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Thread: The Balance of Speed, Accuracy and Assessment

  1. #1
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    The Balance of Speed, Accuracy and Assessment

    From a pretty smart guy (and familiar contributor):

    I was having a conversation today with one of my heroes in this world and was explaining the basis for what we teach and thought it would be worth sharing those thoughts. This is not a debate, it is simply what we preach, and folks are very welcome to find a different way if it isn’t important to your world. It is important to ours.

    We always hear about the balance of speed and accuracy. It is a continuous battle for many to find a balance and that will change for many based on “acceptable target”. That is great, and the size of the acceptable target can often change between various types of competitive shooting sports and is really what defines the difference between the competitive shooting sports. When it comes to shooting in the combative world, the balance of speed and accuracy gets to be a real issue when the target is capable of shooting back or has a means to inflict significant injury. All of a sudden, the speed you can deliver an accurate shot to an acceptable target becomes different because the acceptable target is the size of a grapefruit in the upper chest or head...period. Anything outside of that area with a pistol will likely require additional shots which requires a full reassessment to press that trigger again. Complete misses endanger innocents and as Wayne likes to say, “They all hit something”.

    This gets to the left-out part of the equation which is assessment speed (which requires the assessment to be accurate as well). Nobody ever wants to delve into what is an equal leg in the triangle of balance. You have to balance Speed, Accuracy, and Assessment. For defensive shooting within the borders of the United States, every press of the trigger must be based on a strict level of assessment in order to be a justifiable use of lethal force. This is going to have to pass legal requirements, often ethical standards and for those in professions like law enforcement they will also have agency policy requirements. Wayne and I often preach that on top of mechanical skill you also need to be morally, ethically and legally right with every press of that trigger. Think about this in regard to how we train. If you are leaving assessment time and problem solving outside of your training, you are not training for proper application of lethal force, you are training to simply “shoot”. This is fine for fun, sport, recreation, and as a complex technical skill. For those interested in defensive shooting, the failure to account for the assessment component is neglecting the third leg of a balanced triangle.

    Many courses of fire I have used and developed over the years are based on courses developed by the firearms cadre at LAPD SWAT in the 1980’s (a group with a very unique make up of environment, skill, and experience). I find people with great technical skills who discount the times and accuracy standard we use as too easy. I find this to be an indication of a focus on strictly technical skills for accurate and fast shooting. They have excelled at two thirds of the equation for solving real world use of lethal force problems. On the other side we have those who cannot handle the shooting demands of these courses. In this case they are lacking at two thirds of the equation and likely lacking in the whole equation. Our goal is to build a sub-conscious shooter who under duress and crisis can pull a rapid solution on the shooting side (accuracy balanced with speed) to allow the brain to work the incredibly complex assessment side. Based on our experience this is how to both win the gunfight and the legal and post shooting fight when your actions will be scrutinized at a level unfathomable to most people. It is why when you talk to folks who have been in multiple successful shootings with the entire triangle in perfect balance you will find they have very different answers to how to train and what is important to those folks who have never been tested in the entire process of a shooting and the subsequent investigation to those who have theories only confirmed on a range.

    I have given up on arguing about most of this stuff. It mostly falls on deaf ears and sometimes you reach an age and place in life where you just smile. I am there as I am sure many of those in our closest circle of trainers. With that said, there is some who want to really be ready to solve entire use of force problems and not just the shooting part. For those, we continue to try to pass on hard earned insights from the study of the realities of the use of firearms in solving lethal force with firearms in a legal, moral and ethical manner. A term we use for this perfect balance is “a righteous shooting”. There are many folks who have mastered righteous shootings in our history of using cartridge handguns as a means of protecting ourselves. The take away for me has been to attain and maintain the ability to be a righteous shooter and have a solid balance of speed, accuracy and assessment.
    Regional Government Sales Manager for Aimpoint, Inc. USA
    Co-owner Hardwired Tactical Shooting (HiTS)

  2. #2
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    I saw this on FB last night. Thanks for posting it here, Wayne (and thanks to DB for writing it!)

  3. #3
    Thats about as well articulated and compelling as anything I've read about shooting skills

    Thank you and respect

  4. #4
    dare to speak truth blues's Avatar
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    Wayne, I'd say your (and DB's) assessment is spot on.
    Beware the American Taliban

  5. #5
    Member JHC's Avatar
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    Nice.
    It is really striking how closely the doctrines of LE orgs and Mil orgs with the most training and which engage in the most gun battles align. And think, for this consistency to persist, it had to be validated across the results of thousands of actual fights.
    "I realized all the mindset talk was useless without action and that with action, all the mindset talk was unnecessary." - Mike Pannone

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    Excellent, thanks for posting!

  7. #7
    Situations requiring gunfighting/fighting skills, and those requiring shooting skills, are quite different, even though they can and do cross over.

    My opinion is that our community (firearms not PF) doesn't address this very often, because gaining fighting skills is not as glamorous as trigger pulling. Generally when someone tries to speak to this, it's not very clear to understand.

    Thanks for writing this and spreading it.
    Last edited by STI; 04-05-2019 at 03:35 PM.

  8. #8
    dare to speak truth blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by STI View Post
    Situations requiring gunfighting/fighting skills, and those requiring shooting skills, are quite different, even though they can and do cross over.

    My opinion is that our community (firearms not PF) doesn't address this very often, because gaining fighting skills is not as glamorous as trigger pulling. Generally when someone tries to speak to this, it's not very clear to understand.

    Thanks for writing this and spreading it.
    The other issue is that one must be able to articulate the reasons for taking their actions. Know what imminence means, know what grievous bodily harm is, what represents or may represent mortal peril if it should come to pass.

    All of these things must be evaluated in the seconds or fraction of a second before one's finger completes the pull of a trigger.

    LEO's and military are often second guessed by folks who have never been in the situation. Training and instruction help...but there's nothing like the real world as the ultimate teacher. Many of us are fortunate enough to say "there but for the grace of God go I". Others not as fortunate.
    Last edited by blues; 04-05-2019 at 04:47 PM.
    Beware the American Taliban

  9. #9
    Site Supporter SeriousStudent's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for posting this, Wayne. I appreciate you passing it on.

    And a very large tip of the Stetson to Darryl!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeriousStudent View Post
    Thank you very much for posting this, Wayne. I appreciate you passing it on.

    And a very large tip of the Stetson to Darryl!
    I second this thanks.

    And please tell DB that we miss him around here.
    I think that Darryl has been one of the highest-quality contributors to P-F over the past several years, and I’m not even a revolver junkie.

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