Pinpoint Shooting Accuracy or Lightning-Fast Speed?
Yes! As the name of my business, Center Mass Group implies, I teach my students to quickly find the biggest target available at that moment, set their sights on the center of it and fire for effect. But with that, we also need to constantly remind our shooters, “You can’t miss fast enough.” That means for instance that if you decide you’re going to slap the trigger like it owes you money because it’s faster.
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!
Why You Should Avoid Missing
Okay, warriors, I didn’t think this needed 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 bestialic 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 from a smart shooter looking to save some money on ammo so he can head to the local gun shop on his way home to by 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.
#3: Nothing like a long gun fight! I’m not a statistician, but I’d be willing to bet that the longer you’re in a gun fight, 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: 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!