The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Tactics and Training

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 1, 2016, 09:32 PM   #1
Bartholomew Roberts
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 12, 2000
Location: Texas and Oklahoma area
Posts: 6,309
Porpoising the Pistol

"Porpoising" is the phrase I use to describe a well-observed phenomenon among shooters working from the holster. You start your draw and bring your pistol up; but you get a bit overenthusiastic and overswing your target so that the muzzle goes high. In an attempt to correct quickly, you break your wrists and the muzzle dips below the point of aim, so that as you bring the pistol to bear, the muzzle is moving up and down like a porpoise jumping through the waves,.

Recently, I'd been watching well-renowned shooter Ron Avery suggesting that an overly robotic "kata" during the draw where you drew the pistol high and then thrusted it straight out was inefficient and a waste of time. I understood his argument to be that you should thrust the pistol out as you are bringing it up in order to save time and have maximum efficiency.

While Mr. Avery is a considerably better shooter than me in every way, I disagreed with his assessment. In my experience, what he suggests often leads to "bowling the draw." The shooter has very little time to acquire his sight picture in this method and often tends to bring the muzzle too high before dipping it back down to the target. While the draw high and thrust straight out approach might be a fraction of a second slower, it gives you more time to acquire the sight picture and more importantly, in my view, it lets you establish the experience the know how much you can cut corners in the name of efficiency. When you start shooting at Ron Avery levels, that method may not be as useful; but you'll have the experience to know. As a training routine, I don't think many shooters are able to make the shortcuts Mr. Avery suggests successfully.

As a result, I try to place a premium on drawing high to my pectoral muscle before rotating and pushing out. I find that gives me good results and a very acceptable time. However, recently when looking at video I noticed I was still porpoising. Not dramatically; but the muzzle was still coming in a bit high and then dipping onto the target. Listening to a recent podcast with Rob Leatham, he expressed his belief that one of the causes of this was a "Focus on the front sight" mentality. He stated his belief, which seems very rational to me, that a natural thing to do when trying to focus on the front sight is to elevate it a bit to get better contrast so you can see it better. This leads to a muzzle high approach for people who are looking hard at that front sight.

I was interested to hear what others' experiences with this problem were and how they approached them, as well as whether they agree with me concerning the potential to exacerbate this in Mr. Avery's approach or how they have overcome the problem described by Mr. Leatham.
Bartholomew Roberts is offline  
Old July 1, 2016, 10:43 PM   #2
Radny97
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 8, 2015
Posts: 511
I don't draw to my chest and push out. I have tried to follow the Bob Vogel style draw where I pull and then immediately start lifting and pushing out. My support hand hits about half way through the push and locks in. (I've been working on grip strength a lot lately and consciously locking harder with the support hand.)
As I'm locking in with the support hand and pushing out with the trigger hand, I try to cant the pistol backwards so that my eye sees and focuses on the front sight first, aligned with the target. Then I cant forward to bring the rear sights up into alignment as I complete the support hand lock and fully extend.
It's not the fastest draw (~ 1.7 second) but it is very accurate. (I sometimes take an additional half second to firm up the sight picture for 25 yard shots.). It does seem to prevent the 'porpoising' issue you describe. I don't tend to have the muzzle high issue described by Rob Leatham because of the way I set my sights and sight picture. I want to see the whole target area (usually a four inch dot) so my sights are set so that if they are perfectly aligned directly beneath the four inch dot, a shot will land directly center in the dot.
But I would appreciate suggestions on speeding it up.

Last edited by Radny97; July 1, 2016 at 10:53 PM.
Radny97 is offline  
Old July 1, 2016, 11:48 PM   #3
JohnKSa
Staff
 
Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 20,083
Quote:
I understood his argument to be that you should thrust the pistol out as you are bringing it up in order to save time and have maximum efficiency.
Miculek also makes this point and notes that if he is shooting a pistol with which he is very familiar, he uses this technique for maximum speed. However, he notes that if he's not as familiar with the handgun, he uses the draw high/push out technique because it gives him time to line up the sights.

In my opinion, this is a situation where you have to know your limitations. A top level shooter can save a fraction of a second with the more efficient technique, but until a shooter reaches that skill level, more consistent results will be attained by using the more conservative approach.

I do not consider my skill level to be sufficient to achieve consistent results with the more efficient technique and so I use the draw high/push out technique.

I do most of my draw practice very methodically, not trying for speed, rather trying to get the technique perfect.

I don't remember how things were in the beginning, but the way it works now is that I look at the target and draw. The sights come up between my eyes and the target and are already pretty well aligned when the gun stops moving forward. The front sight is already in the notch of the rear sight and both sights are aligned on what I'm looking at. The front sight may not be (usually isn't) perfectly centered and the top of the front sight won't be perfectly aligned with the top of the rear sight.

If I need the shot to be precise or the distance is more than a few yards, I take the time required at that point to refine the alignment. Otherwise if the shot is close or the target is large, I break the shot with the rough alignment--which is to say I break the shot when the gun stops moving forward.

I'm not trying to watch the sights as the gun is pushed out. They're in my field of view during that time and because they end up pretty well aligned by the time the gun is on target, I assume that my muscle memory and peripheral vision are working during that timeframe to get things right.
__________________
Did you know that there is a TEXAS State Rifle Association?
JohnKSa is offline  
Old July 2, 2016, 12:00 AM   #4
Frank Ettin
Staff
 
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 8,201
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartholomew Roberts
....He stated his belief, which seems very rational to me, that a natural thing to do when trying to focus on the front sight is to elevate it a bit to get better contrast so you can see it better. This leads to a muzzle high approach for people who are looking hard at that front sight....
That hasn't been my experience.

I learned the Modern Technique at Gunsite complete with the five count presentation. The push out is from the retention position, and the goal is to practice enough so that the sights naturally come up to eye level and are aligned. So when I present, I expect the front sight to be right there, and to be indexed on target.

As Morrison described the flash sight picture works (Morrison, Gregory, The Modern Technique of the Pistol, Gunsite Press, 1991, pp 87 - 88, emphasis added):[INDENT][QUOTE]...The flash sight-picture involves a glimpse of the sight-picture sufficient to confirm alignment....The target shooter’s gaze at the front sight has proven inappropriate for the bulk of pistol fighting. However, the practical shooter must start at this level and work up to the flash, which becomes reflexive as motor skills are refined. With practice, a consistent firing platform and firing stroke align the sights effortlessly. This index to the target eventually becomes an instantaneous confirmation of the sight-picture.

It does seem to work that way for me, as long as I keep my practice up. If I've let things go for a bit, I need to work a bit to get dialed in again.
__________________
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
Frank Ettin is offline  
Old July 2, 2016, 07:07 AM   #5
g.willikers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 28, 2008
Posts: 9,057
Quote:
the goal is to practice enough so that the sights naturally come up to eye level and are aligned.
If there's a secret to quick and accurate shooting, that's it.
Same for most every activity where form is most important - golf, tennis, archery, shooting..........
The emphasis on front sight, front sight is to compensate for that lack of practice.
__________________
Walt Kelly, alias Pogo, sez:
“Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent.”
g.willikers is offline  
Old July 2, 2016, 09:13 PM   #6
Frank Ettin
Staff
 
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 8,201
Quote:
Originally Posted by g.willikers
...Same for most every activity where form is most important - golf, tennis, archery, shooting..........
The emphasis on front sight, front sight is to compensate for that lack of practice.
Not really -- no more than keeping your eye on the ball in golf or tennis is to compensate for a lack of practice. Seeing the front sight all during the shot, from trigger press to follow through and to the next shot, together with trigger control, is a way of keeping everything together during the process.
__________________
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
Frank Ettin is offline  
Old July 3, 2016, 03:42 AM   #7
1stmar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 21, 2012
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 1,887
Jerry barnharts video series demonstrated the proper way to draw a pistol. While he never used the word porposing, he definitely demonstrated an action that could be called porposing when presenting the pistol from the holster. The first thing you look for is the front sight which as it comes up from the draw is higher than the target and then you cam down the front sight on target. My words not jerrys.
1stmar is offline  
Old July 3, 2016, 12:18 PM   #8
Bartholomew Roberts
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 12, 2000
Location: Texas and Oklahoma area
Posts: 6,309
When I am working at the speed where I am solidly competent, you see the pistol drive out pretty much straight with just a tiny upward tilt to the muzzle that levels out before full extension. It is arguably imperceptible.

When I start pushing for speed, you see the problem become a little more pronounced. Throw in a bad start like a not getting a good master grip or some cover garment snag and occasionally you get some comical looking muzzle up.

Another thing that has me curious is how much dot/fiber optic sights mitigate this by allowing a shooter to pick up the front sight without needing to silhouette it to see it better? Assuming of course, that the silhouette thing is what causes that.
Bartholomew Roberts is offline  
Old July 6, 2016, 08:26 AM   #9
shep854
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 4, 2004
Location: Birmingham AL
Posts: 603
Retention also becomes a problem if one trains to swing the gun up. If the encounter takes place at near-contact distance, the gun could be blocked by the assailant. By drawing to retention then extending the arms, this risk is minimized.
__________________
Powder smoke- The Smell of FREEDOM!
I don't shoot to kill; I shoot to live.
Registration? NEVER!!
shep854 is offline  
Old July 7, 2016, 08:02 PM   #10
briandg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2010
Posts: 3,328
What I have found to work for myself I learned while teaching myself shotgun. I learned to swing the stock to my shoulder with the bead already lined up on target. A pointing movement. With a pistol, I stab forward. Draw, as I move into position, hand and gun are on target. Rather than swinging arm and gun upwards. As I say, I draw into a forward motion and have no need to swing it around, the sights are already on a chunk of target and a slight wiggle puts it onto center.
__________________
None.
briandg is offline  
Old July 8, 2016, 08:14 AM   #11
g.willikers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 28, 2008
Posts: 9,057
I sez:
Quote:
.Same for most every activity where form is most important - golf, tennis, archery, shooting..........
The emphasis on front sight, front sight is to compensate for that lack of practice.
Frank sez:
Quote:
Not really -- no more than keeping your eye on the ball in golf or tennis is to compensate for a lack of practice. Seeing the front sight all during the shot, from trigger press to follow through and to the next shot, together with trigger control, is a way of keeping everything together during the process.
Are we saying the same thing?
Substitute "eye on the ball" with focus on the target.
Substitute "seeing the front sight all during the shot" with the sights being a reference to good form, perfected from lots of practice.

Having to first look for the sights and then putting them on the target is sloow.
I never realized how slow until discovering that good form relieves the need to depend so much on sights, thanks mostly to traditional archery.
(No sights, no aids, just a bow and arrow).
But the idea carries over to shooting very well.
If you are willing to put in the time and effort to develop the skills required.
Most folks aren't, hence the popularity of the method of "front sight, front sight."
And I stand by that until the cows come home.
Uh, Oh, is that a stampede a coming?
__________________
Walt Kelly, alias Pogo, sez:
“Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent.”

Last edited by g.willikers; July 8, 2016 at 08:28 AM.
g.willikers is offline  
Old July 8, 2016, 11:06 AM   #12
Frank Ettin
Staff
 
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 8,201
Quote:
Originally Posted by g.willikers
...Are we saying the same thing?
Substitute "eye on the ball" with focus on the target...
Not really. The shooting equivalent to keeping the eye on the ball is focusing on the front sight (except in wingshooting where one focuses on the target).

Quote:
Originally Posted by g.willikers
...Having to first look for the sights and then putting them on the target is sloow....
If you have to look for the sights and put them on the target you haven't been practicing enough. See post 4.
__________________
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
Frank Ettin is offline  
Old July 8, 2016, 12:20 PM   #13
briandg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2010
Posts: 3,328
Well, I have to agree. It took many years to get there, but now I'm capable of locking my hold in, and getting the front sight aligned, and doing several rounds rapidly just off of the front sight.

I'm not saying that I'm particularly good, but now, I can put rapid fire shots into six at 50. it's not really an issue of me being more accurate now, it's a matter of being able to keep trigger pull controlled and keeping the simple line of the front sight plane on target, rather than wrestling with both sights. I realized that the rear sights were already lined up pretty well on their own just because of the way I was holding.

If that makes any sense.

But one thing I have learned, this doesn't work unless you work pretty much with the same pistol, or unless you are really, really good and use everything you own well.
__________________
None.
briandg is offline  
Old July 25, 2016, 09:46 PM   #14
michael t
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 17, 2004
Location: Out back Ky
Posts: 3,958
Think old FBI way slight crouch while drawing and point shooting one handed . That was way I was taught as young man and never changed .

At distance over 30' I will start sighting and 2nd hand . I just can't get in to all this 2 handed up and push out or other ways. At 70 to old to change my ways.
__________________
Certified Armed Infidel Colt Defender ,Colt Mustang ,Dan Wesson CBOB, PPK/S, American Classic,Bersa Thunder 380
http://bersachat.comHome of Bersa
www.metroarms1911forum.com
michael t is offline  
Old July 25, 2016, 10:06 PM   #15
Old Bill Dibble
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 25, 2016
Posts: 501
Quote:
Recently, I'd been watching well-renowned shooter Ron Avery suggesting that an overly robotic "kata" during the draw where you drew the pistol high and then thrusted it straight out was inefficient and a waste of time. I understood his argument to be that you should thrust the pistol out as you are bringing it up in order to save time and have maximum efficiency.
Swing up is a terrible way to draw. Part of the point in drawing and pointing starting from the hip is that if you need to you can fire from the hip or anywhere else in the process.

It can be an awfully long time before the gun swings up to the target by comparison.
Old Bill Dibble is offline  
Old July 25, 2016, 10:21 PM   #16
Sharkbite
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 4, 2013
Location: Western slope of Colorado
Posts: 2,335
Quote:
It can be an awfully long time before the gun swings up to the target by comparison.
You obviously have never seen Ron shoot. The video in question has him explaining a competition drawstroke, not necessarily a tactical one. But, there can be no argument...its FAST.
Sharkbite is offline  
Old July 26, 2016, 07:15 AM   #17
Bartholomew Roberts
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 12, 2000
Location: Texas and Oklahoma area
Posts: 6,309
Quote:
Originally Posted by michael t
Think old FBI way slight crouch while drawing and point shooting one handed .
That seems like a non-sequitr in a discussion about sighted fire, don't you think? Although it would be interesting to watch videos of people using point shooting to see if the phenomenon repeats itself there. If it does, then that suggests front sight focus isn't the issue.
Bartholomew Roberts is offline  
Old July 26, 2016, 07:59 AM   #18
johnwilliamson062
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2008
Posts: 9,091
I saw a guy 'bowl' into a barrier once. Response? 'Should have been aware of environment' 'too close to barrier' etc. Or, 'train as you fight and fight as you train' 'overriding thousands of repetition in a high stress situation isn't likely.'
I'll keep the pistol close to the body then push out along my sight line. The fraction of a second this draw might cost me is less likely to matter than slamming my pistol into something below my sight line on the draw.

If your main concern is gaming a competition...
__________________
$0 of an NRA membership goes to legislative action or court battles. Not a dime. Only money contributed to the NRA-ILA or NRA-PVF. Second Amendment Foundation is a solid alternative.
First Shotgun Thread First Rifle Thread First Pistol Thread
johnwilliamson062 is offline  
Old July 26, 2016, 09:22 AM   #19
Old Bill Dibble
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 25, 2016
Posts: 501
Quote:
You obviously have never seen Ron shoot. The video in question has him explaining a competition drawstroke, not necessarily a tactical one. But, there can be no argument...its FAST.
I am sure he is very fast. But unless he has super powers he won't be able to get the gun up to his eye faster than I can get mine pointed down range at the hip from a hip draw.

In competition shooting accuracy is going to be more important than getting off a first round to throw off an adversary. Even if I miss with my first shot the shock of being shot at up close has most people ducking and running for cover. If I miss a shot in competition the penalty will crush my time so a different tactic is called for.
Old Bill Dibble is offline  
Old July 26, 2016, 10:05 AM   #20
Dufus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 10, 2014
Location: Texas
Posts: 427
I don't use sights while defensive shooting.

Maybe if a guy has trouble focusing on sights, he/she should try a laser sight.

Much better seeing one dot on the target than trying to line up a front sight with a rear sight while under duress.
Dufus is offline  
Old July 26, 2016, 12:24 PM   #21
Bartholomew Roberts
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 12, 2000
Location: Texas and Oklahoma area
Posts: 6,309
Well, Dufus, I can't really argue that not using your sights at all isn't one way to address any problems related to sight alignment. However, since I find little value to Internet discussions of point shooting, I'd prefer we stay on my original topic of smooth presentation/muzzle control during the drawstroke and people who would like to expound on point shooting can go start the 411th thread on that subject or revive a previous one.

If there is some aspect of point shooting that relates to MY topic, of course I'd like to hear about that.
Bartholomew Roberts is offline  
Old July 26, 2016, 01:15 PM   #22
g.willikers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 28, 2008
Posts: 9,057
Quote:
I saw a guy 'bowl' into a barrier once.
Some folks practice to avoid that by standing up close to a bar parallel to the the ground about three feet high.
Kind of like a hitching post for a horse.
If the gun isn't kept close in to the body the gun and gun hand will hit the bar preventing any farther movement.
Works pretty good, too.
__________________
Walt Kelly, alias Pogo, sez:
“Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent.”
g.willikers is offline  
Old July 26, 2016, 01:25 PM   #23
Dufus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 10, 2014
Location: Texas
Posts: 427
Quote:
If there is some aspect of point shooting that relates to MY topic, of course I'd like to hear about that.
Sure there is, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered with it.

By the time you guys get your sights lined up on target, I will have dispensed 3 rounds. Guaranteed hits.

I am not speaking of target shooting, by the way.

Also, if you do not appreciate my comments, just say so and I will avoid you.
Dufus is offline  
Old July 26, 2016, 01:51 PM   #24
Old Bill Dibble
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 25, 2016
Posts: 501
I think he was wondering what that has to do with presentation. Well, that is what he asked anyway.

I am sure I will regret this but when you point shoot what method of presentation do you use that makes you the fastest gun on the internet?
Old Bill Dibble is offline  
Old July 26, 2016, 02:15 PM   #25
Sharkbite
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 4, 2013
Location: Western slope of Colorado
Posts: 2,335
[QUOTEBy the time you guys get your sights lined up on target, I will have dispensed 3 rounds. Guaranteed hits.][/QUOTE]

Hmmm... Im running about .6 to the first shot out of an exposed holster and add about .2-.3 for a concealment garment (not the fastest guy around either). So, thats a first round hit at 7yds in just under a second from concealed carry.

You say you can fire 3 rounds in that time from a concealed holster and guaranty hits??? I doubt that highly. Most good shooters avg split times (time between shots) are around .15-.2. Sorry, the math doesnt add up.
Sharkbite is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:20 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2016 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.25783 seconds with 9 queries