All shooting is a balance between speed and precision.
Sometimes you need to be more precise, sometimes you need to be faster. Using this concept, most defensive shooting can be described in the following way: You need to get the hit that you need to get as quickly as you can get it. This statement can be summed up in one word: Efficiency. Efficiency includes effectiveness.
In the Combat Focus ™ Shooting program, we explain it this way:
The target determines the need for precision. The size of the target and the conditions under which it presents itself (movement, bystanders, distance, etc.) are what determines your need for precision. You can always make the shot harder—trying to hit a button on a shirt, for example, rather than accepting any hit in the high center chest—but that works against the goal of maximum efficiency. The target and its circumstances are what determine the true need for precision.
It is your application of skill, with your given weapon under those given circumstances that will ultimately determine whether or not you actually get the hit you need to get. The concept should be pretty straightforward, particularly if you understand that we are not just talking about your shooting ability, but also about your ability to judge what is going on around you. Specifically, you may possess the skill to mechanically make the shot you need to make, but the ability to apply that level of skill at the time you need it is vital, which is why we stress training realistically.
Your confidence, or comfort, if you will, in taking the shot at all determines when the shot is taken. The less comfortable you are with the shot, the more time, effort and energy you would put into the shot. We express that effort as “deviation control”. Would you pull the trigger on a gun during a critical incident if you didn’t believe that you were going to be able to affect your target’s ability to hurt you or someone else? The easy and right answer is “no”. Of course there is a big exception to this rule. If you are shooting out of fear, you may be pulling the trigger as fast as you can and hoping for the best. In fact, we know this has happened many times during actual critical incidents.
You may be thinking, “So what? Isn’t this article going to tell me when I should use my sights?” No, I’m afraid it isn’t. The question “At what distance should I use my sights?” is right up there with “What gun should I carry?” as one of the least answerable questions ever asked by a student. These are questions that you have to answer. Certainly an instructor can help guide you, as this article is trying to do, but ultimately, your individual ability and confidence are going to determine when you should use your sights to achieve the level of precision that you need for any given shot. I’m sure that you can imagine scenarios where you would definitely chose to use your sights to achieve a hit and those where you would not need them-only through realistic training can you test those theories.
Through realistic practical training, you will learn more about your ability under the circumstances that you are likely to find during a dynamic critical incident. Furthermore, the more realistic your training, the more likely it is to help you recognize the circumstances of a dynamic critical incident and respond more efficiently. Lastly, this type of training can also help you work with the body’s natural reactions to fear and shock and allow you to overcome the possibility of simply shooting out of fear.
The better you understand your personal balance between speed and precision, the more accurate the correlation between your belief in your ability in a dynamic critical incident and your actual ability will be, and the more efficiently you’ll be able to deal with a lethal threat. Rather than setting yourself for one type of shooting solution, vary your training so that you understand how much deviation control you need in a variety of plausible circumstances.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Pincus is a professional trainer, author and consultant, and is the founder of I.C.E. Training Company. Coach Pincus is S.P.E.A.R. System and Personal Defense Readiness (PDR) Certified. The Combat Focus Shooting (CFS) Program is an intuitive shooting program that is designed to wrok efficiently with the body’s natural reactions during a dynamic critical incident. This approach makes CFS Skills easy to learn and maintain for students of all backgrounds, military, law enforcement or self-defense. Unlike many traditional programs, CFS does not take a purely mechanical approach to shooting training in isolation from the context in which the skill must be used. CFS is not simply “point shooting,” it is a training methodology that leads to more efficient defensive shooting skill.
Reach Rob Pincus at: [email protected].