Your First Match

From Team Hollis

The world of competitive shooting can be extremely intimidating, let alone being a female in a male dominated sport. I was exposed to my first IDPA match in June of 2017. My husband practically dragged me there. I hadn’t had much practice with my HK VP9. I knew the basic fundamentals but not nearly enough in my eyes. I, like most females that take up this sport, are stubborn, independent, type A, “we don’t want anyone’s help” kinda women.

After sitting through the beginner safety course, I knew right away that it was going be a very long day. I wanted to fall back into the comfort zone of my M4. Where I knew I could perform well. However, the boss-man refused to let me have my way and insisted I stepped out the my comfort zone.

I set my standards extremely high and more often than not, I put extreme amounts of pressure on myself to do just as well as the men. Needless to say, with my inexperience, low confidence and competitive spirit, my first few stages of the match went horribly wrong. Slow draws, missed targets and running out of time were begging to become a habit.

By the time we reached lunch, I was ready to crawl into a hole and never shoot pistol again. I had failed “in my eyes” at obtaining my objective. My husband did very well, and was supportive as he always is, but I am my own worst critic. Words didn’t mean a whole lot at that time, as I knew I hadn’t performed well.

After sulking for about a week, I had a “come to jesus moment” with myself and decided to “let” someone help out. As usual my husband came to the rescue and was standing by, waiting for me to ask for help. After dropping some stubborn walls, I started to understand the concepts and fundamentals further. I figured out what I was doing wrong and started fixing those mistakes.  I learned alot from my first match. Although it did not go as I had planned or wanted, I was also naive to believe I could do phenomenally well with very little experience. “Beginners luck” doesn’t beat experience through talent.

If I could give you any advice it would be-

1) Listen to those who have been shooting longer

2) You probably aren’t going to start winning matches right from the start

3) Good results will take a lot of time and effort

4) Your self confidence will grow with time

5) If you think you’ve got something down, do it again.. And again

6) Enjoy yourself, keep the fundamentals

7) Don’t give up

I am happy to report through hours of hard work spent at the range, and listening to others, my pistol shooting is getting better. It isn’t world class competitive level, but it’s a hell of alot better than where it was. And, as comfortable as you may be with a different weapon, use the one you suck at the most!

  • Great things never came from comfort zones


Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.