Speed vs Accuracy: Mastering Precision and Swift Execution

You’re going to (quickly) throw your rounds all around the guy shooting at you, hoping that he doesn’t have the discipline to slowly press back on his trigger with you in his sights. Let’s see…if I slap the trigger fast ten times, one round is bound to hit him!

Chris Sajnog tells about the importance between accuracy and speed.

Why You Should Avoid Missing

Okay, warriors, I didn’t think this needed an explanation. But for those who still shoot like Liberian rebels on CNN, here’s the review.

#1: Especially when I’m training LEOs, I remind students of the fact that every round that leaves your weapon has a very small lawyer attached to it, just watching to see where it hits. Like miniature ambulance chasers along for the ride, these guys are waiting to end a career or worse.

If saying, “Front sight, front sight, front sight,” as you press back on that trigger doesn’t help, just think about how much you love sleeping with someone you love (and I’m not talking about a guy named Tank who’s doing life for bestiality rape and murder of his last cellmate).

#2: Think about it in financial terms. With the economy in its current state (thanks for that “Change!”) of being in a perpetual spiral downward, we need to save every penny we can! “One shot, one kill” could have very easily been first uttered by a smart shooter looking to save some money on ammo so he can head to the local gun shop on his way home to buy another bang-stick.

Even when I was in a SEAL Platoon at the range, we made sure every round down range was effective and accurate. Did we think about how much the ammo cost? My mother taught me to never tell a lie…Hell no! We just wanted to shoot better than the guy next to us so we could make fun of him later. But if you’re paying for the ammo, reason #2 might be for you.

Chris Sajnog teaches how to shoot effective and accurate.

#3: Nothing like a long gunfight! I’m not a statistician, but I’d be willing to bet that the longer you’re in a gunfight, your chance of eating a lead sandwich tends to increase. Just get it over with and hit the target(s) on the first shot. This way you get to fight another day and deliver effective customer service to more bad guys.

#4: Raise your hand if you like to clean your weapon. OK, there are a few bullet-heads out there who actually enjoy cleaning their guns, but the rest of us would rather be punching the bore with hollow-point rounds. Even if you’re using Frog Lube on your weapons (and you should be), you still have to do more cleaning the more you shoot.

For SEALs, this might be the biggest reason not to miss. We SEALs are well known for our laziness. (If any of my fellow frogmen are offended, please change the word laziness to efficiency.) If I’m going to foul that bore, I better have a long list of confirmed kills to justify it.

#5: Next in this speed vs accuracy. Every round you waste is one less “tool in your tool bag” (magazine) to deal with the current (or immediate future) tactical situation you are trying to sort out. When I was running SEAL Sniper school, I would have my students load single rounds into their M-4s while shooting the Navy Rifle Qualification test.

Just the mental image of knowing you only have one round to put down range helped shooters score higher. I would discourage this technique in any combat situation, but keep in mind that you might need those extra rounds to deal with the next threat that comes knocking at your door.

Find the right balance to your shooting accuracy and speed through constant practice and training.

Pinpoint Shooting Accuracy or Lightning-Fast Speed?

So the answer to this age-old question is easy – training. By training as much as you can on and off the range (dry fire, anyone?) you’ll learn what your limits are for accuracy AND speed. Just like everything else in life, it’s all about balance.

When we’re running a range, we want guys to miss…OK, let me explain. Think about it. You’re on a training range; this is where you need to push yourself. If all your rounds are inside the black, speed up. If more than a few are outside the black, slow down. Here’s a drill to help know your limits. Put up a man-size target of your choice and using a pro-timer see how quickly and accurately you can engage threats at different distances.

At ten yards if I’m key-holing shots in 2.00 seconds, I’ve most likely lost that imaginary battle assuming my opponent got his first shot off in the 1-second range and followed it up with 3-4 more all in the chest. Test your limits on the range with multiple targets in various conditions and keep them in mind next time you’re doing ballet with a boom-stick.

Parting shot: I was listening to a podcast the other day on “How Military Snipers Work” from How Stuff Works. It’s a great show to listen to on my way to the range, but since I know a little about this subject, I found a few items wrong with how they said this “worked.” I realized they were getting their information from the wrong person.

At the end of the show, they were talking about how fast sound travels compared to the speed of bullets and gave an interesting quote. The guy they interviewed for this podcast said, “Past 800 yards, I can shoot at someone all day long…and they will never know I’m there.” Obviously, he’s not a SEAL sniper…If we shoot at you, you’re going to know we were there. In fact, that will be the last thing you know! Alright, so that is it for today. I hope you got some value out of this blog in striking the perfect balance of speed vs accuracy.

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  1. For me, it is speed first, accuracy second, everytime.

    Speed means I might be off centre, but training means I still hit the target. So I might hit a limb instead of centre mass, that’s still a hit that will buy me time to finish the job.

    If I had taken the time to get a good bead on and have a greater probability of hitting the exact target area, that extra second is all the target needs to get the first shot off and put me in danger.

  2. while I do know why such hyperbole is used in training, it’s not true that you can’t miss quickly enough to win. The other guy misses, too ( a lot). In fact, even back in WW2, our troops fired 10,000 rds for every hit that they got. Back then, tho, it was not possible to separate out the rifle from the belt fed rds expended. Today, it’s 5x that much, and only one hit in 2 is a solid hit. So that’s 100,000 misses of the vitals for every serious hit. How much practicing do you think some goatherd gets, hmm? How much does he know about ballistics, anatomy, tactics, use of cover, leading a mover, zeroing signts, etc? How good is his ammo? Is his bore properly cleaned? does he have luminous sights, laser designator, a sound suppressor, ear protection? Normally, he’s just holding back the trigger, with his eyes shut.

    1. Don – I’m guessing you’re not a firearms instructor and have never seen combat. Your plan is for the enemy to miss?

      Warriors respect their enemies, dead men do not.

  3. Train until you know no one else is… anywhere. It can be fun and is cheaper than a coffin.
    As I always toast my comrades past, present, and future.
    “Peace to our friends and better sense to our enemies! “

  4. Fwiw I train at my range 3x/week. My goal is always shoot for both accuracy and speed at 25yds where my pistols are zeroed. speed and accuracy are both necessary. you cannot stop a threat that you dont hit is my mantra when training.

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