Speed vs. Accuracy

Yes, I know, it’s one of the oldest debates in the gun world.  But I raise this topic for completely selfish reasons.  I need advice!  Maybe one of you gurus can help me out.

We’ve already talked about size versus quantity, so now I’m confessing my dilemma with respect to speed versus accuracy.  I first laid hands on a firearm (of any type whatsoever) in 2001.  Since then, I’ve gotten much better with both accuracy and speed.  However, about three years ago, after a years-long, fairly steep learning curve, I hit a ceiling.  More specifically, I crashed into it with a reverberating thud.  My accuracy is still improving day by day, but my rate of speed has come to a screeching halt.

I’m at a point where the length of time between shots is probably somewhere between a half-second and three-quarters of a second (okay, fine, I admit, it’s sometimes slower).  We’re talking personal defense distances (maybe three to ten yards-ish).  At that distance and that speed, I’m very satisfied with my level of accuracy.  But I kid you not, whenever I push myself to go even a nanosecond faster, the follow-up shot feels frantic and uncontrolled, and predictably it goes straight to hell.  And I’m talking from sternum to scrotum.  Upper-center chest to outer-lower fat roll.  I swear, it’s like magic.  There’s a very distinct speed plateau beyond which I simply cannot follow through with an effective second shot.  And I don’t think it has anything to do with sight alignment/picture.  I think it’s all trigger control.

One trainer told me to reset during the recoil.  When I do that with my factory G17, I get ADs.  On the range that’s embarrassing; but on the street it means jail or bankruptcy or both.  I know the range is the place to make mistakes.  But whenever things go drastically wrong in a practice session, my confidence makes a B-line for the Mariana Trench, at which point I immediately revert back to my comfort zone (relatively slow speeds).

For example, last week I shot with a local league (vaguely IDPA-esque).  I think there were maybe 12 or 15 participants, and we shot six stages. At the end of the night, I had zero points down.  But I was still toward the bottom of the pack, due to slow times.  The winner had four points down; and within the top five, some shooters had dropped as many as 11 points (albeit at lightning speeds).  I got a lot of compliments on my accuracy, but I couldn’t help but think to myself, accuracy doesn’t mean sh*t if the bad guy has time to hack me to death before I can launch enough lead to stop him. On the other hand, honestly the thought of “accidentally” (negligently) paralyzing somebody’s kid down the street scares me even more than being mortally wounded myself.

Maybe the answer is as simple as practice, practice, practice.  I totally get that with repetition comes familiarity, economy of motion, and speed.  But I DO practice!  And still, my speed hasn’t budged in three years. [Insert whiny pouty face here.]  I’m worried now that I’ve really hit a wall, and no matter how much I practice I just can’t get past it.  Any suggestions?


The Tortoise

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