Pray and Spray

This is a discussion on Pray and Spray within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I was at the range the other day, and I have decided that I need to work on the speed and accuracy of my follow-up ...

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  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array BigStick's Avatar
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    Pray and Spray

    I was at the range the other day, and I have decided that I need to work on the speed and accuracy of my follow-up shots. So I am admittedly not hitting the bull's eye with every shot, that was not the goal. I was going for speed and on target.

    One of the range officers comes over, looks at my target and assumes that I am just blowing off ammo for fun. He gives me this friendly, but condescending look and says "Pray and spray huh?"

    I let it go and did not feel the need to explain or justify my training methods to some random guy at the range, even if he was the RO. I shoot a few more mags, still trying to get as quick of a follow-up shot as possible while still being on target. He comes by at least 2 more times, shakes his head and says the same thing, as if I am just some guy who saw a guy in a movie do that, and didn't know any better than to just point and pull the trigger.

    I don't really care what he thinks, but it was getting really annoying being judged for trying to get better at a skill that I know I need work on. Have any of you had similar experiences, or ideas on some good one liners to toss out if this happens again?
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  3. #2
    Member Array ZacMan1987's Avatar
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    I would ask him to clarify his intentions by approaching you.

    Many ranges have a policy of 1 shot per second or thereabouts.

    If his intention was to enforce such a policy, then he should be very clear.

    If he was simply being condescending, then report him to a manager.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigStick View Post
    I don't really care what he thinks, but it was getting really annoying being judged for trying to get better at a skill that I know I need work on. Have any of you had similar experiences, or ideas on some good one liners to toss out if this happens again?
    I hear you, on the discomfort. Public skill issues can be uncomfortable, at times. BTDT, and still am.

    In the few instances in which a "known" quantity made some helpful comments, I have often taken the opportunity to ask for further suggestions on training. Like you, I'm nobody's laser-pointer when it comes to aim, and I'm working on improvements where I see the need. I'm all for qualified individuals who see the need who can also offer constructive criticisms. Doesn't always make me feel good, and it isn't always comfortable, nor am I always amenable, but it can often be worthwhile.
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    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
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    Distinguished Member Array Bill MO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigStick View Post
    I was at the range the other day, and I have decided that I need to work on the speed and accuracy of my follow-up shots. So I am admittedly not hitting the bull's eye with every shot, that was not the goal. I was going for speed and on target.
    My question would be what do you call "on target"? What size grouping where you getting? If you are keeping your hits on a dinner plate or on a sheet of paper then I say you are getting combat accuracy. If not you may need to slow down and get your hits under control, then bring the speed up as you improve your accuracy. Push speed but don't over push the speed.

    Myself when I shoot for speed my grouping opens up in height more than width. My grouping is 4-6" wide and up to 10-12" high (most of my hits are inside the 8" grouping even in height). I feel that to be alright as I'm keeping the hits on the center line of COM. My recovery is not coming down to POA before my next trigger pull. So I may be aiming COM and getting some head shot hits but I see them as all being hits that would hurt like HE**.

    As to the ranger officer, only you know what you are trying to train for, if not against range rules then don't let him or anyone else get under your skin. (Since he is the power player on the range don't know that it would be good to try zinging him with any cute words or one liners) Just know in your heart you are training the right way for you. There is a BIG differences in target shooting and shooting to defend yourself in a SHTF situation. I think you need to train and practice both ways but self defense being the most important as most situations will be fast and short lived. If you are going to be the one going home you will have to be able to get the job done fast and violently.

    Just some of my thoughts
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill MO View Post
    My question would be what do you call "on target"? What size grouping where you getting? If you are keeping your hits on a dinner plate or on a sheet of paper then I say you are getting combat accuracy. If not you may need to slow down and get your hits under control, then bring the speed up as you improve your accuracy. Push speed but don't over push the speed.
    Yup. That regimen worked for me.

    I'm nobody's expert, but ...

    My learning of decent "combat" accuracy was with a Browning BDM 9mm, back when they first came out. Fired nearly 40K rds over several years. My initial goal was paper-plate accuracy at 7-10yds during rapid-fire, with either hand or both hands. (Not to say, spray-and-pray.) I was able to ultimately achieve a repeatable accuracy of fist-sized spreads, with most multi-shot combinations, with rare-to-no instances of off-target (plate) hits.

    I found that ratcheting down the speed a bit made a HUGE reduction in average spreads. Was still quick enough that I deemed it "rapid" fire, along with double-taps, and other combinations.

    For me, spray-and-pray rapid fire, at fastest possible rate of fire, yielded the worst performance, with a good percentage of 10yd strikes going well off target. Reducing speed until I was seeing regular fist-sized accuracy with double-taps and most rapidly-fired shots was the most effective. Gradually, the speed slowly improved but still remained below that of spray-and-pray speeds. That specific shot-to-shot speed varied, I found, with the particular firearm in question and my specific level of competency and muscle-memory with that firearm. Each gun seemed to have its own particular sweet spot when it came to the rate of fire that yielded a decently high level of combat accuracy.

    Was able to roughly duplicate this with a Browning Hi-Power 9mm as well. Came somewhat close with a CZ P-01 9mm. Wasn't nearly so accurate with any other pistol or revolver, though I'm convinced most of that was time in the saddle, so to speak.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  7. #6
    Distinguished Member Array ArkhmAsylm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigStick View Post
    I was at the range the other day, and I have decided that I need to work on the speed and accuracy of my follow-up shots. So I am admittedly not hitting the bull's eye with every shot, that was not the goal. I was going for speed and on target.

    One of the range officers comes over, looks at my target and assumes that I am just blowing off ammo for fun. He gives me this friendly, but condescending look and says "Pray and spray huh?"

    I let it go and did not feel the need to explain or justify my training methods to some random guy at the range, even if he was the RO. I shoot a few more mags, still trying to get as quick of a follow-up shot as possible while still being on target. He comes by at least 2 more times, shakes his head and says the same thing, as if I am just some guy who saw a guy in a movie do that, and didn't know any better than to just point and pull the trigger.

    I don't really care what he thinks, but it was getting really annoying being judged for trying to get better at a skill that I know I need work on. Have any of you had similar experiences, or ideas on some good one liners to toss out if this happens again?
    Shoulda asked him if he was paying for your ammo and range fee...
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  8. #7
    Member Array Cruel Hand Luke's Avatar
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    Spray and pray is a derogatory term and I refuse to even use it.

    What are we looking for?

    What is "Combat Accurate"?

    I'd argue that is hitting what you aimed at. If all you are trying to hit is the torso and all your rounds hit it...then that is combat accurate. They do not all need to go through the same hole to make people stop what they are doing. Bullseye shooting accuracy is normally not needed in personal defense. In fact, if you can keep them in about a hand span (about 6 to 7 inch circle) in the chest, that is probably going to solve most interpersonal problems.

    For ME, I prefer to keep them all from "nipples to neck" if I can, no matter the distance. I then adjust the speed to make that happen. I shoot as fast as I can to keep them all in that size of group. At 3 yards that sounds like an SMG in the 5 to 6 round per second speed. At 7 yards it is about 3 rounds a second. At 15 yards it is 2 per second and at 25 it is 1 per second.

    Most people shoot way too slow up close and way too fast at distance. Everyone has to find the "happy medium" between accuracy and speed. And it is different as the targets get farther away. If I try to shoot 5 rounds per second at a 25 yard target the results will be...random. But there is no reason to shoot a 3 yard target at 1 round per second either.

    As to "spray and pray", that carries the connotation of essentially jerking the trigger really fast and hoping for the best. That is not something you want to do. You want to surgically place rounds as fast as you possibly can. And to figure out how fast that is it requires putting in some time and work.

    We learn "perfection" and the step away from it as needed. We learn to hit the specific molecule we are aiming at.We learn perfect trigger control and sight alignment. And then as the situation requires we speed up and accept a little less than perfect sight alignment in order to get hits on target faster.

    Now , are some hits better than others? ABSOLUTELY. If you are shooting so fast that you cannot keep all the rounds in the C zone of an IPSC target or in the -1 zone of an IDPA target then you need to slow down at that distance. But if all the holes in the target can be covered with a silver dollar then you are probably shooting too slow for defensive purposes.
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    You think that was condescending... :)

    I have been told several times, and even by people on this forum, that because I carry a relatively high-capacity firearm (and believe that more ammo is better) that I am automatically incapable of anything OTHER than "spray and pray." It ain't just that range officer that holds his (uninformed, presumptuous, ignorant) nose in the air.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    "Which one of us is the customer here? Get lost".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruel Hand Luke View Post
    ...

    Most people shoot way too slow up close and way too fast at distance. Everyone has to find the "happy medium" between accuracy and speed. And it is different as the targets get farther away. If I try to shoot 5 rounds per second at a 25 yard target the results will be...random. But there is no reason to shoot a 3 yard target at 1 round per second either.

    ...
    Well said. If all I focused on was bulls-eye shooting, I'm sure I could improve that skill. However, over half my range time is also dedicated to target acquisition and moving/drawing/shooting with an emphasis on proficiency. Inside of 30', it is quite achievable to draw and shoot with lethal accuracy, in a fluid movement and without hesitation. Besides, inside of 30', without hesitation is likely a requirement for survival in a self defense situation. Nobody may be impressed with my 7" group with fliers, but if I can do that quickly in dire situation, I'll live to improve on my bulls-eye shooting another day.

    That R.O. is another reason why I drive an hour to shoot on my private range.
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    Senior Member Array CanuckQue's Avatar
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    I heartily commend you on working on your follow-up shot. That follow-up shot is probably one of the most important features of your firearm (other than the first shot!).

    I would work on accuracy, and then speed. It's the accuracy of the second shot that matters. In fact, it's become critical, because in an SD situation that follow-up shot means that things have escalated in stress since your first shot!
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    How well I listen, and to whom, depends largely upon whose range I'm on. When John Benner, David Bowie or any of the other excellent instructors at Tactical Defense Institute criticize my work, I pay very close attention, regardless of how accurate I find their observations. If the guy at the range wants to watch me, fine. I appreciate the distraction. If, however, he wants to ask questions or critique my work, I will hand him my card and explain that while my work on his range can be considered a free demonstration, he will need to pay for the course if he wants further training from me.
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    VIP Member Array xXxplosive's Avatar
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    "Fast is good but accuracy is everything"........Wyatt Earp.
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    I always thought it was "Fast is fine but accuracy is final." Has a better ring to it, if you're going to boil down all things shooting related into a one-line platitude...
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    You're nicer than I am. I would of maybe let it go the first time.. but twice? Nope. I would of informed him of what I was working on and politely as possible told him if he can't keep comments like that himself, when he has no idea what I'm working on before opening his mouth, that I'd gladly take my business elsewhere. Preferably somewhere they treat paying customers with some level of respect.

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