We all want to go fast. Whether we are driving a car, running, or shooting, we can’t help but try to go fast. And shooting is no different than anything else, if we push too hard we’re going to crash and burn. Most of us are guilty of what I call “The Fast Folly.” In a nutshell, we go too fast too soon. I’ll give you an example: You switch guns from your Glock 17 to CZ P-09. You figure, no big deal they are both in 9 and full size guns. You get about 200 rounds into the gun and then it happens. “I should totally be able to hit the same speeds as I did with my 17.” WRONG! I know very few great shooters, let alone the average/above average shooters, that can make a major gun/caliber switch and shoot both equally as well with no practice. Something is always taking a back seat to something else. If you are focused on precision, your speed suffers. If you focus on speed, precision suffers. I am not of the belief that one can practice both speed and precision at the same time. I can maintain my level of precision while working on speed, but I cannot improve it.
So where does “the Folly” come in. Generally, we all run too fast too soon. We feel we have obtained an acceptable level of precision, so it’s time to push the speed. Next thing we know, we’re dropping 70% of our shots outside of the A-Zone (or 8” circle). Then, we really mess ourselves up: we start making excuses for it. Things like “well, its combat accurate” or “well, it’s still a good hit factor.” In some cases, you may be right, but I prefer to err on the side of precision. The Folly always seems to plague me when it comes to reloads, especially coming off of an easy to reload double stack gun like a Glock or 2011 onto a single stack. My hands can move faster than I can accurately perform the technique. This is where I start to see dropped magazines, missed mag wells, and overall bumbled reloads. I recently switched back to my 1911 in .45 ACP from my 2011 in 9mm. Day one of dry fire, “the Folly” bit me hard. As my buddy Frank Proctor has said, “You went all Ricky Bobby on it!” Truly, I did. I did maybe 20 slow and deliberate reloads, and then pulled out the timer and set the PAR for my average (after weeks of practice average) reload speed. Instant crash and burn. It was a glorious failure. I reset the PAR to a speed I knew I could guarantee a solid reload, and restarted from there.
Some right now may be thinking “Got it, go slow to guarantee the hit/reload.” That’s not what I’m saying. We NEED to go fast, but we have to put in the time to get there. I don’t believe you can master a technique in 10 minutes. You won’t be doing 1.5 second reloads after 10 minutes of deliberate practice. It takes work to get fast. Generally speaking, that work is deliberate and methodical, not simply “go fast.” (Sometimes it is, but not in this case.) Ease into it, it will save you heartache when timing really counts.