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Moving from traditional range-based shooting to competitive shooting venues can take skills to the next level. Ichiro Nagata photo

It’s a sad fact in today’s economy that many law enforcement agencies are strapped for cash. When the administrators try to decide what parts of the budget to cut, training is often one of the first items chopped from the list.

To offset this, there is a solution that will improve an officer’s skill with their firearms, whether it’s pistol, shotgun or patrol rifle—and in many cases it’s closer than you may think. The solution is competition shooting. Not traditional bullseye shooting or skeet shooting, but action shooting. While there are many different sports within the big tent of action shooting, they all share a similar benefit for law enforcement officers—namely to get multiple, accurate hits as fast as possible on multiple targets. Competition shooting can aid an officer in many ways. By inducing stress similar to that of a real-world conflict, officers can train their gun-handling skills and develop rapid problem-solving abilities.

Competition shooting provides such great value that the U.S. Army’s Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) has a special action shooting team, responsible for entering, and often winning, many of the various action shooting disciplines. Additionally, some of the top competitors in the world are law enforcements officers, such as Bruce Piatt. Bruce has won several Bianchi Cup and 3-Gun championships and, more importantly, he is a police officer and department firearms instructor.
Of course, to gain the benefits of competition shooting, you actually have to get out there and shoot. To help with that, here’s a breakdown of the three most popular flavors of competition shooting in the United States, and some of the rules an officer should be aware of as well as the type of gear they’ll need.

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