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Thread: Shot timers

  1. #1

    Shot timers

    I see this trend where people are over emphasizing the use of shot timers and/or using them to judge a shooter's ability.

    Obviously there is much more to skill at arms besides how fast you can shoot.

    In a reactive fight- which is realistically what most of us will have- just the ability to shoot quick isn't as important as good movement and the ability to shoot quick. If the bad guy's gun is already out, pointed at me, finger on trigger, how good is it that I can draw and shoot fast? One could argue that the bad guy may hesitate, that your response might screw up his OODA loop, etc. But the reality played out during FOF simulations is usually just two guys "trading" bullets.

    So you have to move. And realistically once you get past a basic stage, movement should become part of almost every drill. That's not to say we move un necessarily however.

    Shot timers-

    I believe these have a place in training and practice, but a much smaller place than some of the "gamer" type shooters place on them.

    Early on, once the fundamentals are set- or once someone THINKS the fundamentals are set- a shot timer can be used to induce a little bit of "stress" into the range. This should be carefully watched and controlled by the instructor. Why? Because it's the tendency of newer people to try to do something really fast that they aren't super familiar with. It's the old "if you can't do it right do it fast" and no one will notice mindset which is incorrect. A good instructor will slow someone down when they see this happening.

    "You can't miss FAST enough."

    21 years ago now I inadvertently made up that quote. Doing some private training I had a guy just shooting fast as hell. Waaaay too fast for what he could accurately hit. Cardboard doesn't lie, it either has holes in it, or it doesn't, they aren't self healing. Talking with the guy he kept emphasizing how he had to shoot fast if he wanted to live, etc. He was a cop, had some formal tactical training, etc. I wasn't getting through to him. I finally just said "well you can't miss FAST enough." He stared at me for a minute, laughed and then got the point.

    The hits have to be there.

    The bench loving donut munching shoot one round per 5 minutes with a donut and smoke break in between crowd always love to think/portray anyone that shoots fast as automatically being inaccurate.

    Simply put- there is a great difference between combat accuracy under stress and bench rest accuracy. If I get out of the holster and fire three rounds hitting hitting stomach, chest and upper chest in 1.8 seconds and another guy takes 2.8 seconds to place three rounds in the guy's chest all within 4 inches of each other, is there really any difference between the two? Bad guy is probably done either way.

    But if I've displaced a bit while firing those three rounds and the bench accuracy dude is still on the X, he has a higher chance of getting clipped then the person that displaced.

    So shot timers have a place also for more advanced training also, wherein the sequence is: beep! Move/draw (simultaneously) fire versus just draw fire and hold the same spot. Pulling a shot timer out once every year or so in practice seasons also gives the seasoned shooter the chance to self diagnose while pushing himself a bit. Great to be able to figure the perfect shot while under no stress, taking all the time in the world and getting a clear sight picture, etc. Quite another to get a good shot under a second with some movement involved along with the draw.


    That's a single shot from draw to fire with some slight movement. Had the shot timer on random and had to trip it myself which is tricky at times.

    Single hand shots versus locking out to two offered very little variance in time- lowest was about .47 and highest was about .85

    Worked this a bit with rifles as well.

    From a 25 yard position, slung in patrol carry position. On the beep bring rifle up and fire 3 shots


    Ranged from 1.29 to 1.96 on both AK and AR.


    Accuracy was good for the speed of the shooting. I would ask, do you think the BG would have lived?

    Training with a shot timer has some value, as long as it's CONTROLLED and the fundamentals remain intact. You can shoot quick and accurately, it just doesn't happen without a lot of training and practice.

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  2. #2
    My idea of armed conflict as taught to me by a police training expert. Let the other person attempt to hit a moving target as you move to cover and draw you weapon. “Life ain’t a western street shootout”.

    DVC: Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas (Accuracy, Power, Speed; IPSC motto). Note that accuracy is first. I witnessed many fast shooters lose a match for a few strays on a target, or complete misses while trying to beat the dreaded timer. When I began competing I made the decision to get the holes in the paper first, the speed came after a lot of practice. Beating the shot timer comes with some problems. One of my club pals with very deep pockets had the greatest of IPSC Race Guns made, 9x21, mag funnel, skeletonized frame, optic, Safariland open-front holster, you get the picture. When the buzzer went off, he cleared leather, and the gun left his hand sailing down-range towards the target. No one hurt except his ego. The range officer disqualified him and told him that we weren’t playing slow-pitch softball.

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