their gear needs to be perfect. Without the latest and greatest kit, they reason, they won’t do well. Some would-be competitors hesitate because they fear failure. They especially worry about not doing well in front of others. Folks also commonly think they don’t have the resources—time, as well as money—to participate.
Oddly enough, I’ve found that many of my best matches took place when I was confronting these issues myself. While those moments when you do have total control over every aspect of your shooting feel great, you also don’t have to have every “i” dotted and “t” crossed to shoot at a high level.
And you shouldn’t let a less-than-perfect situation keep you from signing up, either. For example, I talked to one guy who told me he didn’t go shoot a local one-day club match because his brass wasn’t annealed. That’s just overthinking things—letting that notion of perfection keep you from having some fun and learning, too.
I think the key is for shooters to define their own standards of success and work to achieve those goals. It’s not always about being No. 1 on the podium. Your measure of success could be just beating more people than beat you. Or getting a win in your division. Or just making a certain percentage of your shots throughout the day.