View Full Version : Train as you fight...

Rob Pincus
January 7, 1999, 01:31 AM
Just heard a very cool little quote about the Roman army on a TLC program....

"Their Manuevers were like bloodless battles.. their battles like bloody Manuevers"

Maybe they'll say that about me someday... ;)

Art Eatman
January 8, 1999, 08:13 PM
Yeah, that was an interesting program.

In "Rainbow 6", Clancy has one of his characters talk about how the harder you train, the easier it is to deal with the real thing.

In my 1980 combat pistol class, the instructor kept repeating as a mantra, "As you practice, so will you shoot." While it brought no changes, it sharpened my focus. If I'm doing serious hunting, there's only one rifle I'll use. Same for birds and shotguns--my ol' over-heavy Model 12. And I have a pet pistol to carry for social occasions...Muscle memory and trained reflexes.

So let us hope that bloodless battles and bloody maneuvers will be the style of us all.

January 28, 1999, 04:55 AM
Here is a thought: I gave up using my sights on my handgun long ago. When am I gonna have time to use them anyway in the real encounter? Some people think I am a sloppy shooter when I shoot, because I don't take a long time to aim, I just point and shoot, trying to mix up rates of fire etc, and I always shoot from motion, even if it is only a half draw.
Anyway, I have gotten darn good at it! I can still aim and shoot when I want, but I can pick a gun up, point and cap off three rounds in a tight group at any respectable distance without doing anything more than looking down the barrel in my peripheral vision.
This even works in the dark. Using this technique at my last shooting class, I scored the highest shooting that they had ever encountered in this school according to the instructors on their live-action drills! They started doing live action drills in low light, with a supposed hostage, where all you could shoot was part of the BG's head under a 5 second time limit to shoot from the draw at 10 yards. In nothing but ambient light, I drew, fired five head shots, and even had time to eject my mag and put the gun down before the time ran out. We also did one shot drills. The instructor was aghast and said "I would certainly want you on my team".
Now, I am bordering on braggary, but I would only talk like this because it an area that I am not that well trained in, and I just did it all by going out in the desert and shooting stuff. I often "double tap" (hammer pair?) and always practice shooting from a walk or run or crouch and from a half draw (not Western style, I am not a cowboy, but just from having the gun lowered below view).
Just what the heck good is it to sit there at the range and try to hit bullseye's when that is nothing like combat? Shooting fast and from motion, I cannot hit bull's eyes every time, but I can confidently double tap a head shot on the draw at ten yards without even thinking. I am not claiming to be a shooting champ or anything, but for defense, that is plenty good enough.

What do you think Harry, am I on the right track or am I learning bad habits? Any other ways to train?


Jeff Thomas
January 28, 1999, 11:00 PM
So, thaddeus, just out of curiosity, what's your choice of pistol?

Michael Carlin
January 28, 1999, 11:36 PM
Please see the thread at Glock Talk General Glocking, titled "A rebuttal to point shooting" at http://ericcom.com/glocktalk/
and comment here.
Did you learn to do this without using the sights?

Ni ellegimit carborundum esse!

Yours In Marksmanship


January 29, 1999, 02:17 AM
a some comments on this thread;

1) most authorities & instructors are
LEO and/or former or active military.
that's a different mindset than
J. Q. Citizen bopping down to the
Quickie Mart for a gallon of milk.
maybe I'm naive,but I'm not in Condition
Red 24/7. thus, if a violent threat
presents itself to me, I will be in
reactive mode rather than proactive mode.
the mental state will be different than
a cop doing a traffic stop at night.
all that is a windy way of saying that
some of us may be caught by surprise and
in a full panic state, rather than a
cool, calculating, perfect sight picture
mental state.

2) people seem to get all worked up about
"point shooting", and whether or not
any sort of visual sight index is being
used conciously or unconciously. if it
puts ordnance on target quickly, how bad
can it be? I took the sights off my
Glock and did a little short-range
rapid fire shooting; hurried shots
were spread (but were on the paper at
15 ft), but I was able to tighten the
groups up a bit with some care. so
"indexing" isn't what I would consider
a crime against nature.

3) at the supposedly most likely self-defense
distances, I'm more concerned about
retention and draw; nobody ever seems to
get worked up about that stuff.

Rich Lucibella
January 29, 1999, 10:54 AM
If one can point shoot as well as Thaddeus, I say "More Power to Him". Why fix what ain't broke?

I do, however, wish to make a couple of observations. (My comments refer to distances further than those which would dictate the Speed Rock). In sighted fire, front sight is not used to aquire the target, but to confirm it. With training, I believe this is a millisecond focus shift which is accomplished in the time it takes the index finger to move from frame to trigger.

Michael Carlin has said much of value in the aforementioned thread on Glock Talk. It's worth reading. As Michael points out, hitting your target is often not enough...hitting a specific *point* on your target is necessary. If you can do this with point, then go for it. Most will need thier sights.

Secondly, point shooting is actually *incorporated* in sighted fire, we aquire the target with a point shoot and *confirm* it with sights. That is to say, with a sighted fire attitude, point may be used. With a point attitude, sights may not be used. So you have two choices, IMHO....bring the weapon to eye level and let circuimstances dictate whether you use the sights; or go to point attitude, realize that you need the sights, raise the gun to eye level, and start over. Which is quicker?

To me, the real tactical issue in point vs sights is the shooter's focus. Here, we might argue that point has the advantage in that the target is in crisp focus.

Rosco Benson
January 29, 1999, 11:25 AM
Some of Thaddeus' post seemed to require a response;

When am I gonna have time to use them anyway in the real encounter?

This idea is at the heart of most all of these interminable "point-shooting vs. aimed fire" threads. The fact is that, if a proper flash sight picture is utilized, it takes NO longer to use the sights.

They started doing live action drills in low light, with a supposed hostage, where all you could shoot was part of the BG's head under a 5 second time limit to shoot from the draw at 10 yards. In nothing but ambient light, I drew, fired five head shots,

I would hope that if you had to take a head shot at 10 yards, with the perp's head partially obscured by a hostage that you would AIM (if you took the shot at all...but that's another thread).

and even had time to eject my mag and put the gun down before the time ran out.

Why in the world are you practicing to eject your mag and put your gun down after dealing with a tactical scenario? Scanning the area, taking cover, and doing a tactical reload would be more appropriate.

We also did one shot drills. The instructor was aghast and said "I would certainly want you on my team".

I wonder if he would feel the same way if you were point-shooting in a hostage scenario FOR REAL rather than on cardboard? What if the hostage was one of his family? What if his career was on the line based on your performance? I'm guessing he would want you to use your sights...if only to VERIFY that your presentation had resulted in proper alignment.

I'm not trying to be critical. With enough practice, some folks can achieve great results with point-shooting. However, if they committed equal practice time and effort to the modern technique...a la Cooper...they would be better off. It's great that you are incorporating movement into your shooting practice. This is overlooked by many shooters.


Michael Carlin
January 29, 1999, 12:59 PM
Rob, great thread!

Rich Lucibella,

Absolutely correct the issue is focus!

Thanks I appreciate your positive comments.

Let’s deal with focus.

It is my opinion, borne of a few years experience in some low stress activities (gymnastics, airborne, helo-rappell, and helo-cast operations; professional full contact karate, motorcycling), that one’s attention is best focused on the process, not the outcome.

Those who are preoccupied with keeping your eye on the opponent are allowing him to drive their actions. The very act of focusing one’s gaze focuses one’s mind on what you are looking at. (During my tenure as an instructor at the Fort McCoy Light Fighter Academy Army Air Assault School we often told students as they prepared for the short time constraint and rather exacting Sling Load Inspection Performance test to “look at what you touch and touch what you look at”. Thus as they followed their inspection sequence they would FOCUS on each element in turn!) My presumption is that the gunfight has commenced. Your survival is not so much contingent on what he does so much as it hinges on what you do!

Once the unthinkable has begun, focusing your eye on the front sight should become a haven from stress. It is my considered opinion that in times of great stress soldiers and indeed all humans fall back on the repetitive training they have received.

We have all heard the story of the LEO with the brass from his revolver reloads in his pocket following the gunfight. We are all familiar with the many civil war relics recovered charged to the muzzle with ball and charge atop ball and charge…

Why? The soldiers were trained in the volley system of fire. They drilled in a system where the ranks closed with the enemy in successive volleys. Each rank of firers steps forward through the rank which just fired. The motions of reloading were rehearsed and rehearsed. What was not rehearsed over and over was actually taking aim and shooting a shot on command!

So when the stuff was in the air movement device they went through the drill just as they had trained, and they did not actually fire! The drill used to train the volley method is the culprit here! They trained over and over without actually firing as ammunition was too dear for that. Then when they were less than 50 yards from another long line of humans trading volleys of fifty plus caliber balls (stressful? I should think so) they tended to fall back into EXACTLY what was drilled or trained

Let me say here that I can not imagine what sort of incredible discipline and leadership it took to rally men to frontally assault the Union line at Pickett’s charge. I am in awe of the ability to get men to “go over the top” in WWI. The carnage depicted in the opening of the film “Private Ryan” is as near as I can imagine it, never having been in combat. It seems to me, if it is like other stressful events, there is a surreal ethereal quality about these activities.

I think that if you train drilling over and over to confirm the target(that vulnerable portion of the core of his being and the part of his exterior we have to engage to hit it), see the sights, quickly and smoothly press the trigger that you will eventually feel quite comfortable when you are doing this.

On the day that you encounter that which is to be avoided your natural inclination will be to retreat to your comfort zone. If what you have trained yourself to be comfortable with is the methodical application of the fundamentals, placing shots on the critical points of the opponents anatomy you are well prepared to survive.

You are way ahead of someone who says: “it will all be a blur, you won’t be able to see your sights, your can’t this and you won’t that”. This is a mind set for failure. You are what you think you are. If you TRULY see yourself as the cool headed problem solver, and apply the algorithms that you have developed, you will do so, and you will most likely WIN!

It appears that the results are best if you concentrate on the process.

The gymnast’s dismount usually is landed
if you are focused on the steps
you do them.

In competitive shooting, the tens
are there if you concentrate on the
process of shooting them.

In the full contact karate ring it is
best if you concentrate on executing
your plan, and force him to deal with
you. You evaluate as things develop,
make adjustments, but you are focused
on what your are doing to him, not on his
actions. (You may be drawing a
specific response so you can counter
it, but YOU are driving the train, not

During motorcycle crashes (which are
not accidents, but rather attempts to
expand one's performance envelope  ),
situational awareness rehearsed
mentally, allows one to bring an arm
in to avoid a guard rail, or to roll
over while sliding feet first (at speed)
to avoid colliding with a sign post.
While making a tree landing parachute jump
concentrating on driving the chute to the onlyopen spot for some distance results in being one of very few not in a tree!

Look at him (focus you eyes on him)? What for, is he going to reload for you? You have to shoot him!

You can not do that with an empty or malfunctioning weapon. You should remain behind or move to cover, reload in such a manner that you are minimizing your exposure, while your peripheral vision tracks him. You should be focusing on the steps of the reload.

When your focus is on the opponent you are not concentrating on what you are doing. It is implausible to me that when teaching to reload, some instructors are insistent that you must continue to look at (focus on) the opponent.

If you’re partnered with someone, you should take cover as you loudly advise “Reloading”! His or her response should be “Covering!” In less than 2 seconds you WILL be sounding off with “Ready!” or shooting!

Your focus should be internal. Remember Magnum trying to open the car door as the dobermans closed on him saying aloud "Don't look at the dogs! Don't look at the dogs!"

Right technique, wrong words, should have been "LOOK at the lock and PUT the key in it!" Give yourself a positive roadmap for your mental state. Prepare to win! Survive!

Ni ellegimit carborundum esse! ;)

Yours In Marksmanship


[This message has been edited by Michael Carlin (edited 01-29-99).]

January 29, 1999, 08:44 PM
more power to you Michael!
I think 0ther than being a Ayoob worshiper,
I'll bow my head also to you.



January 29, 1999, 11:33 PM
Whew, I thought I tended toward long posts. I will have to digest all that, Mike.

Let me answer a couple questions: I carry a P7M13 and I only carry a 9mm occasionally because it comes in that gun! What a handgun.
When possible, I carry a .45. I started with the 1911, and I like to stick with the same manual of arms so that I don't miss the safety under pressure, so I only carry compatable guns. Therefore I bought a USP .45 and I like it better than the 1911, and I like the fact that the safety is in the same place and therefore it is instinctive to me.

I shot a Glock for many years, I got it as a High School graduation present (my parents are cool like that). I put thousands of rounds through it. Great gun, I just wish it had an external safety because I fear a stress fire from it (personal thing, that maybe more training would help). I just really like the idea of thumbing the safety off or engaging the P7 lever when I am well clear of my body. I find no probs with the P7 manual of arms, it is easy, and I never have a problem engaging the lever until I mean to.
I have had the pleasue of owning a fair amount of guns, so I feel that I have a good idea of what I like anyway.

Rich: I never considered myself "good". I have NOTHING to compare myself to. I consider myself just a good plinker with little training. I have never shot by the side of anyone that was really good, so I don't even know what "good" is.

Rosco: Good questions, actually gave me a chuckle for some reason because they were true in a sense.
The "hostage situation" was supposed to be in a theater and it was quite dark. They flicked the lights out, not giving much time for the eyes to ajust, and gave us a hopeless scenario where we HAD to shoot. Using the sights was not really an option unless they were tritium. I was at a lamer school where they were worried about AD/ND's so they demanded that we all eject the mag, rack the slide (if it was not already back because they only let us put in five rounds for that drill) and put the gun down. In retrospect, that was a REALLY STUPID WAY TO TEACH. I will never go back to that school. I am sure that that had something to do with why they were impressed with my shooting, it was a nice, big, established school, but not a really serious one.
The one shot drills were done with a laser gun, with the gun straight down to the side. The instructor stood 7 yards away and told us that we could not react until she/he started charging us. It was to teach us something, but I forgot the point of the drill. The gun was held at our side, one by one in front of the class. The instructor charged us and we are allowed to step back into our choice of stance and fire one shot. I did the drill three times. I never missed the heart, and I mean the HEART. Dead nuts center. They were impressed. I do not think I am that great a shooter, but I am confident that I could do that again in a real siruation.

Here is my "secret" training technique. This is coming from a creative and poor college kid (me) who HAD to get some good realisitc training (practice) but had to find a way to do it cheap (or free!). I would go out into the middle of the Arizona desert (and still do) and shoot. If there is no one around, me and possibly my buddy practice in action. The tumbleweeds, trees and cactus make for good obstacles and we target anything strange as a bad guy. We work as a team and work our way through the tumble weeds (after we know no one is around!) and pretend we are clearing houses etc. Sounds corny, but it WORKS, and it is FREE.
This is much like "Good Will Hunting" (if you have seen that movie) who goes to the library for free because he can't afford college. It is not as good, but you can accomplish a lot through creativity, practice and practice and practice.
Myself and possibly a buddy who I trust go through the desert and stalk bottles or lizards. I go around moving in a mod Weaver stance if I am feeling 'saucy' and when a target pops up, we blow it away, or whoever is safe to fire does. This training is highly effective! I have gotten to the piont where I can shoot a sprinting lizrd off a point shoot (as you guys call it I guess). We are talking, you are walking along and you don't have any clue what is going to happen. You may walk for 5 minutes or more with no action. SUDDENLY a little tiny lizard sprints out about ten or twenty feet from you and starts heading for a bush, you have the gun out, but down, now you point and shoot from a stance (if you have time to attain a real stance). If you can catch a little lizard running at probbly ten MPH off a point shoot, with no warning, then you have gotten pretty good.

Hear ye hear ye, I DO NOT proclaim to be an expert or "good" or anything else. I am just sharing what has WORKED for a poor college kid who can't afford to rent out Hogan's Alley so he made his own. After a couple years of "hunting" like this, I have developed a pretty decent point-shoot (I guess). I am sure I would be well-humbled by any competetive shooter and I am surrounded here by people that surely can out shoot me and have *forgotten* more about combat tactics than I *know*.

Try this drill sometime, it is free, fun and very effective for me anyway. I can still aim-shoot just as well as ever, but I can't say that I really need to at any decent range. I don't even really know if I am "point shooting", as I have never had any training. I am just shooting fast, from motion, without warning, and without time to aim.

I am eager to learn more here. I am planning to get some professional training this summer so then I can refine my humble shooting ability.

May I end all this by saying that I am not taking sides in the argument, I have never even HEARD the argument! I am just trying to share a mentaility in training and ability that I have learned, most of which is: when you shoot, pretend like you are in combat, don't just plink at the paper. My original post was supposed to stem from the original thread about "training how you fight". I never thought it would open such a can of worms, as I didn't know there was this debate going on in the gun world, and I am not even sure what "point shooting" is. I thought it was that old technique where you hold the gun at your waist like in the old black and white FBI shows.


Harry Humphries
January 30, 1999, 02:13 PM

You have restricted your skill enhancement by mentally stopping the shooting cycle at point and fire. Yes we all can point and hit with reasonable accuracy inside the accepted combat ranges of ten feet and some exceptional folks do well outside of that distance, but remember you will not have the ability to think rapidly and adjust to an accuracy posture once in a traumatic state. Your training method has now precluded the instinctive phase of acquiring the front site which is no longer in your subconscience. The modern technique trains, as Rich has explained, the shooter to acquire center of mass of intended target as the first step, it than trains an efficient technique of presentation -"Weaver", "Isosceles" or some combination of the two and finally the surprise break occurs at, if not micro seconds after, the front sight is acquired which confirms sight alignment to the initial pointing instinct. So if you break the concept down there can be a brief moment of point shooting but it is backed or confirmed almost immediately with the front site acquisition which is also now indexed for an immediate subconscious sight alignment for the accurate delivery of a well placed shot.

[This message has been edited by Harry Humphries (edited 01-30-99).]

January 30, 1999, 03:03 PM
Thanks Harry, I see now.

So, basically, I should SLOW DOWN correct? Just slow down a microsecond that is? Just take that extra microsecond to glance down the front sight and confirm my point shoot? Do I have that correct? I will work on it.


Rich Lucibella
January 30, 1999, 07:14 PM
I don't want to answer for Harry, but I read your post with interest. You've already stated that you don't move your trigger finger from the frame until you're on target.

I'd argue that the focus shift to front sight can be accomplished in the time it takes to accomplish that transition. If I'm correct, the slowdown is zero.

Edmund Rowe
January 31, 1999, 01:01 AM
Uh, if I may post regarding the original thread subject:

Something I have seen in training which is VERY difficult to overcome, especially if the student in question (SIQ?) has a competition background, is staying in the fight after the shots/hits are made. There is a STRONG tendency to relax, droop the gun, look at the instructor and comment on the accuracy just displayed, or wisecrack to your buddies, etc.

Having a good after-action scan of the area, such as

1) confirm threat is gone
2) scan local area keeping downed bad guy(s) in peripheral vision
3) confirm again threat is gone
4) continue scan while tac loading
5) scan again
6) keep scanning until the instructor tells you something like "OK, OK, holster...I said HOLSTER! EDMUND, CAN YOU HEAR ME?"

There is no prize for being first back in the holster and like I heard Gabe Suarez say
(paraphrased) "The fight's not over until you're back home"


Harry Humphries
January 31, 1999, 05:08 PM
Rich and Ed bring valid points. I can't analyze your style unless we are on the range together, but you really are not slowing down once you have habituated the front site acquisition phase in your training. Yes, to habituate this behavior, you should initially slow down and go through the mental gymnastics, if you will, of acquiring the front site. This eventually becomes a simultaneous mental function in concert with the mechanics of pointing and engaging the trigger through the compressed surprise break. Remember to force yourself to acquire the final sight picture or follow through after the shot. This will help grouping and trigger control. The final assess is an absolute must (if you are training for combat). You are keeping in the appropriate post-shot guard mentality, as Ed is explaining, but you are also training through the problems of tunnel vision that invariably accompanies traumatic experiences. Once you have incorporated the automatic turreting of eyes and muzzle together, left and right -weapon in the low guard just below threat Zone (hands), you will subconsciously or instinctively break your tunnel vision when you absolutely must.

Rob Pincus
January 31, 1999, 11:22 PM
you guys certainly revived a thread that I thought had died a while ago. And all made wonderful points...

rather than restate my thoughts on point shooting, I would like to say that Edmund has brought up sojething that is one of my pet peeves. The "gee, golly, gosh.. I hit it" effect. That is waht happens when the SIQ turns to look at you with a grin while he half heartedly holsters his weapon.

some people have a real problem in understanding the idea that Scanning the target area for results and additional threats, decocking (if necessary) and holstering are all inmportant parts of the engagement.

some of the drills I have posted in the pst focus on developing an "awareness" that last longer than a 1.5 second double tap. I'd be interested in hearing other ideas on the matter.

[This message has been edited by Rob (edited 02-01-99).]

Edmund Rowe
February 1, 1999, 12:02 AM
Hey Harry and Rob:

Thanks for the favorable comments, but please, call me "Edmund", OK? :)

...else people think my last name is "Monroe"

February 1, 1999, 12:14 AM
drills mentioned,
im regularly practicing so called "PANIC BURST" ,concealed carry,upon signal, step sidewards,draw and engage target, 3 ROUNDS.
my average is 1.75 sec.
is my drill OK or what,or needs refinement?
What about yours pal?


December 17, 2005, 02:23 PM
Yeah sometimes I go to the range straight from work with my tie on and everything. I don't take my tie off because what if I come home someday and there is a perp in my house? Am I going to take my tie off first and then start shooting? On weekends I put on my mall ninja clothes just for the heck of it.

December 21, 2005, 06:56 PM
What's the record for resurected threads? (please don't answer, rhetorical.)
OTOH, good thread.

December 21, 2005, 07:31 PM
I'm more impressed that he got a carry permit in Kalifornia:eek:

December 21, 2005, 08:21 PM
HOLY ZOMBIE THREAD! Almost 7 years old!

Gdeal, how in the hell did you come across this?

December 21, 2005, 09:22 PM
Wow, 7 years old and what a great thread! Thanks, gdeal. Even though that wasn't exactly, as it seems, your purpose.

Capt. Charlie
December 21, 2005, 10:36 PM
gdeal, did you ever think of becoming an archeologist? ;) You sure can dig up those oldies, but goodies. Some of those older threads were good back then, and even better the second time around. This one's like a fine wine, aged just right in the cellars of TFL :D .