duplex scope crosshairs logo in orange color
duplex scope crosshairs logo in orange color

How to Get Started in Competitive Shooting

Trying out something new can be scary at first, especially if it’s something related to the use of firearms. However, it can also be exciting and with a little bit of planning and research, you can get started in competitive shooting relatively easily.

Here are few basic things you will need to learn:

What to Purchase

Competitive Shooting Pistol

Of course, you will need to have a gun if you want to start competitive shooting. There are many factors to consider when choosing a pistol for this purpose. For example, you should consider the match you are interested in, the capacity, and how easy it is to find a matching holster. To start, you can use any reliable pistol that you personally like and 9mm is the most common competitive shooting caliber.


If you want to start competitive shooting, you may be tempted to buy a lot of equipment. However, you typically don’t need much to start with besides your pistol and a good holster. Before choosing a holster, you should know that some can be dangerous. These include nylon holsters, which are often difficult to operate. In addition, many competitions do not permit Blackhawk SERPA. Finally, holsters with leather inside the waistband tend to collapse when the pistol is removed, and this might be dangerous for a beginner.

Safety Equipment

In addition to your gun and holster, you will need eye protection. This is required both for shooters and for anyone else attending the match. There are several different types of eye protection, and they come at different prices. You do not have to get the most expensive ones to get the best protection. Ear protection is also necessary as gunshots can be loud enough to cause immediate and irreversible damage to your hearing.

What to Know

Competitive Shooting Safety

Safety is the most critical aspect of any shooting competition. It is important to follow all the rules of the range where the competition is being held. You will need to keep your pistol unloaded and holstered until a range officer tells you otherwise. If you are ever unsure of what to do, it can be helpful to have someone with you who is more familiar with competitive shooting. It’s expected that you won’t know everything and might feel a bit lost, but you need to make sure that you keep safety in mind at all times.

One of the most essential things to know is that if the range officer tells you to “stop” or “cease fire” at any point, you need to immediately stop what you are doing and wait for further instruction.

Know How to Run Your Pistol

If you don’t know how to use your pistol, you probably won’t have much fun at the competition. More importantly, you may be creating a situation that can be dangerous to yourself and others. You should know the basics of pistol operation including how to load and unload your weapon and how to clear malfunctions.

Your First Shooting Competition

After you have finished preparing, you can attend your first match. How this looks differs slightly depending on the range that is holding the competition, but the basic steps are usually pretty similar. There is generally a scorecard that you turn in to a scorekeeper at the beginning of the match or stage. This will determine the order in which contestants will shoot. As a beginner, it is a good idea to ask if the scorekeeper can put you at the end of the shooting order so you have a chance to watch others first and get a better idea of what to do.

When your name is called, you should approach the firing line. The range officer will ask you if you understand the course of fire and if you do not, you should ask any questions you have at this time. Once you confirm that you understand, the officer will tell you to “load and make ready” or simply “make ready.” At this point, you are allowed to remove your pistol from the holster, load a magazine, chamber a round, and place the gun back in your holster. The officer will then ask if you are ready and when you confirm, they will set a timer and you will hear a “beep” sound when it is time to start shooting.

After you finish running the course of fire, the range officer will give a command such as “slide, hammer, and holster.” This means you need to drop the slide, dry fire your gun in a safe direction to confirm it is unloaded, and then place it back in your holster.

Get Started at The Hub

At the Hub, you can find everything you need for shooting competitions, including high-quality pistols and holsters.

Visit us today to browse our selection of competitive shooting supplies.

a person aiming during competitive shooting competition

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