Concealed Carry & Home Defense

CCW Weekend: Speed Vs Accuracy

Police Store Shooting (Credit: Screenshot/LiveLeak Video

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By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

The age old debate: is it speed or accuracy that wins? Usually accuracy, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train to be fast as well.

We all know that if you ever had to use your gun in defense of yourself, you should aim for a vital area in order to end the engagement. That requires being accurate, and a determined-enough attacker may require a headshot to put them down.

However, we also know that civilian-involved shootings take place fast. Many criminals use ambush-style tactics to overwhelm their victims; you may have only a few seconds to get your gun into action.

As Bill Jordan put it, “speed’s fine, but accuracy is final…if you are given time to display it!” It’s hard to do both at the same time, even using just range gear. It takes years and thousands of repetitions to acquire both good speed and good accuracy from the holster, especially from concealment.

When it comes to us humans, the only guaranteed stop is by placing the bullet basically from the base of the neck to the forehead, and as close to the center as possible. Injury to the brain or upper spine is immediately disabling if not fatal, in almost all cases. The target area, then, is roughly the size of a grapefruit sitting on a cardboard paper towel tube. That’s not an easy target to hit, especially under stress.

Plenty of examples exist as to why accuracy is more important.

Consider the story behind the Mozambique drill; a mercenary engaged an enemy soldier at close range with a pistol, delivering two shots to the chest. When he didn’t go down (and was still armed) an aimed third shot, delivered to the neck/heck was required to stop him.

Then there’s the example of Officer Tim Gramins, who shot a suspect 14 times, including 6 hits to vital areas in the torso, and still hadn’t put him down. Gramins only ended the fight, according to American Handgunner, when he slowed down and put three shots in the suspect’s head.

But plenty of other instances exist where speed saved.


In the video, Douglas County (Colo.) Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Proux is ambushed by the suspect, who was holding a rifle. If you look at the elapsed time, Deputy Proux draws and fires in around one second. The suspect, one Deyon Marcus Rivas-Maestas, was hit in the arm and was booked into jail after surgery, according to the Denver Post. He later received 16 years in prison.

And many, many more examples exist supporting the need for both.

What becomes clear is that training regimens for shooting in self-defense really have to have both. This is why a timer is one of the best training tools you can get. While investing in a range timer isn’t cheap by most people’s standards (expect to blow about $150 for the entry-level models) the good news is you can get a timer app on your phone for nothing.

Don’t neglect the one at the expense at the other. Get better at both.

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit