Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Defensive Accuracy

By Dave Dargo

Yesterday I posted about novice shooters and how they often do very well in class because they lack any history of bad shooting habits. I also included a photo of the qualification target of one such shooter showing excellent marksmanship skills. My comment regarding the target is that I would, and did, ask this shooter to shoot faster.

In our first shooting exercises with any of our students, and with all of our NRA classes, we use paper plates as targets. A nine-inch paper plate serves as an excellent target for practicing defensive accuracy.

Many students become target-obsessed and attempt to hit the "X" ring with each and every shot. The qualification target shown here shows a student who did this very well and if the contest were to hit the "X" ring she would have won hands-down.

However, when shooting for defensive purposes we are seeking a balance between speed and accuracy. I previously wrote that you can't miss fast enough to stop an attack. You also can't dally waiting to get that perfect shot. What you need is a balance of speed and accuracy that gives defensive accuracy.

That nine-inch paper plate is what you should think of as your "X" ring when shooting for defensive purposes.

Students who are able to safely and consistently draw from the holster and deliver a shot near the center of that paper plate will be encouraged to speed up a little bit. When students start placing two shots on that paper plate that are only an inch apart they will be encouraged to speed up a lot. We are looking for a grouping where two shots delivered to that paper plate take up about as much space as a fully spread hand. Start to get groupings larger than that spread hand and we'll ask you to slow down a little or, more likely, work on trigger control and sight picture. Start getting those groupings back to quarter-size and we'll push you to go a little faster.

Defensive accuracy is about being able to reliably deliver a shot that will stop an attack in as little time as possible. The best way to improve both accuracy and timing is through practice, even just dry firing, in order to smooth out the draw-stroke and improve the trigger press.

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