As an entrepreneur, you want to spend most of your time building businesses and innovating. While these are important, your brain needs time to relax and rejuvenate. Hobbies are a great way to satisfy this need. For millions of Americans, sport shooting is the go-to pastime. If guns thrill you, this might be the perfect way to calm your nerves and reignite your creativity. Here’s everything you need to know to set out on this adventure. 

An Overview

Since you’re here, you may already have some information about competitive shooting. Just to get you rolling, shooting sport is a broad field that combines different disciplines involving various types of guns. All the disciplines lay general emphasis on speed, athleticism, and accuracy. Below are the most common shooting sports in the US:

International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA)

These matches mimic real-life defensive encounters. You can use your daily-carry pistol or any other pistol you choose. The objective is to assess your skills and abilities. You’ll have to shoot around barricades that simulate real-life obstacles like buildings.  

United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA)

USPSA is America’s biggest organization for practical shooting. It has chapters in all states and needs rather basic equipment. Besides, it has several divisions that accommodate every skill level and age. This is a great place to start. 


As the name implies, 3-Gun requires three types of firearms: a pistol, shotgun, and rifle. Participants move through many courses, transitioning from one gun to the next while firing from several positions. Accuracy and time of completion determine the winner. Unlike IDPA and USPSA, 3-Gun doesn’t have a formal governing organization. Most general rules remain the same, but some matches and ranges may have specific variations on particular procedures. 

Other common disciplines are the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), Sporting Clays, Bullseye, and Trap and Skeet.

Nearly every shooting match will take place at a cold range. That means all guns won’t be loaded; you’ll only load and make ready when instructed by the range officer (RO). You do not need any qualifications to take part in these competitions. The goal is to maneuver the course of fire safely.

While navigating the course, it is critical to observe all firearm safety rules. Breaking the 180-degree rule is one easy way to get disqualified. The regulation demands that you shoot only 90 degrees to your left or right. If you twist your muzzle beyond that, you get disqualified. This is for the safety of everyone else at the range. 

What Equipment Do I Need?

Most clubs are lenient toward newcomers when it comes to equipment. However, as you progress in the sport, you’ll have to adhere to the rules of your shooting discipline and division. It’s advisable to start shooting with what you have. After a few competitions, you’ll better understand what equipment you need. Otherwise, you’ll impulse-buy a lot of stuff you might never use. 

Here’s a list of the basic equipment you must have to participate in shooting sports:


You obviously need guns for shooting competitions. The gun you have will determine the category in which you’ll compete. For instance, having a firearm with a compensator and red dot disqualifies you from IDPA competitions. It likely places you in the open division for 3-Gun or USPSA. Read your division’s rule book for further guidance. 

Gun Accessories

The more you use your gun, the more you learn about its deficiencies. This allows you to carefully select tactical gun accessories that can improve its overall performance. Many shooters customize their recoil springs, grips, sights, magazines, and triggers. 

Gun Belt

For competitions, you must have a gun belt with at least two magazine holders and a holster. Depending on your discipline, your belt may need more of these as you’ll have to reload and alternate your guns through the course. 

Comfortable Outfit

Shooting sports do not have specific attire requirements. Put on whatever you find comfortable and appropriate for the weather. Consider dressing in layers in case of weather changes throughout the day. Also, carry sunscreen to protect exposed skin from UV. You’ll also need some hearing protection and glasses.

Overall, you’re good to go if you have the will and basic equipment. All you have to do is sign up and show up. Most ranges have match calendars to guide you. For your first competition, try not to worry about the timer. Stay safe, focus on your form, and most importantly, have fun. That’s why you are there. 

Ready to unwind and boost your creativity? Find a range near you, and let’s get shooting!