“I’ve never seen a stopwatch in a gunfight.” is a quote attributed to Clint Smith. Similarly, “I’ve never seen scoring rings on a bad guy.” While there is some truth in both of these, they are too often used as excuses for low skill levels to justify an inability to put up a respectable score on a measured course.

From a trainer’s perspective, I appreciate Clint Smith’s rationale. Consider the skill levels of most of his students, to say nothing of the vast majority of military, police and typical gun owners. Working with deploying soldiers for many years, it was struggle enough to teach a basic grasp of marksmanship and gun handling. Forget the timer, I was happy to see a student perform a gun handling task the same way more than twice in a row without doing something potentially dangerous such as sweeping themselves or others.

Once a trainee gets past the Kindergarten stage, scores and elapsed times become useful benchmarks. Because so many gun people have not progressed beyond this, trainers like Smith are trying to get clients skilled enough to perform a task the same way more than a few times in a row and produce a semblance of accuracy while no longer being a danger to themselves.

I like this quote better:

There is no timer in a gun fight, though there is another guy trying to shoot you and he is probably in a hurry.

Even better still:

Speed without hits is a waste of ammo. Hits without speed is a waste of time.