The desire to achieve excellence

I spent this past weekend at the Rangemaster Instructors Conference & Reunion in Watkinsville, GA. This annual event is hosted by Tom Givens and Lynn Givens and having passed the instructors course is mandatory to attend. These 2 days were split between shooting in the morning and presentations in the afternoon. Lee Weems, John Hearne, Tiffany Johnson, and John Murphy delivered a course on the “10 principles of Teaching the Rangemaster Doctrine”. There were also a couple other individual presentations. Lee Weems also presented “Police-Citizen Contacts” and John Correia presented “Lessons Learned from Watching 12,000 Gunfights”. All of this was valuable information for professional instructors.

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Tom believes that his Rangemaster certified instructors should be able to shoot at least 90% on all qualifications. In fact, Tom would prefer we shot 100%. The shooters that attend the Rangemaster Instructors Conference & Reunions are top notch and every one of us strive to live up to Tom’s high standards.

There is an air of community and professional competition on the range. We all are striving to be excellent shooters and teachers. Below are the four qualifications we shot (along with my scores).

  • Rangemaster Qualification (298)
  • 5 Yard Round Up (95)
  • Casino Version 4 (19.34 clean)
  • FBI Course (100%)

I dropped 1 shot on the Rangemaster Qualification, I dropped 5 points on 5 Yard Round Up, my Casino Drill was slow from riding the slide release, and the FBI Course was perfect. The interesting part is while these scores were very good, they were not high enough to make the top 5. The competition was incredibly good and I was very proud to be in the company of such committed and professional instructors.

People accuse me of being competitive, as if this is a bad quality. While it is true, in the generic sense of the word, but to me the only competition that matters is my own performance compared to my past performance while on the line with outstanding shooters. Competition energizes me to improve.


In a competitive environment, pressure creates mistakes & malfunctions. Even your concern with the outcome of the match can lead to a broad spectrum of experiences.

  • Can I perform under the pressure relative to my skill?
  • Can I overcome adversity?
  • Can I stay focused on the present?

This weekend answered all of those questions for me and helped me forge faith in my image of myself as a shooter.

My only concern is that I perform at the skill level I have earned in practice. Practice earns skills. Skill begets performance. Performance develops excellence.


When people accuse me of being competitive, I smile and nod in the affirmative, and I know that we are thinking about 2 different meanings of the same word. Yes, I want to be outstanding and to perform well. This is why I train at Rangemaster……to be held to a higher standard. I encourage you to be competitive and to seek excellence.