Getting the Gun on Target and the Balance of Speed and Control

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

“Speed without control is slow!”

When it comes to your draw stroke or your mount (of the long gun) speed is not everything. Without the control over that speed it just turns into wasted movement and wasted time. When we look at our draw stoke and our mount the focus should not be on “speed” it should be “efficient.” It is the perfect balance of speed and control that will allow you to be as efficient as possible.

It is not about how fast your hands can move, it is about how fast your hands can move while working inside of your optimal efficiency. Without control, speed takes us outside of our optimal efficiency. With too much speed many negative things can happen.

1) We can over travel

2) We may not be working using the most optimal lines

3) We may not be where we wanted to be when we were ready to press the trigger

4) We may have to deal with the “tuning fork effect” at the end of our draw or our mount.

We have all heard the phrase “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” There are no hard rules to gun fighting! This is nothing more than a general guideline to make sure that we are starting off with our priorities and thinking straight. The priority is not about being as fast as you can, it should be about being as efficient as you can. The speed will come through efficiency, but efficiency will never come through speed.

The body mechanics should be your first priority. Nail down the body mechanics so that you are optimizing your eye/hand coordination, so that you are working the most efficient line, so that there is no disruption at the very end. You should be able to draw and fire/hit as soon as you have reached full extension. You should also be able to mount the gun and fire/hit as soon as the gun hits the shoulder pocket. If you are searching/adjusting/correcting at the very end you have not nailed down your body mechanics. The most likely reason for this is too much speed and too little control.

I was running a rifle training group yesterday. The guys in the course were all guys that have trained with me before and they all know the fundamentals and the intermediate levels of the rifle. In this training group we were stepping back to the fundamentals to perfect a few key thing such as “the eye/hand coordination mount” the body mechanics, and the perfect balance of speed and control. The guys were doing really well and improving on things that I have never seen addressed inside of a rifle course. I had one student make a small bobble at the end of his mount. I asked him to just focus on his “control.” On this particular string of fire I was right in there in his right front pocket analyzing his body mechanics. As he began his mount I was thinking “yes, slow and controlled” then I heard him break his shot at the exact same time as the guys that were working on their speed. Here I was watching a 70% speed mount being on target as quickly as the guys working a 90% speed mount. It was like he was moving in slow motion, but the hits were there at the same time as the guys working at speed.

The perfect balance of speed and control equals efficiency.

Efficiency equals how fast you really are!

How fast your hands move means nothing without the perfection of your eye/hand coordination and body mechanics.

The Grip/Trigger Concept

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

From my experience the grip/trigger continuum varies seamlessly from my long-range precision grip, to my mid range standard marksmanship grip, to my “behind in the reactionary curve” combat shooting convulsive grip, to my “OH NO!” death grip.

Each section of the continuum has its perfect grip that gives you the very best accuracy, with the very best speed on the trigger (recoil control.) That is in line with the physiological response dictated by the urgency and distance of the encounter.

What is nice is that when I have time the body knows it and gives me a marksmanship grip. When I do not have time the body knows it and gives me a combat grip…….and it is a seamless continuum that works on a sliding scale approach.

The very best way to look at the grip/trigger continuum is from the typical physiological effects of a life threatening encounter. Distance equals time….time equals urgency…..urgency equals the level of activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) of the fight or flight response.

It is the SNS that will dictate how tightly you will grip the gun and how hard and fast you will work the trigger.

What is very cool is how well these varying physiological effects work with what is the very best solution to the problem. We are talking about a very natural, instinctive, and reflexive “sliding scale” approach here.

If the urgency is very high (due to distance and time,) the more we are physiologically likely to crush the gun and work the trigger hard and fast. This in perfectly in line with the combat proven “convulsive grip” and perfectly in line with the balance of speed and accuracy that is necessary for the specifics of the encounter.

As we gain distance and time incrementally, we lose urgency incrementally. We lose the physiological desire to crush the gun and work the trigger fast and hard incrementally. We begin to shift “the balance of speed and accuracy” more towards the accuracy portion of the equation incrementally. The grip lightens and the trigger is worked with more finesse incrementally.

This is a seamless “sliding scale” approach that allows us to be the very best that we can be from one inch to two hundred yards.

And it fits perfectly into what is natural, instinctive, and reflexive.

To me the grip is all about the speed on the trigger. When we connect the “distance” to the “urgency” it is clear that the closer you are the faster you are going to want to be on the trigger. The faster you are going to want to be on the trigger, the more recoil control you are going to need.

For a precision shot at distance all I want is that “one perfect shot.” Now I may string a few of “the one perfect shot” together, but it is not about being fast and accurate. It is all about being accurate. Recoil control is low priority compared to trigger control. Relax, focus on the front sight, and prrrreeesss.

At mid range we are looking for that perfect balance of speed and accuracy. We are looking to get back on the sights as quickly as we can, as we recover from recoil. The grip tension is what gives us our quick “sighted shooting” follow through.

When behind in the reactionary curve and the activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System, the physiological response is to squeeze the gun tighter (convulsive grip) than we do on the range. This is perfect because we need excellent recoil control and the extremely quick point shooters follow through due to the higher urgency.

Way behind in the reactionary curve with extreme activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System. Death grip on the gun….working the trigger as fast as you can…..making the gun “sound like a machine gun.” The recoil control and the point shooters follow through comes out of the death grip.


By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

“This is Sparta!”

Once again, it looks as if we are off to a great start and should hit 300 members very soon.

The four founding members are very happy with how things are going. While the member numbers are simply growing at a steady rate, it is the content, the activity, and the behavior that has us absolutely thrilled! We want to thank everyone for understanding our vision and helping us keep on mission with the use of appropriate behavior inside of The Pride.

We want to look at this as a clean slate for everyone involved, including the four founding members. Whatever may have transpired between any of us in the past, is in the past. It is all about who we are in the here and now. You are welcome to move forward how you like, as long as it is done in a positive fashion. Look forward, not rearward.

I do not attempt to speak for the other three founding members, but for me 2014 is all about the building of a future for my family and myself. It is time to step up and do things as I believe they should be done. As many of you know 2014 will be a very busy year for me, but I am going to move forward in as positive fashion as possible. The building of the future may take me away from running as many courses as I usually run, that is simply the reality of opening a new chapter in your life. All I ask for is everyone’s patience as I work past the things that simply have to be done. I will get back to my normal work load as soon as some issues are resolved.

So many people have thanked the founding four for this forum. The fact is, that you all make this forum what it is. As a member of the founding four, I would like to thank all of the contributing members, because the successful start of this forum makes it perfectly clear to me that I will continue to be a successful Instructor. As I take care of the things that have to be done……..I will not have fallen off the face of the earth…….I will have not been successfully erased.

I want to make sure that you all know how much that means to me.

Thank you, Roger Phillips