Speed is a goal, speed is a necessity. Speed is not the priority.
Guarantee Your Hits
That might seem contradictory, but it is the truth. Speed is a critical piece of our defensive shooting puzzle. You want to be fast, as fast as you can guarantee the hits. You do not want that speed to be your sole goal. Speed without accuracy is recklessness and potentially criminal. You are responsible for the final resting location of every projectile you fire in a deadly force encounter. Don’t put the cart before the horse when it comes to your training goals. Remember, if you had to choose between drawing faster and drawing sooner always choose sooner. For you to draw sooner means you have to pay attention, recognize danger and then deliver effective fire in the most precise manner possible. Not an easy task to say the least.
Attention To Details Is A Thing
When starting your journey towards preparedness you must learn the skills technically correct. Your first objective is to learn how to precisely deliver an accurate shot. This gets into marksmanship principles, but in the early stages of your development you will want to go slow. We teach three speeds in our classes; slow, half and full speed. In the beginning we want students to move at slow speed. The obvious reason is learning a new skill requires you to pay attention. You need to move at a speed you can think your way through the series of tasks. A skill is made up of tasks. Each task has a series of sub-tasks and each sub-task is made up of micro-tasks. For you to get it technically correct, you need to be performing down in the micro-task level. About the only way to see the skills at this level is in slow speed.
Pressure Testing In Real Time
At a certain point you have combined the various tasks to create your skill set and now we want to pressure test your work. This is the domain of half speed; where you are moving at the upper limits of your skill. We define the upper limits as the minimal amount of time required to perform technically correct. Speed can be many things, but at this level speed is defined as using the minimal amount of movements applied in the most precise manner. You start merging all the micro tasks together in a seamless manner. As your skill level takes over the gaps slowly are removed until you look as if you are performing a single action/task.
The Wheels Come Flying Off
At a certain point, when safe to do so we need to hit the gas. We want to be working at full speed, but you have to put the work in advanced to see the benefits. Full speed is defined as the thin line between technically correct and incorrect. You are moving at the upper limits of your capability, but within safe margins. This is where we typically see the wheels come off. They may wobble at half speed, but they can go flying off at full speed. When looking at metrics to help define these esoteric ideas think of them in these terms.
Push to Failure
Slow speed will generate 100% hit ratio. You are moving with control to the point you have eliminated or corrected in real time any errors and produce the hit. At half speed your hit ratio drops to about 80%. As you start to increase the speed you will make mistakes, but you are not able to correct them in real time at this higher speed. At full speed you will generally start at about a 50% hit ratio. As you begin to push the boundaries you will see more misses. This is okay, this is necessary to growth. As you continue to push the envelope you will eventually increase your hit ratio to 70-80% and with practice even more.
The point, speed is not the priority in the beginning. It will become a priority when you are ready and not sooner.
2 thoughts on “The Need For Speed”
Jeff, this is one of your best posts I’ve read. Thanks, and keep up the good stuff!
Thank you very much, glad you enjoyed the blog. Stay safe.