The Firing Line Forums

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

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old October 15, 1998, 08:59 PM   #1
Rich Lucibella
Join Date: October 6, 1998
Location: South Florida
Posts: 10,224
Point Shooting vs Flash Sight

OK, guys. We're barely a week into the life of The Firing Line. So let's start off with something non-controversial ;-).

What are your thoughts on the use of these two techniques at noncontact ranges; say 3 yards out to 15 yards?
Rich Lucibella is offline  
Old October 15, 1998, 09:45 PM   #2
Rob Pincus
Join Date: October 9, 1998
Location: Hotels
Posts: 3,667
At three yards, I am a point shooter, no question.

At 15 yards it becomes a little more situation dependent. I would opt for using the sights almost everytime.

IF we are talking about a combat scenario, at a distance of 15 yards I would play shoot and move until I was behind some cover. Then use the sights, escape, or whatever.
Rob Pincus is offline  
Old October 15, 1998, 11:24 PM   #3
Junior member
Join Date: October 14, 1998
Location: Logansport, IN, USA
Posts: 217
I think this topic is way too complicated for any forum. There are several good books, Shooting To Live, Fairbairn & Sykes, Kill or Get Killed, Applegate, Sharpening The Warrior's Edge, Siddle, and Siddle wrote an excellent article for the Firearms Instructor #25. When the sympathetic nervous system is activated by the perception of a threat or fear ( fight or flight, or startle reaction ), it becomes impossible to focus on the front sight due to changes in the eye ( pupils dilate and near vision goes away). I would guess that all of the answers we will get here will describe what a person does in practice. In order to find out what one does in an actual situation, you would have to be that person, and I have not( thank God ) been so blessed. The best single source might be NYPD's SOP 9 started many years ago by Frank McGee. There is a question about sights, on the form that is filled out on every shot fired. GLV
GLV is offline  
Old October 15, 1998, 11:30 PM   #4
Rich Lucibella
Join Date: October 6, 1998
Location: South Florida
Posts: 10,224
I'm not so sure. There are a number of cases where the shooter remembered nothing *but* the front sight....right down to the serrations.

I agree it's an expansive topic. But let's take a stab at it. You already have by posting some excellent resources. Thanks.
Rich Lucibella is offline  
Old October 16, 1998, 12:26 PM   #5
Junior Member
Join Date: October 15, 1998
Location: Shenandoah Valley VA
Posts: 7
Shooting To Live certainly advocates point shooting, but he also advocated carrying in Cond 3, totally negating the concept of the pistol getting in to action quickly by point shooting with a single hand (ala No Second Chance). A much better source and technique IMHO is The Modern Technique of The Pistol by Morrison & Cooper. Front sight every time so when things go bad you do see that front sight and make your first shot count.
Combat45 is offline  
Old October 16, 1998, 01:31 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: August 16, 1999
Posts: 1,173
Rob is right. You return fire and seek cover. You cant put a blanket method for every thing, range, target, enemy, terrain and time all play a consideration even in a fast and furious gun fight.
As for the light thing - I like my rechargeable Stinger. Puts out good white light, and I havn't bought batteries in over a year - adding up the costs... that light payed for its self about to months ago... and I am now saving money on it every time I put it back in the charger. Rechargables are the way to go. 6 Volt lithium batteries are very expensive for only an hours worth of light.
Kodiac is offline  
Old October 17, 1998, 09:04 AM   #7
Junior Member
Join Date: October 14, 1998
Location: West Newton, Pa - USA
Posts: 5
Rob and Kodiac are right as long as it is accurate fire. To quote from John Farnam - " The accuracy requirements do not change" if it is 1 yard or 25 yards. We who carry weapons are responsible for every round we send down range. Whatever we hit, we now become the proud new owner of. Of course we should return fire and move as quickly to cover as we can but not at the expense of accuracy. This sighted vrs flash sight picture topic can and probably will open up alot of views and each have their reasons for using it..
Eagle is offline  
Old October 20, 1998, 11:59 AM   #8
Retired Screen Name
Join Date: November 17, 2000
Posts: 83
Never having fired a shot in anger, I still practice both point shooting and aimed fire. Both are practical. One is for very close and fast encounters and the other when there's distance and you should have aimed fire.

Bruce Siddle addressed this issue in the latest issue of The Firearms Instructor.
4V50 is offline  
Old October 31, 1998, 10:44 AM   #9
Staff Alumnus
Join Date: October 23, 1998
Location: ATL
Posts: 3,277
Roger, Rob. .

GLV, as Rich pointed out, training can negate or lessen that "tunnel vision" response, as well as other pertinent effects such as fine motor skills degradation. After several years of martial arts training, I find that punches are "slower" than they used to be. Good preparation and cool heads sometimes cause the brain to speed up so dramatically that big game hunters have calmly "taken their time" setting up shots on charging big game with only a second or two of life potentially left. Bears some thought.
Spectre is offline  
Old November 1, 1998, 12:08 AM   #10
Junior member
Join Date: October 14, 1998
Location: Logansport, IN, USA
Posts: 217
What training does is to make you more aware of what happens when the adrenalin hits. That is the reason I compete. I know I can shoot when my hands start to shake, when 20 other guys are watching me, and ready to laugh, and when, in a tactical exercise, I have to shoot over my partners head as he reloads. Bruce Siddle's book Sharpening The Warriers Edge is tops. I was doing some reactive shooting today, and found that when in covered position, sights were always used, while when on the move, more of flash picture was used. It is not anything I concentrate on. GLV
GLV is offline  
Old November 1, 1998, 07:08 AM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: October 24, 1998
Location: Oregon
Posts: 264
Excellent article by Siddle in the IALEFI magazine, the FIREARMS INSTRUCTOR, and borne out by OIS incidents at my agency. Our training philosophy and, repetition and drill outside of contact distance has been in modern times: when the weapon clears leather, two hands together; assess; if necessary then sights, press.

But we've had a number of 1-handed, no recollection of sights, engagements. To include, some time back, one of our best assistant instructors (fully qualified but not fully credentialed).

Does this mean we will change our philosophy and R&D? No, because speed is fine but accuracy is final and the need is to shoot carefully very quickly.
SKN is offline  
Old November 1, 1998, 10:30 AM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: October 10, 1998
Location: Pflugerville, TX
Posts: 280
Just as an additional data point. Jim Crews teaches "front sight all the time, every time." This was really something new for me. I had to really concentrate to break the older habits.

What suprised me was my shot placement. I kept feeling very lucky. Kaos everywhere. People screaming and yelling. Targets moving at a rapid pace. Heart about to jump through my throat. Rear end puckerd up in stress. I would focus on the front sight and not really feel like I was on target. Yet when the smoke cleared, the hits were right were I wanted them. These drills were done at 3 and 7 yards. Anytime I went back to pointing under the stress, my shots went wild. Staying on the front sight kept me in the black almost every time.

Understand, this was my first formal training class. I had lots of old bad habits to break. I have found these skills improving as I have practiced them. The old habits are fading. I am now a firm beliver in getting as much training from different sources as possible. I am a much better marksman today and I continue to improve every time out.

I'm staying with what Jim taught me; stay on the front sight. Fast is not important... if you miss.

Bubba is offline  
Old November 2, 1998, 10:30 AM   #13
4V50 Gary
Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 20,487
Whatever system or stance one uses, only hits counts.

Isn't KAOS the organization Max Smart use to combat?

4V50 Gary is offline  
Old November 3, 1998, 12:12 PM   #14
Senior Member
Join Date: October 10, 1998
Location: Pflugerville, TX
Posts: 280
Yep. And was there ever another show that repesented the KeyStone Cops / mass disorentation any better?

I'm glad somebody caught the reference.

Bubba is offline  
Old November 20, 2005, 03:37 AM   #15
Senior Member
Join Date: October 30, 2005
Location: Southern California
Posts: 748
Iron Sights

As a beginner I am always using my sights. And I think I should for some time or until I at least get some more intermediate or advanced training.
gdeal is offline  
Old November 20, 2005, 08:36 AM   #16
Double Naught Spy
Senior Member
Join Date: January 8, 2001
Location: Forestburg, Montague Cnty, TX
Posts: 12,131
There are a number of cases where the shooter remembered nothing *but* the front sight....right down to the serrations.
As much as I want to trust other shooters, what shooters do and do not remember and the significance of what they remember seems to be highly variable. During stress, with high heart rates, time dilation, auditory exclusion, and tunnel vision, folks remember some strange things and seem to not recall some obvious things.

So while some shooters may recall the front sight is detail and others not, we don't know if the ones who didn't recall it actually saw it or not. As for those that remember nothing but the front sight, you have to wonder at what point the fixation started and ended and how that influenced the firing solution.

I think a lot of folks try to deconstruct shooting platforms a little too heavily and try to delineate aspects that may not be critical in real life. No one method is perfect. After reading countless threads debating isoceles versus Weaver, I find that I tend to improvise quite a bit with Iscoelitic Weaver and Weaverinian Isoceles stances as the situation dicttates. Similarly, I can 'point' shoot out to 5 yards pretty darned well, only I am not doing it properly but in the manner I have come to see as my own mutation of it. Personally, I don't like the idea of point shooting beyond the need for retention. I want to be able to use my sights and think it is prudent to use my sights, situation and time permitting.

I'm staying with what Jim taught me; stay on the front sight. Fast is not important... if you miss.
I just love these sorts of absolutist mantras as they are far from absolutist. This quote assumes that a missed shot will have zero influence on the bad guy. That may or may not be the case. In going through video after video of shootouts, the vast majority of people do tend to react to shots, even missed shots, if they think the shots are oriented toward them. In fact, the who purpose of suppression fire is to get a reaction that keeps the opposition from being able to return fire. Everyone would like suppression fire to magically hit the bad guys, but the fact of the matter is that the goal isn't hitting the bad guys, but keeping them suppressed.

At Thunder Ranch, one of the mind-numbingly repeated misquotes over the PA system was "Fast is fine, but accuracy is final." This is a misquote from Wyatt Earp who said something like, "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything."

While I certainly feel hitting the target is important, what I learned at Thunder Ranch is that a lot of people get trained to take the perfect shot. That half or three-quarters of a second they spent lining up the accurate finality shot is way to long. It matters not just how good your shot could have been if you had managed to pull the trigger, but since you were too slow, the bad guy just riddled you with poorly aimed but suprisingly effective shots. If you think about it, especially at very close distances where point shooting can save time and where the bad guy has a good chance of hitting you simply because of proximity to you, do you really think you have enough time for a Wyatt Earp shot?
"If you look through your scope and see your shoe, aim higher." -- said to me by my 11 year old daughter before going out for hogs 8/13/2011
My Hunting Videos
Double Naught Spy is offline  
Old November 20, 2005, 10:13 AM   #17
Senior Member
Join Date: January 7, 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,224
Yup, when it comes to close CQB (close quarters battle) training, I have always been taught that (if the situation calls for such response) that you draw and aim at the general area of the person you wish to hit from the hip, as fast as possible, fire a few rounds then raise to eye level and to focus on the person you wish to hit and not so much the sights, keeping your focus on the target, allows you to better react to an attack, plus it helps lessen tunnel vision...

Now this was told to me by 3 trainers, at 4 different classes. All at different ranges. Only once was I told to keep your focus on the sights, and this was by a cop, who was also at the training class with his wife, he then was corrected by the instructor.

Perfectly aimed fire is for when you have the time to do so, not when in a gun fight, the other guy is trying to KILL you, he is trying to kill you before you kill him.

I am not advocating totally unaimed fire, I can pretty much keep it in centermass without using the sights at 10 yards with my p99 (my ccw pistol).
BerettaCougar is offline  
Old November 20, 2005, 09:07 PM   #18
Jamie Young
Senior Member
Join Date: April 7, 2000
Location: SE/PA
Posts: 4,834
OK, guys. We're barely a week into the life of The Firing Line. So let's start off with something non-controversial

Am I on Candid Camera?
Find out about Gun Shows and Training activities.
Get your gun club involved!!
Jamie Young is offline  
Old November 21, 2005, 12:26 AM   #19
Garand Illusion
Senior Member
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,278
It's funny how people used to talk about shooting before the turn of the century. Wonder if any of the old timers who posted to this originally are still alive?

Still an interesting thread ... my answer would be that I will flash sight if I can, point shoot if I don't have time.

I usually practice shooting triple taps (phrase?). One from the hip to COM as I bright the gun up. One to COM from a quick flashsighting. One to the head with a more careful flash sighting. All 3 shots are off in about 2 seconds (which is actually a long time if someone is close and charging at you).
"A coward dies a thousand deaths; the valiant taste of death but once."

Atheists will believe anything to avoid the truth.
Garand Illusion is offline  
Old November 21, 2005, 09:34 AM   #20
Join Date: November 12, 2005
Posts: 48
I was reading a very formal study performed by researchers (may have been FBI) who interviewed a number of individuals who shot cops. They asked them several questions and among them was this question: "who wins in a firefight." Most of them responded: "the guy who gets the first shot off."
arnie08515 is offline  
Old November 21, 2005, 10:07 AM   #21
Senior Member
Join Date: December 20, 1998
Location: NE Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,639
I have a different solution to this problem. My eyesight is really screwed up from about 20" out. Nearsighted with severe astigmatism. I am able to shoor Rifles and Shotguns with corrective lenses, but handguns pose a real problem.

My prescription lenses are useless at the 36" distance I normally have to focus on to see the front sights of handguns. I can see the sights but not to a fine focus. I have tried every conceivable type of sight. Red dots work for bullseys but are impractical for carry guns.

A retired NYPD type suggested lasers. And I installed a Lasermax in my G30. It works but the laser is awkward to turn on when drawing from a holster, not good for CCW although it definitely helps accuracy WITHOUT MY PRESCRIPTION LENSES!!!

I recently installed a Crimson Trace laser on a Colt Commander and it works so well I intend to install more on other guns. At normal combat distances I can shoot accurately without my prescription!!!

I get better groups at 25 yds with the laser than with special prescription lenses!!!

With more practice the Crimson trace laser is the best answer to my vision problems. It goes on instantly when I grip the commander and can be adjusted for accuracy.

I believe it can improve anyone's gunfighting marksmanship and speed. No need to bring up and align the sights, which I cannot do anyway.
I am no longer a member of this forum. Bye!
K80Geoff is offline  
Old November 21, 2005, 03:50 PM   #22
Hard Ball
Senior Member
Join Date: November 28, 1999
Location: California
Posts: 3,925
Nathan Bedford Forrest (General CSA) was once told that some of his tactics were unfair.
"Remember General. twice armed is he whose acts are just!"
Forrest replied "Maybe so Sir, but thrice armed is he who gets his shot is first!"
"I swear to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemeis domestic or foreign WHOMSOEVER."
Hard Ball is offline  
Old November 21, 2005, 04:08 PM   #23
Senior Member
Join Date: November 9, 2004
Posts: 774
Its my turn to be the person who is just as annoying as the person who actually commited the "offence" by pointing it out.

You realize this thread is from when TFL first starte in 1998....right?
Avizpls is offline  
Old November 21, 2005, 06:14 PM   #24
Capt. Charlie
Join Date: March 24, 2005
Location: Steubenville, OH
Posts: 4,444
Roughly at the time this thread was started, this question was one of current events. Law enforcement agencies around the country were kicking this question around and training was gradually shifting from emphasis on points and tight groups to combat tactics and speed shooting. I was big into PPC shooting, and was consistently one of the top shooters in the valley. Then they switched to instinct shooting, and both my scores and morale went to hell in a handbasket. It was really hard to make the switch because it was like starting all over again, and, of course, it hurt my ego. But I rolled up my sleeves, set my jaw, and became determined that I would become proficient at it. And just like bullseye or PPC shooting, I learned that you can learn to get good at it (although I have one hell of a long ways to go before I could be termed "good".) Scores don't count for squat in a gun fight, but the combination of speed, accuracy, and good tactics does. Without all three, you might as well bring a knife to a gun fight. I still shoot some PPC, but that's mostly to keep my ego from deflating completely .
TFL Members are ambassadors to the world for firearm owners. What kind of ambassador does your post make you?

I train in earnest, to do the things that I pray in earnest, I'll never have to do.

--Capt. Charlie
Capt. Charlie is offline  
Old November 22, 2005, 05:43 AM   #25
Senior Member
Join Date: October 5, 2005
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 881
gdeal, have you ever considered paleontology as a career? You seem to have a talent for digging up fossils.

I do indeed love my sights, but it depends on the situation. If a cannibal came running at me with the intention of sucking my brains out through a specially designed cannibal's straw, I think I would find it more instinctive to point shoot. If, on the other hand, the threat presented itself in the form of a zombie who wanted to eat my brains in a manual fashion, I'd use the sights, because zombies are slower and usually require headshots.
stratus is offline  

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 03:32 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10061 seconds with 8 queries