Skills Check: How To Shoot Faster

Slow and steady may win the race, but not in a life-threatening situation.

posted on September 4, 2022
Jerry Miculek

Shooters like shooting tight, small groups. Small groups are indicative of the ability to apply marksmanship skills consistently. And besides, they’re good for bragging rights and one-upmanship. 

When I do gun reviews for this magazine, I’m required to follow a protocol that mandates shooting five consecutive, five-shot groups with several brands of ammunition. This tests the accuracy of the gun with various loads, but it is also a test of my marksmanship skill (which we try to minimize by removing as many human variables as possible, like shooting the gun off a stable rest). 

So, it’s no wonder shooters are fixated on group-shooting. For example, in my last pistol class two friends came to Gunsite together. Both had been shooting for many years, and their pistols were set up with optical sights and other features designed to help them shoot with great accuracy. When they took their time they shot small groups, competing with one another to see who could shoot the best group. While I suggested they were shooting too slowly, they scoffed and continued
as before. 

The trouble is, Gunsite is a defensive-shooting school, not a target-shooting school. As the turning targets began to do their dance, these gentlemen had trouble making the par times and their shots no longer went into tiny groups. Fortunately, we talked about it and eventually they grasped the idea and did well. Only an elite few shooters, exemplified by Jerry Miculek (pictured), naturally combine speed with accuracy.

If you find yourself in a gunfight, you need to be able to draw quickly and get a couple of fight-stopping hits on the bad guy. You can’t waste time trying to shoot a tiny group and if you’re in the habit of doing so, I believe you need to reorient your thinking. In our 250 Defensive Pistol class, we expect students to do this drill in less than 2 seconds. In our 499 Advanced Defensive Pistol class, the standard drops to 1 second. 

If you’re looking for an accuracy standard, two hits in the upper chest of a silhouette target you can cover with your hand will do.

Here’s the Drill: 
Work this at various distances on a silhouette target, starting at 3 yards. Here are some suggested times, with the gun starting in the holster, therefore requiring a drawstroke as would a real-life defensive scenario:

3 yards Two shots in 1.5 to 2 seconds

5 yards Two shots in 1.5 to 2 seconds

7 yards Two shots in 2 seconds

10 yards Two shots in 3 seconds

15 yards Two shots in 3.5 seconds

Total: 10 rounds

Getting quick shots on threats stops fights. Taking the time for little groups results in a less desirable outcome.


Rock River Arms Operator
Rock River Arms Operator

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