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Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Lou Salseda

Lou Salseda

Lou Salseda is a retired LAPD sergeant with 34 years of law enforcement experience. He is the chief instructor of TAC-1 Defensive Firearms Training in Santa Clarita, Calif., and is a consultant for law enforcement training and litigation.

Nick Jacobellis

Nick Jacobellis

Nick Jacobellis is a medically retired U.S. Customs Agent and former New York police officer who was physically disabled in the line of duty while working undercover as a federal agent.

Maintaining Accuracy With Rapid Fire

It may be necessary to deliver precise shot placement to safely end a hostage situation or to engage multiple violators in a Close Quarter Battle situation.

November 05, 2010  |  by Nick Jacobellis - Also by this author

Do you know how fast you can shoot and still be accurate?

I decided to determine my "accurate rate of fast or rapid fire" after two of my closest shooting buddies, including one who trains military special operations personnel, noticed that whenever I field-tested Glock pistols, 1911s or Smith & Wesson K- and L-frame revolvers, I tended to shoot much tighter groups than when I shot some of my favorite DA/SA pistols. 

Before I go any further, let me say for the record that this discussion has nothing to do with your ability to qualify with a perfect score with a particular firearm. I mention this because I don't want to give you the wrong impression and make it sound as if my DA/SA or DAK (Double Action Kellerman) SIG pistols are not accurate firearms.

To prove this point, allow me to mention that I recently qualified on a 50-round law enforcement certified course of fire and achieved a 250 out of 250 point score with my DA/SA SIG P220 compact .45, a 250 out of 250 with a DA/SA SIG P239 9mm and a 245 out of 250 with my DA/SA SIG P229 in .40 S&W. Clearly, these numbers prove I'm a very good shot with various DA/SA SIG pistols.

When you qualify with firearms on any law enforcement course of fire, you can easily achieve a perfect score or a close-to-perfect score without delivering one large 50-round cluster or super tight group of bullets fired in the direct center of the chest area of the target.

The average law enforcement officer isn't tested or required to determine their ability to deliver precision shot placement, especially when you consider that the scoring area of a TQ19 Police Firearms Qualification target has an official scoring area that is roughly 11 inches wide by 16 inches high not counting the head. 

The reason it's important to know your accurate rate of rapid or fast fire is because there may come a time when it may be necessary to deliver precise shot placement to safely end a hostage situation or to engage multiple violators in a Close Quarter Battle situation. Remember, it's to your advantage to stop all threats from continuing to be a threat with the least number of bullets fired when it is possible to do so because you're accountable for every round fired in any authorized use of deadly force.

It is also important to be skilled enough to use the least number of bullets possible to end any authorized use of deadly force situation to prevent the need for a combat reload in the presence of one or more adversaries. No matter how fast you can reload your firearm under stress, you risk exposure to attack and being overpowered, if you're alone and don't have suitable cover to hide behind when you execute a combat reload.

This is one reason it pays to carry a backup gun. Likewise, if your adversary is behind good cover, or is wearing body armor, you may have to "place your shots" in certain parts of your opponent's body, which is more likely to happen if you're a more proficient shooter.

After a great deal of experimentation, I have found that certain handguns with certain trigger systems tend to be easier to shoot with more precision than other makes and models. In my case, I can shoot faster and still deliver excellent connect-the-dots shot placement, when I shoot certain Glocks, certain SIGs, any well-made all-steel 1911 in 9mm or .45 ACP and various Smith & Wesson K- and L-frame revolvers such as my six-shot stainless steel .38 Special/.357 Magnum Model 686 with a four-inch barrel.

If you wish to train to improve your accurate rate of rapid or fast fire, you can practice different types of shooting drills that will enable you to hone your accuracy and rate of fire or speed with a patrol rifle and a handgun. You can begin by shooting slowly and working your way up to a faster pace, as long as you continue to deliver accurate shot placement. Or you can begin by shooting as quickly as you can pull the trigger, then back off until you find the right tempo that allows you to be a precision shooter. 

Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

Morning Eagle @ 11/9/2010 12:08 AM

Listen up boys and girls! This article is loaded with good, solid advice and tips for training yourself and/or others. In to today's world of increasingly violent gangs, training to face mulitple attackers is ever more important. Visualization is priceless self-training. As Nick says, when you think you are getting pretty good, practice some more.

Jim Carlisle @ 6/12/2016 6:07 PM

When i go to my camp i shoot very well rapid fire, i shoot the exact course i am required to shoot each six months to qualify i shoot 240 to 250, perfect 250 at camp but when i shoot to qualify i shoot 210 to 220. Just don't know why but this has happened the last three times i qualified.

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