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Old March 28, 2018, 06:06 PM   #26
Bartholomew Roberts
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Another benefit of focusing on the front sight is that with a good grip and trigger pull, the front sight will go straight up and straight back down. If you see it flying off to the side or doing other things, you know you have a problem with grip or trigger.

You might be indexing perfectly with point shooting; but still missing and not have a clue why.
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Old March 28, 2018, 06:09 PM   #27
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Frank I think part of what you are posting that is lost in translation is that the press of the trigger in a real gunfight scenario is not that slow surprise "press". It is a controlled jerk. Rob Leatham "jerks" the trigger but in a controlled way.

I think the word "press" is often missunderstood. Also nothing you are describing = aiming at defensive pistol distance which is 10 yards and under.
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Old March 28, 2018, 06:10 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Bartholomew Roberts View Post
Another benefit of focusing on the front sight is that with a good grip and trigger pull, the front sight will go straight up and straight back down. If you see it flying off to the side or doing other things, you know you have a problem with grip or trigger.

You might be indexing perfectly with point shooting; but still missing and not have a clue why.
People need to stop using the term "point shooting" vs "Aiming" when it comes to defensive handgun shooting.
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Old March 28, 2018, 06:34 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by 44 AMP View Post
I don't agree. Its one of the oldest and biggest lies about shotguns, that they aren't aimed, just pointed, in order to hit the target.



If you don't aim, you won't hit your target.





They absolutely DO aim!!! That's what the bead is for.



The difficulty in discussing the matter, and where people who aren't shooters get mislead, is that the aiming of a shotgun doesn't use the same kind of sights as rifles and pistols. It's still aiming,



Yes, it seems like nothing more than pointing, but think about it, it IS aiming.



Trouble is, many people hear "pointing" and think they can disregard aiming.



Maybe you define it differently, but for me, when you sight down the barrel, whether there is a bead, a front & rear sight, or no sight but the plane of the barrel, its aiming. What varies is the degree of difficulty, speed, and precision but its all aiming.



Pointing is what you do when you can't see the barrel, such as shooting a handgun from the hip.



Of course, there are experts who use the term "pointing" to mean anytime one is not fully and properly utilizing the sights. So it can be rather confusing.



As others have mentioned, the majority of people who have been in gunfights, and got hits, say they "saw" the front sight, and used it to aim with. Not the careful, precise lining up of front sight, rear sight and target, just a "flash picture" of the front sight on their target, and firing.



this is something that can be tested with a simple laser pointer (or a laser boresight, etc.) Fasten a laser pointer so its in line with the barrel. EMPTY GUN!!! EMPTY GUN!!! and, did I mention EMPTY GUN!!!?...



use a sheet of paper on the wall as your target. Present (point) the gun at the target, (laser off) without looking at the sights at all. Look only at the target. point your gun, then "freeze" in place (this is the toughest part, keeping the gun where you pointed it) then turn on the laser and see where the dot is, compared to your target.



Do this a few times. Then do the same thing, but look at the front sight when you aim. When your front sight is on that target, look where the laser dot is, its also on the target.



My 'point" here is that if you can see the muzzle (front sight or bead) you ARE aiming (whether you realize it, or not). If you can't, you are pointing.



Pointing can get hits at very close range. Aiming, even a "flash" aim gets more & better hits than pointing.



I'm sure others will disagree with my use of terms, but that's the way I see it.


While you CAN aim a shotgun the best wing shots don’t, first any clay game shot with a mounted Gun isn’t wing shooting. To shoot instinctive proper gun fit is required and relies on one using his onboard computer(brain) without focus on the bead.

I watched a show from gunsite where they were teaching a pocket pistol class that taught to focus on the back of the hand instead of the sights when pointing an LCP.
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Old March 28, 2018, 06:54 PM   #30
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Pointed not aimed

Frank,
I will take the bead off my shotgun. You leave yours on and we will go shoot some trap. If you are using the bead, I will break 20+ birds, you might break about 5 of them if you are using the bead.

If my focus is on the bead, I will miss the bird 9 of 10. It really is one of the first things you will learn to consistently break trap targets. Same deal in skeet, but I don't shoot skeet.
The focus is on the target, not the bead on the barrel. The bead is in your peripheral vision, it's not your focus when shooting trap. If it is...you are gonna miss.
I greatly respect your posts and knowledge, you are wrong on this one.
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Old March 28, 2018, 06:57 PM   #31
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While you CAN aim a shotgun the best wing shots don’t,
we can go round and round on the language used, and, probably will.

Those "best wing shots" may not describe it as "aiming" but they are, and it is.

No, its not aiming the same way one aims using a front and rear sight, nor is it aiming the way one aims through a scope, but looking along the barrel, and aligning it to hit the target (or shoot where the target will be when the shot gets there) is aiming.

The fit of the shooter and the shotgun is important, because it is that fit that determines if one's aim will be on target. With a rifle (or pistol) stock fit isn't nearly as critical, because one aligns the sights to aim. With a shotgun one aligns the plane of the barrel and the shooter's eye. Its still aiming, just done differently.

People say they don't aim a shotgun, they point it, but they are aiming with the gun, just not aiming using sights the way they do with a rifle.
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Old March 28, 2018, 07:28 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Ricklin
Frank,
I will take the bead off my shotgun. You leave yours on and we will go shoot some trap. If you are using the bead, I will break 20+ birds, you might break about 5 of them if you are using the bead.....
What make you think that I don't know how to shoot a shotgun at a flying target. I shot ATA and PITA competition for a bunch of years -- including a number of trips to the CGSTSA State Shoot. I was never great -- started late in life, and a number of 95s at the State Shoot in handicap weren't able to get me a punch. But I do have my share of buckles won at local registered shoots.

And I generally have had a few pheasants in the freezer.

Yes, I know that in wingshooting one focuses on the target. Wingshooting is not handgun shooting. And while I'm also not a GM at USPSA competition, I do have a few buckles won at that at our local club.
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Old March 28, 2018, 07:40 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by WVsig
Frank I think part of what you are posting that is lost in translation is that the press of the trigger in a real gunfight scenario is not that slow surprise "press". It is a controlled jerk. Rob Leatham "jerks" the trigger but in a controlled way......
No it's not. One way I know is the I've trained enough beginners to know that they can and do understand the surprise break and can put it into practice.

As far as slow, follow the link in my post 25 to the video of Jeff Cooper explaining the compressed surprise break.* What gets lost in translation are things like "slapping the trigger" or "controlled jerk."
________

*ETA: I just discovered to my chagrin that this video is no longer available on YouTube. I'll look for another source. In the meantime, this article by Jeff Campbell and this article by Jim Wilson might help clarify the concept.

Another way to describe the concept is that as one becomes adept at apply a smoothly increasing pressure to the trigger the time interval between the start of the press and the shot becomes vanishingly small to the point where the firing of the gun at the press of the trigger becomes indistinguishable from instantaneous. The press on the trigger remains smooth, but the rate at which the pressure on the trigger increases is extremely fast.

ETA2: If anyone is interested in Jeff Cooper explaining the compressed surprise break, please see this video beginning at 36:04.
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Old March 28, 2018, 07:59 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Frank Ettin View Post
No it's not. One way I know is the I've trained enough beginners to know that they can and do understand the surprise break and can put it into practice.

As far as slow, follow the link in my post 25 to the video of Jeff Cooper explaining the compressed surprise break. What gets lost in translation are things like "slapping the trigger" or "controlled jerk."
No you are living in the past. I respect Cooper and what he contributed but modern combat shooting has evolved.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhSQ...ODXOU&index=19

PS your link in post #25 is dead so your way of thinking is not the only thing that needs updating. LMAO
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Old March 28, 2018, 08:04 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Frank Ettin View Post
Wingshooting is not handgun shooting. And while I'm also not a GM at USPSA competition, I do have a few buckles won at that at our local club.
And a lot of modern combat pistol shooting trainer will tell you that a lot of the stuff you learn to win matches will get you killed in the real world.

Matches do not = defensive combat shooting. That is a myth that needs to die. There is some over lap and both sides can learn from each other but a lot of the stuff that people use to game the "game" do not prepare you or translate to life and death shooting.
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Old March 28, 2018, 08:41 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by WVsig
No you are living in the past. I respect Cooper and what he contributed but modern combat shooting has evolved.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhSQ...ODXOU&index=19...
No I'm not living in the past. Pincus and Leatham are trying to describe the same sort of thing that Jeff Cooper described using the notion of a compressed surprise break.

The point of the exercise is to break the shot with minimal disturbance of the index of the gun on the target. We both know that Ron and Rob can do that, and they learned to do it a long time ago. And now they're trying to explain it to others in ways that help other learn to do it themselves.

I can do it too. I learned to do it based on the way Jeff Cooper described it and the ways those ideas were reinforced by instructors in the various classes I've taken.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WVsig
And a lot of modern combat pistol shooting trainer will tell you that a lot of the stuff you learn to win matches will get you killed in the real world.

Matches do not = defensive combat shooting....
What does that have to do with anything? Don't you actually read anything before you try to respond to it? Where do I suggest, in any way, shape, or form, that shooting competition is anything like defensive shooting or training.

First, you quote me out of context. You're quoting something I wrote in post 30 in response to Ricklin's suggestion that I don't know how to shoot a shotgun at a flying target. What I wrote was, in the context of the post taken as a whole, merely clarifying that I have some reason to actually understand the difference between shooting a handgun and wingshooting.

I suggested to the OP that he might want to look into USPSA or IDPA competition so that he might be able to get some practice doing things he can't do at his local range -- shooting fast and accurately, moving with a loaded gun, multiple targets, etc. And I stand by that suggestion since those are basic skills.

I also suggested that he consider some professional training. I've had a decent share myself, including multiple classes at Gunsite, and classes with Louis Awerbuck, Massad Ayoob, and others. Those were not gaming oriented classes.

I'd be interested in knowing something of your training background.
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Old March 28, 2018, 09:18 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Frank Ettin View Post
No I'm not living in the past. Pincus and Leatham are trying to describe the same sort of thing that Jeff Cooper described using the notion of a compressed surprise break.

The point of the exercise is to break the shot with minimal disturbance of the index of the gun on the target. We both know that Ron and Rob can do that, and they learned to do it a long time ago. And now they're trying to explain it to others in ways that help other learn to do it themselves.

I can do it too. I learned to do it based on the way Jeff Cooper described it and the ways those ideas were reinforced by instructors in the various classes I've taken.

What does that have to do with anything? Don't you actually read anything before you try to respond to it? Where do I suggest, in any way, shape, or form, that shooting competition is anything like defensive shooting or training.

First, you quote me out of context. You're quoting something I wrote in post 30 in response to Ricklin's suggestion that I don't know how to shoot a shotgun at a flying target. What I wrote was, in the context of the post taken as a whole, merely clarifying that I have some reason to actually understand the difference between shooting a handgun and wingshooting.

I suggested to the OP that he might want to look into USPSA or IDPA competition so that he might be able to get some practice doing things he can't do at his local range -- shooting fast and accurately, moving with a loaded gun, multiple targets, etc. And I stand by that suggestion since those are basic skills.

I also suggested that he consider some professional training. I've had a decent share myself, including multiple classes at Gunsite, and classes with Louis Awerbuck, Massad Ayoob, and others. Those were not gaming oriented classes.

I'd be interested in knowing something of your training background.
You are King Kong here and wear the Staff name tag so I know I will not win this discussion with you but honestly you are just reposting stuff you have posted in the past based on training you took in the past. The dead link you referenced TWICE demonstrates this. Time to update that copy and paste.

As to who I have trained with I have trained with OpSpec training with Bruce Gray, Ken Hackathorn, Larry Vickers, Pat Goodale and others. I do not claim to be the expert as you do here on a regular basis. For the most part I stay out of this area because it is a circle jerk run by a few who shout down everyone else.

My point is that what Copper taught is not wrong my point is the verbiage and the method has been so bastardized by forums, blogs and Youtube that the real message has been lost. You cannot even offer up live link. LMAO You can go to any range in the USA on any given day and hear someone parroting what you are saying and then watch them shoot target at 10 yards and jerk the gun off target and miss the mark. So you need to change the verbiage. You need to redefine it in new terms so people understand. That is exactly what people like Pincus, Rob L and Vickers are doing. They are changing the verbiage so people listen and understand. 99.99% of people in the shooting community cannot afford to go to Gunsite. The majority of those who can afford it don't do it. They buy more guns. Most people who own guns have received ZERO formal training. They learn by reading posts like yours and watching videos, when the links work, on Youtube. So talking about Gunsite this and Copper that does not really translate to better shooting because the majority have no idea what you are talking about.

As for the out of context quote you are the one trying to use your USPSA accomplishments to established a position of authority in a thread about defensive shooting so I considered it fair game. If you want to consider is a false appeal to authority I will grant you that.

My point is that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Some of the old verbiage is tired. It has lost a lot of its meaning and impact. Things need to be updated. Even guys like Hackathorn who was with Copper in the beginning recognize that. You clearly are sticking to the old school.

Good luck with that everytime I go to the range and see the pistols targets that looks like they were shot by a blind man with a shotgun I will think of you anf assume 99% of them were using their sights in perfect alignment, aiming and jerking the hell out of that trigger. LOL
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Last edited by WVsig; March 28, 2018 at 09:46 PM.
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Old March 28, 2018, 10:37 PM   #38
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Frank I think part of what you are posting that is lost in translation is that the press of the trigger in a real gunfight scenario is not that slow surprise "press".
Where did "slow" come from?

Quote:
...you are just reposting stuff you have posted in the past...
When something is still pertinent, we do that.

Quote:
...based on training you took in the past.
Franks' training-- both as a student and as an instructor.--has been kept rather current.

Quote:
The dead link you referenced TWICE demonstrates this. Time to update that copy and paste.
Frank has provided other links.

Quote:
For the most part I stay out of this area because it is a circle jerk run by a few who shout down everyone else.
That's inappropriate and uncalled for.

Quote:
My point is that what Copper taught is not wrong...
Good.

Quote:
Most people who own guns have received ZERO formal training.
True. It is a good way to invest time and money as it becomes available.

Quote:
They learn by reading posts like yours and watching videos, when the links work, on Youtube.
How on earth can reading and watching videos effectively teach trigger control?

Quote:
As for the out of context quote you are the one trying to use your USPSA accomplishments to established a position of authority in a thread about defensive shooting so I considered it fair game.
Bad call. That was not Franks's purpose.

Quote:
Good luck with that everytime I go to the range and see the pistols targets that looks like they were shot by a blind man with a shotgun I will think of you anf assume 99% of them were using their sights in perfect alignment, aiming and jerking the hell out of that trigger.
Whatever that was intended to mean has been lost in the diatribe.
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Old March 28, 2018, 11:53 PM   #39
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WVsig
...My point is that there is more than one way to skin a cat.....
That is true. It's good to have multiple ways to approach a topic. Sometimes when someone can't learn from one approach another approach will be effective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WVsig
...So you need to change the verbiage. You need to redefine it in new terms so people understand....
Quote:
Originally Posted by WVsig
...Some of the old verbiage is tired. It has lost a lot of its meaning and impact...
And those statements are not categorically true.

First, you assume that the way I describe trigger control isn't understood. I know that's not true because I, and others, have been effectively teaching trigger control that way for some time, to many students.

For about the last nine years I've been with a group of instructors putting on a monthly Basic Handgun class (originally it was an NRA Basic Handgun class -- our class hasn't changed but the NRA class has). We're older guys, most of us retired or close to it. We've all done a fair bit of shooting and training -- multiple classes at Gunsite, classes with a number of instructors like Massad Ayoob or Louis Awerbuck, USPSA or IDPA competition, NRA instructor certifications, and three are POST certified. Our training group is organized as a 501(c)(3) corporation. We're all volunteers, and none of use receive any compensation (except the company buys us dinner after the class where we do a debriefing).

Probably 80% to 90% of our students had never touched a real gun before. Our class enrollment runs roughly 30% female. We have students of all ages from early 20s to us more seasoned types. We've had entire families attend together.

Most of our student show varying levels of anxiety at handling real guns. We try to address this by bringing them through the course material in a step-by-step, measured and supportive way. We limit class size to 10 students, and will have at least five or six instructors at each class. The class runs about ten hours, but we try to provide adequate breaks. Periodically we discuss breaking the class up into two days; but since we often have students travel from some distance doing so might be a greater hardship.

In preparation for live fire we put on a lecture and demonstration about how to actually shoot (grip, stance, sight alignment, trigger press, surprise break, focus on the front sight, and eye dominance). I usually do this one, and I like to use an airsoft gun fitted with a Crimson Trace laser grip to illustrate a controlled trigger press compared with jerking the trigger. We then work one-on-one with students on grip and stance using "blue" inert training guns.

Before going to live fire with .22s, the students shoot airsoft (the quality type) in the classroom so they can get a feel for sight alignment and trigger control (and reset) without the noise and intimidation factor (for beginners) of firing real ammunition.

After the students fire their 25 rounds of .22 (working one-on-one with an instructor), we put out a variety of guns from 9mm to .44 Magnum so the students can get the experience of firing the larger calibers. Shooting the centerfire guns is at each student's option. Most fire them all, but some choose not to.

During the live fire exercises it's not uncommon for a student to shoot 2 to 3 inch groups at seven yards with even the heavy calibers. A few months ago, a petite young woman who had never fired any type of gun before out shot everyone, including her husband, with the .44 Magnum -- putting three rounds into about an inch at 7 yards.

Of course we're not teaching a defensive handgun class. We're giving complete beginners a decent foundation upon which to build further skills.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WVsig
...Most people who own guns have received ZERO formal training. They learn by reading posts like yours and watching videos, when the links work, on Youtube. ...
And that's a shame.

You have some very good training. I would have thought that you'd be promoting good, professional training. Those who really want to learn do seek out good, professional training.
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Old March 29, 2018, 06:45 AM   #40
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Its been many years since I have shot trap or skeet but as it was explained to me back then one of the reasons to "point" and aim down the barrel rather than aiming with the bead was to allow continued movement of the "swing" of the shotgun to spread the shot some (think of more of a line of shot rather than just a circle of shot) to gain more hits. Maybe this was wrong when it was explained to me, maybe I am not recalling it correctly, or maybe times have changed.

But if they haven't not "aiming" a shotgun in the traditional sense is different in premise than not aiming a pistol due to the use of.. well shot.

I am in agreement with others though. "Aiming" is not some dichotomous thing where you are either doing it or not. There is a reason you are not shooting from the hip in either scenario (generally) and it has to do, at least for part of the reason, with aiming.
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Old March 29, 2018, 07:04 AM   #41
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WVSig
People need to stop using the term "point shooting" vs "Aiming" when it comes to defensive handgun shooting.
1. Why?
2. You understood my point though? Visual focus on the sights gives important feedback to the shooter that can be used to self-diagnose problems. If you can’t or don’t look at the sights, you don’t get that feedback.
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Old March 29, 2018, 07:16 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Originally Posted by OldMarksman
Where did "slow" come from?
It comes from the bastardization of the concept of a surprised break which Cooper refers to as the "open end surprise break". Most people do not understand the concept of a "compressed break" Most people misunderstand the concept and when you add to it the fixation on the front sight causes them issues on target. You have seen it at the range. Someone with the gun extended squinting to see the front sight with their finger on the trigger. Most are slowly pressing the trigger to the rear while their gun wobbles and their sights move. They then jerk the trigger in a "now".

On the other end of the spectrum guys like Rob L and those who shoot at or close to his speed don't use their sight and they slap the trigger. The setup of their gun and the rest of their foundation is so solid they can get away with it and achieve the required accuracy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Originally Posted by OldMarksman
How on earth can reading and watching videos effectively teach trigger control?
You can't which is why posting a old Cooper video explaining it doesn't do much for me. LOL Unfortunately this or their buddy is exactly how most people learn to shoot a pistol. I am referring to the reality of the situation not the ideal best of all possible worlds scenario.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Originally Posted by OldMarksman
Whatever that was intended to mean has been lost in the diatribe.
My point is that if we keep approaching the issue of aiming and trigger control the same way with the same verbiage we will see most people at the range shooting crappy targets with huge spreads and not tight groups. I don't know where you shoot but I at the ranges where I have shot over the last decade 8 out of 10 targets look horrible. They are all over the place.

If you go up to the shooter that is all over the place and ask them to tell you about their shooting process if they can articulate it at all they will tell you. I am lining up or aiming my sights on the target and then I am squeezing the trigger. In reality they are not doing any of that but they think they are. That was the point I was trying to make.

Anyway back to the OPs question. Italics were inserted by me for emphasis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pep in CA
Should a pistol be aimed or pointed?
A rifle is definitely aimed. I think that is generally agreed upon. A shotgun, by contrast, is pointed, not aimed. I think that too is generally agreed upon.

So where does a pistol fit in that spectrum?

Personally, I've had the idea that a pistol should be aimed, but recently I've tended to think otherwise. An article I read suggested that, when in a defensive encounter, one will naturally focus on the target, not the front sight of the weapon. I've never been in such an encounter and I hope I never will, but the argument seems to make sense.

What do you think?
The OP is not asking about slow fire target shooting. He/She is not asking about the type of shooting you are doing in a NRA First Step Pistol shooting class. He/She is not even talking about USPSA or IDPA gun games. They are asking about shooting in defensive encounter. That is what I was speaking to.

Those statically happen under the following conditions.

-Within 10 yards or less
-In a low light situation
-Number of attackers is 1-3
-In a shooting where only one gun is present and fired 1-3 shots are fired
-In a gunfight where more than one gun is present the number of shot fired are whatever is in the gun.
-A high % of the time shooter is using strong hand only.

In a defensive shooting incident you are pointing the gun and with proper grip, extension and trigger control you are shooting that gun to a natural point of aim with or without your sights. A good defensive shooter should be able to do both but even if you are using your front sight you are not really aiming as much as checking alignment to the target which is why so many people are moving away from 3 dot setups for defensive guns. Dot over dot or U shaped black rears with tritium fronts are a more intuitive platform. IMHO
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Last edited by WVsig; March 29, 2018 at 07:58 AM.
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Old March 29, 2018, 07:21 AM   #43
Ricklin
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I did not say that

Frank,
Regret you took my comment as you did. I did not say you do not know how to shoot a shotgun.
I said if you are looking at the bead, you miss. Perhaps you are different than I and everyone else I have shot trap with.
Again, regrets you took it that way, not intended.
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Old March 29, 2018, 07:26 AM   #44
WVsig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartholomew Roberts
1. Why?
2. You understood my point though? Visual focus on the sights gives important feedback to the shooter that can be used to self-diagnose problems. If you can’t or don’t look at the sights, you don’t get that feedback.
The OPs question was about defensive pistol shooting. On a square range yes the sights are useful for aimining and alignment to the target and shooting tiny groups at 25 yards but in a defensive situation you are not really using them.

Try this drill next time you are at the range. Set a target up at 5-7 yards. Take some black electrical tape and tape off your sights. Obscure the rear and the front sight post. Draw the gun and fire. I am willing to bet that your group will not be much different then if you were looking at that front post.

I have done a similar drill at night with a gun without night sights without a light. I got similar results. night sights made alignment to the target easier but it really did not change my groups outside of the A zone.

Another version of this drill is to bring the gun out to proper extension and close your eyes and fire a round or 2.

Now I am assuming you are a decent shot. That you have good stance, grip, extension and trigger control. Now if you can shoot almost the same group without your sights at a self defensive pistol range or 5-7 yards I would argue that you do not aim a pistol in that usage.

As to the point-shooting verbiage I had it because it has so many negative connotations because people misrepresent it too often.
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Old March 29, 2018, 07:50 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Ettin
And those statements are not categorically true.

First, you assume that the way I describe trigger control isn't understood. I know that's not true because I, and others, have been effectively teaching trigger control that way for some time, to many students.

For about the last nine years I've been with a group of instructors putting on a monthly Basic Handgun class (originally it was an NRA Basic Handgun class -- our class hasn't changed but the NRA class has). We're older guys, most of us retired or close to it. We've all done a fair bit of shooting and training -- multiple classes at Gunsite, classes with a number of instructors like Massad Ayoob or Louis Awerbuck, USPSA or IDPA competition, NRA instructor certifications, and three are POST certified. Our training group is organized as a 501(c)(3) corporation. We're all volunteers, and none of use receive any compensation (except the company buys us dinner after the class where we do a debriefing).

Probably 80% to 90% of our students had never touched a real gun before. Our class enrollment runs roughly 30% female. We have students of all ages from early 20s to us more seasoned types. We've had entire families attend together.

Most of our student show varying levels of anxiety at handling real guns. We try to address this by bringing them through the course material in a step-by-step, measured and supportive way. We limit class size to 10 students, and will have at least five or six instructors at each class. The class runs about ten hours, but we try to provide adequate breaks. Periodically we discuss breaking the class up into two days; but since we often have students travel from some distance doing so might be a greater hardship.

In preparation for live fire we put on a lecture and demonstration about how to actually shoot (grip, stance, sight alignment, trigger press, surprise break, focus on the front sight, and eye dominance). I usually do this one, and I like to use an airsoft gun fitted with a Crimson Trace laser grip to illustrate a controlled trigger press compared with jerking the trigger. We then work one-on-one with students on grip and stance using "blue" inert training guns.

Before going to live fire with .22s, the students shoot airsoft (the quality type) in the classroom so they can get a feel for sight alignment and trigger control (and reset) without the noise and intimidation factor (for beginners) of firing real ammunition.

After the students fire their 25 rounds of .22 (working one-on-one with an instructor), we put out a variety of guns from 9mm to .44 Magnum so the students can get the experience of firing the larger calibers. Shooting the centerfire guns is at each student's option. Most fire them all, but some choose not to.

During the live fire exercises it's not uncommon for a student to shoot 2 to 3 inch groups at seven yards with even the heavy calibers. A few months ago, a petite young woman who had never fired any type of gun before out shot everyone, including her husband, with the .44 Magnum -- putting three rounds into about an inch at 7 yards.

Of course we're not teaching a defensive handgun class. We're giving complete beginners a decent foundation upon which to build further skills.
Maybe this is why we are not speaking the same language. You are talking about taking people completely new to handguns and teaching them how to get onto paper. I commend you and your training group for your efforts.

But I will say it again the OP asked about defensive pistol shooting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pep in CA
Should a pistol be aimed or pointed?
A rifle is definitely aimed. I think that is generally agreed upon. A shotgun, by contrast, is pointed, not aimed. I think that too is generally agreed upon.

So where does a pistol fit in that spectrum?

Personally, I've had the idea that a pistol should be aimed, but recently I've tended to think otherwise. An article I read suggested that, when in a defensive encounter, one will naturally focus on the target, not the front sight of the weapon. I've never been in such an encounter and I hope I never will, but the argument seems to make sense.

What do you think?
So my answer was not how do we teach a person who has never shot a gun before how to get on paper consistently. My answer was in a defensive situation do you aim a pistol. My response is no and I think I have made a good case for my opinion.

I fully understand and agree with you on how to build up to that skill. You have to start somewhere. I however believe at some point the mindset and the skillset development changes. A person who is trying to learn how to defend themselves with a handgun is going to alter the verbiage and the approach to solve the problem they are most likely to be confronted with.

Just like a gun gamer is going to tweak the mindset and the skill set to game the game. The timer becomes everything. Properly staging a match is often the difference between winning and losing. The tweaks to the skill set necessary to be a good gamer do not necessarily translate to defending oneself in a defensive situation. IMHO

As to training in general I think people do not do enough training. I tell everyone who will listen if I could go back and start over I would have bought a lot fewer guns early on and bought lot more training. Good basic training like you offer should be everyones starting point. From there people should be looking to take a few days of training every year. They don't have to be from Gunsite or Vickers, because lets face it most people don't have the time or the resources to take 5 days to train. There are lots of good training groups all over the country. It is sad to see how few people take advantage of it. So on that point we are in 100% agreement.

I wonder how many people on this enthusiast gun board have actually paid for training or gotten formal training outside a basic NRA, CCW course, military or LEO training. I wonder what the % would be. I wonder what the % would be who do it on an annual or bi-annual basis.

I apologize if some of my verbiage was too strong and came across as hot headed. I just think that some of the foundational stuff has been distorted and lost in translation because people don't actually understand it or ever trained it in real life.
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Old March 29, 2018, 09:45 AM   #46
OldMarksman
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Rob Leatham says this:
Quote:
Jerking your trigger finger back quickly while in the learning phases destroys your accuracy.

Only the most advanced and skilled shooters are able to do this and maintain an even unmoving grip on the gun. Save that for later as you progress.

Pull the trigger evenly so that you do not interrupt sight alignment. Think smooth and steady.
Massad Ayoob says this:
Quote:
History shows that the person who starts with accuracy and then accelerates the pace will reach the grail of fast accuracy the soonest. Accuracy is the foundation, and speed is easier to build on top of accuracy. Once the fundamentals necessary for accuracy are established, all that remains is to gradually accelerate until those accurate hits are coming sooner and, consecutively, faster.
To suggest that anyone who has not advanced into the advanced skill category try a "controlled slap" is not helpful.

To suggest that any significant number of persons who carry firearms for self defense have attained status of a campion such as Rob Latham, or likely ever will, is just not realistic.

Now, all of that pertains to trigger control and, of course, to the very important subjects of grip and stance.

What the OP asked about was whether a handgun should be "aimed" or "pointed".

That would seem to have more to do with using the sights. Your suggestions regarding that are right on point. In one of Jim Cirillo's books, there are good illustrations of the concept.
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Old March 29, 2018, 10:19 AM   #47
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Why look at them(pointing and aiming) as mutually exclusive?
I'm thinking I acquire the sights by pointing my pistol at the target.
That starts with my grip at the draw.
If I point and I don't see the sights,they are probably misaligned .(That means I miss)
It may happen that that the trigger really needs to be pulled sooner,like immediately after clearing the holster.
If you grip the gun and draw the same, consistent way you have thousands of times,odds are good,most of the time,that your hand has the sights reasonably well aligned before you bring the gun up to your eyes.
And if you can press the trigger without pushing the gun in some other direction,you just might hit something the size of a watermelon at 5 feet.
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Old March 29, 2018, 11:40 AM   #48
Pep in CA
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The OP chiming in again. Thanks for the replies so far, although a lot of them seem to, well, miss the mark. I tend to agree with WVsig. My question wasn't about marksmanship training. It was about tactical defensive handgun training.

I've been practicing for 2 years after taking basic, intermediate, and advanced handgun classes. My focus has been on mechanincs and marksmanship, which are important but not the reason I puchased a pistol. I purchased a pistol to stop threats.

In post #45, WVsig hits the mark, IMO, when he said "at some point the mindset and the skillset development changes." That is the point where I'm at now and the reason I asked the original question.

At my next pistol practice session, I'm going start from low ready (holsters are not allowed), bring the gun up while looking at the target (7yds.) and fire 2 quick shots at a 6" target. (Rapid fire is not allowed but double taps are). If my shots miss, I will go back to some marksmanship practice, then back and forth until I can hit 6" targets defensively.

Again, thanks for the replies.
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Old March 29, 2018, 11:44 AM   #49
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Quote:
bring the gun up while looking at the target (7yds.) and fire 2 quick shots at a 6" target
You are aiming. Its a scale. It is not dichotomous. You may be on the low end of the scale but the fact of the matter is you are bringing the gun up, presumably into your vision, for a reason.
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Old March 29, 2018, 11:50 AM   #50
WVsig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldMarksman View Post
Rob Leatham says this:
Massad Ayoob says this:
To suggest that anyone who has not advanced into the advanced skill category try a "controlled slap" is not helpful.

To suggest that any significant number of persons who carry firearms for self defense have attained status of a campion such as Rob Latham, or likely ever will, is just not realistic.

Now, all of that pertains to trigger control and, of course, to the very important subjects of grip and stance.

What the OP asked about was whether a handgun should be "aimed" or "pointed".

That would seem to have more to do with using the sights. Your suggestions regarding that are right on point. In one of Jim Cirillo's books, there are good illustrations of the concept.
Accuracy is of course the foundation of shooting at any speed. No one is disputing that. Trigger manipulation is primary. Aiming is only comes into place after you have mastered trigger manipulation. Rob L puts 70% on trigger manipulation and 30% on visual. As I stated earlier at self defense shooting distances, 10 yards and, if you have good trigger manipulation the 30% visual is not going to turn a good shot into a bad one. IMHO

Watch this video from Rob L. It explains it perfectly.

Rob L states in the video there are only 3 things you have to do to shoot a pistol well.

1. Hold the gun really tight.
2. Point the gun at the target where you want to hit it.
3.Pull the trigger as fast as you can without moving the gun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=li0rGtXh23I

I agree that the concept of a controlled slap is something that should be introduced later in the learning cycle but you do not have to be Rob L or of his level to be able to slap a trigger and not have it change your grip or alignment. I think you are creating a false comparison in an attempt to prove your point. I bet when you shoot fast you slap the trigger in a controlled manner.
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