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Old May 22, 2012, 12:49 AM   #1
jimmythegeek
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Bullseye for SD training?

I'm still a handgun noob, and thinking about ways to improve. There's a Bullseye League starting up this week at the range I go to. The guy running it said Bullseye helps his other shooting, by magnifying his mistakes so he can correct them. I'm convinced there's something to the rigorous practice etc.

On the other hand, I see a few threads in this forum on point shooting, which seems as different as can be from Bullseye. I'm also convinced that under stress, people get threat focused and a lot of training goes out the window.

What say you? Is Bullseye a good foundation for self defense training, or a separate discipline entirely?
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Old May 22, 2012, 01:00 AM   #2
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Bullseye is a great start. Focus on accuracy first, and speed will follow.
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Old May 22, 2012, 01:41 AM   #3
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Shooting B/E does in fact help your pistol shooting in other areas. Just like shooting High Power does everything for shooting a scoped rifle. It isn't instant by any means but a season of shooting B/E is worth it. Dot sights don't help, it's the irons that make things happen.
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Old May 22, 2012, 05:54 AM   #4
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Bullseye makes you a much better one-hand shooter, so much so that using two hands almost seems like cheating. I'm a purist and use only irons. Highly recommended.
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Old May 22, 2012, 06:37 AM   #5
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Working on your fundamentals is always a good investment. But if you're interested in SD training, get some SD training and continue to work on that as well. Though it's a game, IDPA would be a nice complement to bullseye. A shooter who can do well in both would be a very good shooter.
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Old May 22, 2012, 08:00 AM   #6
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Yup, yup, yup. In Louisiana, police firearms instructors are required to successfully complete a standard bullseye course on the first morning of the instructors school. If they don't pass that bullseye course, they get sent home. Period. No questions.

Bullseye shooting is very good for the fundamentals of sight alignment and trigger squeeze.
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Old May 22, 2012, 08:26 AM   #7
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Bullseye is an excellent tool for SD or any other pistol/revolver shooting.

I don't care what you shoot, the goal is to hit your target, not see how many rounds you can put down range.

It's about fundamentals, Bullseye, more then anything else (excluding ISU pistol shooting) gives you those fundamentals.

A quote from MG Julian Hatcher, "Textbook of Pistols and Revolvers" 1935

Quote:
Many practical users of pistols or revolvers are fond of making fun of target shooting, and the advice given on how to learn this branch of the sport. Such an attitude is will understood by the psychologist. It is founded in the unconscious jealousy and feeling of inferiority that the poor shot feels when he sees a well trained marksman making scores out of his power to equal. Unconsciously he will try to belittle that accomplishment that he does not possess, so that he will seem to his audience to be just as important and well equipped as the good marksman whom he reticules.
I've been around pistol/revolver shooters a long time, practical, target, SD, Military, and Law Enforcement. 40 years give or take.

As to the above quote, I've found no truer words have been spoken when it comes to pistol shooting.

I'm not that much of a pistol shooter, but I had one guy on my NG Pistol team that shot for the All Guard International team who I use to prove the point of fundamentals taught by Bullseye.

I don't know who here has had much to do with ISU or international pistol competition. In the rapid fire events you shoot 25 meters at a target similar to the police B-17. You have an oval 10 ring that's quite small.

You face the targets with your pistol in one hand, you have five targets. Its fired in three stages. Stage 1, the targets turn and from the pistol pointed at 45 degrees down, you raise the pistol and fire at the 5 targets in 7 seconds. Stage 2 is the same thing in 5 seconds, Stage three is fired in 3 seconds.

When in LE, military combat, or practical shooting when I get the "bullseye is useless-and a deterrent to good practical shooting" crowd I bring my pistol shooter to the course. Let me tell you, the practical shooter is humbled.

I'm not saying shoot Bullseye exclusively, I'm saying incorporate it in you training program. You need bullseye to ingrain the fundamentals into what is called muscle memory. Then it carries forward to your practical or SD shooting.

In practice use your SD pistol/revolver in your Bullseye shooting. Try shooting a pistol NM Course with your snub nose revolver. Your scores are gonna suck, but you'll learn to shoot your revolver.
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Old May 22, 2012, 09:00 AM   #8
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While Bullseye is excellent for developing the basics of bullet placement, I don’t think of it as self-defense training. The focus of Bullseye is on accuracy and precision, both necessary fundamentals for any shooting discipline. You stand at a line and focus on hitting the point of aim and producing small groups. A level of proficiency must be obtained in accuracy and precision before self-defense training can began in earnest.

It kinda struck my funny bone to read, “Though it's a game, IDPA..,” Snicker. In my view, Bullseye is a game too (although some of the shooters don’t know this), along with other games like pins, IPSC, Bianchi Cup and others; however I agree that IDPA “would be a nice complement to bullseye.”

I feel IDPA does offer training for self-defense, more so than the other disciplines, because it incorporates tactics, use of cover, reloading, drawing from concealment, movement of the shooter, movement of the target, movement of both and all shot with basically “stock” pistols and revolvers.

If you can’t hit the side of the barn from standing inside the barn, you would do well to start with Bullseye; however, if you can shoot through the knot holes in the barn door, try IDPA.
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Old May 22, 2012, 09:37 AM   #9
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kraigwy - The ISU sounds like it could kick the hind parts up to around ear level. Speed and transitions. Nice post.

Bullseye is foundational.
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Old May 22, 2012, 10:33 AM   #10
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Anything that will allow you to pick up a weapon and hit what you are aiming for is good.
It seems kind of obvious that any specialized version of shooting has its limitations, though.
Being able to stand, flat footed in one spot, slowly shooting at a single target, for the tightest possible groups with one hand, will provide you with that singular skill.
It will not provide you with the skills to survive a deadly encounter with possibly many aggressors.
But it's as good a place to begin as any.
And those skills gained with bullseye shooting are definitely needed as a foundation.
Joining a league will keep you at it better than going out to plink on your own.
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Old May 22, 2012, 10:35 AM   #11
jimmythegeek
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So...not a controversial notion!

I don't think I've ever seen a thread here with 100% substantive agreement like this! I'll get me to a Bullseye league.

I can't shoot through knotholes (unless they are 4-6" at 25'). I'm going to get some 1-1 coaching and intro to IDPA lessons as well.

Maybe by the end of summer I'll have bonded to my 1911 the way I have to a couple of my rifles. Funny how putting in some real work and attaining a modest degree of skill will do that.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old May 22, 2012, 12:28 PM   #12
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It is my experience that bullseye shooters can convert to the other forms and do well quicker than the point shooting action crowd can convert to bullseye shooting. Most of the time that isn't a problem but if a man has to take a long shot with his handgun the bullseye shooter has a much better chance of making that shot.

I start all my new shooters on bullseye at 50' or 25 yards and then 50 yards before I ever let them time and rapid fire. When they can shoot good rapid fire at 25 yards and decent slow fire at 50 yards they are ready for the two handed action shooting scenarios and the weak hand shooting. To my way of thinking it is like building a house, you need a good foundation first. A man who can stand there on a windy day and shoot one handed keeping his shots mostly in the black at 50 yards can learn to shoot any handgun at any range.
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Old May 22, 2012, 10:53 PM   #13
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The different shooting sports compliment each other. I wish there was more emphasis and promotion of Bullseye. IMO, a competitor can develop some bad habits with the way some action shooting sports courses of fire are laid out.

What I think is vital is being able to quickly assess the situation and determine when to shoot and what to shoot under stress in a scenario and layout that you did not previously see. If you have an opportunity to go through a shoot house done by a well respected agency/training facility with instruction, take that opportunity. I suggest being very familiar with firearms and in particular your firearm before taking part in this type of training.
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Old May 23, 2012, 02:40 AM   #14
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Trigger time is always good time.
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Old May 23, 2012, 06:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Try shooting a pistol NM Course with your snub nose revolver. Your scores are gonna suck, but you'll learn to shoot your revolver.
Hey Kraig, I've shot a timed fire 86 (one-handed) with my airweight S&W 637-2 (double action), so they don't have to suck.
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Old May 23, 2012, 04:57 PM   #16
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I don't take part in bullseye competition, but I can't imagine any negative in doing something that makes you a better shooter ...
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Old May 23, 2012, 05:48 PM   #17
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I have to add more more voice agreeing.

No, Bullseye shooting is not exactly perfect for self defense, but neither is IDPA, IPSC, USPSA, or almost anything else that is not specifically "self defense training" (and maybe not even then).

Bullseye shooting will force you to work on the fundamentals and let you spend more time working with your firearm, which are always good things.
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Old May 23, 2012, 06:29 PM   #18
Nnobby45
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Quote:
Bullseye is an excellent tool for SD or any other pistol/revolver shooting.

I don't care what you shoot, the goal is to hit your target, not see how many rounds you can put down range.

It's about fundamentals, Bullseye, more then anything else (excluding ISU pistol shooting) gives you those fundamentals.
There can be an inherent danger for those who think that bullseye shooting alone is preperation for SD. Bullseye trained police officers found that out when they were actually involved in a real fight. It's not a lesson that needs to be relearned.

Can't count the times at the indoor range when shooters would come in to keep "sharp" for SD and do nothing but shoot for tight groups and then grin at their "achievment". Now, if you KNOW you're having fun, brushing up on fundamentals, and enjoying yourself, that's fine. If you think that's self defense practice, then it isn't.

On the other hand, if you understand the value of fundamentals learned in bullseye, then you can apply some of it to the real world of gun fights, as bullseye teaches fundamentals.

Watch a Gabe Suarez video on gunfighting and see if standing there while acquiring a nice sight picture and squeeeeeezing the trigger is realistic and likely to get you anything other than killed. Try that in the wrong situation, and you could obsorb more lead than the Dalton gang in Coffeyville, Kan.

Just my thoughts on the matter.
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Old May 23, 2012, 06:56 PM   #19
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Ed McGivern emphasized that trigger control, breath control and sight picture were the same in rapid fire shooting as in slow fire, Charlie Askins was an accomplished Bullseye shooter, as was Bill Jordan. Bill Jordan emphasized that rapid fire and combat shooting is to slow fire as running is to walking.
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Old May 23, 2012, 09:49 PM   #20
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Jimmy,

You must walk before you learn to run, crawl before you learn to walk...

Yes bullseye has it's place.

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Old May 24, 2012, 07:38 AM   #21
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one-handed shooting

It's true that slow-fire bullseye is not, in itself, self-defense training. But having observed posts on SD training for years now, I wonder if anyone does any systems thinking to the process.

To me, the ability to shoot accurately with an unsupported hand is a critical SD skill. The answer that I'm almost sure to get is "They switched to two-hand in IDPA and the other sports, so that's been proven to be successful." It is successful in those scenarios, but they presuppose that you have two hands available. Of course that leads to the "training for one arm wounded" arguments, but I think that it's simpler to point out that if you're attacked on the street you may very well be holding a bag of groceries, some other purchase, your kid or grandchild (young and light enough to carry). You have the choice of dropping what you're carrying (drop the bag and sacrifice the dozen eggs, but precludes dropping human cargo) or shooting with an unsupported hand.

This is an even worse problem with the training of women. Ignoring the "teaching my girlfriend" amateurs on the range (shudder), I still see professional trainers teaching with the female student in jeans or sweats with pistol in holster or on the bench being taught to pick the pistol up with both hands and punch forward. Excellent advice except where is her pocketbook? Women have been trained from an early age to retain that pocketbook at all costs. Her entire life is in there. Unless you're going to train her to drop that thing while going for the firearm, you're setting her up for a delay in response as she tries to figure out what to do in an emergency situation. Training to shoot one handed bypasses that problem.

I am not a firearms instructor, I'm just mentioning some observations that I have made. If I'm just being naive, well, at least I have put out something to which others can respond.
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Old May 24, 2012, 09:04 AM   #22
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Quote:
Watch a Gabe Suarez video on gunfighting and see if standing there while acquiring a nice sight picture and squeeeeeezing the trigger is realistic and likely to get you anything other than killed. Try that in the wrong situation, and you could obsorb more lead than the Dalton gang in Coffeyville, Kan.
NOBODY is saying use Bullseye exclusively, we're saying use Bullseye to develop fundamentals and relearn/practice.

Along the same line, thinking you can always use two hands is silly. I've discussed this with Suarez a couple times (before he band me from his web site).

Try to get a good two hand grip after someone knocked you on your butt at an ATM or a similar scenario. Try getting a two hand grip while your crawling through a window.


Bill Jordon was mentioned. Yes he was a bullseye shooter, he was also a combat shooter. But Drawing and shooting with one hand AFTER he had the fundamentals down.

No one teaches " squeeeeeezing the trigger", they teach smooth activation of the trigger, there is no law that say smooth cant be fast. Again look at ISU rapid fire shooters. They don't "squeeeeeze" the trigger, but they do activate it smoothly. If they didn't they couldn't get five shots off in 3 seconds on five different targets at 25 meters and still hit the target.

Bullseye teaches fundamentals that build muscle memory that carry through on all aspects of pistol/revolver shooting, even two handed shooting.

Some of you seem to say we want all shooter to step up to the line with a pistol box, line up or scopes, blacken or sights, before each and every shooting encounter.

No sir, we're talking about the fundamentals taught in bullseye, which includes proper grip, sight alignment, and "SMOOTH" trigger control and follow though.

But excluding stance (taught in Bullseye), The stance should be practices setting down, laying down, crawling toward cover, etc. etc.

Point shooting is necessary at bad breath distance where you use your free hand to the face distracting the target while you draw and shoot from the hip.

If you have time to get a two handed grip, you have time to get on your sights.

Its not the first shot that wins a gun fight, its the first hit, and you don't get hits without fundamentals.

I'll give you a real life example of what I'm talking about. Season before last, I was antelope hunting. Saw a critter and decided on a stalk. While crawling throught the grass, trying to avoid cactus I came nose to nose with a rattler. I had one hand free, rifle was in the other and I'm sort of leaning on it. I was able to draw my revolver and because of fundamentals learned in Bullseye I was able to quickly dispatch the snake before he got me.

If I'd have turned loose the rifle he probably would have tried to get me, I couldn't use the rifle, it was out of position and besides I don't carry a round in the chamber while hunting.

But I do practice drawing from weird postions and I do practice bullseye with my 642. And mainly I do a huge majority of my carry revolver practice with one hand. The exception is using two hands practicing on hostage targets, again with the fundamentals gained in bullseye shooting.
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Old May 24, 2012, 09:13 AM   #23
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Its not the first shot that wins a gun fight, its the first hit, and you don't get hits without fundamentals.
You have no idea how many times I have used that line, some on military team members but mostly with young law enforcement officers, police and deputies, still green, still wet behind the ears, still learning to shave and they all want to be quick draw McGraw because "The first shot wins the fight."
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Old May 24, 2012, 09:24 AM   #24
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I stand corrected;

The International Shooting Union rules call for 8-6-4 seconds not 7-5-3 as I posted.

Been a long time since I've shot ISU Pistol.
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Old May 24, 2012, 11:40 AM   #25
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As a decorated keyboard commando...

...I can provide 2nd- and 3rd-hand accounts of gunfights conducted without injury with both combatants using "spray and pray" at distances under 6 feet. People get weirdly dysfunctional.

During an assassination attempt on Harry Truman by Puerto Rican nationalists, one Secret Service agent carefully pocketed his brass for later reloading. He did so per his hours of training at the range.

You practice how you play, and vice versa. I know it'll get me funny looks at the range, but I'm going to do just that: I'm going to train the way I'd react to a real situation. I'll just have to bring a change of pants for the ride home.
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