CAN YOU BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR YOUR SPEED?
A continuing and dangerous trend throughout much of the shooting sports and self-defense communities is raw shooting speed. The skill of shooting fast can be important, but possessing the ability to think tactically and logically is often more important in a defense shooting scenario.
As we often say in our classes at Cajun Arms, “Every bullet that leaves your gun has a lawyer riding on it.” As a complete practitioner of the pistol, you need to be able to explain your actions that occurred during a defensive shooting or have a good lawyer available to do it for you. (US Law Shield). If you shot fast, it had better have been accurate too. The number of shots you fired will also need explanation.
The trend today seems to focus on speed with many instructors. Sloppy draws, presentation, grip, etc. are often overlooked and not viewed as critical as long as the student is “fast.” At Cajun Arms, we emphasize the balance between speed and precision. You are accountable for every bullet that leaves your gun. Being in a gunfight is very different from training. You will experience brain warp due to your body’s reaction to the tremendous stress it's under. You will have distorted vision and tunnel vision, your perception of actual events will skew, and your sense of time and space will be garbled. Many more physical and mental problems may occur. Speaking theoretically, this makes the “closer, faster shooting” methodology problematic. That methodology promotes shooting a gun that is faster than our little brains can process information.
About 15 years ago, most instructors kept a balance between speed and accuracy. They often taught from 7 to 10 yards away from the target and shot at a two-shot per second cadence. Coincidentally, that is about the same amount of time our brains can process information. The logic was, if you could shoot at that pace and hit bullseyes, you would have no problem doing it at closer ranges. About 13 years ago, some “cool tough guys” started teaching at distances of 3 yards, with multiple targets at a faster pace. The priorities became skewed. We maintain balance at Cajun Arms. We train our students to stay within themselves.
If you are training yourself to get trigger presses at .08 of a second, you are setting yourself up for legal and ethical trouble if you need to use your pistol in a self-defense situation. You cannot process information that fast and make a proper assessment of a situation. If you send 7 shots at a human in 0.56 seconds, did you assess the condition of the person you shot after the first or second shot? I think you’ll have trouble proving that in court.
Train for variety. It’s just not speed. Take classes that emphasize a variety of techniques like we offer at Cajun Arms. Keep your class certificates. Take some classes that emphasize responsibility and accountability, including de-escalation techniques. Lastly, get yourself some insurance such as US Law Shield that covers justified self-defense incidents! Ignorance is not a legal defense.