Move fast, shoot slow

Getting something done in less time doesn’t just mean “go faster” – many times it’s about efficiency and economy. Or simply, not wasting time.

A common thing I see in classes is where the students are to do something like: from 3 yards, draw and fire 3 shots in 3 seconds. The buzzer sounds. There’s a pause. Then there’s a mosey to the holster. The gun comes out. Then the student realizes “oh no! I’m almost out of time” and then it’s pedal to the floor and 3 blazing shots, some or all of them unacceptable hits.

What we have here is moving slow and shooting fast, and not being economical with time. That’s not desirable. Whether you’re shooting for competition or self-defense, you want and need to get fast, acceptable hits. What can we do to improve?

First, don’t waste time.

We often say to our students to start moving when you hear the “B” in “Beep” of the timer. The moment it’s go-time, GO! Any time not moving, that’s precious time spent and wasted.

Then when you go… GO! Move move move as fast as you can. Get your hand on that gun and get the gun out of the holster and onto the target quickly. There’s nothing gained by moving slowly here, although you should not move any faster than you can move well (e.g. going too fast, flubbing the draw, etc. is not a recipe for success). And note, this holds always. We know we can shoot faster at 3 yards and we know we need to shoot slower at 25 yards; but the draw? That should be just as fast at either because the drawing has little to do with the shooting – and the less time you spend moving, the more time you have left over for shooting!

As a side note, when you do these “fast” movements, work to be efficient, only doing what you need to do. There’s no need to squat when you draw. There’s no need to bring the head down – just move the arms and bring the gun up to the eye-target line. Working to eliminate any and all unecessary movement and motion may not physically speed things up, but it will cut down on time, energy, and effort spent in ways that will not make you shoot better. These microseconds add up.

Then when it’s time to shoot? Instead of pushing the pedal to the floorboard and going physically faster, likely you need to actually let up a little bit and slow down (tho “slow down” is relative; I may not slow down much, if at all, for a 3 yard shot at an 8″ circle, but I will slow down more for a 3 yard shot on a 2″ dot or a 25 yard shot on an 8″ circle). You need to acquire a proper sight picture. You need to press the trigger without yanking it (and then moving sights off target). Again, don’t shoot any faster than you can actually operate at, to ensure acceptable hits. How fast YOU go vs. how fast I go vs. how fast Jerry Miculek goes, they will vary but we all have the same goal of going as fast as we can while still getting acceptable hits. When you’ve moved faster and more efficiently from the start, you have more time left over to shoot and shoot well.

“Going faster” doesn’t necessarily mean “going faster”. It’s about using your time wisely, efficiently, and knowing that sometimes slowing down gets you there sooner.

I’ve written on this topic a number of times. Take a read for further insights:


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