Like most police officers, most of my early firearms training involved little in the way of competition. Pistol competitions are looked upon as mere “games” that real combat shooters never attend. As ignorant and arrogant as this attitude may be, you still hear it from many. My entrance into the precision rifle competition world confirmed my hunch that this prejudgment was not true. While competitions have their issues, on the whole they are incredibly valuable.
It was several years before the same opportunity arose in the pistol world. A good friend finally dragged me to a local club match, where the value of competing was confirmed. Not only was it incredibly valuable training, it was a ton of fun. Eventually the plunge was taken when a USPSA membership was secured and some training in earnest began. While undertaking this process, a couple of things struck me. First of all, the vast majority of shooters are not going to compete in the near future with the likes of Todd Jarrett or Dave Sevigny. Secondly, getting to the upper ranks is really tough, and not something most would even care to do.
Given my local experience, when the opportunity to cover the USPSA Handgun Nationals came up, I jumped at the chance. Given this event would bring the biggest names it was going to prove very interesting. It is the first national level pistol competition I have attended, and it turned out to be a very educational and interesting experience.