Combative Practical Shooting: Part 1

By Dave Re and Dave Castro

In Sports Applications, Videos

September 20, 2010

Video Article

Join Dave Re, a CrossFitter out of CrossFit Central, and Dave Castro, CrossFit’s Co-Director of Training, as they show how CrossFit can prepare shooters for the sport of practical shooting.

Re is a practical shooting grand master, the highest rank given by the United States Practical Shooting Association. He describes practical shooting as “a little more active than just standing around and shooting at one target.” In fact, the shooter must sprint between sometimes-moving and partially hidden targets, which requires dexterity and mobility in addition to accuracy.

Follow Castro as he puts his firing skills, speed and agility on the line during his first practical shooting excursion at the Austin Rifle Club.

8min 15sec

Additional reading: CrossFit’s Right on Target by Dave Re, published March 29, 2009.

Free Download


43 Comments on “Combative Practical Shooting: Part 1”


wrote …

"I was a Navy SEAL for 12 years"
It shows brother you nailed those slide lock reloads! Awesome shooting! That looks like a ton of fun. It makes me want to hit the range right now with my GLOCK to put a few rounds down range!

I can't wait to see the next video.


Web Smith wrote …

SIC video fellas. I was really looking forward to seeing that one. Re, you're the man. No one at the CrossFit Central even knew that you are a silent badass. And Castro, of course you didn't disappoint with your well-groomed skills. It's easy to see that there may be a difference between "Practical Shooting" and "Live Action Shooting". Did brandishing the glock slow you down in this competitive sport?



wrote …

Awesome job, and you reloaded from cover. Sweet.


wrote …

That should quiet any complaints about Games programming! Nice shooting! Especially with iron sights. Love to see what Castro can do with a race gun.

As a cop and academy instructor, it's nice to see the training kick in when Castro moved to cover to reload. If it's truly Practical Shooting, that kind of thing should be mandatory!


wrote …

This is going to be the best series on the journal!!

awesome stuff,love to shoot


Jake Di Vita wrote …

"As a cop and academy instructor, it's nice to see the training kick in when Castro moved to cover to reload. If it's truly Practical Shooting, that kind of thing should be mandatory!"

Keep in mind that USPSA is a sport that is intended to judge how accurately and quickly you can manipulate your firearm within a specific set of guidelines. They don't intend nor claim to test "tactics" for lack of a better word. IDPA is a sport that in theory intends to more closely mimic real world scenarios - cover is judged here.

Extremely fun sport that I encourage anyone to try.


wrote …

I gotta agree with Aaron. As a former Marine and current LE you would think reload from cover would be a part of "practical shooting" but I do see where that would be tough to incorporate in competition.
Castro is the man!
Re is ridiculously fast!!
Love where this series is headed!!!
Love CrossFit and the CF community!!!!


wrote …

Go to cover to reload... classic, sometimes you can't unlearn the important things!! Good shit from both shooters.


wrote …

Sick training,I compete in italian IPSC and I own a rank of M here, I'm very glad that crossfit is bonded with pratical shooting and look forward for others similar videos, thanks for this one BTW.


wrote …

I am a SHAME to be a cf menber todat!! Shooting guns?

I became part of this movement to try to forget my horrible experience in the special forces an NOT to promote violence or stupid GUNS!

I am so disappoint...


wrote …

This is not what I expected to find in Crossfit. Very low standard. We train to live and to help people get better health. Not train to kill people. I am dissapointed Glassman, that you allow this.


replied to comment from sigge leiva

Go to france then liberal


wrote …

I for one am happy to see weapons in the hands of people like Dave Castro. Love the video, look forward to the upcoming video(s).
"I was a SEAL for 12 years" Great stuff.


wrote …

Sigge and Ola, you must have noticed by now (at least by reading the journal) that there are thousands of police officers and soldiers in the CF community.
And guess what, they sometimes not just fire a gun, but actually kill people. And yes, they do it to "get better health", as they try to stay alive.


wrote …

LE here also loving the cover reloads and double taps on the first target!
Wonder if it was Dave's own pistol.
I've dabbled with practical shooting and it's really fun. Ammo is just to expensive over here to do it on an regular basis.
Looking forward to part 2.


wrote …

Common this is not bad video but seriously it has nothing at all to do with Crossfit. Yes I understand the guy trains at a CF affiliate but the analogous connection this video attempts to make with CF is tenuous to say the least.


replied to comment from Michael McCoy

Michael, from Fitness in 100 words or less "Regularily learn and play new sports."

Even without watching the video (which I haven't), it should be easy to see how this relates to CrossFit. Does practical shooting have less to do with CrossFit than arm-wrestling, paddle-boarding, biathalon, or ultra-marathons (Related Articles or other journal coverage)?


wrote …

Thanks for the great comments, y'all! Marston did a great job filming and editing this stuff. I'm really looking forward to seeing how all the footage turns out!

2 - Web, thanks, brother :) While Dave wasn't shooting a Glock (see below), a number of folks shoot them quite well in our sport. It's not apparent from the vid, but Dave was shooting in a different division than I was, so we weren't competing against one another - and there are several equipment divisions depending on what equipment you're running.

4, 7 (Aaron and Adam) - reloading from cover would definitely be more tactically correct, but as Jake states, it's not part of this game. I can't help what they call it :-D Actually, this is a small part of why I shoot a race gun in competition vs. irons - when I pick up an iron sight gun, I can switch gears mentally back to a different set of tactics, etc.

7 - Adam - "ridiculously fast" :-) you should see Jake (comment #6) shoot... ;-)

12 - Steve - Ironically, the best practical shooter on the planet today is French...

15 - Daniel - yeah, that's Dave's gun. Sig P226 X-Five in 9mm.


wrote …

As someone who regularly competes in USPSA events, I'm glad to see this video. For the people who claim that this is training to kill people, I view shooting as a martial art. Would you argue that because a black belt in Tae Kwan Do could easily kill someone with their bare hands that CrossFit should not discuss martial arts? What about Krav Maga, which is arguably less an art and more a defensive discipline?

USPSA goes out of its way to indicate that it is a sport, rather than training for conflict. If you have philosophical issues with guns, don't watch videos like this.


wrote …


I enjoyed that very much. While I allow that folks may have an aversion to guns (myself not included), this is nothing short of sport.

Hand-eye coordination, high-skill hand and foot mechanics, and jacked heart rates, coupled with accuracy and agility demands; make no mistake, this is not throwing lead for the sake of throwing lead.

Although the USPSA is not meant to mimic combat, the demands of practical shooting are echoed in the war zone, a theater that has long appreciated the adaptations provided by CrossFit.

It is not a stretch to use CrossFit as the physical preparation platform for practical shooting, and this video certainly has a place in the Journal.




wrote …

Common this is not bad video but seriously it has nothing at all to do with Crossfit. Yes I understand the guy trains at a CF affiliate but the analogous connection this video attempts to make with CF is tenuous to say the least.

Anyone that shoots for as part of thier job (LE, Military, etc.) knows that under stress and with adrenaline flowing, your accuracy can fall apart rather quickly. Being physically fit can have a major effect on helping you to hit your target by helping you to control those factors. Hitting your target first means you get to stay alive! Anyone that doesn't get this has never had to use a gun to defend themselves. I know USPSA is a sport and I am more than a little impressed with the speed and shooting, but still, ya gotta love that reload from cover. Great job and I can't wait to see more of these videos.

One of my favorite CF workouts:

"Helen get your gun"

3 rounds for time:

1/4 mile run
21 swings
12 push press
shoot a plate rack with your handgun


wrote …

CF is popular in the Mil/LEO community, so this article is relevant. Additionally, if you read the article by Greg Amundson about practicing double unders he mentions that his DU work has somehow translated to shooting skill, so once again, relevant.


Jake Di Vita wrote …

I think of it like this...If I am drowning, and I have a choice of either Joe Blow from off the street or an Olympic freestyle medalist to come and save me. I'm going to choose the medalist every single time.

Some of you guys are nit picking certain things you don't see that you believe to be good tactics. The best tactic that I've ever heard of is shooting the bad guy several times before he shoots you. Once again real world scenarios are not a part of this sport in any way, but (to reference the first paragraph) I'd rather have an extremely accurate and fast shooter on my side than not.

Also, for what it's worth, I've been playing with dry fire directly after a taxing workout with some interesting results.

Jon has it right though. I admittedly haven't watched the video yet because of a terrible internet connection so my apologies if I touch on the same stuff that Dave did. I do have a reasonable amount of expertise in this sport though. At an average USPSA major match, you are up early and on the range for 10-12 hours. This is usually in the heat. You are literally on your feet all day long. While you aren't shooting you are preparing yourself for the next stage or helping to reset the stage you are on. You have to carry all of your gear from location to location - often 10+ stages some of which are hundreds of yards away from each other. The terrain is often different; Sometimes grass, sometimes loose gravel. There are often hills. Then you have to get up to the stage, walk through it to determine your plan, then execute it to perfection. You must also keep an eye on your fueling, which most people neglect to do. On top of all this, you have whatever obstacles are in the stages that must be negotiated and the ability to get your body into the most bio-mechanically efficient position to control recoil.

At the nationals you do this for a week straight.

Nothing to do with crossfit? Please...


wrote …

I'm excited for the video (downloading now). I'm sorry to see some are less supportive. Crossfit applies to shooting just as much as to any other sport, and is an absolutely essential preparatory tool for any of our "sheepdogs" to help them perform at extreme levels, get the job done, and survive when the SHTF. Thank you Crossfit. I, personally, am using Crossfit to prepare for Coast Guard training and hopefully special forces training.


wrote …

Who would you rather have as a first responder: Barney Fife, or a Crossfiting practical shootng grand master?


wrote …

Adding to Szilárd Óvári's good comments, it is not just Military and LE in the Crossfit who train with guns, but many civilians as well.

Here in the United States (and other non police states), we have the Right of self defense, and the freedom to choose (or not) of a wide variety of tools for that purpose.

One of the things I find appealing about the Crossfit community is a general libertarian live and let live ethic, combined with being vigorously pro warrior.

Glassman often cites Jeff Cooper, and the parallels between what the two built are striking.

Prop's to Crossfit on this vid.


wrote …

Hey, Ronin, you remember this little number? - I got a lot of mileage out of that drill (and still do)!!


wrote …

Hey David, looks like it's old home week for Crossfit shooters. My goofy daughter has become an avid Crossfiter, training with CROSSFIT HIGH VOLTAGE of Burbank.

You ought to take Castro to a 3-Gun match.




replied to comment from Michael McCoy

How is CrossFit NOT related to practical shooting. We work in an elevated heart rate, we have to control panic breathing, we train for coordination, accuracy, balance, and speed.... ALL of which are in direct relation to shooting.


wrote …

I am LE and unfortunately our Dept. has just dropped our shooting from 3 times a year (yes that is sad by itself) to 1 time per year. 1 TIME PER YEAR! I am trying to find ways to practice on my own because when it come to down to it, I don't want to be the victim of not practicing enough because my dept. can not afford it. I am very glad that this video was put up, it has helped me to start getting a game plan for setting up a obsticle course to shoot on my own. THANK YOU! If anyone has any sites out there on how to set up an easy shooting course it would be much appreaciated.



wrote …


Greets from Florida. Great video, man! You need to head down and shoot Smitty's Monster Match next month.

I am also compete in USPSA competitions and my ranking at matches definitely improved once I started Crossfit. USPSA is interesting in that it involves fast movement while at the same time using precise motor skills. Most importantly, and Dave did not cover it in this video, at big competitions we are out in the sun for 8-12 hours, waiting to shoot and doing constant low grade activity like reseting the stage (picking up all that steel that the Daves mowed down.) At major matches, we do this for 2-4 days straight. Crossfit provides a big advantage for both the stage shooting skills as well as the endurance to perform at a high level for multiple long days of physical, emotional, and mental stress.

Good stuff.. Crossfit definitely helped make me a better competitor.


wrote …

You really can't fault HQ for throwing this up; there's so many guys and gals involved in MIL/LEO that Crossfit that something like this was simply a matter of time. Except for the fact that it had absolutely nothing to do with Crossfit, it's a perfect video for the Crossfit Journal.

Definitely not one to add to my collection (I'll wait for more Starrett/Blauer/Simmons/Starr/etc posts- the ones that actually help with coaching and training), but I'm certain it has it's fans.

Do I think a video on comp. shooting could have been better done as related to using Crossfit as skills training or conditioning development than simply showing off Re and Castro's shooting skills? Like, perhaps, something other than "I found Crossfit, Crossfit make fit, me shoot guns now." (And no, the CF hat doesn't count.)?

Yeah, but when it comes to the "fringe category" of vids and PDFs HQ releases occasionally, the bar is already set pretty- ok, incredibly- low, so this comes decently in comparison.

What really bothers me is that there's a "next time", which suggests another video.


wrote …

30 - Andy - email me your physical address, and I'll mail you a set of drills ;-) Very simple to set up and efficient to both run and make you a much better shooter.

31 - Howdy, Charles! :-) Nationals?

32 - Jason, I can totally dig why this wouldn't be your cup of tea. I'm not privy to the release schedule, or exactly what content will appear in what's to come, but I can tell you that we did film quite a bit that weekend, and I believe the stuff like what you're looking for is in there. In the meantime, I did write up some of how CrossFit has applied to my shooting in the article referenced above titled "Crossfit's Right On Target". You might find that useful in that regard? I ran through the stuff Charles brought up in that article, too.


wrote …

I'm always amazed by negative comments within these forums. And I've long repressed the urge to respond, but today, randomly, I feel compelled to respond. Not for a passion in this particular topic, because there's been dozens of times I've felt this way across a diverse array of posts - the intermittent fasting story comes to mind...

Here's to appreciating mastery of a skill or art in whatever form they may take. Here's to celebrating passion. Here's to the pursuit of excellence at whatever matters to you, regardless of what everyone else things of it. It's part of why I love the diversity of the sport of CF, part of why I LOVE the CFJ, and why I love the CF community.

For those offended by editorial decisions, your comments are counter productive. The maxim, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," isn't meant to protect the feelings of others. It protects your honor, your reputation and your soul from being tarnished the stain of negativity and pettiness. Although I admire the intention of your empathy or high standards for CFJ content, perhaps it's best expressed through personal actions within your community and among the people you care about. Positive actions to elevate others can only be questioned in the mind of the damned.

All the best.


replied to comment from Szilrd vri

Amen to that!


replied to comment from sigge leiva

Your obviously not SF, sorry buddy!
Great video, love to see all walks of life embrace crossfit!


wrote …

Awesome vid!!! Are there any practical drill for AR's?

Impressive stuff from Castro!! Definitely rocking the best shirt they sold at the Games!!!


wrote …

Brady, there's out kinds of drills out there for carbine. For instance, search for "VTAC" on youtube ;-) There's a bunch of stuff out there...


wrote …

Very cool video.. I am thinking of taking up shooting myself and this timing is perfect. It would be cool to see the targets being spaced further apart so fitness becomes more of a component (similar to biathlon). Awesome stuff.


wrote …

No offense to my fellow gun nuts out there or other interested parties...but CF should not be a forum for tactical shooting. There is enough information out there already for bad people to get good techniques so don't let this be one. Good information like this shouldn't be this easily available. Seriously. Great video...keep it geared toward the sport of shooting and not tactical discussions of any kind. I don't really care if you disagree with me because I am not going to check this post again.


replied to comment from Andrew Cochran

30 - Andy

If you google IPSC or even USPSA and look for videos or drills. Most of them can be easily modified for tactical shooting drills. Just do like Castro did, and use cover whenver possible. Good luck in your training. For rifle drills, check out


wrote …

Joke I heard from a Marine:

Q: How do you know there's a SEAL in the room?

A: He tells you.


Really cool stuff! I am on the market for a pistol, mainly for home self-defense and target shooting, just haven't bit the bullet yet.

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