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GUNS Magazine March 2012 Digital Edition - Page 8
STORY: Massad Ayoob PHOTOS: Gail Pepin I Why do defensive handgun owners shoot “combat matches”? For the same reason professional fighters spar. the rationaLe of CoMbat handGun CoMPetition n my new book Combat Shooting from the Gun Digest folks, I make the point that, “A shooting match is not a gunfight, but a gunfight most definitely is a shooting match.” It follows the person most acclimated to shooting fast and straight under pressure is going to have an advantage, whether the stakes on the table are a trophy or survival. I was reminded of this at the South Mountain Shootout, a regional championship sponsored by Phoenix Rod & Gun Club in Arizona under the auspices of the International Defensive Pistol Association. A well-trained crew set up and ran eight scenarios replicating potential gunfight situations, and well over 100 shooters drew carry-suitable guns from under concealment garments to see who could indeed shoot “fastest and straightest.” The match was run efficiently and fairly: the “level playing field” in action. Stage One was a pure skill test: non-dominant hand only, dominant hand only, both hands and in between, a “tactical reload” that let you top off the gun to full capacity without throwing away a few precious remaining rounds you might need in a few seconds if things got worse. I’ve talked to guys who survived shooting weak-hand who would have been killed otherwise because their strong hand was out of commission, and can’t help but notice that in some 40 years of NYPD gunfights, 38 percent or more have been 1-handed shooting events. In other stages, targets charged at you the moment you opened a door, and you had less than two seconds to pump six shots into them to effect a “stop.” One stage had two targets simultaneously exposed for less than two seconds for two shots apiece. Another required you to “rescue the hostage from the hostage-taker” by shooting an 8" plate off the shoulder of each of two “hostage” targets from Jacob Hetherington, 14 (above), was First Master in Stock Service Pistol division as well as High Junior. From 10 yards behind replicated cover, Gail Pepin’s Springfield XD(M) (below) blows away a plate (arrow) representing a hostage-taker’s head. Arizona sun catches smoke and brass as this shooter hoses a fast-charging target with his 1911. 10 yards. (Tougher than dueling with one shot apiece at each other at the same 19th century standard of 10 paces, with nothing intervening, yes?) Mobsters who you fear want to kill you, charge into the barbershop while you’re in the chair, draped in a sheet over your coat and your gun. When it happened to Murder, Inc., crime figure Albert Anastasia in 1957, he was killed in place. When it happened at South Mountain Showdown, you had to rip the barber’s bib away, get under your concealing garment, and draw and shoot back, carefully avoiding innocent bystander targets. The contestants were white and black and all shades in between. Male and female. Young and old. This kind 8 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • M A R C H 2 0 1 2