I grew up on cowboy shows in the 60’s and of course believed all the Hollywood hype about gunfighters. You wanted to be the fastest gun in the west. That was how you won gunfights. As grew up I realized that Wyatt Earp was right about speed vs. accuracy, and decided I wanted to be fast enough, but place my shots with absolute accuracy.
Gabe Suarez has a few words for us on speed. Let’s pay attention.
THE OBSESSION WITH SPEEDTime for a perspective check. Every so often, the temptation returns to us all. It could be the video we saw on social media with the “youtube hero” doing something really fast. It could be the competitive shooter running a stage. But the bug nibbles on your earlobe.
I have my opinions on this. I have read all the old time killers.And understand…all of this is in fact about killing, and only coincidentally about hitting a steel or perforating a cardboard. Killing an armed and threatening adversary is the point of the exercise and regardless of all the flash and fanfare of the day, we should not forget that.
Charles Askins was the quintessential killer. I read everything about him. I think we would have been the best of friends actually. I have also read Bill Jordan. He is reported to have done some killing but nothing of record that I can find. And Bryce…he was quite the killer.
What all the killers shared was not speed. Oh gasp…was that another cow on his way to the fire?
What the killers shared was not IDPA-like speed.
It was a combination of a deliberate decision to kill that man standing there in front of them, and the timing of their action in relation to events. Often while that other man was still saying “Good morning copper” (as they debated whether to draw or not), the heroes in the story…the Bryces…the Askins, and the Jordans, were already drawing with a resolute mind to kill them.
To put it in perspective for the gun-game-centric readers, imagine the referee saying, “Shooter Ready…Stand…By” and at the “stand”…before the “by”, you kick off the action and kill all the targets, violating three or four procedural rules in the process. I laugh at the mere thought. Why…it would be unfair wouldn’t it. All the other bullet-golfers would protest. And its true -it would in fact be against the rules. But that my friends is what killing is really like. It is about breaking the rules, but doing it in a controlled and deliberate manner.
Fair fights and rules are for the movies.
I have done my share of shooting and killing criminal back in the day. The record speaks for itself. As much as was dependent on me, I always took every justifiable advantage. If I could shoot them in the back when they were reloading, I did. If I could shoot them before they ever saw me, I did. I never warned them, nor gave them a shot at me. I was not John Wayne, The Lone Ranger, nor Chuck Norris…nor did I ever want to be.
So here is a secret.
While speed is of some value…it is never only nor always about speed.
It is about distraction and seizing the moment when the adversary is not focused on you directly.
It is about timing your actions. If your timing is correct even a perceptibly slow draw will be impossible for him to react to.
It is about positioning and maneuver before and during the action.
And specially, it is about being deliberate in your actions. Deliberate does not mean slow. It is a resolute decision to act being carried out in a direct and effective manner. It may seem fast to the eye, but the sense of it internally is different than what the common conception is of being fast.
Killing is easy. Once you can kill the bad guy in your heart and mind…deliberately. The physical action is easy.
As Musashi would say, think on these matters deeply.