ToddG talks about speed in pistol shooting, and it’s certainly worth a read. The main point he’s trying to make is that once you’ve mastered “smooth” in pistol shooting so that you can safely draw, load, etc with control over the firearm that if you want to get faster, you have to practice going fast. It’s tremendously useful to find out just how fast you can go, and sometimes you need to go so fast that you don’t get the hits you’d want to get. Todd says “don’t spray the backstop with lead”, what he’s talking about is shooting a -3 instead of a -1, or a -1 instead of a -0 on an IDPA target.
Here’s a good example – the IDPA classifier. The first three strings of fire are two body shots and one head shot from the holster on each of the three targets. I shot the first string in 2.23 seconds with my 686SSR…but I missed the head shot. Sent it right over the target at 7 yards. That was useful in establishing my upper band for speed – I knew that if I tried to go that fast, I’d probably miss. So I dialed it back a little bit for my next two strings, getting all my hits in 2.93 and 2.45 respectively. I didn’t back all the way down to a +3 second time, because I knew I could stay around 2.5 seconds and get the hits.
That’s the benefit of practicing for speed – you actually get faster! Of course, you do still need to practice for accuracy and trigger control. Regular practice should be a combination of practicing for accuracy, speed, or a combination of both. But it’s absolutely true that you can’t get faster unless you actually practice going faster.