DILIGENTIA VIS CELERITAS
During a conversation with Jim Gommenginger, a long time shooting buddy and co-founder of DSM, the Latin motto Diligentia Vis Celeritas came up. Jim commented that these three principles of defensive pistol craft have been lost over the years and few of the “new breed” of instructors stressed them anymore. For those of you who don’t know, DVC was the basis of Jeff Cooper’s modern technique of pistol shooting over thirty years ago. Let’s take a look at what it means.
Diligentia translates as accuracy, probably the single most important aspect of defensive shooting. You MUST be able to hit what you are shooting at. If we are forced to defend ourselves, the best way to survive is to accurately hit our target thus ending the fight quickly. In addition to survival, there are the legal issues we will have to contend with. I heard it put best by someone who said, “Every bullet that leaves your barrel, has a lawyer riding on it”. As I’ve stated many times, we are morally and legally responsible for the bullets we fire.
Vis is power. Our defensive firearm should be the most powerful caliber we are proficient with. Generally speaking, the larger the caliber the more efficient it is at ending the fight. The key term here is “are proficient with”. If you can’t handle a 44 magnum, then don’t carry it for self-defense. Carry and use what you are competent with.
Celeritas is speed. This aspect of defensive shooting is often minimized or over looked all together. Many instructors will tell you not to worry about how quickly you can shoot because accuracy is more important. As we have already discussed, accuracy is VERY important but so is speed. Statistics show that the average gunfight is over in less than three seconds. Can you afford to take four or five seconds to place your shot? Does this mean we should sacrifice accuracy for speed? No way, but it does tell us that our training program should include working to increase the speed with which we can accurately hit our intended target. If it doesn’t, you’re cutting yourself short and some other training program should be found.
So in conclusion, we can see that DVC is as important today as it was when Col. Cooper first started teaching it. You can practice all the “new” and “innovated” techniques that are being taught today but it still all boils down to accuracy, power and speed - DVC!