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Old August 20, 2014, 02:40 AM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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Point shooting: Useful tool, or reckless fool?

On Monday, I went to the range with just my Redhawk, partly because I was off to the forest and that is what I carry there for security.

And therein lies the point of the post. I tend to carry predominantly in the forest, when there with my dogs, in case they try to play with something that doesn't play well with others.

It seems to me that, based on people's accounts, if something does come out of the brush for a "quiet word" I'd have limited time to react and it may be a case of draw and shoot ASAP. As such there'd be no time to raise the gun to eye-level to aim properly.

So I tried point shooting. Mini-comstock target at about 5 yards and 8" or 12" steel plates at about 10 yds (twisted at 45 degrees to avoid fragments being thrown back at me, but then reducing frontal area also).

I was not drawing particularly fast but did just draw and shoot. I shot one-handed, obviously, and my elbow was bent at about 110-120 degrees.

For the comstock I got a group of a 6" and on the steel plates I got about 4 hits per cylinder with dirt flying just next to them on the misses. So, not tight groups but could be called effective.

The need for quick draw and fire could come up in an urban environment too, but with the lack of "line of front sight" aiming, the risk of errant rounds is higher, something we all try to avoid.

So, is point-shooting worth practicing?
Does it improve regular shooting, two-handed?
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Old August 20, 2014, 06:03 AM   #2
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So, is point-shooting worth practicing?
Yes, most definitely, both one- and two-handed. I tend to shoot high, it takes practice and discipline to keep the barrel down in the COM zone, especially when shooting rapidly.
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Old August 20, 2014, 06:46 AM   #3
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Sounds like what you're describing is commonly called "retention shooting", and is standard training for reacting to a close threat in every firearms class I've ever been to.

http://www.policeone.com/police-prod...ng-What-is-it/
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Old August 20, 2014, 06:52 AM   #4
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So, is point-shooting worth practicing?
I have no doubt that it is for those who carry a handgun for self defense purposes. In a critical encounter there's a likelihood that the confrontation will occur at very close range without the luxury of having time for carefully aimed shots.
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Old August 20, 2014, 06:55 AM   #5
Pond, James Pond
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Not retention shooting. My arm is more extended than that: my elbow is not in contact with my body.

I would say that my arm is a little more flexed than in this photo from Google Images:



Imagine his arm so that the forearm is still horizontal, but the gun another 6 inches lower, vertically.
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Old August 20, 2014, 07:22 AM   #6
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Point shooting is definitely a valuable skill. When the proverbial poop hits the fan, you may not have the time for a well-aimed, two-handed stance. Of course you need to look at the surrounding circumstances when point shooting. If there is a huge potential for "collateral damage" (innocent bystanders in a crowded place), then a VERY WELL AIMED shot is called for. If there is no one around and the distance is fairly short, then point shooting may save your life. The first person to hit their target in a gun fight has the better chance of winning the gun fight. While shock and adrenaline may allow someone to continue fighting, a bullet wound will reduce their ability. The other thing is practicing point shooting leads to better accuracy so there is an even better chance you will get a good hit on your target quickly.

I practice with my air soft on a sticky target since I don't have that much time to go to the range. I put up a towel behind the target and put the bottom of the towel in a box to catch any stray shots. I practice firing from the low-ready position and bring the gun up quickly on target. Some people even tape their sights so they can't "cheat". With time, you develop the muscle memory and the "feel for the gun" to the point where you can hit the target quickly and accurately. I was grouping almost all of my shots within 2 inches from about 12 feet away. I also practiced drawing and firing from my holster, which greatly improved my draw speed. The trick is to get the closest air soft gun you can to your carry gun. Of course, you also have to back it up with some real range time, but you would be surprised how much muscle memory you can develop from air soft that carries over to a real gun.

Good luck!
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Old August 20, 2014, 08:12 AM   #7
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When I was a kid my shooting buddy’s dad was big on point shooting.
He would always say “If ya can’t point and hit what you are pointing at you may become bear [color=#FF0000]█[/color][color=#FF0000]█[/color][color=#FF0000]█[/color][color=#FF0000]█[/color][color=#FF0000]█[/color]”
He taught us to point shoot and we got very good at it.
It is a skill though you have to practice and keep practicing.
I’m not near as good today as I was when I practice this skill a lot.
The 1st round was the most important.
If it was on target the follow up shoots tended to be on target.
It is muscle memory shooting for sure.
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Old August 20, 2014, 08:13 AM   #8
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Most (a huge majority) of self defense shooting situations are at about 5-6 feet which doesn't give you the time to bring your handgun up so you can get on the sights.

I contend that point shooting is a valuable tool and needs to be practiced.

Point shooting is just that. POINTING. Point your finger at the point on the target you want to shoot.

Set your gun aside and practice pointing at the target using just your index finger. As you do this, glance down and see where you're pointed. You'll find it is pointing where you want it to.

Now think a bit. Where is you're finger suppose to be when you draw? Not on the trigger, but along the slide, or under the cylinder.

"Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot"

So basically in point shooting you are still just pointing at the target with your finger.

You naturally point your finger where the eyes are looking, so in reality point shooting is quite natural.

But again, this only works at short range, its not going to work at 50 or 25 yards, but it will work at SD ranges, 5-9 feet. Pin point accuracy isn't required. Speed is.

Now here is the problem. As I said, you are going to point where you are looking. If the target has a gun or knife, you're naturally going to want to look at the threat, the gun or knife. Not the target that is holding the gun or knife, and that is where you're bullet is going to go.

Try this experiment. Us a B-27 or USPSA type target at 2 -3 yards or so. Now practice point shooting a few rounds. As fast as you can draw and shoot.

You'll find the shots going toward the center of the target, probably just below the center line which is good. If you ever been hit in the stomach you know it will cause you do drop what is in your hands, and double over. That's ok, that's the desired effect, to make the target stop what its doing.

Ok now find one of those threat targets, where the target guy has a gun or knife. Practice you point shooting, concentrating on speed. You'll notice that your eyes want to drift toward the targets threat, that being the knife or gun. And that's where you're bullets are going to go.

Something to think about.

When practicing shooting, are egos tend to want us to shoot good so we cheat. Be careful in the above test, your ego is going to want to make you slow down so you shoot the target, and not the threat the target is holding.

A better test would be to have your shooting partner do the shooting, and you furnish the targets, Don't tell him why, but just switch the target in the middle of the shooting session from the non-threat to the treat target and see where his hits go.

OK that's SD shooting. How about the "woods". If I'm going to where something might eat me, I'm taking a rifle, not a hand gun.

I do carry a hand gun but to supplement my feed, meaning picking up a rabbit or something for the pot. Don't use point shooting in that satiation.

The most danger I run across in the woods (and on my own property) is rattlers. Point shooting doesn't work because of the size of the target, (head). But you can practice getting off fast head shots. I have a bunch of empty shot gun shells laying around my back yard range. Every now and them I walk around practicing, drawing and firing at the hulls, building up speed and accuracy, but I don't practice point shooting here.

Anyway, yes point shooting is a valuable tool for self defense but not so much in the woods in my opinion. But point shooting, like everything else needs to be practiced. Not so much for accuracy (because of the big target and close range) but for speed.
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Old August 20, 2014, 08:30 AM   #9
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I don't think point shooting helps with target practice, but it is fun to a point.

My favorite target was a used tuna can because it has a longer life than a soda can. The wall I hit was that once one had a good kinesthetic for a specific pistol, there wasn't much improvement to be had. I could start near with a high probability of hitting on the first shot, the can would move out and misses would be more frequent, and soon the can was far enough away that point shooting just didn't do it.

For rabbits in tall grass, most I've taken have involved point shooting because they are too fast and too close to use sights.
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Old August 20, 2014, 08:48 AM   #10
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Good pointers, folks and also a good reason to continue practice with it when I can.

A shame that I get to go to the range so infrequently...
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Old August 20, 2014, 10:31 AM   #11
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If I'm going to have the revolver out in front of my body like the fellow in your photograph, I might as well take the time to press the revolver straight out rather than swing (bowling) it up. If I press straight out, I can see the sights enough to get a flash sight picture. Swinging the gun up may be a little quicker than pressing the gun straight out but it's much less accurate for me.
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Old August 20, 2014, 10:47 AM   #12
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Some very serious tests were done with point shooting.They showed it was longer time to bring sights up to the eyes but the hit probability was DOUBLED ! Point shoot couild be the choice for very close encounters .Aimed one hand shooting is more significant .My first aimed one hand deer was done because my left hand was in a cast ! Others were taken when a deer came up on my right side .Rather than turn 90* and risk spooking the deer an easy one hand aimed to it.
Also try different positions =steep hill , holding on to a tree ,etc
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Old August 20, 2014, 10:54 AM   #13
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I think up close it has merit... for obvious reasons... but like others have posted, it's a CLOSE RANGE tactic. As such, I'd limit it in my training regiment unless you just really suck at it... which would be hard to do up close.

While this is directed at LE/MIL training, Kyle Lamb made this short video on the subject...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3nGbN7RxpI
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Old August 20, 2014, 11:10 AM   #14
Pond, James Pond
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My personal interest in point-shooting with my Redhawk is that this is my woods gun. I don't expect to ever use it, but if I do, it is most likely going to be against something on 4 legs, moving in fast and from not very far away.

Luckily I have to 4-legged alert sirens of my own, but that is the extent of my fore-warning.

Carrying a long-arm is not an option: I am not a hunter, I am not hunting and it frankly isn't practical to have a rifle/shotgun slung over my arm. Even though I am in the forest, concealed is still the name of the game.
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Old August 20, 2014, 11:18 AM   #15
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I believe it is a very important skill to have but I question just how much it needs to be practiced.
I believe if you practice your presentation enough so that it is a reflex motion and the sights "find" your line of sight then you'll find your point shooting skills will already be established.
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Old August 20, 2014, 12:13 PM   #16
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I always practice to see my front sight when I shoot (short of retention shooting) and I've never had a problem point shooting when necessary.

To my mind, the only difference between point shooting and sighted shooting is how you index the gun to the target; by muscle memory or by sights? If you practice using sights, you are also building muscle memory. If you practice using only muscle memory, you are not building your sighted fire skill.

On a related note, the old school WWII style point shooting encourages a number of bad habits in my sighted fire, including bowling the draw and overswing.
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Old August 20, 2014, 12:41 PM   #17
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The sights are there for a reason--use them!!
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Old August 20, 2014, 01:28 PM   #18
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
The sights are there for a reason--use them!!
I draw your attention to any posts detail how fast aggressive game can cover ground.

I'm not saying it's my technique of choice, but that, for me, I think it is something worth keeping in my "arsenal".
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Old August 20, 2014, 02:10 PM   #19
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I think the whole "ashamed to shoot bad" thing blocks me from seriously point shooting. I would say I look very much like the man in the photo except my off hand is tucked to my chest. Every time the front sight is not brought up to my eye level, accuracy becomes unacceptable.
I believe that a foundation in martial arts and physical conditioning (for those of us able) will bring more options than just shooting the attacker at 4-6ft
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Old August 20, 2014, 02:50 PM   #20
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I think if you are going to take the time to bring the firearm up to eye level, you may as well use the sights:

link
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Old August 20, 2014, 03:21 PM   #21
Bartholomew Roberts
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Just a question for Mr. Pond; but have you used a shot timer to verify that you do in fact shoot faster that way? Occasionally, I've found that people only think they shoot faster point shooting and some good pistol instruction can have them shooting very fast with sights.
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Old August 20, 2014, 03:42 PM   #22
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Quote:
Quote:
The sights are there for a reason--use them!!

I draw your attention to any posts detail how fast aggressive game can cover ground.

I'm not saying it's my technique of choice, but that, for me, I think it is something worth keeping in my "arsenal".
There should be no "either/or" here. You should practice hip, point, and aimed shooting. Its not a big deal to do all three.
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Old August 20, 2014, 04:22 PM   #23
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Point shooting absolutely should be practiced, and often. If youre not doing so, you seriously shorting yourself skill wise, and have a large gap in your shooting repertoire.

Theres no doubt the sights are useful and necessary, but with a little practice, you'll be amazed at how well you can shoot without ever seeing the sights, and at the distances you can easily and repeatedly, put good hits on target. The key here, is to know what to use and when, and why.

Point shooting also isnt firing wildly from the hip, there are a couple of different ways/methods, and they all have their place. Everything from retention to meat and metal. The important part is to practice as much as you can, and do so as realistically as you can. The idea is to be able to do it without thought or hesitation, and that goes for the transition to sights, as well.

Id say 85-90% of my close range (10 yards and in) shooting is done without sights. Most of that, is with the gun up just below the line of sight, "pointing", using one and two hands, depending on how Im moving when Im shooting. Focus is on the target.

Keep in mind here, we arent shooting "bullseye", and making good "hits" where you were looking when the gun goes off is what its about, and not bragging rights "groups".

Dont be too surprised though if you start seeing a pattern towards the later as you progress.
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Old August 20, 2014, 04:48 PM   #24
Pond, James Pond
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have you used a shot timer to verify that you do in fact shoot faster that way?
No I haven't. Good idea. Something I'll try to remember next time I'm there.
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Old August 20, 2014, 05:19 PM   #25
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Quote:
have you used a shot timer to verify that you do in fact shoot faster that way?
I use a shot timer. Starting with my hand in my pocket, it takes on the average of 4/10s of a second to draw and fire, hitting the center mass of the target at 3 yards.

Point shooting is not only something I practice, but its something I teach. The idea is to prove just because someone has the drop on you, doesn't mean they have the advantage.

What I do, is have two people face their respective target. One has his gun pointed at his target ready to fire. He fires when he sees the other person start to draw.

With a bit of practice, the person doing the drawing will beat the one point at his target every time.

This is when the first guy knows the second is going to draw, the advantage goes further to the 2nd guy or the guy drawing if the guy with his gun out is not expecting the 2nd guy to draw.

This tactic is something we did years ago (in the 70s) in LE along about the time the book, "The Onion Field" came out. There was a big push that cops NEVER give up their guns.
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