Why Not Both?

(Part 2 of 2)

This is the follow up to my previous article on speed and accuracy. I discussed speed and accuracy there and here I will describe in part, how to improve on both.

Well, fast is fast and accurate is accurate!

Do you need to have the ability to be fast in a gunfight? Absolutely!

Do you need to have the ability to be accurate in a gunfight? Absolutely!

Assuming trigger control and proper grip, consider the following.

How to get faster.

Shoot to reset.  Shooting to trigger reset (that click when you release the trigger after firing your first shot) takes out some unneeded travel and time from your trigger press. Granted, some top level shooters slap at the trigger, but they also typically have hand strength and grips we do not possess, so they can get away with it.

Control recoil effectively. You need to recover from recoil quickly. When we are talking about typical semi-autos, we are not to ride out the recoil as if shooting a magnum revolver. A proper grip will help get the gun back down quickly.

Require the sights quickly. We should not be chasing the sights all around. If we can recover the recoil quickly, we can require the sights quickly and break that next shot.

Soft focus. When shooting quickly, you do not need to get that hard front sight focus. So long as you have the gun on the target, hold it still, and do not jerk the trigger you will get a good hit on target. A soft front sight focus is one of those things you learn by doing.

Good enough sight picture. Related to the soft front sight focus is breaking your shot when your sight picture is good enough. When shooting at typical combat distances for speed, so long as you have decent fundamentals, you don’t have to have a perfect sight picture. This is something I’m still learning as I will often put the gun on target, hold it there for a split second, then reposition the sights, then get a better sight picture…then break the shot. 1/10th of a second here and there adds up and slows you down.

Below are a couple of great drills to help improve speed.

2X2X2 From the holster, 2 shots, 2 targets, in 2 seconds at 20 feet. The typical target is a 3×5” card, but if you really up for a challenge, use a playing card. At the end of a recent course I took, which included a couple of great shooters and a dozen good ones, none of us passed this. In order to complete this you cannot have any issues with  your draw, presentation, or ability to switch targets quickly.

F.A.S.T (Fundamentals, Accuracy, & Speed Test) From the holster, 2 shots in a 3×5” card, reload and put 4 in an 8” circle at 21 feet. This is a great one as it basically tests everything all in one. From the holster, you have to be on the gas pedal, but then slow down enough to break your first shot clean, quickly recover the recoil, then reload quickly and bang out four quickly to the 8” circle. I recommend starting off as slow as you have to in order to shoot this clean, then speed up until you are missing and slowing back down. Top level shooters can do this in less than 4 seconds. For most of us mere mortals, below 10 seconds is pretty good.

How to get more accurate.

Got to group! If you are getting a pattern on your target and not a distinct group, then you need to work on grouping. Within 7 yards, most of your shots should be chewing out one hole in the target with some occasional hits outside of that 2-3” hole.

Dry fire. Dry fire or as some call it “dry practice” is free practice. At your house (or at the range), ensure the mag well and chamber are empty. I also do not have any ammo anywhere near me when doing dry fire. If I am distracted and have to start over in dry fire, I check the gun again. Dry firing your gun in a safe direction, can allow you to develop better trigger control. With better trigger control, so long as you have a good grip and manage recoil well, you can shoot more accurately as you are not disturbing the sights.

Hard focus. When shooting for accuracy, you do want that hard front sight focus. If you lose that focus, do not be afraid to bring the gun down to a compressed ready position then reacquiring your sight picture.

Aim small, miss small. I often place a ½” dot on my targets when shooting even at 7 or 10 yards. Am I going to keep my shots in a ½” group at 10 yards, no way, but it encourages me to focus on a distinct part of the sight. You may be surprised how your groups shrink down trying this.

The following drill is an excellent way to encourage accuracy.

Dot torture I recommend staring off shooting this drill at 3 yards. 3 yards is very close, but 2” circles are relatively small. This drill forces you to do a multitude of things you may not due during your normal range sessions such as shooting pairs, switching back and forth between targets, and shooting weak hand only. 50/50 is the goal. If you can shoot it 50/50 consistently or close to it, I recommend backing out to 4 yards, then 5. Either that or shoot faster during each dot.


If you take even a few of these tips on improving speed and accuracy, practice them, and can effectively incorporate them into your defensive shooting skills, you will be better prepared in using your pistol effectively for defense.