We often stress to our students that every bullet has a price. If you are practicing, a 9mm bullet sent down range costs you about $0.30. If you are careless on the range and send an errant shot into a valuable inanimate object, that bullet just cost you a heck of a lot more. If you shoot an innocent human being, in addition to the cost of emotional trauma and guilt you will experience, how much will that cost? Someone said that every round you fire has a lawyer attached to it.
This is why many police officers and serious daily carriers of firearms dismiss competition shooting as a game. I know competition shooters that have conditioned themselves to shoot as fast as they can and they often dismiss their misses for the sake of speed. They would rather shoot a plate rack in less than three seconds with two misses than take four seconds to shoot it clean. I am not saying that competition shooting is bad. Just know that it is not real world training. Speed does not trump accuracy. Misses do not win a gunfight - and misses do not hit a safe berm in the real world.
If you own a gun for self-defense, you do not have all day to act. However, keep in mind that misses go somewhere and you are not stopping the bad person from doing bad things. When you practice, do not take your misses lightly. Correct them; get some help, or slow down (or all three). Misses are not the cost of doing business and collateral damage is unacceptable. You do need to go as fast as you can without misses. In order to discover this speed, you will miss. Terrific, now you know your operational speed. For the rest of your practice session, stay in that zone.
Self-defense shooting practice is about finding the balance of speed and precision (operational speed). This speed is always changing - it will depend on the type of threat and the distance to the threat.
Speed shooting is an important skill, but never trade speed for accuracy.
Jim Benoit's thoughts on guns, gear, & training
CAJUN ARMS & TUSCARORA TACTICAL TRAINING
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