SFC Paul Deugan is a champion-level shooter with the National Guard’s All Guard Team, the MAC V (Marksmanship Advisory Council) Regional Representative, combat veteran, and Co-Owner & Instructor at Kinetic Fundamentals, LLC.
Here are his thoughts on skill development.
I’ve been extremely blessed to have some great opportunities to grow and develop my desire for marksmanship throughout my career. Firing my first 40/40 with my M4 back as a PFC at lovely Drum while laying in a half thawed ice puddle ignited the spark. Now I sit here after finishing up instructing a 4 day marksmanship clinic to 28 Soldiers and Airmen, that all showed improvement over the course of the clinic, some more than others. But every single one of them showed improvement.
I wouldn’t have the experience, skill and knowledge to pass on to other shooters if I had never been challenged by sharing the firing line with shooters at the top level and seeing what made them some of the very best. By observing and learning from shooters that were P100s, Chief’s 50, Distinguished, Double Distinguished and National Champions, I was able to develop from a novice shooter finding my name on the back of the results bulletin to being blessed enough to be that Double Distinguished guy giving a 4 day marksmanship clinic passing on those shooting skills to that next generation novice shooter.
The same holds true to my local USPSA club. From April to Oct, I get to shoot every Tuesday night(unfortunately I miss more than I would like) with GM and Master class shooters. That’s what makes me better.
If all I saw were other novice class and D class shooters for all these years, that’s probably closer to where I would still be. Everyone that shares the firing line with a more skilled shooter should walk away an improved marksman.
Competitive events should always strive to have the opportunity for those “Pro/elite/GM” shooters to compete. After all, that’s why they are in a separate class.