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Old May 6, 2010, 02:26 PM   #1
Bartholomew Roberts
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Some questions on point-shooting

(I apologize in advance to the mods - nothing personal against you, I promise)

Based on my readings, point shooting advocates suggest that it provides acceptable accuracy with better speed. If this is the case, then it should be something we can easily measure with a shot timer and it should be widely used in shooting sports where speed and accuracy are important (IDPA, IPSC, etc.). Which leads to my first question:

1. Who are the leading competitive shooters who advocate point shooting?

The second point I hear a lot is that competitive shooting isn't the same as a gunfight and that point shooting is based on REAL gunfights. Typically I hear this after asking the first question above. To me this is a non-sequitr. Whether you are in competition or a gunfight, you still need to hit with sufficient speed and accuracy to win. If it works in a gunfight, it should work in a competition just as well. However, it did bring up a related point that led me to my second question:

2. Which of the current instructors or prominent advocates of "point-shooting/threat-focused shooting/term du jour" have been in multiple real life gunfights?

I'm aware of Fairbairn, Applegate, etc. I am more interested in living, breathing instructors that are currently teaching or practicing these methods. While I'm sure Applegate and the rest were very skilled, they are not around for me to ask directly and interpreting the writings of the deceased can yield some varying conclusions (as anyone in religion or law can tell you).

So basically I am curious about:

1. Who advocates and uses point shooting successfully in competition?
2. Who advocates and has used point shooting successfully in multiple gunfights?

Since point-shooting threads have a tendency to stray into contentious areas, I would appreciate it if those responding could keep their answers fairly close to those two questions - though if there is some special reason point shooting does not work in competition; but only works in gunfights, then I would be interested in learning about that too, provided the theory can be backed up with actual data and not just opinion.
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Old May 6, 2010, 02:37 PM   #2
Skans
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I too would like to hear more about point shooting techniques.
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Old May 6, 2010, 02:57 PM   #3
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I can't tell you anything about technique and training, but I can tell you that one thing that's been tucked away in my brain for twenty years while reading hundreds (thousands?) of accounts of self-defense shootings, is that they usually happen at night, in low-light locales.
After that first shot, the muzzle flash is going to blind you enough that you're going to be point shooting anyway. It's going to worse with some handguns than others, but you might as well assume that blind spot from the flash is going to cover your front sight.

When I shoot, I'll usually shoot a mag or two by point shooting. I have no technique to recommend, but I think you'll find that if you just hold your handgun up as you normally would and focus on the target center of mass rather than the sight, you'll still hit it. Your group will be hat-sized rather than palm sized, but the slugs will still land on the chest of the target.

If there's a special technique to improve that, I'd be all ears.
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Old May 6, 2010, 04:34 PM   #4
aarondhgraham
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I practice point shooting with my snubbie,,,

I've read a bit about it,,,
tried some things I've read about,,,
One thing thats seems to work is to not hesitate.

If you just point your finger at something,,,
Chances are it's pointed right at it,,,
For the first few microseconds.

But as you try and hold your finger on target,,,
Your finger wavers away from target.

So, point and pull the trigger quickly,,,
It really does work very well.

Next thing I read that helped,,,
Was to not extend the arm too much,,,
Just raise the arm to a comfortable level and shoot.

Now I'm no Annie Oakley,,,
But I'm getting to where I can snap that first shot into the center of mass.

The more I practice the closer the second and third come to the COM.

But, the thing that helps the most,,,
Is I finally bought a .22 LR equivalent to my carry piece.

I got a Model 34 to go with my Model 36,,,
The cheap .22 LR ammo allows for a lot more practice.

Trigger time is all important to me.

JMHO - YMMV

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Old May 6, 2010, 05:50 PM   #5
Bartholomew Roberts
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Guys, I am not really looking for general input regarding point shooting. I can read any one of a hundred locked threads on that subject. I am really just trying to get answers to those two questions (or alternatively learn why the assumptions underlying them are false).
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Old May 6, 2010, 06:34 PM   #6
kodiakbeer
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I would guess the answer to question #2 (Who advocates and has used point shooting successfully in multiple gunfights?) is probably most people who have been in gunfights, since most fights happen at night.

The answer to question #1 is here: http://www.google.com/search?q=point+shooting+technique&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-USfficial&client=firefox-a
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Old May 6, 2010, 11:08 PM   #7
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That google query does not answer #1.
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Old May 7, 2010, 12:30 AM   #8
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This doesn't really answer your question but here's my thought... go out and shoot some matches and try point shooting for yourself. It doesn't matter what works for other guys..what matters is what ends up working for you. That's true for techniques as well as gear.

Another thing is that competition shooting is fun and a good way to hone your gun handling skills but there are a lot of BIG differences that occur between the match and the streets...especially in regards to the effect of stress on your body. Being able to get a good, hard front sight focus like you do at the range may be difficult during the effects of tunnel vision while trying not to get shot. Force on force scenarios, if done right, may be helpful for you as well.

If you're really set on finding people who advocate competition point shooting, DR Middlebrooks comes to mind. http://www.tacticalshooting.com/
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Old May 7, 2010, 05:52 AM   #9
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From what I've seen, there's plenty of stress in competetive shooting, although it is of a slightly different kind. And things go wrong, too. But the biggest difference in competetive, scored target shooting (competetive shooting is target shooting, you know) is in the targets. The targets in target shooting tend to be quite small relative to human targets. That isn't to say there are ways to overcome that in setting up targets. But that's the biggest difference that make some people suggest that point shooting won't work in target shooting and vice versa.

On the other hand, there are no doubt variations in point shooting technique, just like in aimed target/combat shooting, and arguments about what it is and what it isn't. Anyone remember the expression "hip shooting?"
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Old May 7, 2010, 06:59 AM   #10
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One of the main problems you are going to find is that competetive shooting is not a direct or near direct analog of real world defensive shooting. It can't be. Range safety, shooter safety etc. coupled with the need to have a course which is NOT fluid and dynamic preclude such things at this point. What we have is pretty good, and folks do try to make things useful, but shoots with competitors do not happen at dusk, in a 360, on the ground, with the shooter in pain etc. and so forth. Or not, depending upon the reactions, judgement and skills of the shooter.
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Old May 7, 2010, 08:00 AM   #11
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evan1923
This doesn't really answer your question but here's my thought... go out and shoot some matches
I've shot a few competitions in my time; both formal and informal. I'm also fortunate enough to have a range with a great deal of freedom and a shot timer

Quote:
Force on force scenarios, if done right, may be helpful for you as well.
Done Force-on-Force with Simunitions as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhenry
One of the main problems you are going to find is that competetive shooting is not a direct or near direct analog of real world defensive shooting. It can't be
It doesn't have to be. If point shooting is sufficiently accurate and faster than using sighted fire, then that should carry over into competition even though the scenarios may be different? Yes?

Quote:
but shoots with competitors do not happen at dusk, in a 360, on the ground, with the shooter in pain etc. and so forth.
Actually, with the exception of the "shooter in pain", I've done all of those in various classes or competitions. I've even done competitive shoots in pitch black, out in the country dark and shoots where you transitioned from a brightly lit Texas range to a blacked out shoothouse where you couldn't see your hand in front of your face at first without a light. However, that is probably a better subject for another thread if you want to have that conversation; because I'd really like to get some good answers to my questions.
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Old May 7, 2010, 09:42 AM   #12
evan1293
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Have you read Practical Shooting Beyond Fundamentals by Brian Enos? Very good read...Although point shooting is not advocated for every situation, Brian does make some points about use of the sights falling somewhere within a continuum. At certain distances, he advocates not focusing on the sights at all.

When you say point shooting, peoples' definitions of point shooting vary widely. Some that advocate PS are still using the sights in their peripheral vision. The gun is still within their focal plane, their focus however is on the target and not the sights. Others think of point shooting as shooting from positions that do not even bring the gun into alignment with the eyes / target.

Additionally, some of the arguments for point shooting are not based solely upon a speed advantage. Point / hip shooting is advocated by some for close proximity shooting because of weapon retention issues and not so much for a speed advantage. Similarly, point shooting (from a fully extended position) at medium ranges is at times recommended. This is advocated by some based on the thought that under the extreme stress of a gunfight, you will be fixated on the threat and will not be able to divert your focus from the threat to your sights, as is done in target / competition shooting. Again, not an issue of speed, an issue of working in harmony with what your body does under stress.

For competition shooting, there really is no reason not to use your sights for medium to long range targets. Fast shooters can often find the front sight as soon as they've reached full extension anyway. Confirming the front sight usually leads to a higher degree of accuracy, especially as the distance to the target gets further away. In a game where speed and precision gain points, most shooters will rely on using the sights for obtaining precision hits at a distant target. As the distances get close, the amount of "proper" sight alignment / picture becomes more crude. There are exceptions to this, but this would be what you would typically find in competition (IPSC, IDPA, etc) shooting.

I don't agree with those that say competition shooting induces similar stresses as gunfights. While stress is certainly an element of competition, its not the same kind or to nearly the same extent as trying to stay alive. Competition is however a good opportunity to learn gun handling skills and learn how to think and shoot at the same time which is certainly an asset for a gunfight.
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Old May 7, 2010, 10:14 AM   #13
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First, define your term.

There's three main classes of "iron sight use" that I pay attention to:

1) True classic use of sights, focused on the front sight.

2) A "flash sight picture" that brings the gun to eye level but you focus on the target and use the whole outline of the gun (works better with most autos) as a big crude blurry sight. It's possible to get VERY good and VERY fast with this and it does show up in iron-sight classes of IPSC and IDPA shooting. Takes a while to learn.

3) "Real" point shooting of the sort Jelly Bryce and Bill Jordan were into:



Jordan is the bigger guy, Bryce is considered the most dangerous combat shooter America has ever produced and thank God he was a good guy. Photo is hosted at Stephen Wenger's site on point-shooting, highly recommended: http://www.spw-duf.info/point.html

If the latter happens to work for you naturally, great. If it has to be ingrained with major levels of practice, it'll come unglued in a fight. Bryce tried to teach his "FBI Crouch" technique as seen in that pic and many others and it turned out to be a massive failure.

Now. Referring to type two, there's two ways to cheat. One is a glass/electronic sight, generally involving a red dot with no magnification. This lets you focus on the target instead of the front sight and basically speeds up the process of getting to where those IDPA/IPSC guys are with basic black iron sights.

The other way to do target focus with something that fits in standard holsters and is still considered an "iron sight" is the Goshen Hexsite:

http://www.goshen-hexsite.com/pdf/Handguns_2008June.pdf

Yes, it works. In some ways it's actually better than a red dot because there's no actual "red dot" in the way. Hexsites work even when both the front and rear are blurry. They give you "flash sight picture" speed with accuracy very close to classic iron sight usage (type 1 above).
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Old May 7, 2010, 11:51 AM   #14
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evan1293
This is advocated by some based on the thought that under the extreme stress of a gunfight, you will be fixated on the threat and will not be able to divert your focus from the threat to your sights, as is done in target / competition shooting.
OK, this goes right to my question #2 doesn't it? Who are these people who have had multiple real life gunfights and advocate point shootings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim March
First, define your term.
I think we are discussing #3 primarily. I don't see anything all that controversial or unusual about a flash sight picture and it is pretty commonly used in competition, though perhaps not with the degree of coarseness you described.

Thanks for the link, it actually at least has a few answers to the second question, although the argument there seems to be the one evan is making above - not that point shooting is faster; but that you will not be physically able to use the front sights in a timely manner under stress.

However, I would note that there are a number of veteran gunfighters who have used firearms in gunfights who do not agree with this; so apparently it is possible to use the front sights under stress for some people.
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Old May 7, 2010, 01:49 PM   #15
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Bill Jordan was only in one gunfight as far as I can tell. He was flashing his skills for someone else and killed an agent in the next office with a negligent discharge.

I don't give a rat's patooty what his created image was. I don't consider him an expert on anything. His holsters sucked and so did his tactics.

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Old May 7, 2010, 04:53 PM   #16
Jim March
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Bryce on the other hand was absolutely the real deal. Killed a lot of men. Used to do solo what we now use whole SWAT teams for.

I included the pic as showing two different pre-modern-technique forms of point firing. While I wouldn't put it as harshly as you have, I would agree Bill Jordan isn't the best possible mentor.
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Old May 7, 2010, 11:18 PM   #17
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Going back to the original questions:
1) I don't think any competitive shooters advocate point shooting.

2) You would probably have to look very hard to find any advocate of any shooting technique who has been in multiple gunfights.

Most gunfights involving handguns occur between bad guys or LEO's & bad guys. Bad guys don't usually concern themselves with technique, and LEO's are going to be very unlucky if they are involved in more than 1 or 2 shooting incidents in a career (except maybe dedicated SWAT- but handguns are a backup there). Current policies would not condone the kind of stuff Jim Cirillo did in the way back.

Competitive shooting does not mirror real life. There is no threat. Point shooting is based on the assumption that in a real confrontation, you are not going to look at your sights, but at the threat. The techniques simply capitalize on what you're going to do as a natural reaction: crouch, push the gun out and fire.

From personal experience on arrests: it takes extreme effort to bear down and watch the sights when the adrenaline is pumping: there's usually a lot of other stuff going on, and you need to see that, not be focused on your front sight where the rest of the world is a blur. Not to say you can't use sights, but most LEO's involved in shooting incidents don't, even when they've been rigorously trained to do so. It's hard to fight the hard wiring.
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