B5 Systems

Gunfighter Moment – Jeff Gonzales

Going fast and being accurate are not mutually exclusive. Everyone likes to think so, but they are independent skill sets.


Marksmanship fundamentals are one of the most talked about subjects, but most misunderstood. Being a marksman means you hit what you are aiming at on command. The moment speed comes into the equation many folks have difficulty because their marksmanship fundamentals are lacking. We make certain assumptions in our Concealed Carry class, assumptions based on marksmanship prerequisites. We are not there to teach them as much as apply them under concealed conditions.

The reluctant truth

What I am discovering is fundamentals are lacking more than I might like to admit. Then I’m forced to acknowledge we either do something about it or allow countless rounds to go downrange reinforcing bad habits. I choose to do something about it so in a sense we have to “lift lite to lift heavy”. What I mean is simply focusing on fundamentals from both a knowledge and application point of view. You have to have the knowledge of sight management, trigger management and follow through. These are the known and non-negotiable concepts for marksmanship. We have started to cover the fundamentals in every class in an effort to break the cycle.

It’s all in the technique

I love lifting philosophies and the one I mentioned above is a great example. The way we interpret it is you may want to lift the heavy weight, but you probably should lighten the bar and focus on your technique so you can eventually lift heavier. So how do we lighten the bar when it comes to shooting. We slow down, but slowing down is not the best way to describe the process. Instead what you need to do is perform each of the movements and actions at a speed you can execute them flawlessly. The tough part is forcing folks to go slow enough so we borrow a drill from the lifting world called a “tempo” drill.

Precise micro tasks

Nothing fancy about this, each action of firing a shot has a prescribed time limit or tempo you are to perform it within. A good example is the drawstroke, we ask the students to take 4 seconds to come from the holster to the target. Not fire the shot, not even align their sights, but move the pistol from the holster to the target. In this time period we are looking to see how precise their movements are and rather than rush them into making mistakes we give them plenty of time to do it correctly. The beauty of this drill is it eliminates the ego, it is no longer about speed. It is about how precise you can execute this micro-task; which sets you up for the correct application of the next micro task; sight management and so on.

Knowledge base

I feel too much emphasis is placed on speed and I see many students who move faster than they are able to guarantee their hits. If you move so fast you miss your shot, it really doesn’t matter. The tempo drill is harder than it sounds because you now have the opportunity to “think” your way through all the tasks and thinking requires the knowledge part. Remembering all the little details when you have the time challenges your knowledge base for sure. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are or think you are, using a tempo to execute a micro task is about the precision of your movements.

Just like in the lifting world, many students are interested in their speed or how heavy they lift. They should be more interested in the precision of their movements, in this case marksmanship fundamentals.

– Jeff Gonzales
Trident Concepts, LLC

Jeff Gonzales of Trident Concepts, LLC is a decorated and respected U.S. Navy SEAL who has worked in a variety of environments and capacities throughout the globe. He specializes in personal protection tactics and training for armed and unarmed conflicts. His motto is “Concepts that meet reality”. Jeff’s goal is not simply to train you, but to better prepare you for the worst-case scenario.

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.

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6 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Jeff Gonzales

  1. Airborne_fister says:

    As the old army saying goes “slow is smooth, smooth is fast”!!!!

    • PNWTO says:

      I find that old saying to be a crutch with which people hide their insecurities. Kyle Defoor has some great insight to this but, after a point, fast is fast. Fast isn’t smooth, it is sight tracking and trigger press, and just FAST.

      • Airborne_fister says:

        See I like to say tho once you get your FUNDAMENTALS down. Then you start to get fast. Like clearing a house. You don’t just get a block of instruction. Then you deploy and do it. No, you get your instructions. Go out practice at a stupid slow pace. Then speed up. To the point to where you are multi tasking. I.e. Throwing flashbangs, and running thru a house looking for the inevitably Ied. Getting to the point where you can be number one man or number four. But it doesn’t matter what number you are you know what every man on your team is going to be doing.

        Or let’s throw out land nav. I’m a fister. It’s my job to be exquisite at that. You throw a compass and a map of our AO at me. And I can give you our location on the map. But, I wasn’t given a compass and map. Then dropped off in the middle of BFE and told hey get back to where the “X” marked the spot. No, I was given a block of instruction, then did a practical exercise, then had to do a land nav course. Then they did the BFE thingy and said hey you have three hrs to get back to the company area. See ya soon. If you are lost and need help well use your radio to call us. Oh and wear this gps tracker thingy.

  2. Justin says:

    With respect to Mr. Gonzales, his very first paragraph “going fast and being accurate…” contradicts itself. If two variables are “mutually exclusive” they are by definition “independent”. If they are not mutually exclusive, then one affects the other. While it doesn’t appear to be his point, I agree that Speed and Accuracy are indeed NOT mutually exclusive, and he supports this in his article. “I feel too much emphasis is placed on speed and I see many students who move faster than they are able to guarantee their hits.” So, in other words, too much speed with not enough accuracy equals not good hits, or no hits. In contrast, too much of a focus (read: slow) on fundamentals with not enough speed equals we get shot. They can’t live independently. Speed and Accuracy live together on a continuum. A close target can be engaged with much more speed and less sight focus and less sight refinement than a target at 25 yards can be engaged.

    I agree with Mr. Gonzales that fundamentals are indeed imperative, and more often than not, overlooked in the search for speed. I don’t agree that they are independent of each other. And I like the tempo drill, I’ll be borrowing that.

  3. PNWTO says:

    Speed definitely hasa narcotoc effect on shooters, they get a taste, amd they wamt more, they even want to see more. I think this is why you see so many YouTube and IG “performers” blazing away at sneezing distance, but never pausing to talk about the fundies. The 7yd line has become quite masturbatory.

  4. Bill says:

    From precision driving:
    “if you are upside down and on fire, you were going too fast”
    “Brakes are there to keep you from speeding to a crash”