One of the most useful things I learned from shooting USPSA and competing on the same range with the best shooters in the world is what I call “the pool of time concept”. It is nothing new but it had never been explained to me but now that I figured it out it has been a staple in all my shooting lecture at classes. To make it short and sweet here’s the Cliff Notes:
Every action you take has a pool of time associated with it. When you are trying to shoot faster but feel like you are at the limits of your physical ability then examine how you are spending your time. Start with the largest pool of time and see if you can get some back by refining and making more efficient that particular action. For me in USPSA I found I was shooting fast and accurate enough but my movement and set-up were costing me 2-4 seconds every time against other shooters. In a match those 2-8 seconds even on the shorter courses of fire which is an eternity and the difference between 2nd and 22nd sometimes. I took out that specific component and began to practice rapid exit from a shooting position and rapid entry into and set-up/shot in another position. I found that in the next few matches I was doing substantially better even though I shot no differently as it related to speed and accuracy. I had refined a particular component skill and taken some time back from that particular pool of time but never moved my physical body any faster.
Above is just an example of a component skill and the pool of time concept. The key is to start with the largest pool of time available and work your way down to the smallest. Final hint, there is no real time to be had with substantial benefit in trigger press. If you shoot .25sec split times for shots and I shoot .15, that is 60% faster. I am shooting at the fringes of control and will be losing points and gaining penalties and you will be shooting great scores without penalties. The big take away in this example is that a course of fire with 10 targets will only give me an advantage of 1 second! So I am shooting 60% faster in splits on the target and losing points and I only gain 1 second. There is no usable time in the trigger overall so before you try and shoot faster, work on doing everything else faster. There is no difference in this from sport to combative shooting; it’s the hits at speed not just speed that wins the fight.
Go to each pool of time starting with the biggest and then work your way down to the smallest taking a little back from each pool while leaving the trigger press consistent. If you do that you will be far more efficient which is where speed comes from and you will shoot faster without physically moving faster.
– Mike Pannone
Mike Pannone retired from the Army’s premier assault force (1st SFOD-D) after an explosive breaching injury. A year after his retirement America was attacked on 9/11 and he returned to help serve his country as the head marksmanship instructor at the Federal Air Marshals training course and then moved to help stand up the FAMS Seattle field office. In 2003 he left the FAMS to serve as a PSD detail member and then a detail leader for the State Department during 2003 and 2004 in Baghdad and Tikrit.
In 2005 he served as a ground combat advisor of the Joint Counter IED Task Force and participated on combat operations with various units in Al Anbar province. Upon returning he gave IED awareness briefings to departing units and helped stand up a pre-Iraq surge rifle course with the Asymmetric Warfare Group as a lead instructor. With that experience as well as a career of special operations service in Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces and JSOC to draw from he moved to the private sector teaching planning, leadership, marksmanship and tactics as well as authoring and co-authoring several books such as The M4 Handbook, AK Handbook and Tactical Pistol shooting. Mike also consults for several major rifle and accessory manufacturers to help them field the best possible equipment to the warfighter, law enforcement officer and upstanding civilian end user. He is considered a subject matter expert on the AR based Stoner platform in all its derivatives.
Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.