The secret to shooting pistols faster (VIDEO)

Recently, I took my older kids to the range.  Before going I made sure they could recite safety rules by rote.  Of course, I’ve drilled safety into them since they first held squirt guns (because that’s where it needs to start).  Suffice it to say they know to keep their fingers off the trigger until they’re ready to shoot and to not point at anyone or anything they’re not willing to kill (squirt guns aside).

My son’s a good shot with a pistol and he’s safe, so I figured I’d push him a little.  I told him I wanted him to try shooting two rounds quickly.  “Not a double tap,” I said, “but a controlled pair.”

A double tap means one sight picture and two shots.  I figured if my son could shoot accurately in controlled pairs, he could eventually work his way up to double taps… but I also knew not for a while.  For now, I wanted him to focus on accuracy.  After all, accuracy is more important than speed.  Speed will come once you’re accurate.

Here’s how I explained it: “I want you to shoot two rounds quickly, but accurately” and emphasized the word accurately.

We were shooting at about 5 yards, and he was using my Gen 4, Glock 19 (9mm).  I pasted a tiny colored dot in the middle of the half-sized silhouette target.  The dot was about the size of the quarter and it gave him a good aiming reference.

I continued, “You might not come too close to hitting the dot, and that’s okay.  Don’t line up your sights perfectly either.  As long as you can see the front sight post bouncing around inside the rear sight, you’ll be good.”  This is known as a flash sight picture, I explained to him.

After he shot a few controlled pairs, I told him to shoot three rounds as quickly and as accurately as he could, then four rounds, then five, and so on.

Frankly, I was a little surprised at how well he did.  He shot at a steady pace and had a nice rhythm going, which can be helpful when shooting multiple shots.  All the rounds he fired (about three magazine’s worth) fit into a softball-sized hole in the target.  Admittedly, I was having a proud dad moment.

As I assessed his target and watched him shoot, I also realized why he was doing so well.  Yes, he was familiar with trigger concentration and he knew how to line up his front sight post, but more than anything, he got the two most important things right—and I didn’t even have to remind him. He had a great, thumbs forward grip and an aggressive stance.

The greatest concern when shooting multiple rounds quickly is the handgun riding up farther with each shot, sending rounds higher and higher.  The proper way to combat this is by creating and maintaining a firm base that can manage the recoil, that is, using a strong grip and stance.  My son practiced these and it allowed him to get his sights back on target quickly and follow-up with faster shots.

He’s just a kid and despite what some may think we don’t hang out at the range all the time. I told him that he shot better that day than a lot of adults I’ve seen trying that drill.  He did, and the reason he did is because he knew its secret.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of

Safety warning: Jeffrey Denning is a long time professional in the art of self-defense and any training methods or information he describes in his articles are intended to be put into practice only by serious shooters with proper training.  Please read, but do not attempt anything posted here without first seeking out proper training.

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