Of all the stupid arguments in the self-defense world, and there are many, the most ridiculous is the argument over “what is more important, speed or accuracy?” this is even more stupid than fighting over 9mm versus 45 ACP. More stupid than auto loader versus revolver. This is the most stupid of them all, because there is no argument to actually be had.
Being able to shoot well in a defensive encounter requires being able to make the accuracy standard necessary, and doing so within the timeframe necessary. Sometimes the accuracy standard necessary is no standard at all, as many defensive gun uses resolve when a self-defender fires a gun at the bad guy, yet never lands any hits, but bad guys tend to become late for another appointment when they get shot at.
The accuracy fanatics will miss-quote Wyatt Earp with some form of “speed is fine, but accuracy is final,” or some such thing, as if Wyatt Earp was shooting at the pace of an NRA Bullseye competitor at the OK Coral. With that said, there is merit to this often-abused quote, as being fast matters little if you can’t make hits. The determined threat may not be scared off by gunfire and may decide to fight and the required accuracy might be nervous system disrupting shots. Therefore, accuracy will be final. However, in the event of the more common thug who runs away at the first round fired, is it not reasonable to argue that speed is far more important, as the sheer discharge of the gun sends the thug fleeing? Then again, for those who are serious practitioners of the craft, discharging stray rounds that are not stopped by the body of the assailant is not acceptable either, so we are back to the accuracy requirement.
As you can see with such hypotheticals, this is a stupid argument. To be an accomplished defensive shooter you need to be able to make hits on demand and under pressure that are accurate enough to neutralize the human machine, and certainly accurate enough to not miss and fly into the atmosphere to jeopardize innocent people. You also must be able to do this in a reasonably quick fashion. I would rather see a less experienced shooter first work to build sufficient accuracy, and build on top of that with the advancement of speed, than the other way around. Shooters that go for broke with speed, yet can’t control their hits, fight a more difficult fight in building accuracy into the speed aquation. It proves easier to make an accurate shooter faster than to make a fast, yet poor, shooter more accurate.
With all of this said, you need to be fast and accurate if you want to be an accomplished handgunner. These two elements of shooting are not separate pursuits, but both necessary ingratiates of the skillset.