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Old April 20, 2019, 01:19 PM   #1
Oldjarhead
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Both eyes open at close range with a handgun

I hear and read often, that you should focus on your front sight, when firing. Well, I have seen in video, that a lot of close range gun fights, with handguns, and you only have time to point and shoot, focusing with both eyes open, on the threat. I am talking five yards, or less. Am I wrong? Seems logical. I would think beyond seven yards, I would, with training, be able to aquire my sights.
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Old April 20, 2019, 01:26 PM   #2
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Plenty of trainers, schools, and old timers have discussed the merits of point or reflexive shooting. It can be done to good effect. It's also not a replacement for sighted fire. There's a balance in using it.

Also, I'm for both eyes open even when aiming, but I know for some people that's not easy.

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Old April 20, 2019, 01:30 PM   #3
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Do this: set up your target at five yards and just point the gun and shoot. Forget about the sights completely. Observe the results, I already know what they are on 95% of the people who shoot handguns on a regular basis. Now go back to ten yards and rapidly point your gun and focus on the front sight only and shoot. I also know where 90% of you are going to hit. When I say focus on the front sight only, I mean only. Don't take time to use the rear sight. You can shoot this way very effectively, but you will have to adjust where you're putting that front sight on your target.
Ranges of five and seven yards are not target ranges requiring using a sight at all if you're an experienced handgunner having to make a very quick shot at a large target. If you're not in a hurry, go ahead and aim.
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Old April 20, 2019, 02:51 PM   #4
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Back in the day, a fella at pistol league said the only reason I was beating him so badly in the standings was that I had a red dot sight and he had open sights.

Just for fun, I ran a target with the dot turned off. At that time, I knew my pistol really well and how it fit in my hand. I wish I could say I beat my buddy by simply using the one inch tube as a giant ghost ring, but I didn't. I made it so close he shut up for the rest of the winter about how red dots are no fair.

Red dots are no fair, by the way!

I believe the key to this is having grips which fit your hand such that you can grab the gun and just "know" that you have your natural grip... that is, you raise your gun to the target and the sights are already nearly lined up.

As for gunfights, all I know is both eyes open is probably better than both eyes closed.
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Old April 20, 2019, 03:22 PM   #5
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I shoot all firearms; rifles, shotguns, or handguns irregardless of the type of sights or the range with both eyes open. If I need to see the sights I look at them. For very close range handgun use I may, or may not see the sights. But I always use both eyes.
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Old April 20, 2019, 03:25 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by stinkeypete
I believe the key to this is having grips which fit your hand such that you can grab the gun and just "know" that you have your natural grip... that is, you raise your gun to the target and the sights are already nearly lined up.
Much of that comes down to muscle memory. This is why any 1911 I buy that has an arched mainspring housing gets changed to a flat MSH -- usually before I even put a round through the gun.
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Old April 20, 2019, 03:50 PM   #7
LineStretcher
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Originally Posted by Oldjarhead View Post
I hear and read often, that you should focus on your front sight, when firing. Well, I have seen in video, that a lot of close range gun fights, with handguns, and you only have time to point and shoot, focusing with both eyes open, on the threat. I am talking five yards, or less. Am I wrong? Seems logical. I would think beyond seven yards, I would, with training, be able to aquire my sights.
Both eyes open in a tactical situation affords you the opportunity to retain your peripheral vision thus seeing more than just your target. You aim for center of mass no matter the distance thereby reducing the need for accuracy.

Practicing front sight focus will help with your muscle memory but the action is to point the gun at center of mass and pull the trigger. Remember, the moment you removed your gun from it's holster, your decision to shoot was made. Follow through is a must.
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Old April 20, 2019, 05:30 PM   #8
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Remember, the moment you removed your gun from it's holster, your decision to shoot was made. Follow through is a must.
That is a bit of an overstatement, and a dangerous one, at that. I would say that if the act of drawing your gun doesn't stop the danger (which is actually pretty likely), then follow through is a must. If the person causing the threat does stop, run away, etc., then follow through becomes murder. I know I'm splitting hairs on language, but that split hair could be the difference between life on your own terms or life in prison.
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Old April 20, 2019, 05:30 PM   #9
1MoreFord
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Much of that comes down to muscle memory. This is why any 1911 I buy that has an arched mainspring housing gets changed to a flat MSH -- usually before I even put a round through the gun.
My first 1911 had a flat mainspring housing and all of my subsequent 1911's do too, even if I had to change them.

Yet, I know folks who feel the other way and like arched housings.

Must be a matter of personal preference.
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Old April 20, 2019, 06:21 PM   #10
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At 5 yards you should be able to point if a body shot, try it on a head shot(4" circle) at 5 yards. And yes to both eyes open when using the front sight, practice this, use it. You will find it very effective. Before eye surgery ai had a pair of glasses made with the strong eye focused on the front sight and the weak eye distance. Could focus on front sight and the target. I use the front sight to point with even if not using a clear sight picture.
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Old April 20, 2019, 06:57 PM   #11
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That is a bit of an overstatement, and a dangerous one, at that. I would say that if the act of drawing your gun doesn't stop the danger (which is actually pretty likely), then follow through is a must. If the person causing the threat does stop, run away, etc., then follow through becomes murder. I know I'm splitting hairs on language, but that split hair could be the difference between life on your own terms or life in prison.
Proper training dictates that you do not pull your gun unless you intend to use it. A gun is not something you use in a threatening manner when defending yourself. You pull it, you use it. If you have difficulty understanding that then I suggest you reassess you training needs.

If you pull your gun on your assailant and dont shoot he immediately has the upper hand and is now threatened and will respond accordingly. Your chance of survival just dropped dramatically.
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Old April 20, 2019, 09:57 PM   #12
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If you pull your gun and the threat suddenly gets smart and stops his attack you damn well better NOT shoot. What is your malfunction sir?
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Old April 21, 2019, 01:09 AM   #13
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The OP original question concerned one or both eyes open and point (instinct or reflex) or use sights......

Many years ago in Combat Control School, they taught point or instinct shooting with the Daisy BB gun. One student stood about 3 feet infront and to the side and tossed a 4 or 5 inch aluminum disc, vertically, not like in trap or skeet, in the air about 10 or 12 ft. Another student brought the gun from port arms up to shoot the disc all the while watching only the disc. (Everyone wore goggles and had their jungle fatigues buttoned to the neck and wore our hats with the ear flaps down. There were no real accidents; we were young GIs, and the times were different too.) It didn't take long to progress to 3"", 2", 1" discs. It used the same principle as hitting a baseball.

Now, all that said, why couldn't someone do the same thing with an air soft pistol to learn or improve their point / instinct shooting?

Last edited by pwc; April 21, 2019 at 01:15 AM.
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Old April 21, 2019, 08:12 AM   #14
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Ranges of five and seven yards are not target ranges requiring using a sight at all if you're an experienced handgunner having to make a very quick shot at a large target. If you're not in a hurry, go ahead and aim.
I agree. And the targets dont have to be all that big. I practice unsighted (an improper term) headshots at these distances every time Im out, and have no problems repetitively making good hits, static or moving.

When I said it was an "improper term", it is, as even though youre not using the sights, your brain is making sighted shots, just not in a conscious, traditional manner.

I think its very important to practice alternative methods of making good hits on what youre looking at, not just doing so consciously using the sights.

I realize, a lot of places dont let you practice realistically and limit what you do and how you shoot, but there are other ways around this. Dryfire and Airsoft, especially when using a gun that replicates what you normally carry, can be a great way to work on things, if you cant do it live at the range where you shoot.
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Old April 22, 2019, 12:18 PM   #15
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Both eyes open in a tactical situation affords you the opportunity to retain your peripheral vision thus seeing more than just your target.
Your sensory system is constantly running a triage center over what should be brought to your active attention and what should be ignored. Its how we manage to walk or accomplish any other task - you would simply be overwhelmed if it was not. In a high adrenaline situation your sensory system becomes more and more acute and focused in on the task at hand - the term "tunnel vision" is part of this. If this does not happen during a situation that rises to the level of needing a firearm it raises some concerns. Some would argue you are "as cool as a cucumber" others would argue you either have a level of experience that few of us would ever conceive of and still others would argue its good evidence you are a psychopath. Regardless I think your minds ability to consider issues in your peripheral vision in such a situation is tremendously limited.

Shoot with both eyes open because it likely gives equal results as far as meaningful accuracy (we are not talking bullseye competition here) at combat distances and is likely quicker. It also allows a more natural movement to your body which may be invaluable.
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Old April 22, 2019, 01:59 PM   #16
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In situations where there's plenty of light and I have a highly visible front sight -- XS Big Dot, or some bright orange or yellow TruGlo type site -- I can acquire my sights reasonably well with both eyes open, at least enough to get center mass hits. But if the lighting isn't great -- and in defensive scenarios I can't imagine we're often dealing with ideal lighting -- it's very difficult to do without closing one eye and focusing on the front sight.

Practicing unsighted fire is extremely important, like others have said, and it comes down to muscle memory. Pressing out the gun in a good grip and firing with good trigger control, you should be able to get reasonably accurate hits at relatively close distances. One big reason why advocates of lasers have come to love them, is that they can provide a point of aim in poor lighting and from compromised shooting positions in which you can't even see your sights. I'm not fully sold on that idea, but I do think lasers provide certain advantages.

I got used to shooting with a red dot sight at the range and in a shooting league, and after about six months of it, switched over to carrying with a red dot. It's not a cost effective way to carry, but the benefits seem enormous because it works with your visual system. Open both eyes and look directly at the target, and if your gun is aligned, a dot magically appears and you go from there.

Of course these also raise their own issues -- risk of failure is always there, but more likely, it can be hard to find that dot if your presentation isn't great, and of course you can't see it at all from a compromised shooting position.

Whatever system you use, it's really worth the effort to regularly practice without sights. I find that a laser cartridge makes this really easy to do at home. You can get hundreds of reps with immediate feedback on shot placement.
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Old April 22, 2019, 02:15 PM   #17
Jack Ryan
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You drive with both eyes open don't you?

Isn't that "aiming" the car down your own side of the road.
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Old April 22, 2019, 10:12 PM   #18
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You drive with both eyes open don't you?

Isn't that "aiming" the car down your own side of the road.
There would be far more accidents if driving a car accurately required aligning a notch on the dashboard with a post on the hood, while maintaining situational awareness and also looking ahead for obstacles. Sighting a handgun effectively is really a rather unnatural process for how we view the world. That's again why I believe there are tremendous benefits to red dots and lasers.
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Old April 23, 2019, 08:18 PM   #19
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Sighting a handgun effectively is really a rather unnatural process for how we view the world.
So was driving a car until you learned how to drive.

I think some of the problem here is, we have gun drivers of different levels and skills. Some understand, others havent got there yet.

The broader you are in youre learning and experiences, the more you know.


Oh yea, and I can drive a car with a millennial vehicle anti-theft device installed too. And without thought!

Its as easy as shooting without sights.


Quote:
That's again why I believe there are tremendous benefits to red dots and lasers.
Im a big fan of red dots on long guns. And while I dont have any on my handguns, Im sure Id like them just as much (which actually scares me, as I cant afford that ).

But that still doesnt mean I dont or wouldnt shoot both, "instinctively", when the need arises. I practice shooting everything that way, and on a regular basis.


One thing I wont waste another dime on is a laser. If there is a valid use for one, its very limited, and other than maybe infrared on certain guns, with NV, I really cant think of any others.

I find them to be WAY too much of a distraction. One that forces you to waste time looking for that silly dot (and one that often is completely lost in daylight, even at close distances), when you should be shooting the target.

For training, I think you would be much better served with a decent Airsoft gun that mimics your carry gun.
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Old April 23, 2019, 09:09 PM   #20
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Both eyes closed Jedi style.

Seriously I am a both eyes open person. The way I figure it tunnel vision is a forgone conclusion with a real threat and I want as much extra peripheral vision as I can muster.

All that being said, lots of folks cannot work sights/target both eyes open. What’s funny is for me not using both eyes is “unnatural”.
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Old April 23, 2019, 09:12 PM   #21
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Oh yea, and I can drive a car with a millennial vehicle anti-theft device installed too. And without thought!
You win the thread.
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Old April 23, 2019, 09:15 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by TunnelRat View Post
Plenty of trainers, schools, and old timers have discussed the merits of point or reflexive shooting. It can be done to good effect. It's also not a replacement for sighted fire. There's a balance in using it.

Also, I'm for both eyes open even when aiming, but I know for some people that's not easy.

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I have come to the conclusion over the last couple years Tunnel and I are on the same page more often then not, only I get the impression he can actually shoot.
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Old April 24, 2019, 10:02 AM   #23
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CQB (close quarters combat) is point and shoot. Usually anything further than say 5 yards is more accurate by putting the front sight on the target. Lots of different opinions but whatever works for you is good. As a combat veteran, I keep both eyes open...my choice. I prefer full vision to include peripheral vision to see what may be coming at me sideways. As in any gunfight, a slow hit is better than a fast miss.
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Old April 25, 2019, 11:31 AM   #24
T. O'Heir
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"...just point the gun and shoot..." You must keep your eyes on the target too.
Airsoft guns are toys and nothing more. Sykes and Fairbairn were teaching this technique before W.W. II. Their book is called "Shooting to live". $23.99 on Amazon.
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Old April 25, 2019, 05:03 PM   #25
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Airsoft guns are toys and nothing more.
I have to assume you never used one in practice?
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