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Old September 26, 2017, 01:32 PM   #1
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Is there really any middle ground between point shooting and aimed fire?

I've been experimenting a lot with different ways of aiming at the range. The way I learned, and still shoot for accuracy, is to focus on the front sight with my dominant eye, taking time to line up the shot. I find blacked-out rear notch sights to be the most helpful for this...or at least a differently colored front sight.

But this kind of aiming sucks when trying to come up quickly on target, or when under simulated stress. I get tripped up in trying to focus on aligning those sights, and I take way too long--or else I rush it and miss pretty badly.

OK, so enter "target focused shooting" with both eyes open and focused on the target. So long as I have a bright front sight, I can get the "flash picture" pretty well and at least know I'm aiming in the general direction of the center-mass. Out to about 20 feet, I can still see the front sight well enough to get a vague alignment without having to shift my focus there. My accuracy isn't much worse than it is when rushing with one-eye, front sight focus. In fact I think it's better, or at least I can usually hit a sheet of printer paper pretty quickly.

On one of my guns I installed the Big Dot XS Sights, just to see what they were all about. After a brief period of adjustment, I found that I can do much better with a flash sight picture with these than any other sights. So I can get my first shot on target pretty quickly and pretty accurately.

But what I've realized lately is that, once I pick up the rate of fire, I really don't have time to gain any sight picture worth talking about. I've adjusted my grip to a "thumbs at the target" orientation, such that I worry more about where I point my thumbs than about exactly where the sights are. And I've found that with some practice, out to 20 feet, I can still hit that 8.5x11 sheet pretty accurately (about 80% hits) without using my sights at all. Switching to a life-size silhouette at that same distance, I can land every hit in a zone that would surely slow someone down.

So where I'm going with all this rambling is this: if someone becomes proficient at point-shooting without their sights, then (for defensive use) is there really any meaningful middle ground between un-aimed point shooting, and carefully aligned target shots? Seems like the flash sight pictures, Big Dots, fiber optics, etc. just kind of fade out of the picture?

Thoughts? I've seen some videos of people shooting accurately without sights installed on their guns at all. Now I'm not those guys But evidently it's possible.
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Old September 26, 2017, 01:53 PM   #2
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Yes, the level of sight picture you need varies from target to target.

A good example is in Steel Challenge throughout a full steel challenge match you will use just about every level of sight focus, from just seeing the slide on top of the plate on the big plates on smoke&hope. To some fairly good aiming on the small plates on pendulum.

You see what you need to see and pull the trigger. The key is to practice to see how sloppy you can get and still hit common target sizes.
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Old September 26, 2017, 02:22 PM   #3
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I see your points. I guess I was really thinking along the lines of "is there any middle ground when shooting at a torso-sized target, quickly, at self defense distances."

Obviously shooting a lapel pin will require more careful aiming than just hitting center mass
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Old September 26, 2017, 03:08 PM   #4
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Yes, you can go from target focused with the slide being what you need to see, to target focused but looking at the sights, to front sight focused but just wanting to see it in the notch, to increasingly more critical sight pictures.
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Old September 26, 2017, 03:49 PM   #5
Deaf Smith
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It all depends on your experience level. Even Applegate said he never intended point shooting for experienced shooters. Just depends on what one's experience level is... and how to define it.

“To you who call yourselves ‘men of peace,’ I say, you are not safe without men of action by your side” Thucydides
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Old September 26, 2017, 06:00 PM   #6
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I'd say that the middle ground is precisely where things get practical. The problem comes when people claim that one technique is the exclusive answer all the time.

There are times when point shooting makes a lot of sense and there are times when it's ridiculous to try to point shoot. Similarly, there are times when aimed fire using the sights is by far the superior technique and other times where trying to use it is stupid--even dangerous.
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Old September 26, 2017, 08:58 PM   #7
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There is definitely a point where you don't need to aim in the usual sense. You can try that easily. Look at something across the room (a picture on the wall, say), and point your finger at it. Do not look at your finger or try to move it to get a "better aim." Stop, don't move, and look carefully at where your finger is pointing. It will be close to the "target". That is pure point shooting, and what you want to use at close range (less than 10 feet or so). With practice, you will be able to hit a target the size of a man's chest without aiming at all.

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Old September 27, 2017, 06:51 AM   #8
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I was taught/trained in both over the course of my life/career in LE. Threat focused shooting works best up close (within 15 yards) and especially when you need to move. But whenever you can be on your sights, you need to be.

You will see people teaching all manner of techniques, some still teach hip shooting. Personally I feel that unless one is so close that the BG can grab your gun it should be presented at full extension and held by both hands. I never felt the need to draw when someone was that close, I always went hands on.
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Old September 27, 2017, 09:08 AM   #9
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Yes, its called "DISTANCE AND TIME"
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Old September 27, 2017, 09:22 AM   #10
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See what you need to see for the shot at hand. 3yd chest shot...tgt focused will be fine. 10yd head better see the sights.
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Old September 27, 2017, 10:35 AM   #11
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I can tell you that shooting from the hip, point shooting and sighting are all possible if you know your gun and use it a lot. It takes a lot of practice to learn to hit a four inch circle at 7 yards from the hip. It takes continuous practice with one gun. It is easier to hit the same target at the same distance with point shooting and as the distance increases I find it is more necessary to use the sights.
I am in the process of learning to use my 9mm this way and it is hard work after doing it for years with my 357. Working with the 9mm is messing with my ability to use the revolver the way I have in the past.
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Old September 27, 2017, 07:56 PM   #12
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For speed, focus on the target and rely on your hand eye coordination. Your gun should be a blur in front of you. Once you get out past ten yards or so you'll may need to switch back to taking just a bit longer to use your sights.
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