Video: Game Planning For Competitive Shooting Success


A little forethought of a stage goes a long ways toward success in a competitive shooting match.

It’s common with any athletic contest, physical execution gets the commendation. But like anything beyond the level of tiddlywinks, games are won and lost by what happens between the ears. Competitive shooting is no different. Concentration and forethought are as important as speed and accuracy, if not more so. Particularly at the pace pros move and shoot.

Familiar with the mental challenges of shooting competitions — from practical pistol to Three-Gun – pro shooter (and competitor on History Channel’s Top Gun) Maggie Reese is a master at managing a stage. And like the majority of shooting sports in general, her success begins long before the timer beeps and she unholsters her gun. Using a USPA set up as an example, Reese walks through how she approaches a stage before shooting it, giving a step-by-step take on her game plan. In short, it's a process of ensuring there are no surprises so her shooting ability can take over.

In particular, Reese builds a mental map of the positions she needs to take to successfully engage each target, as well as how to efficiently shoot more complex targets — such as a whirligig — to maximize her speed in the stage. Additionally, she takes into account where along the course she’ll need to execute key manipulations of her pistol, such as a reload — a make-or-break element of any shooting competition. If that isn’t enough, there’s also the question of checking gear, making certain it’s in working order and situated correctly so they aren’t stones to trip over en route to a top time.

No question, there are a lot of variables to juggle before the first round flies. Daunting to those new to shooting competitions, even newbies can excel more than they expect. It’s simply a matter of taking the time to think through how they'll shoot before they ever grip their gun.

For more information on Colt, please visit:

44-Targetposters-pack-GD-reduced-300NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Storm Tactical Printable Target Pack

62 Printable MOA Targets with DOT Drills - Rifle Range in YARDS This impressive target pack from our friends at Storm Tactical contains 62 printable targets for rifle and handgun range use. Target grids and bullseye sizes are in MOA. Ideal for long-range shooting!

Subscribe to the Gun Digest email newsletter and we'll send your print-at-home target pack right away. Just enter your email address below.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.