An interesting perspective on the stress of an actual gunfight vs the stress of competition from someone who has seen both.
In the April/May 2012 issue of Handguns, there was an article by James Tarr entitled Hot Shots. The article was about Ted Puente, the back to back winner of USPSA Multi-gun National Championships in 2006 & 2007 (Iron Sight division), and winner of the Limited category at the 2009 USPSA Handgun National Championships.
Tarr pointed out that during his 18 years of service with the Milwaukee PD, Puente had the misfortune to have been involved in an “on-the-job shooting”. Puente was quoted in the column as saying:
“When I’ve had to use force for real, that pressure you endure during an actual shooting is probably one-quarter of what you endure during competition. People don’t believe me, but you’re just reacting in a life or death situation; you don’t have time to think about it.
“When you’re competing basically, you’re betting a million dollars <and> 10 years of your life because ... all the last 10 years of preparation are put on this one stage. ...it makes it really hard.”