Shouldn’t we be very accuracy oriented in our defensive training? Accuracy is extremely important to us in a critical life threatening situation. It is one of the determining factors in a gun fight. Accuracy is a determining factor when facing a charging attacker armed with an edged weapon. Have you ever shot at a moving target with a handgun? Have you ever shot at a charging target with a handgun? Our ability to effectively hit a threat in the most affective areas of the body that produce the highest rate if incapacitation is important to our survival and stopping the bad guy. No matter how fast you press that trigger if you are not placing hits on the bad guy your rounds are not affective. You can never miss fast enough to stop the bad guy! Psychological stops of the bad guy are not reliable enough when it’s life and death.
Quote,” Speed is fine but accuracy is final.” I have heard this many times over the years from several sources. The quote holds quite true in the world of defensive firearms. It also applies strongly to law enforcement.
Here is a post I copied that was put out by Larry Vickers, Ex-Delta Force and Elite Trainer. Also someone I have trained with many times and recommend him to anyone wanting training. LAV is among the best.
I get asked on a regular basis what acceptable accuracy is in a handgun or carbine. My experience has taught me the answer to this is simple; whatever accuracy is required to engage a threat target with a headshot at your effective range. However before we go any farther always remember the Vickers Rule of Gunfight Accuracy; under conditions of stress the best a shooter can hope to achieve is 50% of the inherent accuracy of the weapon/ammo he is shooting at that time.
What this means is your weapon-ammo needs to shoot a group ( 5 shots min – 10 is better) of 2.5 inches or less at your effective range. This equates to a 5 inch group under stress ( at best) which is a head shot. What is effective range ? For the average shooter its 15 yds with a pistol and 50 yds with a carbine ( AR style). A skilled shooter is typically 25yds with a pistol and 100 yds with a carbine. I’ve been shooting and teaching for awhile now and this Approach has stood the test of time. Hope this helps.
If you have taken one of our classes at T-M Firearms Training you have heard something quite similar. For acceptable accuracy I want accuracy that places multiple rounds, as fast as we can and stay in the 8-10 inch circle of high center chest and single shots within the ocular cavity of the head regardless of distance. If you are shooting fast and are outside of those parameters slow down and get the hits. Speed and accuracy will increase in time if you continue to push your personal limits and do your part. In time your group size should decrease and your speed will increase. We all have the hidden ability to hit quickly with great accuracy within us. It takes training and practice to bring it to the surface. I believe that in practice you should be able to dump a full magazine into the high center chest region as fast as you can (that’s as fast as physically possible for you) and still maintain a 2.5 inch group at 5yards (15ft) which is just outside the distance where most gunfights occur. Your effective range is affected by your personal skill level and ability to get the desired accuracy at distance. Effective range in time may only be limited by the weapons and caliber of choice. While this 2.5 inch group at 5 yards (15ft) is beyond what I feel is acceptable it is certainly achievable.
When looking at the studies of Law Enforcement involved gun fights we see this play out in real life. The more experienced and better trained officers deliver better hit factors than the less experienced and officers with less training. The most highly skilled and well trained officer will and can exceed a 50% hit rate and greatly extend their effective range with both handgun and carbine under stress. With proper training and practice effective ranges can be doubled for both handgun and carbine. Add high quality ammunition and the same results can be achieved with the shotgun. This also applies to the private citizen who carries a defensive weapon. While we can not give everyone real world experiences, only limited number of people have them, we can make up for some of this through realistic contextual training.
In some resent studies, done by the Force Science Institute, the FBI, and others, it has been found that some law enforcement departments across the country and Private Citizens have made substantial gains in increasing the hit rate when shooting under stress of a life threatening incident. In these resent studies hit rates have gone from low percentages down in the teens to as high a the nineties. The results are not across the board though. This is a direct result of frequent formal training and experience. The training is beyond the standardized qualification course for Law Enforcement Officers and beyond basic Carry Classes for the private citizens. In the training area, which we have more control than that of the experience area, the training is scenario based, force on force and as realistic as possible. The more training you receive the better prepared you are and the more efficient and effective you will be under stress. For law enforcement training must go beyond the standardized qualification course of fire. These standardized qualification courses create training scars that often resurface during a gun fight. The worst possible time! For you LEO’s out there this means you might have to reach into your own pocket and budget for training depending on the departments outlook on training. For the private citizen it means you are going to have to set aside budget and seek out training beyond basic concealed carry classes which are often woefully inadequate just as the standardized law enforcement qualification courses.
Our level of experience and training has a lot to do with how we perform under stress. We, just like professional athletes, professional employees, and competitors, must train regularly and often to be at the top of our game. The difference here can be life or death. Training and experience will determine our effectiveness and performance under stress in a life threatening situation. Training is essential to accuracy under stress!