There are differences of opinion in all aspects of firearm training, and the question of speed of firing is no exception to that. On the one hand, some people will argue that for speed of operation, slow equals smooth, and smooth equals fast. In other words, by not trying to move too fast, you allow yourself to complete the action correctly and move on. This cuts down on the need to correct errors, and therefore benefits speed. However, could something else also benefit gun speed? Something like, for example… speed?
What is speed firing?
The term “speed firing” does not have a specific, protected definition beyond the obvious – an ability to fire a gun quickly in a situation that demands it. The more rounds you can get off, maintaining accuracy and safety, the faster you can act and the more targets you can engage in a set period of time. So when it comes to working on speed firing, the key elements to remember are speed of thought, accuracy of engagement, safety of action and awareness of surroundings.
Safety is perhaps the key point here. Theoretically, anyone can fire at speed and maybe hit a few targets as they do so. But tactical shooting is every bit as much about what you don’t hit as what you do. Until someone has fired a gun, they often don’t realize how important it is to take things like recoil and weight of firearm into consideration. If you’re going to shoot fast and accurately, you will need to bear in mind that there are multiple details to keep in mind, and the laws of physics are included among those considerations.
Is it important to work on speed firing?
Until you’re at a particularly advanced level, there is a likelihood that your efforts with gun speed will depend very much on your priorities. Why do you want to be able to fire at speed? For the purposes of self-defense, firing speed can help you engage one target accurately, take your shot and then look for the next. In competition shooting, the ability to maximize your score may depend on the ability to hit multiple bulls-eyes with a minimum of delay between shots.
It’s important to be honest with yourself about the reasons you want to work on speed firing. As a responsible gun-owner, you probably don’t need it impressed upon you that there is a difference between firing multiple shots in a way that might look slick, and firing in an effective, measured way. Your priorities will guide your actions and in turn how you adapt to training, so taking the process seriously will give you the focus you need to learn the right lessons, and to more quickly get to a point where you can hit multiple targets reliably.
What are the important aspects of better gun speed?
As we’ve already suggested, it’s not difficult to fire a gun fast – that’s just a matter of pulling the trigger repeatedly. For the sake of this question, the assumption is that you want to fire fast, safely, and effectively. You want to hit specific targets, and you don’t want to waste ammo or – more importantly – pose a risk to innocent bystanders. Therefore, it is vital to focus first on the fundamentals. So when you’re working on speed firing, you should go right back to the start: Stance, Grip, Sight, Trigger Pump, and Post-Firing. Revisiting the first steps may seem laborious and unnecessary, but if you’re about to train a new way of shooting, you need to get back to basics to ensure nothing gets missed.
Next, you’ll need to work on rhythm. This will allow you to prepare, fire, recover and prepare again. Concentrate on gradually increasing pressure on the trigger, then releasing after firing, then resetting to the “staged” position as quickly as possible. A steady rhythm will allow you to focus on getting shots off without rushing. The best place to gain speed is in that time after firing but before setting for another shot. Finally, consider range (as in distance). There should be more time taken the longer the shot will be, because any deviation is much graver over a longer distance. Rapid fire is fine at short range, but remember that far-off targets have the same disadvantage that you do.
So to the question of whether you should work on gun speed as well as the slow and steady stuff, do we have an answer? The honest truth is that once you’ve got the fundamentals down and are a responsible, reliable firearm owner, learning to fire faster is no bad idea. Just make sure you are still always prioritizing accuracy above all.