While mercifully free of 20-year-old pics of a square-jawed, sideburned Chuck staring steely-eyed into the middle distance, the article was long on telling you that Chuck was a former world-class IPSC shooter, IPSC sucks, and... well, that was pretty much the long and the short of it, although big photos and good-but-generic tips such as "seek training (preferably with me)," "watch your front sight," and "choose your holster with care" did manage to pad out the article to ten pages.
"Competition," asserts a certain subset of the handgun world with chest-thumping intensity, "is not combat!"
Well, thank you for tipping me off to that fact, Enrico Fermi. Here I thought all along that I was training myself for that grim and inevitable mugging by five bowling pins in a sunny, grassy alley some pleasant weekend morn. Glowering at me from their table in plastic-coated malice, they'll stand in a straight line and... well, do whatever it is that criminally-minded bowling pins do, I guess.
Look, I understand what Chuck is trying to say here: IPSC (and even IDPA) are not combat. They are not training. What they are, however, is shooting practice of a kind that you will not get at your local indoor range. Most people will never be able to shoot under time pressure, or from the leather, or on the move, without engaging in some sort of competition. Also, the fundamentals of actually hitting the target don't change whether it's an attacker or an A-zone. You may not be learning any tactics, but you'll sure learn a lot about shooting fast and accurately under pressure.
What most cheeses me off about these articles, however, and where I think trainers like Chuck Taylor are in error by writing them, is that they encourage a certain mindset in the armchair pistol enthusiast, the tactical wannabe who reads internet forums and gun magazines, sprays fifty rounds at a target once a month, and never gets into competition or attends any good formal training. You know the type: You'll be standing around the gun store or shooting club with friends when Marty Mallninja walks up...
Joe Blow: "Hey, Marty! We were just going to go shoot some steel; falling plates for a dollar a rack. Wanna come?"
Marty Mallninja: "No way! That stupid competition stuff just blunts your skills! Sensei Klikklikbhang says so."
Joe Blow: "Uh, we're not going to be blunting any skills, just shooting some falling plates for fun and side bets."
It's doubly funny when Joe is not only a solid club-level IPSC shooter, former NCO in the 75th Regiment, and multiple Thunder Ranch and Gunsite attendee, and you know for a fact that Marty can't hit a barn from the inside with the door closed 'cause you've seen him blazing away on the range without much danger to his B-27.
But competition would "blunt his skills". Right.
Now if you try to tell him otherwise, he's got Chuck Taylor to back him up right there in black and white. Thanks Chuck. The guy who's gonna jump Marty Mallninja tonight thanks you, too.