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Old May 10, 2007, 12:58 AM   #1
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Sighting in the Middle of SD Crisis

I know at the range for accuracy we focus on the front sight. For good reason: it works. Yet, how in the middle of a Self-Defense crisis - a perp 8 or 10 yards away all set to kill you - could anyone possibly put him as a secondary focus while using the front sight as the primary one.

Also, would it be wise to lose track of him or his actions? One must be assured he is in fact about to attack lethally. I know in some cases it would be unmistakable, but in others, seems you could miss cues from him that perhaps you were being hasty etc., or mistaking his gesture (he quickly pulls out an object from his pocket you assume will be a gun and its: a cell phone! Surprise! - meanwhile, you're staring at the front sight in preparation for your shot.

So, from any who've been a real SD encounter, what was the focus on, the front sight or the perp?

Last edited by gvf; May 10, 2007 at 01:00 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old May 10, 2007, 01:50 AM   #2
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Great question!
I await others replies as well.

I don't think I would be able to focus on the front site.
I would prefer to see the threat clearly and the red dot from a laser site on its chest.
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Old May 10, 2007, 01:53 AM   #3
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Focusing on the front sight does not keep you from seeing what the BG is doing (assuming you shoot w/both eyes open). Also, remember you only need to be focused on the front sight when you pull the trigger. In my experience and that of my friends, focusing on the front sight was normal because we were trained that way.

Many will try to say that you can't etc., but that is not necessarily true. Cooper wrote in Amercan Handgunner of a P.D. that had 32 shootings. Of the 32 officers involved 24 remembered seeing the front sight, 8 did not. The 24 who did scored hits, the others did not. It is not that difficult to focus on the front sight and be aware of the BG's actions.

It all boils down to training. If you train to see the sight to the point that it is second nature, you will.
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Old May 10, 2007, 02:41 AM   #4
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I've always kept my eyes on the suspect. With all the shooting I've done I would be point shooting and looking over my sight.the front sight is there, but my focus is on the suspect.

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Old May 10, 2007, 11:08 AM   #5
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In every encounter I've been in, I don't even recall looking at the front sight, or even at my weapon... period. I do, however, have vivid recollections of the BG.

It didn't take me long to learn to go with my instincts, rather than against them. In real encounters, all but those with ice water in their veins will resort to point shooting. How good you are at it depends on whether or not you train at it .

An interesting side note: Our studies of results from F.A.T.S. training showed that the first thing you focus on is the BG's weapon, and usually, that's where your first shot goes.
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Old May 10, 2007, 11:12 AM   #6
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If you train using your sights, you can very easily be using them in a stressful situation even if you don't realize it.
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Old May 10, 2007, 12:21 PM   #7
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Point Shooting

I posted the original question. So, perhaps point-shooting, which allows both: accuracy + awareness of perp is the best way to go? If so, I'd better start using that at the range.
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Old May 10, 2007, 12:58 PM   #8
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Point sighting isn't the best way to go in all circumstances. Sighted fire isn't the best way to go in all circumstances (i.e. if the person is too close). But if you practice to shoot from retention when close, and to use your sights when you can get the weapon up, you're covered for the vast majority of circumstances.
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Old May 10, 2007, 04:40 PM   #9
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Having a good sight index is key. What I mean by this is if you practice a lot using the sights, the gun will be more or less aimed at what you looking at if you bring the gun up into your line of sight. A difficult shot, 15yards + or a head shot, will require you to see the target and aquire the front sight to confirm your shot as it breaks. With training this will become subconcious. For the difficult shots, the target is the primary focus and a milisecond before you shoot you go to your front sight and watch it leave the rear notch. For most self defense shootings you can work off your index....focus on the target and look through your sights but not focused on them to make the shot(s). Always have both eyes open.
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Old May 10, 2007, 09:10 PM   #10
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You don't need a perfect NRA bullseye 6 o'clock sight picture in combat, but it can, and has, been done.

Jim Cirillo wrote in his book, "Guns, Bullets, And Gunfights" how he vivily remembered seeing his front sight as he fired, shooting, and hitting, all three BGs! And Charlie Askins, in his book, "Unrepentant Sinner" wrote about how twice he MISSED using point shooting.

Does that mean front sght focus is the answer? No. Does it mean point shooting is worthless? No. It means there is no perfect answer, or system, that will guarantee good hits. Cause theres lots more to gunfighting (or any other kind of fighting.)
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Old May 11, 2007, 03:31 PM   #11
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I read a book called "Inside Delta Force" by Eric Haney. Actually, it's one of my favorite books. Anyway... Through parts of the book, the author goes on to talk about certain aspects of how they train, and why they train that way. He points out that in extreme close quarters during high speed situations, using the sights on your firearm (be it handgun or rifle) would be a potentially catastrophic mistake. He goes on to explain how they train until they get to the point where they can simply pull their firearm up and shoot exactly where you are looking, without having to use the sights.

After thinking about that for a while, I decided to start practicing without using the sights at all. I started with a 22LR, since the ammo had to be cheap. I would hold my pistol at a 45 degree angle between the ground and the target, and draw and fire immediatly. I was suprised at how close I was when I started. You'd be amazed at how you are already doing this by reflex, more or less.

After I got to the point where I could punch an 8 x 11 sheet of paper at 15 feet, I started moving back. I got out to 50 feet and was still punching 8 x 11 paper. I pulled the targets back in to 20 feet and started working on moving shots. Walking, spinning around, exc. Then starting with the pistol on the table in front of me and having to go for it.

After about 3 weeks and about 4,000 rounds of 22lr ammo, I could hit the piece of paper from everywhere within 50 feet of me, and from just about every position. I moved on to my 9MM. I found that, while shooting the 9MM, I could punch the paper in very much the same way for the first 2 shots, but then they started scattering under rapid fire. Some would go high and left. High and right. Some would hit the post below the target. the 22LR was definitely easier for rapid followup shots... but we ALL know that by now.

My point is this... If you arent competing, and you arent shooting long distances... then you are most likely training for a situation which will either happen too quick, or be too dark to use your sights. Work on shooting without aiming. It will come to you, probably faster than you realize, but you still need the trigger time to make it work. Just like everything else.
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Old May 11, 2007, 04:53 PM   #12
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Hopefully this won't sidetrack into a sighted vs point shooting debate. You can hit just as fast using your sights as not. There are times when that is not appropriate (like when the opponent is within arm's reach) to use the sights, but at distances beyond contact it is just as fast to use your sights.
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Old May 11, 2007, 05:08 PM   #13
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Reflecting on what little real experience I have had, I recall "point" aim, and not using the sights.
Thankfully, no trigger usage in that instance though.
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Old May 11, 2007, 05:13 PM   #14
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it is just as fast to use your sights

Just practice and train this way, point shooting isn't worthless but at a range close enough to use it, it should be tough to miss.

Never been in a true SD conflict where I was forced to fire, but every trip to the range I make sure I'd be ready if it happened.

Work on keeping the front sight focused and still seeing the target at all distances, and change the distance to your target a lot. Don't spend 20 minutes at 10yds, then 20 at 20, then 20 at 30, mix it up thru the whole session.

Keep your focus moving, target-sight-target-sight, -focus only, no eye or head movement-, only fire when the sight is in focus, you'll develop a habit of always dropping your focus on the sight when you squeeze.

I had a range master work with me on this, it took me a lot of sessions before I could really feel like I was doing it well, and I still feel I need to improve. Just be aware of what your eyes are doing and practice, a lot!

Last edited by kcshooter; May 11, 2007 at 07:13 PM.
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Old May 14, 2007, 05:45 PM   #15
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Massad Ayoob's StressFire Volume 1 will address the question expertly and completely.

The basic techniques taught in it require no fine motor skills, which even the most hardened lose under duress. He can teach you a very good level of accuracy even if you're trembling, crying and suffering from a siezure.
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