Why it pays to make mistakes:
I am by no means the authority on marksmanship. I am a student of my rifle. I want to learn how it shoots, what allows me to shoot it well, and to teach others from my learning and my mistakes. I have made plenty of mistakes.
Mistakes make me ask “why did this happen?” Why did my rear sight wiggle itself loose that one time? Why couldn’t I score the hit on the 200 yard popper? Why did my score suck against the fast movers? If we make mistakes… naturally we seek to correct them.
I now torque down my gear. I don’t add or remove junk to try new things on a rifle that’s shooting well. I now know where to lead the 200 yard movers. Mistakes are an education.
Competition will help you make mistakes.
The single greatest tool in learning to shoot has been simply shooting against my peers. I am a casual competitor. I don’t travel more than an hour to get to a practical rifle shoot. I am at a local level, but my local peers have often schooled me and taught me a thing or two about my rifle and my skills.
After making many mistakes I will come back to a competition as a better shooter. Whatever firearm you own or prefer, never taking it and yourself to a competition is a disservice. I shoot practical rifle against people who are better shooters than me. In my quest to become a rifleman, losing at competitions has become worth it’s weight in gold.