Understanding Shooting Speed

There is this idea the most important skill you develop is to shoot fast. Shooting fast is only part of the total package, but if you are going to shoot as fast as you can hit you need to first understand speed.

How Fast Is Too Fast

Speed is the rate at which you can operate. What speed does not define is the accuracy of your movements or the efficiency of your technique. The hardest part of any lesson at the intermediate level is trying to get students to shoot quickly AND accurately. To shoot as fast as they can hit. Technique at this level is right at the level where too much throttle and they hit the wall. Too little throttle and they get passed up. The key is finding the sweet spot and then holding yourself accountable to maintain that speed for every round fired. There is of course exceptions, but the rule should be shoot as fast as you can guarantee the hits.

Shooting fastHow I Shoot Fast Is Only One Theory

We could spend countless hours discussing the merits of various techniques for shooting fast. It would not be wasted time since there are many good theories. The problem is how do we know they are actually helping and more importantly how do we know our own potential. Without an understanding of our potential it is difficult to know what is possible. What works for me, may or may not work for you. Instead, we need to figure out how to exploit every advantage and this is where limits of performance come into the equation.

Shooting Fast With No Consequences

Limits of performance are just that, the limit to which you can perform a task. There will come a time when you will not be able to pull the trigger faster. You have reached the end of the line. You will need to explore other avenues of your technique to shave off the milliseconds. Where I tell people to start is to understand how fast they literally can pull the trigger. With no consequences what so ever, just pull the trigger at breakneck speed into the berm or a safe backstop. That is probably the closest you will come to your limit, but it is not a real indicator of your true speed because we had no consequences.

Benchmark For Speed

What it provides us with is important information in the form of your ability to pull the trigger. In particular the first shot, split times and overall time. The first shot is more about reaction time. When the recognized stimulus occurs how fast can you process the information then send the response to your trigger finger. Split times are really where you make your money. They tell us so much about your technique. Most important is how consistent are you at the firing sequence. Other components can come into the picture such as the gun, caliber and round, but all things being equal it is very valuable from a raw perspective. Lastly, is the overall time as a benchmark for performance. Using the overall time to track your progress is a quick and easy way to see whether what you are doing is helping, hurting or staying the same.

Scoring A Hit As Fast As You Can

The how is pretty easy, we use a six round drill. As mentioned earlier fired in the berm or safe backstop with no target to register your shots. You want to document each an every metric discussed above. Repeat the drill for five repetitions total then break out your calculator. You want to calculate each of these metrics to find your averages. Now, here is where it gets a little tricky. Over time I have discovered when you are shooting for score you will not be able to go at these speeds. What I found depending on your skill level is a decent rule of thumb. At the intermediate level I add 20-25% to these times to find my acceptable performance limit. Then I use these times to help me shoot as fast as I can hit. By combining shooting as fast as possible with the necessary attention to detail I score a hit.

Going fast is a major goal, but going as fast as you can guarantee the hit is the real objective. Everything else just looks good on social media.

2 thoughts on “Shoot Faster Than Ever

  1. Ed Bonawitz says:

    Jeff, thank you for this blog post. Your posts are always insightful but this one is among my favorites because of the way you break this down and make it something I can emulate during my personal range sessions. Thanks, again.

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