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Old July 13, 2015, 06:37 PM   #1
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Speed vs Accuracy

Last week at the weekly Gun Club shoot, a fellow shooter came up to me and asked how many rounds I had shot. I was curious as to why he would ask that question. He said, "In the time it took me to shoot a box of ammo, i saw you go through 4 or 5 boxes." Others got into the discussion.

When I first started shooting, I was more interested in accuracy. As my skills developed, I worked to increase my speed while maintaining accuracy. It takes a lot of practice and more practice. It is a diminishing skill. If one does not stay on top of it, the skill will diminish and it will take a lot of effort to get back to the previous level of accomplishment.

The other day while shooting with my Gun Club, I noticed that there were several people who had been shooting for years and had not developed a great deal of accuracy and forget about just does not exist.

I got to wondering what the average TFL Forum shooter does? Do you practice accuracy? Do you practice speed? Do you try to combine them together?

I take every training session and pretend it is a real life situation where speed and accuracy count. Of course a well placed shot is much better than several fast misses. I also practice loading my magazines quickly.

How do you practice?
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Old July 13, 2015, 06:46 PM   #2
Deaf Smith
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Well I ain't 'average' but...

I practice some accuracy, I practice some speed, and yep I combine them two.

You will find you need to isolate your faults and work on them some, be it speed, accuracy, or ability to handle powerful guns.

Work through the basics and then start combining them.

Slow down, speed up, short range, long range, static targets, moving targets, etc...

It takes years to get good enough, on demand, to do fast and accurate shooting. It is not learned in a day.

“To you who call yourselves ‘men of peace,’ I say, you are not safe without men of action by your side” Thucydides
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Old July 13, 2015, 06:55 PM   #3
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Years ago when I started going to a gun range on a regular basis I focused mostly on accuracy and just shooting right. Meaning holding the gun with the correct grip, correct stance getting used to a good sight picture and trying to get shots on target. I also purchased a 22 revolver and a full sized revolver in order to develop great trigger control. I'm a firm believer in that learning to shoot well on the revolver In double action means that you have a great trigger control on almost any gun that you pick up. I have found that to be true as I have shot other guns since then. And learning on a 22 helps you develop all the skills you need except for recoil control which you can work on later, while saving money on ammo. (it's still cheaper than reloading even with the current ammo shortage.)
When I started a while later in trying to combine speed and accuracy I started by using some basic drills and timing myself with a shot timer app on my smart phone. Later I started using the tyro course that is set forth in the NRA action pistol rulebook. I found that to be a very good tool for combining both speed and accuracy. I now use that drill, which is a 24 shot drill, as my warm up for every range session. I went from being able to barely get that drill done in the seconds required to being able now to do the drill with 100% score and almost half time. It's a basic drill so that's not saying much but it does show the progress. Now I do all sorts of drills and compete in a variety of different genres of competition shooting and I have found that making sure I got the basics under control first have made me a much better shooter. I still have a long way to go however, but it's been a very fun journey.
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Old July 13, 2015, 07:32 PM   #4
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When shooting handguns I always do a bit of everything. I will start with accuracy, maybe 25yds, sometimes 50yds. Usually take some shots at 100. Then I do some speed drills. My eyes aren't what they used to be so I can't pick up the front sight as quickly.
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Old July 13, 2015, 07:54 PM   #5
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I practice both, as you need to practice both, and on a constant basis. Both are important, as are other things that are closely related.

... on demand...
Thats the part that cuts to the chase. Its not about what you did once at your leisure, its about what you can do, anytime, when called on to do it, "right now". No getting ready, no warm ups, no sighters or alibis, just what you do each and every time when asked to, or you need to. What you do "on demand" is the best, most honest indication as to where you are.

I think getting there, is more about lifestyle, than it is hobby or sport. Its all about constant, daily practice and gun handling. Its not just time on the range either, lots of dry fire, presentations from your carry gear, Airsoft/FoF, etc., etc.

Once you get to the point you dont have to think about what youre doing, youre on your way. When the gun is like a part of you, and appears when you think it and you hit what you were looking at, and all you were thinking, was hitting the target, and dont remember any of the step by steps of actually "doing it", youre getting there.

This is one thing that kind of amazes me when you listen to some of the comments people go on about, when it comes to things like type of gun, type of triggers, grip, sights, etc. Thats all basic stuff, that should already be so ingrained into your subconscious, that none of it requires any conscious thought while you shoot. Yet you are constantly told you cant shoot well with or without this gun, that trigger, those sights, no sights, yada, yada, yada. If you cant shoot it well, its not the guns fault.
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Old July 13, 2015, 08:50 PM   #6
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The old guys at the club tell me that I shoot too fast.

I thank them for their concern and continue my speed drills against the shot timer. There is a marksmanship slow fire component of, but I'm making lethal hits at speed in 2/3 or 3/3 shots, which is increasing my probability of stopping a threat greatly.
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Old July 13, 2015, 09:50 PM   #7
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If we're talking defensive pistol...

If you get all good hits, perhaps you aren't shooting fast enough (or moving fast enough). If the holes are scattered all over, perhaps you're going to fast.

Train using set drills. Record times and make notations in note book. Repeat and compare.
A lack of planning on your part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on my part.
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Old July 14, 2015, 03:04 AM   #8
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I usually start out with some slow-fire to assess my accuracy, then move to some faster paced drills.
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Old July 14, 2015, 07:55 AM   #9
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I shoot a lot of USPSA, Steel, and 3-gun matches and frankly I suck.

When you look at the scores (scoring I've yet to figure out), if you take the hit factor, I'm at the top. Then you throw in "time" I drop to the bottom third.

I'm slow, I'm not as fast with reloads, and at 68 I'm no speed demon moving from one fire point to the other.

I love revolvers and shoot them better then semi's but it really sucks competing with a six shooter against 15-18 round pistols.

I'm not a professional shooter, I don't depend on my scores to feed my family, I shoot for fun. I would like to shoot faster, but I don't want to give up accuracy.

Rifle is different. I can hold my own because normally you don't have the speed requirement (to a point) that you do in action pistol shooting.

I can do fairly well in precision long range matches, shooting wise, but many Precision Rifle Courses have physical requirements that my old bones and COPD cant handle.

But that doesn't stop me from competing. I got my Distinguished Rifle Badge 20 odd years ago ('1992) That's the ultimate goal in rifle shooting. Since I shoot for fun, I don't shoot against others, I shoot against my last match's scores. I only want to out shoot ME.

I really like the CMP GSM vintage military rifle shooting. It takes old guns and old shooters can be competitive with they youngsters because its all about marksmanship fundamentals. Most matches there are more Senior Shooters then any other category.

In self defense shooting its a different game. About 99% of (civilian) self defense shooting is under three yards. Closer to 5-6 feet. I pocket carry and if I have my hand in my pocket (which I always do) I can draw and hit the A/C zone in about 4/10ths of a second at 3 yards and less. I do practice this and I teach this. SD isn't precision rifle or bulls eye.

There are places for speed and there are places for accuracy. In my own experience I know that in combat, violence of action is required. You want to gain fire superiority. That requires massive full auto fire at an enemy you may not even see. Where as a LE Sniper you want super, pin fire accuracy. In a hostage situation "spray and pray" wont cut it.

But I don't do that any more and will never be called on to do it. So, in my remaining shooting years, I'll practice precision with my rifles, and speed with my pistols/revolvers because I shoot for me.

Having said that, I could get off my butt and practice my re-loads. You can save precious seconds if you can reload your pistol/revolver and shotgun. I can reload an AR pretty darn quick so the rifle phase of 3-gun is no big deal for me.

I still hunt. Shooting game does not require a lot of speed, but accuracy means humane kills.

In short, you need both, because shooting games are different.
Kraig Stuart
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Old July 14, 2015, 08:41 AM   #10
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I mostly practice for accuracy by shooting 5 round groups at a series of 10 X's I hand draw on a sheet of paper, at 20' distance.

When I (infrequently) practice for speed, I shoot at a 9" diameter paper plate at 20'. If I hit anywhere on the plate, I count that as ok performance.
Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. You need to take your time, in a hurry. Wyatt Earp
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Old July 14, 2015, 08:48 AM   #11
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I try to go as fast as I can to hit whatever I want to hit, even when I shoot bullseye I'm constantly done ahead of the rest.
rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6
originally posted my Mike Irwin
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Old July 14, 2015, 09:11 AM   #12
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At 81, I'm a has-been. Got a lot of know-how, but the can-do pretty much left town.

Combat pistol is a lot like road-racing in a sports car: Smoother is faster.

Start slow and be accurate. As you get your reflexes accustomed to the required motions, go a little faster and then "more faster"--but don't outrun your accuracy. Same sort of deal on speed reloads. You want the motions to be fluid, not jerky.

Started the IPSC game in 1980. Lots of dry-fire time at home, 200 to 400 rounds per week at the range. Got me up to Class B, anyhow.
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Old July 14, 2015, 09:31 AM   #13
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Similar to you

First, I have comment "I practice reloading my magazines fast"

You do? I just use a mag loader, 1 round at a time, no hurry, no sense getting sore thumbs

I started out focusing on accuracy for the last 7 or so years, and adding speed to the mix is a more recent thing I've come to accept too. What is this, Slow Shooters Anonymous?

Round count: I usually go through 2-3 boxes of ammo at a session. I would love to do 3-4 but if I didn't have time to reload or money was an issue, I'd stick to 2. Range time constraints too as I'm absent from my family. The most I've shot was 4 boxes or so but that's when I'm still testing loads/ sighting in/testing aftermarket parts for multiple handguns. With 2 boxes, I do work up to some fast shooting but it's a short ride.

Previous Sequence: Greatly influenced by indoor range restrictions. I used to start with dry fires, then slow fire from presentation until I remember the feel of the fundamentals. Then controlled pairs. Then check fundamentals again with slow fire at long range. Controlled pairs at short range again. Multiple targets in 1 string if available. Then I would close with slow fire/fundamentals, or if I was unsatisfied with my controlled pair accuracy do that until I felt I was satisfied. The ending always varies because I don't like to leave on a miss or bad shot (pride) and ammo or time is usually the limiting factor.

Recent range sessions: For now I shoot on farm property. Now I've added drawing + firing with timer app. Draw 2-3 rds + reload + 2 rds with a timer. Draw 2 rds + reload + 2 rds + reload + 2 rds. (that's all the magazines I own ) Leaning sideways/shuffling and firing to simulate firing around cover. Sometimes a hanging tree branch can act as an obstruction for me to shoot around. I've added a steel silhouette target to encourage working with speed (hit or miss, care less about groups). I'm still working on a more neutral grip/faster follow up shots, as sight re-acquisition is what slows me down at speed. Working on shooting rapidly well *Does feel like a whole new ballgame. It may not take more ammo if I limit my slow fire.

My range sessions vary though because lately I've been shooting with a newer shooter who enjoys speed more than accuracy. It's hard for him to slow down and look at his own body mechanics to prove that the fundamentals work, so then he's not rewarded for using them with a bulls eye. The stubborn inflexible part in me disapproves and feels he is not doing it "right". But really I'm just happy he likes to shoot and he may be on to something. It'll be interesting if he learns the fundamentals approaching from the "other direction" as most of us didn't.
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Old July 14, 2015, 10:25 AM   #14
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I shoot a lot of USPSA
I love revolvers and shoot them better then semi's but it really sucks competing with a six shooter against 15-18 round pistols.
I'll agree that 6 shots in USPSA is a hand full being the stages are set up to be 8 shot friendly because of single stack.
As far as competing against semi-autos is like comparing apples to oranges. Shoot what you like and compete against yourself match to match to better your score. And yes USPSA scoring is a, well PITA to understand.
I shoot single stack minor and when preparing for the ICORE Southern Regional I'll shoot my 6 shooter classic, reloading using speed loaders.
To reply as to the OP's question shooting competition gets you into the shoot as fast as you can with accuracy. We have a GM that shoots with us and he states that all Alpha hits means you are shooting too slow
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Old July 14, 2015, 02:56 PM   #15
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I occasionally practice speed with accuracy drills, since our outdoor range allows aimed rapidfire --- but I just get plum well bored --- practicing speed drills all the time --- That's when I practice slow fire standing/offhand shots with my rifles and pistols; which seems to be more relaxing.
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Old July 14, 2015, 03:19 PM   #16
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I try to shoot accurately as fast as I can.

Neither is particularly developed, but it's coming along.

I also just practice accuracy at times, trying to get my fingers and arms and eyes and lungs and hips and shoulders and feet to all remember what their supposed to be doing, so that it might happen more automatically when I'm back to accuracy as fast as possible...

I don't practice just speed, but I will occasionally dump a mag or two just to the heck of it...
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Old July 14, 2015, 03:45 PM   #17
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I work on accuracy while pressing the trigger the instant I get an acceptable sight picture. For some targets, that can mean 30 seconds to fire one round, for other targets, that can mean 0.10 seconds to fire one round.

You can work on accuracy and learning how to shoot as soon as the acceptable sight picture is recognized.

I put 198 rounds of .223 on an IPSC classic target at 30 yards in 60 seconds with 5 reloads. At about 3 seconds per reload, that ends up at about 4.4 rounds per second. I am pretty sure that is my highest rate of fire involving more than 50 rounds and a trigger press for each round.

I took about 30 minutes to set up one 845 yard shot once, but I only had one shot, and I thought that was forever. But we have an old guy at our range who will drive out to the range, be there all day and fire 6-10 rounds. He is impressive and holds some national records, and it makes him happy. I say more power to him.

If you have goals, achieve them through practice. However, do not disparage those who want to shoot slow, or fast. As long as you are safe, all trigger time is good time.
Good Shooting, MarkCO
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Old July 14, 2015, 08:41 PM   #18
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I have no inclination toward competition at all, I carry a firearm purely for self defense purposes and although I dont care for guns or shooting all that much, I do train to shoot as expeditiously as possible but only to the degree that reasonable accuracy allows. I have always considered controlled ( keeping your head) deliberate ( without undue hesitation) action to be more important that speed or absolute accuracy. I will concede that its a balancing act for sure but minute of pie plate while on the move has always been good enough for me.
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Old July 14, 2015, 09:12 PM   #19
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In my life, I have leaned a number of skills and in every one, I have found that the best practice is to learn accuracy first, and speed will come (if appropriate).

Proof of that is that too many young drivers are killed because they wanted to speed before they learned to properly control a car.

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Old July 14, 2015, 09:49 PM   #20
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I tend to run drills involving drawing and movement on steel plates. Controlled pairs and transitions between different targets, all under the pressure of the shot timer. I also practice reloads under stress, the plates I use are 10 inch round plates so I practice with smaller targets then I think I will encounter in real life or competition. The ranges I utilize are from 7-25 yards
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Old July 15, 2015, 09:29 AM   #21
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First, I have comment "I practice reloading my magazines fast"

You do? I just use a mag loader, 1 round at a time, no hurry, no sense getting sore thumbs
I used to go to the range with about a dozen magazines there were pre-loaded. One day I read a story written by a LEO that normally carried two spare mags and a back-up gun. The reader's digest version is the firefight lasted 59 seconds in which he expanded all the ammo he had except one round. I got to thinking that my EDC gun is in Condition One with 9 rounds. My two spare mags have a total of 16 rounds. One would think that is adequate however, the LEO that wrote his story said his magazines held 17 rounds each. I think that the probability of expending all my ammo is very slim but why not practice for something I hope will never happen. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. I usually have a couple of boxes of ammo in a range bag all the time.

I have developed a lot of thumb strength and can load a magazine a helluva lot faster than the guys that use mag loaders. Yup, my thumb hurt in the beginning but it no longer gets sore.
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Old July 15, 2015, 09:36 AM   #22
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Speed without accuracy is a waste of perfectly good ammo. What good is being fast if you are unable to hit your target?
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Old July 15, 2015, 02:53 PM   #23
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“Fast is fine but accuracy is final. You must learn to be slow in a hurry.”-Wyatt Earp
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Old July 15, 2015, 05:31 PM   #24
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What good is being fast if you are unable to hit your target?
What good is being accurate, if youre dead because you were taking your time trying to get that perfect shot?

You need to find that happy medium of both, and accept that good hits, although not perfect, are good enough, especially when they come in bursts.
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Old July 15, 2015, 05:50 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by AK103K
What good is being accurate, if youre dead because you were taking your time trying to get that perfect shot?

You need to find that happy medium of both, and accept that good hits, although not perfect, are good enough, especially when they come in bursts.
It's important to note that a good marksman takes the "good enough" shot because they actually see the shot will be good enough, and lands the shot true. This is much different than shooting quickly while hoping for the best.

It's because we limit our definition of "marksmanship" to purely 10-ring hits or small groups that we get into the "speed vs accuracy" debate.

A marksman - the "good shooter" - simply sees what they need to see, when they need to see it, and breaks the shot cleanly. As such, they'll do respectively well slowly shooting a bullseye target as well as shooting CoM hits when time matters. A shooter than can't do both has a big hole in their repertoire.
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