Short answer: No. Doing dumb gun stuff in the midst of a gunfight gets you killed.
You can avoid doing dumb gun stuff under pressure by shooting practical pistol matches because they help vaccinate you against such things, one match at time. However, if you treat a real gunfight like it was a shooting match, you’ll be in a world of hurt.
Massad Ayoob is probably THE most respected firearms instructor and personal defense consultant alive today. He literally wrote the book on personal defense with a firearm and his MAG40 pistol class is considered to be one of the best classes for dealing with what happens before, during and after the defensive use of a firearm. What does he say about shooting practical pistol matches?
“A shooting competition isn’t a gun fight, but a gun fight is most definitely a shooting competition.”
And he prefers IDPA as well.
“Possibly the biggest benefit of competition is that it is often the most stressful shooting many people will ever be exposed to. While obviously not the same as being in an actual gunfight, shooting in a competitive event in front of peers and strangers will do a great job of showing you just how easy it is to make mental mistakes under stress. Learning to stay focused on the task at hand and building experience fixing mistakes under pressure both have legitimate real world payoffs.
At the end of the day, there are pros and cons to competition shooting for the ‘defense-minded’shooter. But, the pros are pretty universal and the cons are really only cons if you let them be.“ (Emphasis in the original)
Here’s some more expert opinion from top firearms trainer Mike Seeklander: Marine veteran, former law-enforcement officer and host of The Best Defense on Outdoor Channel.
“I’ve always been a proponent of competitive shooting, as long as the individual competing understands what they are going to get out of shooting matches. They’re going to love it. They are going to get some energy from it. They are going to want to do it more. It will make the average person, especially the average police officer who doesn’t get to train much, WANT to train because every human wants to be better at something. BUT the rules of the game are different than the rules of defense with a gun.” (emphasis in the original)
So, will firearms competitions get you killed?
Yes, if you expect that a gunfight will play out by the rules of your game of choice.
But if you want to shoot accurately and quickly during one of the worst days of your life, you may find that regularly shooting practical pistol competitions like IPDA or USPSA will provide you the skills and mindset you need to survive a gunfight and come out on top.