What is it like being a competitive shooter?

There just isn’t enough information online about competitive shooting.

I wanted to know more about the sport and  had a chance to ask a few questions with Adam Litke.

He is a competitive shooter in the United States Practical Shooting Association and Brand Ambassador for companies like IWI and Holosun among others.

He was nice enough to answer quite a few questions about shooting and what the life of a competitive shooter is like.



What kind of competitive shooting do you do?

I started by competing in USPSA due to the low cost to get involved. In general, USPSA has the lowest entry cost to get involved that I have seen. All you need for your first USPSA match is a gun, holster, 3-4 magazines, 200 rounds of ammunition, eye protection, and ear protection.

As I learned more about became more proficient with firearms, I transition into 2 Gun as well as 3 Gun. I feel as I have come full circle as I now primarily shoot USPSA with my handgun and PCC. The main reason for coming back to USPSA is that I can shoot 9mm, cheapest round to shoot, and that means more time and money to practice.

What is it like being a competitive shooter?

What is the average amount of time a dynamic shooter trains?

I spend approximately 50% of my time on the range practicing or attending training classes and 50% of my time shooting matches. Realistically, I would recommend that the average shooting spend the majority of their time practicing and dry firing. Keep in mind that your average shooting match means that you will spend 5-10 minutes shooting and 3-5 hours helping reset the stages after other shooters, waiting your turn to shoot, etc.

How much ammunition does a competition shooter goes through in a year?

Unfortunately, there is no magic recipe that shooting X number of rounds per year makes you a better shooter. However, the more rounds a shooter can fire in training and/or during proper practice; the faster and more accurate the average shooter tends to become. Instruction and practice should be regimented and well thought out to avoid simply shooting to shoot.

When I head to the range, I have a plan in my head as to what I will work on, what guns I will shoot, targets I will use, and how long I plan to shoot each firearm. In general, I expect to shoot 10,000+ rounds through my pistol caliber carbine (PCC), 7,000 rounds through my pistol, 6,000 rounds through my rifle, and 3,000 rounds through my shotgun each year.

I also plan to spend a large part of my time at home dry firing my firearms. Something to keep in mind is that I am shooting 2-3 matches per month and attending at least three training classes throughout the year. When I first started taking training classes and shooting competitively, I was shooting no more than 2,000 rounds per year of pistol and rifle and less than 500 rounds of shotgun. The important thing is to get out and train/practice.


What is it like being a competitive shooter?

What made you want to become a practical shooter?

I grew up on a farm in Ohio, and my father taught me to hunt and shoot at a young age.

I never thought much more of shooting, other than hunting, until I was married and realized that I needed not only the tools to defend myself and my family but also the training to do so.

I slowly started to watch the Magpul training videos and realized that I was barely proficient in the use of firearms when it came to the defensive use of firearms.

It was at this point that I realized that as a husband, and at some point, a father, I would need to learn how to protect my family. Thus, my entry into the firearms training community started.

What influenced your decision to become a competitive shooter?

During a training class in 2014, I was shooting next to someone who consistently bested me both in speed and accuracy during each drill throughout the training class. As the course continued, I learned that the shooter who was consistently besting me in speed and accuracy was also active in competitive shooting and that he attributed most of his speed and accuracy to his competitive shooting training. It was at this point that I realized that to continue to improve the skills that I was going to enter the competitive shooting field.

How do you like shooting the IWI Tavor and being a brand ambassador for IWI?

One of the best parts of my “job” in the firearms community is representing great companies like IWI. Not only do I get to shoot the legendary line of Tavor and Galil rifles but I get to attend events with the company, help train their rep group, connect other great shooters to IWI, help moderate the facebook IWI owner groups, and so much more. It is incredibly rewarding to help a company grow and see the results of that growth daily. The part I like most is helping others learn about the rifle platform and, of course, having early access to all of the tremendous new firearms being produced by IWI.

Do you have time behind an AR/AK as well as the Tavor?

I started my journey into the world of modern firearms with an AK-47. I bought an Armalite AR-15 soon after purchasing the AK-47. I was mostly shooting, just to shoot, the AR-15 and AK-47 on my families farm in Ohio. It wasn’t until a few years later in 2013, that I had saved up enough money to buy the IWI Tavor SAR. After purchasing the Tavor SAR I quickly enrolled in a rifle course and began training to get better and be more proficient with firearms. The majority of my time behind rifles, as of 2019, has been primarily with the IWI series of Tavor rifles as well as the Galil rifles.

What is a typical day of training?

A typical day of training consists of firing approximately 250 rounds of ammo per firearm. The day generally consists of engaging multiple targets, reloads, moving while shooting, speed, and accuracy. I also try and focus on transitions from one firearm to the next when preparing for 2 and 3 gun matches. Whenever possible, I also spend time practicing drawing from concealment, use of a sling, and transitioning from a rifle to pistol while using a sling.

What is it like being a competitive shooter?
What is it like being a competitive shooter?

Is competitive shooting full-time job?

Although there are a few shooters, who can make a living shooting, they are few and far between. The majority of shooters, like me, are people who work a day job and enjoy shooting competitively so much that we spend many weekends on the range with other like-minded individuals putting holes in cardboard and knocking over steel.

What is a night like before a match?

The night before a match generally consists of traveling to the match or a lot of fun with fellow shooters. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that there were some butterflies in the stomach the night before a match but the people in the competition shooting world are great people who love to hang out and have a great time before and after a competition.

What scoring do you like most?

There are numerous ways that matches have done the scoring. Sometimes the scoring depends on the affiliation the match has. 3 Gun as an example is generally two shots anywhere on paper/cardboard and shoot steel until it falls. USPSA uses a scoring system that takes into account your best two shots on each piece of paper/cardboard as well as hit factor, and power factor.

Some three gun matches use the method of points plus time. For a new shooter, the important thing is that you focus on being safe and making your shots. As you shoot more and more matches and become more proficient, it will be essential to know which rule-set is being used so you can determine your game plan for each stage based on the rule set being used.

How do you characterize the majority of competitive shooters?

The average competitive shooter you will meet is the salt of the Earth kind of guy/gal. They will give you the shirt off their back, help you determine your stage plan for running a stage, give you the equipment you need, lend you ammunition, and so much more. I have learned more from other shooters helping me and giving me tips/tricks than through any other method.

Do you have any training tips for getting on target quickly and firing?

Dry fire and practice, practice, practice. I highly recommend that you allocate 200 rounds every week or the best that you can do and set up a training session ahead of time to maximize your time on the range. The average training session should include targets both close and far so that you can practice holdovers and rapid transitions from one target to the next as well as understand your ability to hit targets right in front of you compared to targets at a distance.

What is it like being a competitive shooter?

What about someone who wants to get into competitive shooting, any tips for that?

Go, and do it! It may seem intimidating, but it is like everything else in life. It seems tough the first time you do it, and then it becomes second nature after a couple of tries. The biggest thing is to be safe and have fun. The rest comes with time and practice.

What have you learned the most about shooting this much?

I am nowhere near as fast, accurate, or proficient as I thought I was; however, I am faster, more accurate, and more proficient than yesterday. I have also learned that no matter how fast, accurate, and skilled you are there is always someone faster, more accurate, more proficient out there and that is the reason I continue to practice and train.

If you want to know more check out Litke’s instagram https://www.instagram.com/adam_sasa/ Or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/adam3gun/


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