Todd Jarrett has been carrying a gun since he was six years old and went hunting with his father near Hopewell, Virginia. He shot his first deer when he was seven and lived to hunt and fish with his dad. But this champion shooter didn’t take up the handgun shooting that would make him famous until he was 19.
Like many, he shot handguns recreationally with his friends, working up to local bowling pin matches. That was in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. Then, the International Practical Shooting Confederation popped up, and in March of 1984, Jarrett shot his first IPSC match.
“It was my first official match in action shooting,” he said, “I remember finishing dead last and I thought, ‘I don’t like being last. I think I’ll go practice more.’”
Practice paid off. Jarrett won his first national championship in 1991 and he’s won 13 more since, plus four world championships. He left behind his career in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, something he’d done since age nine when he started helping in his father’s business, and turned pro.
Get A Grip
Although he’s made his legacy as a shooter, Jarrett’s a natural teacher and has pulled countless lessons from his experiences on the line.
Take pistol shooting. Jarrett stresses that grip is crucial and has very specific advice for how to perfect yours.
“Grip the gun hard—25 percent harder than you grip it now,” Jarrett says. “I probably hold my handgun tighter with my left hand than I do with my right, and I’m a right-handed shooter.”
He explains that he’s trying to maintain as much strength as possible around the gun. “I want to wrap it in my hands so the gun cycles properly and I’m able to use my right hand to pull the trigger properly.”
Although best known as a competitive pistol shooter, Jarrett has added 3-gun shooting to his repertoire. “After 33 years of pistol shooting, I decided to try another discipline,” he said. “I had shot 3-gun back in the ‘80s when we used bandoliers and pump shotguns,” he said.
After having fun at more recent local matches, he’s jumped in with both feet. “It is the most competitive shooting sport I’ve ever been in and I’ve shot 15 different types of shooting over the years, everything from pistol to rifle to shotgun and all the disciplines in between.”
Always the teacher, Jarrett shares lessons he’s learned with others who want to get into the 3-gun game. And ammunition choice is a big one, as he leans heavily on Federal Premium buckshot loads with the FLITECONTROL wad to stay competitive in shotgun stages.
“They’re the most amazing buckshot loads on the market today as far as pattern density and retaining accuracy out to 35 to 45 yards,” he says. “If you are not shooting loads with FLITECONTROL, then you are not with the norm. Everybody in the 3-gun world is using them.”
Just don’t choke these loads down too much, he says. Go with an improved cylinder tube for the most effective possible patterns in competition.
How To Save 1 Million Rounds
But Jarrett does more than lend advice. He also teaches shooting formally, traveling across the country, instructing U.S. government, military, civilian and competitive shooters on what he has learned from more than three decades of competition.
“When I won my first national championship I thought, ‘well, I’m the greatest shooter in America,’ he says. “But then jump forward 10 years and I was thinking, ‘boy, I didn’t know how to shoot.’
So today he’s still learning something every single time he goes out on the range.
“I’ve learned a lot over the years,” he says. “When you shoot more than 100,000 rounds annually, you end up finding a lot of faults and problems. I wasted a million rounds just learning to shoot. So now I can sit down with you for two hours and save you a million rounds.”
For details on how to do that, check out toddjarrett.com.