Reaction Time

This is a discussion on Reaction Time within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; While attending some police firearms training the other day, the subject of "reaction time" came up. This was considered advanced training and supplemental to regular ...

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Thread: Reaction Time

  1. #1
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    Reaction Time

    While attending some police firearms training the other day, the subject of "reaction time" came up. This was considered advanced training and supplemental to regular dept. quals.

    We did some drills geared for that and learned some pretty valuable lessons.

    Most of us this group shoot quite a bit and several of are members of local gun clubs. Several are Instructors of various disciplines.None of the shooters in this group would be considered beginners, most would be considered pretty seasoned and all of our Police qualification scores are in upper 90 %. There were no new or marginal shooters here, it was by invitation only.

    One drill went like this...

    You walk up to a target, with duty weapon in holster. In my case, I was using a Glock 21 and a Springfield XD.(45) that I had never shot before. The Glock was in a Safariland 070 holster which is called a "triple retention holster". The Springfield was used from a leather belt slide with the shirt pulled over it, simulating drawing from a concealed position.It's made to resist a grabbing attempt and its a pretty secure holster. While I have practiced enough with the Safariland to be fairly quick on the draw, its still pretty slow by most standards.

    You draw and fire at the first heard shot, trying to hit the center of mass on the target as quickly as possible.

    What you don't know at first is that you wont just hear one shot. The Instructor shoots at a target as fast as he can until slide lock.

    You walk up to the target, and somewhere between 10-3 yards you draw and fire at the target.

    To keep one from drawing too quick and too keep an element of surprise in it, sometimes you walk right up to the target expecting to draw and you never hear the shot, because it doesn't happen.

    I though it was interesting to note that ALL of us attending thought that we were extremely slow in the reaction of the first shot. Since a Police Officer is usually behind the curve and must REACT to a violent encounter is some cases, it showed us just how slow one really is when in the reaction phase.

    It was a very enlightening experience and somewhat humbling for all of us.

    Anyone care to guess the number of shots that the Instructor could fire off before just ONE shot was fired?

    Which got me to thinking. This is a gun board and most of the members here carry concealed weapons. Do we really have any idea of how fast we could draw and fire from a concealed or open position with a retention holster when a shot is fired? We carry guns for self defense, so that pretty much puts us behind the curve if something goes down. Reaction time is much slower because you are responding to an action.

    A drill like this might be a good thing to practice. And before anyone goes off about being safe, we did this under very controlled conditions, only one shooter at a time was doing the drill to avoid any mishaps. We know that Murphy is alive and well.

    One other thing that some of us learned but some already knew. Wearing a class 3 vest while spending 4 hours on a range in the afternoon heat in which the heat index is around 107 degrees with no breeze and the sun in your face totally sucks. If you don't drink at least a gallon of water, you will regret it.
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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array TerriLi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    Anyone care to guess the number of shots that the Instructor could fire off before just ONE shot was fired?
    I figure he fired to slide lock before most could even clear their holster.
    I know not what this "overkill" means.

    Honing the knives, Cleaning the longguns, Stocking up ammo.

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    VIP Member Array rottkeeper's Avatar
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    Also you may be quicker because you are expecting to draw when you here a shot, in the field it may take longer due to being unexpected.

    I would also guess he locked the slide before anyone got a shot off.
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    Member Array NC Buckeye's Avatar
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    I would say somewhere between slide lock on a 1911 and slide lock on a Glock 17. Not that it matters but if you were the target you might not have heard the 1st shot. :(

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    I think it is important to know my limitations. I am not a LEO nor have I ever been in armed combat.

    If the scenario above were in real life, I am certain that my first reaction would be to either drop to the ground or move to cover/concealment as fast as I could, drawing my weapon as I went. I know I would not win any quick-draw contests even though I do practice regularly (usually 1 or 2 hours per week) drawing and dry-firing.

    Now I'm thinking that I may need to come up with some suprise/reaction drills.

    Thanks for the food for thought.
    "Mind own business"
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    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    I participated in a similar drill at Thunder ranch back in 1995; And yes, it was very humbling for many in the class because many of us were USPSA master-class shooters. Once we got the guns out, we were OK for the most part, but the element of surprise on the part of the bad guy stacked things against you most of the time.

    The thunder ranch drills were several, but the most basic ones were:

    You were walking down a hallway towards a target, and a paintball gun popped out from behind the target and began shooting at you at a rate of 3 rounds per second. Your task was to engage the target and score a hit to stop the paintball gun. The target area for this was a steel sensor about 4" in diameter located in center mass. Nobody hit it the first time out. Or the second.

    The next drill involved clearing several rooms, and "slicing the pie" as you did so. failure to use cover was met with a hail of paintballs aimed strategically at your exposed areas.

    There were a few other drills we did during that class, and everyone left with a whole bunch of painful welts and bruised egos. One thing Clint stressed with everybody during that class, was that the targets were not human, and not to get too down on ourselves. One of his big points with us was to be observant above all else, and watch the body language of potential threats; he said LEOs learned this skill over time and as civilians we would be well served in doing the same. Sometimes, he felt this could even the odds in such encounters and very likely save our lives.

    He certainly got my attention....
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

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    Distinguished Member Array MinistrMalic's Avatar
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    Here is my thought: I know that if I have to be reactive instead of proactive that I will be slow on the draw. I KNOW that the BG, if he has drawn down on me before I have my weapon out, will have a huge advantage that there is no way I can overcome with timing.

    What I CAN do is MOVE. Moving targets are harder to hit. I can also be deadly accurate with my return fire, but that will take more time than simply winging rounds downrange. I would prefer to hit with the first shot and get the fire headed my way to stop than miss with the first three because I didn't do what they teach every Marine in Basic: "take your time in a hurry."

    They say that Wyatt Earp was not the fastest draw in the west, but that no one wanted to take him on because it was common knowledge that he would kill you with his first shot.
    "...whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one." (Luke 22:36)
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    Senior Member Array BradyM77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MinistrMalic View Post
    I would prefer to hit with the first shot and get the fire headed my way to stop than miss with the first three because I didn't do what they teach every Marine in Basic: "take your time in a hurry."
    I like that! I'm going to use that along with "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast."
    "I didn't do it, nobody saw me do it, you can't prove anything!" Bart Simpson

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    Member Array TheHun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    Anyone care to guess the number of shots that the Instructor could fire off before just ONE shot was fired?
    With a seasoned trigger finger 0.15 splits on a 5-7 yard target are doable. (Let's face it this time represents an M class shooter, no way a gang-banger will pull out .15 splits while hitting his mark)
    Seasoned draw - first shot from concealment holster approx 1.5 sec at 7 yard.
    Doing the math this equals 10 shots before officer first shot was fired.
    Feel free to add time (more shots fired) when retention - duty holster was used, and the officer wasn't an M level shooter.
    I carry a gun cause I can't carry a cop.

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    Senior Member Array Divebum47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadRunner71 View Post
    I think it is important to know my limitations. I am not a LEO nor have I ever been in armed combat.

    If the scenario above were in real life, I am certain that my first reaction would be to either drop to the ground or move to cover/concealment as fast as I could, drawing my weapon as I went.
    I know I would not win any quick-draw contests even though I do practice regularly (usually 1 or 2 hours per week) drawing and dry-firing.

    Now I'm thinking that I may need to come up with some suprise/reaction drills.

    Thanks for the food for thought.
    You would be one in a million. I'd guess, unless you are trained and trained often, (you being used collectively) your first reaction would be to look around and see where the noise was coming from. I'm not a LEO, but have been in combat. That's why there is so much reiterative training. And the fact that the training becomes reactionary saves lives. For years after I was discharged, I would hit the dirt at loud, sudden unexpected noises. Now, I just jump and look around. I probably should train more, but I guess I've assumed the attitude that it won't happen to me. I just pray that if "it" does, I have some degree of warning, and some of the training does take over. But I'd guess that I would look and then drop. YMMV.
    "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups"

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    Member Array Japle's Avatar
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    I shot in the Steel Challenge Nationals a few months ago. They had big timers set up and it was easy to see how long the shooters were taking to get the first shot off. Keep in mind that they were using open holsters - no retention and no concealment.

    The average was around 1.2 - 1.6 seconds. The "Super Squad" pros were faster, but they do it for a living. They shoot every day.

    1.5 sec from concealment seems slow, especially when someone's shooting at you, but it's not bad.
    John
    Cape Canaveral

  13. #12
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    I frequently use a shot timer to spice up my practice and I average a double tap from the beep in 1.76 seconds. Not great, but that's the no stress average. Oh yeah, that's a Blade-Tech non retention holster too.
    ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!

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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    In a National Traffic Safety Council study they found that it took 3/4 of one second to react to a threat or unexpected stimuli.

    3/4 of 1 second is only the rest of your life in some cases. Thank you for posting this, as we are slower than we like to think sometimes, and yet at other times we are faster than we believe.

    I am of course referring to the Tueller Drill in the last statement. It only takes, on average, 1.5 seconds for an attacker to close with you from 7 Yards. If your reaction time is slow, after you've processed and recognized the threat, you only have 0.5 seconds to defend what could be the rest of your life.

    As far as how many rounds can be fired in one second, that will vary by ability of the shooter, but I have conclusive proof that I can shoot a target six times at 5 Yards, from the "low ready", in one second with all my hits being in the "black", if not the A Zone.

    Thanks again for this, as you have provided much food for thought. Some may not be ready for this full meal however and are still snacking before dinner.

    Take care and stay safe,

    Biker
    Last edited by BikerRN; June 24th, 2009 at 03:50 AM. Reason: typo

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    Member Array TheHun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Japle View Post
    1.5 sec from concealment seems slow,
    Hands at sides, NOT creeping towards the gun, gun concealed,
    1.5 sec A zone hit at 7 yard is actually definitely fast, as long as we talking about bringing the gun to eye level, and not firing from the waist-speed rock whatever it is called.
    I carry a gun cause I can't carry a cop.

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    Senior Member Array highoctane's Avatar
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    Good post. Makes one think. Practice drawing alot. Practice SA more. How many shots can a person get off before you react? In the real world one may be to many.

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