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Old June 20, 2014, 05:48 PM   #1
couldbeanyone
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Are we too obsessed with speed?

Many threads on this forum about handgun defense always seem to come down to shooting as many bullets as fast as you can. If you don't have a 15 round magazine and can't empty your gun in 3 seconds your a dead man
I have been caught up in the speed game myself in the past. As I have gotten older, my thinking has began to change. If I pick up a double action revolver and shoot rapidly, my splits will usually be in the .21 to .23 second range. At this speed I will inavariably have some C zone hits. In competition this is ok as you can drop a few points now and then, if your times are fast enough. I now slow down enough to get all A zone hits when I practice even though that slows me down.
In looking at the gunfighters of the past a great many of them didn't seem to be as worried about speed as we are today. After all Frank Hamer always focused on taking his time and getting a good aimed shot. Captain Jonathan Davis was ambushed by 14 men and prevailed, killing 7 men with nothing more than two Colt cap and ball revolvers. I'm pretty sure he was taking pretty good aim to get that many hits while under fire.
I think it was Cint Smith that said, "of all the videos you ever saw of gunfights, was the problem ever that they weren't shooting fast enough?"
Having said all of this, does anyone know of a documented gunfight that was lost because someone wasn't shooting fast enough split times? What say you?
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Old June 20, 2014, 05:51 PM   #2
rockhopper46038
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I say it is better to be accurate than fast; but you better be fast.
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Old June 20, 2014, 05:56 PM   #3
Sol
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I know a guy that has had to use his pistol a few times.

Lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place...usually.

It usually came down to the criminals reluctance to actually use his weapon as a weapon, instead of a tool of intimidation.

Kid shot at the guy, probably to scare him, and it hit the wall behind him. Kid turns his head for a second to check the door and the rest is history.

Anectdotal? Yes.

I think the whole mobile firefight moving behind cover is a little too overplayed.
It probably doesn't happen that often except if you are in a war or some serious police business. Not saying that it can't happen to regular joes, probably the exception more than the rule.

Edit: I vote opportunity and shot placement.
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Old June 20, 2014, 06:29 PM   #4
40-82
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Imagine someone is leveling a shotgun on you at close range and your pistol is still holstered. You have to be very fast--even that might not be good enough--but a very fast miss is useless. The problem is always going to be that you don't know how much time you will have. To develop the discipline to know how much time you need to make a hit, take that amount of time, no more, and no less, is what we train for, but it's not easy even in practice. Missing at a high rate of speed may have less than no value.
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Old June 20, 2014, 06:33 PM   #5
Sol
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 40-82 View Post
Imagine someone is leveling a shotgun on you at close range and your pistol is still holstered. You have to be very fast--even that might not be good enough--but a very fast miss is useless. The problem is always going to be that you don't know how much time you will have. To develop the discipline to know how much time you need to make a hit, take that amount of time, no more, and no less, is what we train for, but it's not easy even in practice. Missing at a high rate of speed may have less than no value.
Hmm, I would be more concerned at either finding suitable cover or trying to disarm at that point.

If he already has a bead on you, it's probably too late to draw (from concealment?) aim and fire.
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Old June 20, 2014, 06:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
If you don't have a 15 round magazine and can't empty your gun in 3 seconds your a dead man
I doubt this will ever happen. Not often do we get the opportunity to shoot rapid fire at the range so practice of this would be pretty impossible. But it did make me laugh because in a IDPA match about two years ago I had the opportunity to do a shoot house match at the end of a long day, shooting 8 bad guys and at the time some inside some outside.

Well, just for the hell of it I decided to empty all my mags and see what I could do. You are allowed only 10 rounds per mag and one in the chamber. Soooo, in 35 seconds I shot 31 rounds with two mag changes into the targets as fast as I could (it was a blast.) When the smoke cleared, I was zero points down meaning I had neutralized all targets. (at least two hits per target in the A zone) People outside the shoot house thought I was using a machine gun in the match (LOL) but it was just my PT-92 handgun. 35 seconds is a terrible time for something that should have only been 20 seconds for 16 shots, but I just wanted to see what I could do.

So I guess it can be done (but the targets weren't shooting back), but I doubt that I will ever need to do it again. In a real gun fight I would expect only 3 or 4 shots to be fired so I carry a 45 ACP with 7 +1 and doubt that I will ever need my extra mag I carry.

If I should ever need to use it, it will be 3 aimed shots (triple tap, two in the chest, one in the head) in about 5 seconds that will be needed.

Just my view on this.
Jim

Last edited by jim243; June 20, 2014 at 07:06 PM.
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Old June 20, 2014, 07:31 PM   #7
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I have to many medial issues to get worried about being fast. Just staying calm and placing multiple bullets well.
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Old June 20, 2014, 07:54 PM   #8
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A few random thoughts:

1). There may be some truth to the idea that shooters tend to focus a little too much on speed. Speed is not the only important factor in play. One should develop precision/accuracy to a nearly equivalent level as they do speed of weapon manipulation.

2) the matters were contemplating are centered around social violence and social violence does not happen slowly in all but the most unusual situations. There is an implied and immutable requirement to observe, orient, decide, and act as quickly as is humanly possible because any common lethal threat will be employing great haste and explosiveness of action to harm you. A situation may not develop in the blink of an eye but if it turns violent it usually does so very suddenly.

3) speed of reaction and explosiveness of violence creates more time for you to get on with the other functions you must do to survive a violent encounter. The more skillful, fluid, and fast you are in deploying your weapon, the less time and brainpower you have to shunt over to those tasks and the more time and processing power you have for dodging, blocking, moving, seeing, assessing, and otherwise solving the problem.

4) you cannot miss fast enough to win a gun fight, but assuredly you can shoot slow enough to lose one. You might not need to get that first shot off in less than 2 seconds, and you might not need to shoot better than a 0.25 split time, but it is a whole lot better to be able to when you need to than to not rise to that challenge if that's what's being required of you in YOUR gunfight.

5) training for gun manipulation proficiency is only one small part of the defensive skills set. If you somehow are presented with the choice between working on knocking your split times down from 0.25 to 0.18, on the one hand, and learning retention techniques, extreme close-quarters fighting with a gun, creating space and using your hands, situational awareness, or other more focused skills training, let the split times go. Besides, by the time you've trained and practiced all that other stuff, your splits will get better on their own!
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Last edited by Sam1911; June 20, 2014 at 08:12 PM.
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Old June 20, 2014, 09:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by couldbeanyone View Post
Many threads on this forum about handgun defense always seem to come down to shooting as many bullets as fast as you can. If you don't have a 15 round magazine and can't empty your gun in 3 seconds your a dead man
Don't think I've ever seen that written.

Quote:
I have been caught up in the speed game myself in the past. As I have gotten older, my thinking has began to change. If I pick up a double action revolver and shoot rapidly, my splits will usually be in the .21 to .23 second range. At this speed I will inavariably have some C zone hits. In competition this is ok as you can drop a few points now and then, if your times are fast enough. I now slow down enough to get all A zone hits when I practice even though that slows me down.
I think fast C zone hits are more acceptable on the street than at the match. As long as I'll hit center mass, I'm not going to slow down to hit the center of the center mass.

Quote:
In looking at the gunfighters of the past a great many of them didn't seem to be as worried about speed as we are today.
Wyatt Earp famously said about how to win gunfights, "take your time. In a hurry." This means take the time you need to make the shot, but not one microsecond longer.

Quote:
I think it was Cint Smith that said, "of all the videos you ever saw of gunfights, was the problem ever that they weren't shooting fast enough?"
Clint says a lot of stupid things.

Quote:
Having said all of this, does anyone know of a documented gunfight that was lost because someone wasn't shooting fast enough split times? What say you?

First of all, no one is suggesting shooting TOO fast so you miss. But it dangerous to dawdle when it's not necessary.

Many people killed in gunfights were too slow or shot too wild. When I was a cop, I heard the story of a top PPC vow tutor arrive on scene to engage 3 armed robbers. PPC doesn't require exceptional speed, but it does require good accuracy. He center punched the first two before the third robber shot and killed him.

I keep reading "you can't miss fast enough to win," but that's not true. John Farnam has a quip about a guy in South Africa that was attacked inside his house. He grabbed his BHP and immediately started shooting at the attackers. They were apparently so shocked at his explosive, violent response their shots went wild as they beat feet out of there. Still, I agree it's not the best strategy.

It's better to be fast and accurate instead of slow and accurate.
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Old June 20, 2014, 09:38 PM   #10
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David E, my fear is that those A zone hits in practice and games will become C zone hits when the chips are down. If I practice and game play thinking C zones are good enough, they could easily become D zone or misses. I don't really think of a .46 split as dawdling.
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Old June 20, 2014, 09:43 PM   #11
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I don't really think of a .46 split as dawdling.
We may have a certain disparity of experiences and proficiency levels making it more difficult for us to find common ground on this subject.

Many, many shooters would feel like they're getting palpably older while waiting for a 0.46 sec. split to pass. While it is really a hair better than 2 shots a second, so not actually "slow" in the whole spectrum of events, that rate of firing is going to feel impossibly slow to anyone who's been involved in competitive shooting, at least.

Quote:
Wyatt Earp famously said about how to win gunfights, "take your time. In a hurry." This means take the time you need to make the shot, but not one microsecond longer.
Very reminiscent of Brian Enos' explanation of seeing exactly what you need to see to make the shot. (With the implication being, "... and nothing more.")
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Old June 20, 2014, 10:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Are we too obsessed with speed?
Nope... not as long as it does not sacrifice accuracy.

And you can be very fast and very accurate at the same time.

Quote:
Very reminiscent of Brian Enos' explanation of seeing exactly what you need to see to make the shot. (With the implication being, "... and nothing more.")
I am more fond of his saying... 'just let it happen'. For if you train hard and often you will internalize it and your subconscious will take over in an emergency.

Maku mozo!

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Old June 20, 2014, 10:11 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by couldbeanyone View Post
David E, my fear is that those A zone hits in practice and games will become C zone hits when the chips are down. If I practice and game play thinking C zones are good enough, they could easily become D zone or misses. I don't really think of a .46 split as dawdling.

Truth be known, with proper technique, it doesn't take any longer to shoot an A than it does a C.

And there's no way you should double your time from .23 to .46 just to hit the A zone.
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Old June 20, 2014, 10:12 PM   #14
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Sam1911, a .46 split seems pretty slow to me too, but that is about what it takes for me to be 99% sure of all good solid A zone hits. I can shoot about .22 splits if I don't mind about 25% C zone hits. This would be at 10 yards. While this isn't great by any means, I think we are not in a such a different universe that we can't communicate.
My thoughts go to mindset, if I always practice while thinking, go as fast as I can, instead of get a good hit but go fast. I am afraid of what my rate of fire and accuracy might be with someone shooting at me if my mindset is always, fast as you can go.
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Old June 20, 2014, 10:15 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Deaf Smith View Post
Nope... not as long as it does not sacrifice accuracy.

And you can be very fast and very accurate at the same time.



I am more fond of his saying... 'just let it happen'. For if you train hard and often you will internalize it and your subconscious will take over in an emergency.

Maku mozo!

Deaf

Amen!
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Two things separate the skilled shooter from the casual shooter: Distance and Speed.

Of the two, Speed is the most decisive.

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Old June 20, 2014, 10:21 PM   #16
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David E, ok so I suck, but a lot of us do, we can't all be as proficient as you. Maybe thats why we get so many misses in gunfights when we shoot as fast as we humanly can.
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Old June 20, 2014, 11:33 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by couldbeanyone View Post
David E, ok so I suck, but a lot of us do, we can't all be as proficient as you.

Well, that's not what I said. If you're getting .23 splits and keeping them in the C zone, then I'd work on that, not doubling my shot to shot time to improve the hit by a few inches. But that's just me.

Quote:
Maybe thats why we get so many misses in gunfights when we shoot as fast as we humanly can.

If you never practice shooting "as fast as we humanly can," you're right.

But it IS possible to shoot fast AND hit. Knowing this, I find hitting as fast as I can humanly shoot a goal worthy of pursuit.
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Of the two, Speed is the most decisive.

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Old June 21, 2014, 12:28 AM   #18
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The conclusion I drew from analyzing actual gun fights:

Speed from decision to engage to first hit on target: Very important.

Split time between hits on same target: Not as important.
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Old June 21, 2014, 12:31 AM   #19
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Thing is, if you shoot as fast as you can, how accurate will your shots be? Remember, it will be under lots of stress, not like on a shooting range.
The guys here who were unfortunate enough in the sense that they had to shoot to protect themselves, can give some good advice here.
One thing I have read in the past is that if you shot someone twice in the chest, and he did not go down, he will run away anyway. That is what I've read in threads about actual SD shootings, on forums by long standing members on forums in my country. Won't emptying a 15 shot magazine in 3 seconds for one BG get you in trouble anyway?
I carry a 7 shot 9mm, so I have to conserve my shots, and make every shot count. Maybe when you have a 17 shot pistol you can affords to shoot a bit faster.
I myself would try to hit with two fast shots, and then run for cover if it is close. Then I will fire again from cover if still needed.
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Old June 21, 2014, 12:49 AM   #20
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I think fast C zone hits are more acceptable on the street than at the match. As long as I'll hit center mass, I'm not going to slow down to hit the center of the center mass.
I fundamentally disagree with this concept. What you and other shooters that put speed over accuracy are over looking is the extreme measures the human body will do to survive. Having worked in a major hospital trauma unit I have seen many patients with horrible injuries come in still conscious and able to converse with the Doctor and medical staff while they were evaluating the patient.

Minute of pie plate just doesn’t cut it for decisively ending an attack. The human body is actually pretty hard to kill and can survive a long period of time with injuries that prove fatal. Accurate shot placement is required to shut down the human body as quickly as possible.

For a real life example I am talking about read about the infamous FBI shoot-out with two determined criminals in Miami in 1986 in which two FBI agents were killed and five others wounded by Michael Platt. Platt killed the two agents and wounded the others despite receiving multiple gunshot wounds himself including a lethal chest wound early in the fight. The gunshots that finally ended the incident was a head shot to Matrix that traveled downward through the facial bones, into the neck, where it entered the spinal column and severed the spinal cord and a round in Platt’s chest that bruised the spinal cord. Tests showed that neither Platt and Matrix had drugs in their systems.

Stop and consider how small of target the spinal column is and it was necessary to finally shut these two criminals down. It was bullet placement that resulted in their deaths which is also the opinion of the FBI.
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Old June 21, 2014, 01:16 AM   #21
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Are we too obsessed with speed?

I'm not putting speed over accuracy, I'm combining those two elements.

Ed Mireles shot them both in the head from just a few feet away. Are you advocating head or spine shots only? That's not what the FBI teaches.

My point is, a fast good hit is better than a slow "perfect" hit.

Having the time necessary to hit the second shirt button probably won't be available to you, so whattaya gonna do?

Of course, you can always shoot for their eye.....spoils their aim!
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Old June 21, 2014, 08:32 AM   #22
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Certainly a human body can live on for a while (maybe even survive) after taking vital zone hits, but there is still a fairly strong case to be made that he who hits first tends to win. In a great many cases (no, not all of course) being shot is distracting and disheartening and at least forces the bad guy to reorient/re-acquire and that can buy you important fractions of a second to land the next shot and the next, and the next if need be.

Sure, most gun shot victims live through it. But a fast first hit -- even a 'C' hit -- followed up by three or four more 'A's and 'C's over the course of that first second decidedly stacks the game in your direction.

So, it isn't realistic to contend that a hit through the spinal cord is the only thing that counts, the only acceptable target zone, the only useful factor in stopping the attack.
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Old June 21, 2014, 08:37 AM   #23
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Quote:
TestPilot The conclusion I drew from analyzing actual gun fights:

Speed from decision to engage to first hit on target: Very important.

Split time between hits on same target: Not as important.
This mirrors what I am seeing.

So very often we hear of people in gun fights spraying out ten rounds and hitting nothing, then they get a grip and remind themselves to really aim and then they get a hit. Wouldn't it be far faster to always have the mindset to get a hit and get it on the first or second shot instead of the eleventh.

Its fine for folks to espouse that you can have both extreme speed and accuracyat all times, but the reality is that the vast majority of people don't have unlimited practice time or budgets. Even Jerry Miculek gets misses if he pushes too hard and this is in competition where only bragging rights are on the line.

Just saying that get a hit might be a better mindset than HURRY!

Last edited by couldbeanyone; June 21, 2014 at 08:44 AM.
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Old June 21, 2014, 08:59 AM   #24
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Depends? if you shoot IDPA or USPSA speed is far more important to you.
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Old June 21, 2014, 09:40 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by tarosean View Post
Depends? if you shoot IDPA or USPSA speed is far more important to you.

Bull-oney. Those are competitive shooting games.

But keep on mind, shooting for your life is a very competitive activity. After all, you're trying to kill/stop him before he kills/stops you. And he's doing the same thing.

Speed matters. Hits matter. Combine the two for best results.
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