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Old October 8, 2010, 01:17 AM   #1
RastaMan
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What do you think about point shooting?

I have debated the merits of point vs. site for a while? I am more of a site shooting type of guy. What do you think about the two methods and which is for you?
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Old October 8, 2010, 02:27 AM   #2
BillCA
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Do a search on "point shooting" and "hip shooting". You'll find several threads on this topic.

As for me... I've been taught sighted shooting most of my life. However, I do sometimes practice the one-handed "point shooting" techniques when I have the ability to practice from a holster. Why? Because that's the most likely to save my life in a crunch.

If you carry concealed then the most likely thing is for someone to get close to you before getting hostile. If this happens, you won't necessarily have the time and distance needed to bring the gun to eye level. And in some cases, even if you did, you'd only be presenting your oppoent with a chance to grab -- or slap away -- your weapon. Drawing and firing from the old "FBI crouch" position or even what's called a "speed rock"¹ position is more in line with reality.

Reality says that any gunfight you're involved in will NOT be anything like what you trained for. It will be inelegant, chaotic, clumsy and imperfect. Your opponent will refuse to stand there like a B-27 silhoutte and may run, hide or attack. One example is the night you stop for bread & milk at the grocery and decide to buy your wife that expensive bottle of wine too. When you leave, your weakhand is encumbered and you don't want to drop that expensive bottle. That's when crap happens. Knowing how to shoot with one hand without using the sights may save your bacon (or wine).

¹ The Speed Rock technique is used in extreme CQB (bad breath distance). You draw the gun from the holster, rock your elbow down and hand up so the gun is level and fire from just above or above/forward of the holster. This keeps the gun retained from a grab while allowing you to fire.
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Old October 8, 2010, 05:56 AM   #3
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In a SD situation, it's highly unlikely that you will have a choice but to point shoot, whether or not you have practiced it. If you don't carry, and don't have any loaded guns at home for SD, then don't bother, but if you want to do as well as possible in such a situation then you should practice point shooting.

Best way to get started with practice is to take a SD shooting class, they will (or should) show you close-range point shooting techniques, including shooting from the retention position.
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Old October 8, 2010, 06:25 AM   #4
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To completely rip off one of the premier point shooting instructors out there, the answer is that it is not "either / or" it is "both." Point shooting is applicable on the continuum where the initiative, distance and circumstances of the situation call for it. This would typically, but not always, be when you are in a reactionary position, in close proximity to the threat, and working to get off the x and take back the initiative. If you survive that process, the application of sights may be in order.

Take a class. You'll get it.
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Old October 8, 2010, 06:38 AM   #5
MLeake
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In a non-gun scenario...

... this is kind of like debating whether it's better technique to attack to the weak side or strong side of an assailant in a hand-to-hand scenario.

The answer is: who knows, until it happens?

If I notice the attack early enough, I should be able to go either way. If I don't, the options get much more limited.

If I'm perfectly balanced, I can lead with either foot. If most of my weight is on one foot or the other, I pretty much have to lead with the less-weighted foot.

You get the idea - there are a bunch of variables that will prevent me from making the call until the time comes.

Here's the thing, though - if I haven't trained to lead from either foot, attack to either side, move forward and back and to either side, use either hand or both at once - and if I haven't trained to do any and all of those things instinctively - then when the time comes I'll have to think about it. And the odds are I will not have time to think. That scenario leads most folks to freeze like deer in the headlights.

So, I practice all that stuff, several hours a week.

Not much difference between defensive handgun and defensive hand-to-hand, when it comes down to that. Of course, I can't afford to practice with a handgun several hours a week, but I do practice as often as I can.
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Old October 8, 2010, 07:05 AM   #6
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Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. I practice getting sight alignment as quickly as possible, both with my AK and my 1911.
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Old October 8, 2010, 07:08 AM   #7
Don P
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As stated point and shoot will most likely be in a SD situation. Competition shooting aim will be the choice with the exception of a close up target. ( 3-6' )
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Old October 8, 2010, 07:13 AM   #8
ClayInTx
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If the BG is far away enough that I need to use the sights then he’s probably far away enough that I can run like hell.
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Old October 8, 2010, 07:29 AM   #9
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Sighted shooting seems to be a waste of time for concealed carry. You've got to be able to quickly draw your weapon and hit your target at close range, generally while operating your gun with one hand, and from akward positions. This means that most folks are going to rely on point shooting. That's how I practice, anyway.

FWIW, I'm not going to be taking any shots at distances greater than 10 feet when I'm carrying. If someone is 15 feet or more from me, they either aren't an imediate threat, I can run the other way, and there is greater than a 1-2% chance of missing my target. At 10 feet or less, I'm confident that if I get a shot off, its going to hit my target; and I'm also confident that the threat is imminent.
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Old October 8, 2010, 07:40 AM   #10
Don P
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Quote:
FWIW, I'm not going to be taking any shots at distances greater than 10 feet when I'm carrying.
You may want to rethink this statement. Do you realize how fast an assailant can cover the distance of 21 feet. You may be able to draw and get a off the hip shot at this distance. Maybe

Quote:
If the BG is far away enough that I need to use the sights then he’s probably far away enough that I can run like hell.


And get shot in the back.
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Old October 8, 2010, 07:51 AM   #11
aarondhgraham
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It's not a question of why practice point shooting,,,

It's a question of Why Not!

Besides, it's fun.

.
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Old October 8, 2010, 08:02 AM   #12
Skans
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Quote:
You may want to rethink this statement. Do you realize how fast an assailant can cover the distance of 21 feet. You may be able to draw and get a off the hip shot at this distance. Maybe
I've thought about it and practiced at these distances. For purposes of knowing when and when not to engage - I've put my range at 10-15 feet. That's it. The bottom line is that I'm not confident with the small gun I choose to carry beyond those distances under a stress situation.

Personally, I think everyone needs to know their own limitations when it comes to concealed carry and shooting whatever you are carrying. One of my limits is distances greater than 15 feet. I'm not saying that there could never be a serious threat to me beyond this, but the tool and its user has limitations.
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Old October 8, 2010, 08:32 AM   #13
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USE BOTH!

I read Fairbairn's and Sykes' "Shooting to Live" book years ago and practice the methods described therein whenever possible in addition to aimed fire practice. My reasoning being that, if I were ever confronted with an adversary that required a response with a gun, the sooner I would be able to fire the better my chances of survival. The point method makes a faster response possible. While bringing the pistol up to a position to obtain a "sight picture" for aimed fire, you will already have been able to fire one or two fairly accurate shots at the adversary. I don't think enough credence is given to the physiological impact on an attacker resulting from an immediate response of gun fire (even though it may not be accomplished using a perfect aiming technique).
My rationale for this is based on the assumption that a BG has chosen me as a victim based upon some action of mine that makes him think I am vulnerable and, as a result, an easy target (or, I might just be in the wrong place at the wrong time!). I think that under these circumstances he would be somewhat surprised to be suddenly confronted with my gun fire and, hopefully, tend to make some mental errors that might allow me a chance to escape or at least move to cover. I may be way off base with this logic but it's what I think and it's how I plan to respond if confronted with this type of scenario. Point shooting would obviously play a significant part in any situation similar to this.
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Old October 8, 2010, 08:39 AM   #14
Bartholomew Roberts
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Unless I am shooting from a retention position, I practice to see my sights every time, all the time. Depending on the range and size of the target, I may use a much coarser sight picture; but I use the sights.

Time and time again I see guys who take their time and use their sights beat guys trying to go fast as possible. I've also noticed that guys who do a lot of sighted fire seem to have little trouble point-shooting should the need arise.

Think of it this way, the purpose of the sights is to confirm that your pistol is indeed aligned with the target. By making sure you have a good sight picture, you are building good muscle memory. This is why dryfire practice is very helpful even though you aren't actually shooting.

As far as being unable to use sighted fire under the stress of a real gunfight, here is what Paul Howe of Blackhawk Down/Delta fame wrote on the matter regarding point shooting. I think he has some excellent points and having been in a gunfight or two, I think he has a better base of experience then most to discuss what will work.
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Old October 8, 2010, 09:17 AM   #15
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To Heavy Duty 77, I have a copy of "Shooting to Live," and it's one of my favorite books on the subject. Everyone here ought to love it because the authors like the .45 auto. But there are some places where the book falls short.

As you probably know, they were believers, for safety's sake, in a chamber empty carry. They even pinned the thumb safeties in the "off" position. But while they claim that a fast (enough) draw could be made with a chamber empty carry, the specifics are vague. Maybe I'm not reading it closely enough or maybe that's just something that has to be covered by the instructor. But a couple of points need to be made about their viewpoint.

Their methods were developed for use with a large police force, the members of which were assumed (I assume) to have had not previous experience with firearms or at least with handguns. But he recognized just the same that an individual with enough interest could develop his own methods that would work just as well. Even Elmer Keith said in so many words that you have to work out your own methods. But the Sykes-Fairbairn book cautioned against target shooting, which they admitted was fine in its own way, but might cause problems when the chips were down. I can't quote where they say that because I haven't memorized the whole book yet. However, other well-known gunfighters, all of whom seem to have been with the Border Patrol, were also accomplished target shooters and so was Elmer Keith. I don't recall what Applegate thought about that.

Another thing about the Sykes-Fairbairn approach as well as Applegate, was that there simply wasn't going to be a lot of training for one reason or another but such as there was, was definately going to be combat oriented and of a practical nature with "plain" firearms. And they all claimed their methods were good enough.
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Old October 8, 2010, 09:24 AM   #16
Skans
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Quote:
Think of it this way, the purpose of the sights is to confirm that your pistol is indeed aligned with the target. By making sure you have a good sight picture, you are building good muscle memory. This is why dryfire practice is very helpful even though you aren't actually shooting.
I would definitely agree with this. I guess I didn't mean to indicate that I didn't practice aimed shooting as well. I do quite a bit and I do believe that it is very important. What you've said is exactly how I feel about it.
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Old October 8, 2010, 09:33 AM   #17
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Point-shooting has serious drawbacks.

One of them is, that if (very likely) you inflict collateral damage or death in any back-stop individuals, you'd best hope that the Prosecuting Attorney has never heard of "instinctive", or "point-shooting", or "center-of-mass targeting." You'll hang out and dry a long time if you rely on those philosophies, and have a shot go awry. Guns are made with sights for a reason; except for extreme CQB, use them.
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Old October 8, 2010, 09:40 AM   #18
aarondhgraham
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All joking aside,,,

If you reject a method of shooting and don't train for it even a bit,,,
You are shortchanging yourself of an ability,,,
One that might prove useful someday.

My earlier comment of "Why Not" was delivered as humor,,,
But I did mean it as an absolute serious comment.

Why not spend a little time and ammo on point shooting practice?
What can it possibly do to hurt you to have another skill?

It's one of the reasons I bought a Model 34 snubbie in .22 LR,,,
For inexpensive practice in shooting without aiming.

Many many hundreds of rounds later,,,
I am confident that I have another skill I can use.

So again I say,,,
Why not!

.
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Old October 8, 2010, 09:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Guns are made with sights for a reason; except for extreme CQB, use them.
You didn't quantify, but I'll assume that "extreme CQB" means outstretched arm distance. The problem with this is that if the BG is in the process of drawing his weapon to shoot at you, it doesn't make a difference whether his shot takes 25 msec or 5 msec to reach you, in the extra second it takes you to find your sights you are risking taking a debilitating hit. Anything inside of 20 feet you should be (and will be) point shooting in order to get off the first shot. No way you should need to use your sights at that distance for a COM hit. Hopefully you will have time to get your gun up if he's more than 5 feet away, otherwise you will be shooting from the hip, which believe it or not is also easy to miss from at 3-5 ft. if you don't PRACTICE.
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Old October 8, 2010, 10:01 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartholomew Roberts
As far as being unable to use sighted fire under the stress of a real gunfight, of Blackhawk Down/Delta fame wrote on the matter regarding point shootin excellent points and having been in a gunfight or two, I think he has a better most to discuss what will work.
Not surprisingly, Larry Vickers shares the same viewpoint. I've trained with LAV on several occasions and heard him say more than once that point shooting is really only appropriate in low light situations when you can't see the sights and when shooting from retention. He also made the same point Mr. Howe makes that in these situations, shooters who have solid fundamentals using sighted fire will not struggle when point shooting is appropriate. These two gentlemen are among the best small arms instructors in the world, and have unimpeachable resumes to back up that distinction. They've also been in more gunfights than probably any other two men alive, so their advice is well worth heeding.

For me, I've always been trained to use the sights if at all possible and that's the method I believe works. Unlike the instructors referenced above I've only been in one gunfight, but the result was the same. I reverted to my training, used my sights, and I'm alive to talk about it, so I'll continue training to use the sights.
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Old October 8, 2010, 10:14 AM   #21
HotShot.444
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aaron :

"So again I say,,, Why not! " Because the awful worst-case scenario may crop up: collateral damage / death. At that point, better to never mention "point-shooting." But yes, P.S. IS a skill-set to have trained for and at which to be adept.
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Old October 8, 2010, 10:28 AM   #22
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The trouble with these after action reports is that you may not have much memory of what you actually did, if you were in an actual gunfight. On the other hand, because of the way time slows down in a high stress situation or seems to, you may remember it quite well, not that you need to tell anyone.

In any event, one reason I made the points in my previous post is to point out some of the controversies that have been present for decades. Perhaps more so than ever, some trainers appear to think their own methods are the best to the exclusion of all others. That's sort of a reflection of the "best" or "worst" evaluations things seem to receive these days. Nothing is ever adequate or ordinary.

But one trick you have to decide (or have decided for you) is what contributes to effective combat handgunning--once you have decided what effective combat handgunning is! And clearly different people have had different ideas about that over the years and still do.
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Old October 8, 2010, 11:24 AM   #23
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BlueTrain

After re-reading my post I can see where I may have been misinterpreted. I definitely do not advocate or agree with practicing point shooting to the exclusion of aimed fire, in fact, the greatest percentage of my practice is with aimed shooting. Too, the initial one or two shots made using the point method at CQ distance are to be completed on the way to raising the pistol up to the aimed sight position, not in lieu of using aimed fire.

Also, I do not dogmatically adhere to all the precepts outlined in the Shootong to Live book. For example, I always have a round chambered in any pistol that I carry (to me, practicing to develop a quick response and then carrying an empty chambered pistol is patently absurd!).

Unfortunately, just as in Fairbairn's and Sykes' day, most private citizens who purchase a gun (and even quite a few LEO's) never practice or do more than the minimum required to qualify with their weapons. Given this actuallity, I think that these people would be better served to at least pick one method and try to familiarize themselves with it.
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Old October 8, 2010, 11:33 AM   #24
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The book actually mentions that it is appropriate to use the sights beyond a certain distance. Actually most of the stuff in the book is pretty modern except the chamber empty carry doesn't seem to be so popular, although I don't understand why people are so passionate about other carry methods. But I am saying there is a certain degree of vagueness in the book that no doubt is due to the difficulty of putting certain things in writing and that's where the instructor comes in. Also keep in mind that the book was written principally with the police in mind with a policeman's background.

I think it is likely a surprising number of "successful" shootings are by people who have hardly practiced at all.
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Old October 8, 2010, 11:48 AM   #25
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Looking back

In reading these many-many stories/instructions/lesson plans. And of course, "Point shooting is the only way" OR "They would not have put sights on the things, if you were not supposed to use them"

Target shooting, is the most wonderful way to start with the hand gun.

This is where you learn the sight alignment, moving the trigger, and not disturbing those sights, follow through, repeat shots. Then compressing all of those components of marksmanship, via all of the dry fire/drills/different distances/light/and lack of light. Till you are hitting all the time, in the most efficient time frame possible.

A step back if you would... take your pistol in to the kitchen, strip it to its smallest part... Take the the 4 components of the cartridge, cartridge case/primer/powder/and BULLET!

The only part, component on that table that matters, is the projectile/bullet.

If you can not place that 127g +P+ WW Ranger 9mm (in my case) into a vital area, and enough of them to do the job, you are making noise.

The target club I belonged to in Toronto Canada has a Plaque above the Range door, on the Club room side.
It has my name, with the top center fire score ever fired (still) in the 100 year plus that the club has been open, 298 out of 300 I was 40 YOA then.

And using that same skill, but in IDPA, last month, I came 12th out of 61, in a club match, but what is worth noting, I will be 75 YOA, this month.
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