The Firing Line Forums

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

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 26, 2017, 01:32 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: August 11, 2016
Posts: 687
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.
OhioGuy is offline  
Old September 26, 2017, 01:53 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: May 22, 2007
Posts: 348
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.
PPGMD is offline  
Old September 26, 2017, 02:22 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: August 11, 2016
Posts: 687
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
OhioGuy is offline  
Old September 26, 2017, 03:08 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: May 22, 2007
Posts: 348
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.
PPGMD is offline  
Old September 26, 2017, 03:49 PM   #5
Deaf Smith
Senior Member
Join Date: October 31, 2000
Location: Texican!
Posts: 4,453
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
Deaf Smith is offline  
Old September 26, 2017, 06:00 PM   #6
Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 21,829
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.
Do you know about the TEXAS State Rifle Association?
JohnKSa is offline  
Old September 26, 2017, 08:58 PM   #7
James K
Senior Member
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,384
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.

Jim K
James K is offline  
Old September 27, 2017, 06:51 AM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: January 2, 2005
Location: Where the deer and the antelope roam.
Posts: 2,397
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.
Retired Law Enforcement
U. S. Army Veteran
My rifle and pistol are tools, I am the weapon.
Nanuk is offline  
Old September 27, 2017, 09:08 AM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2008
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 11,020
Yes, its called "DISTANCE AND TIME"
Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
kraigwy is offline  
Old September 27, 2017, 09:22 AM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: November 4, 2013
Location: Western slope of Colorado
Posts: 2,981
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.
Sharkbite is online now  
Old September 27, 2017, 10:35 AM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: January 3, 2017
Posts: 1,584
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.
ShootistPRS is offline  
Old September 27, 2017, 07:56 PM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: December 23, 2009
Posts: 1,424
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.
shafter 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 07:13 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, 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 0.08731 seconds with 8 queries