Matt Pranka encourages Practical Shooting for all shooters
Matt Pranka of Xray Alpha is a special operations veteran with more than a quarter-century of tactical experience under his belt. Pranka is a firm believer in the benefits of Practical Shooting for tactical shooters. Photo by Jason Turner

With 26 years of military experience in Special Operations under his belt, Matt Pranka of Xray Alpha has seen his share of life-and-death shooting scenarios. In SureFire Field Notes 64, Pranka, who is also a USPSA Grand Master, discusses the real-world benefits that tactical shooters can reap by incorporating Practical Shooting competition into their training program.

“In order to understand advanced concepts like CQB or shooting in and around vehicles, you have to be able to have the shooting just kind of run in the background,” Pranka says. “I think the biggest benefit of Practical Shooting for tactical shooters is the combination of speed and accuracy.”

But, the unfortunate reality is that many tactical shooters scoff at Practical Shooting competition. They view it as a game that simply can’t simulate real-world scenarios, citing that Practical Shooting competitors already know where all the targets are. However, Pranka counters that argument by pointing out that stage planning, and on-demand performance in full view of competitors, raise the stress level significantly, and that’s something that most tactical shooters don’t experience during scenario-based training exercises.

“Practical Shooters have elements of shooting…like movement, efficiency, and the gun-handling piece down better than anybody,” Pranka says. “My advice to all shooters is, put aside your ego, go to a match and see what competitive shooting and Practical Shooting is all about.”

Matt Pranka encourages Practical Shooting for all shooters
Photo by Jason Turner

Matt Pranka is the owner of Xray Alpha, has 26 years of military experience in Special Operations, and is a USPSA Grand Master in the Production Division. Xray Alpha instructors have spent decades being sent to all the hotbeds of action, hunting the enemies of the United States. Xray Alpha actively puts its training to the test on a regular cycle. Its instructors continue to work in this capacity by consistently putting themselves into the fray. Xray Alpha training is driven by the passion of its founder to relay timely and effective training and tactics to the individuals that use them to save others, protect their families, and protect this nation. This isn’t something done for fun or a quick buck. Xray Alpha is driven to give back. For more information on Xray Alpha, visit

Located in Fountain Valley, California, SureFire, LLC is the leading manufacturer of suppressors, high-performance flashlights, weapon-mounted lights, and other tactical equipment for those who go in harm’s way, or anyone who demands the ultimate in quality, innovation, and performance. SureFire illumination tools are used by more SWAT teams and elite special operations forces than any other brand. SureFire is an ISO 9001:2015-certified company. For more information on SureFire’s complete line of tactical illumination tools and equipment, visit SUREFIRE.COM. To view more episodes of SUREFIRE FIELD NOTES, visit the SUREFIRE CHANNEL on YouTube.

Special thanks to Route 66 Shooting Sports Park and the Norco Running Gun IPSC Club for their assistance in the production of this Field Notes episode.