If I may, I’d like to riff off something written by my friend Baxter at Gun Nuts not too long ago.
There are classes that are termed “tactical,” there are classes that are termed “competition,” and so on. To an extent, these classes usually do have differences. You’d expect certain rules to be taught or discussed at a USPSA-oriented class, for example. You’d reasonably expect a “tactical” class to discuss where hits on a threat have a serious effect (thoracic triangle & ocular window) and where they don’t (everywhere else).
But a problem comes in when someone wants to be better at one type of shooting yet only takes classes focused on other pieces of the puzzle. For example, you’ll often see guys who’ve only taken those “tactical” classes get their butts handed to them in competition- or technical-oriented classes. They may be able to do a 360 scan with their eyes closed (?) but if they can’t hit the target fast and accurately they’re never going to get to that step in the real world. Along the same lines, a guy who carries a gun every day but has only trained for gun games isn’t simply going to learn osmotically things about tactical movement, use of cover, and yes even that 360 degree scan.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your favorite type of class is the only type of class you need. Unless, of course, it is. If you only ever pick up a pistol for bullseye competition then obviously you don’t need a combat warrior class or a USPSA class. But at the same time, if you’re that guy, don’t bust on the guys who want a more rounded shooting skillset. That’s one of the big problems I see these days: tactical guys who make fun of competition classes (“those gamers!“) and vice versa (“those tactical Teds/Timmies!”). This can be especially true of certain instructors who really only have expertise or exposure to one small part of the shooting world and need all their potential customers to desire that little slice more than all the others. They’ll commonly make fun of other types of classes (or other instructors) because they don’t want students to look anywhere else for training.
Any instructor who thinks he’s the only person with important or useful information should be avoided at all costs, in my opinion.
Train hard & stay safe! ToddG