Blind swordsman: Why?

Curious to know, especially from any instructors, what any goals are for training with your eyes closed. I went to a class a couple years ago where it was included and I didn’t get much value from it at the time. There was too much chatter from other students and the instruction wasn’t of much use at the time. It was basically along the lines of moving feet slightly wider/narrower/front/back, etc. We did the entire draw/presentation with our eyes closed and then opened them to see how ridiculously far off we were. I use my eyes to tweak my sight alignment and sight picture while I’m presenting the firearm. Of course I’m going to be off if my eyes are closed. I left the class thinking that was the most useless drill I’ve ever done.

But then I tried it again at home (dry), and while excluding not only visual, but now also audible stimulus, my other senses were heightened and I caught myself dipping my shoulder and moving my hips when clearing my garment and placing my hand on the gun. That was throwing my balance off and I’d have to correct it while finishing my presentation. Once I got that under control consistently, I could feel that I wasn’t getting a good grip while still in the holster and was compensating for that on presentation also (sometimes trying to find that front sight with the muzzle too low). I’ve been doing it from time to time and catching subtle things that needed tweaking that I wasn’t catching at the range.

Has anyone done something similar or any instructors use it with a different training goal or things to focus on with your eyes closed?

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I can see trying it a few times but a would not make a habit of it.

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The main idea of training with closed eyes is to teach your body to naturally find your “point of aim” (NPA), sometimes called “natural aiming area” (NAA).
By the definition it is a shooting skill where the shooter minimizes the effects of body movement on the firearm’s impact point.
It’s known fact that less movement makes your shots faster and more accurate. If you teach your body to be on target (doesn’t need to be dead center) with closed eyes - you will never need to adjust your sight picture during draw stroke in real scenarios.

There are few simple drills used for this purpose. You can start dry firing, then use them with live ammo.

  1. Present your firearm to the target few times. Do the same with closed eyes. Everytime you pressed out - open eyes to verify if you are on the target. Correct your stance if needed, still pressing out.

  2. Do the same from your holster

  3. Present your firearm, be sure your are dead center on the target. Close eyes and wiggle the muzzle for 5 seconds. Stop wiggling trying to be dead center again. Open eyes - verify. Correct your stance if needed.

If you will be consistent with such practice, you should be able to shoot really fast from the holster. The process of picking up your sights for correct sight alignment and sight picture takes about 0.5 sec.
If you find it not necessary anymore - your total time of draw stroke and accurate shot will shorten by this half of second.

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I think, @Jerzy, that doing this with a laser cartridge & app like the Mantis Laser Academy would help as well. With the app capturing hits, you can shoot without opening your eyes, and that totally eliminates any possible “cheating.”

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That sounds like what they were trying to teach, but it didn’t come across very well and even seemed impractical at times. There were a lot of things like, “If you’re too far to the right, move your left foot back one inch.” If I have to actually use my firearm, are my feet really going to be that precisely placed? Or am I going to move toward cover while drawing? When I fixed my shoulder and hip movement, it made a huge difference in getting sight alignment/picture much faster. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until I blocked out sight & sound.

I guess it’s the aspects related to stance that I’m not really connecting with. I’ve corrected problems with excess body movement, grip, where are those thumbs, trigger press, safety manipulation (I’m a 1911 guy), and even garment manipulation. I’m just not connecting with stance. From a practical perspective, I’ve always connected stance with recoil management and “close” is good enough. Placing the feet precisely for accuracy throws me off. …unless the goal is to plant my feet in a precise location in front of a target and shoot it with my eyes closed.

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I would think once one as established a draw strok with the least amount of movement you are done with it . I would think you could develop a bad habit of shooting with you eyes closed or do you not pull the trigger?

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I like that idea. I have iTarget, but incorporating a trigger press safely is a nice addition. Even with an instructor standing over my shoulder, it was still difficult convincing myself to pull the trigger with my eyes closed with a loaded firearm.

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When I select a handgun I bring it up to sight plane with my eyes closed several times. If the sights aren’t there I go to a different gun. Revolvers I have found are the most natural pointers. Closest semi autos are the Ruger MK series 22lr and Lugers. I have learned to compensate for the 1911 grip angle and can usually learn in a few tries. MK4 & 5 Glocks work well for me.

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My hangup with this is that, if your eyes are closed, you don’t have a target because you can’t see it to ID or or know where it is.

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Laser is a very helpful device. It will help if you want a hit… but it’s not required.
These drills posted don’t need actual hits. You verify everything by matching sights with a target. The bullet, or laser goes exactly where your sights are.

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@Jim80 .
Your feet placement is still needed even for dynamic situation shooting.
I know we train and practice shooting while moving… but in most situations we pause for a moment for precise shot. Believe me, if you practice this, your body automatically makes a proper posture.
The way we teach - “If you’re too far to the right, do XXX” is to let the students understand the idea of body mechanics.
I personally don’t like this:
“If you’re too far to the right, move your left foot back one inch.”
Instead of I do this:
“If you’re too far to the right, move your heels (both) one inch to the right”.
I do not recommend moving whole foot.
Once you find the pattern how your feet should be… they will do everything for you by themselves.

Simple way to verify these - you practice three drills I posted. Then you add walking… and you will see it changes nothing. You walk, you stop, you shoot. It will be the same as you just shoot.
Walking or running is just addition to your proper shooting posture. If you are accurate standing, you must be the same accurate in dynamic situations. Of course it won’t work when you shoot while walking… but closed eyes teaching is not for this.

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You don’t shoot with closed eyes. You practice shooting with closed eyes to gain the ability to ID the target and shoot at it if needed as fast as you can with eyes opened . If you waste extra time for aiming and looking for sights or DOT, you will never be fast enough.

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I don’t see having your eyes open being the same thing as aiming down the sights. I see having your eyes (or eye) open as positively identifying the target as part of your decision to shoot it as well as verifying where it is. Even so called point shooting involves seeing the target. If your eyes are closed, that IMO is by definition of violation of Rule #4

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You are missing the point… or trying to make it complicated. :man_shrugging:

Each of us has own way to practice, train or teach.
I personally was taught this technique during few courses for firearm Instructions and found it very helpful for me. It improved my skills dramatically. It doesn’t mean it will work for others however, so far 100% shooters I show this to, liked it and found it very helpful.

Once again… it is not shooting with closed eyes. It is learning with closed eyes to have an instant reaction when you can see, what you couldn’t see before.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing this with firearm, do this with plastic gun, toy, pencil or just disassemble your firearm and practice with the frame.

I don’t know if you ever shoot with visually impaired person… but this is the same, with exception, that we have a chance to see and ID the target with eyes when needed. But before you made decision to shoot, your body is ready, you don’t need to think about all fundamentals… because all has been setup split second earlier.

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Knowledge of your position and how your shooting is can allow you to know your abilities and that is important. I cannot find the drills I did but I have learned that the further you are from your natural point of aim the more you will be off from hitting the target properly. I remember it had me shooting to one side or the other on the target and I did the math on it too. SO, the natural point of aim factors into your accuracy. This is another reason I practice point shooting too.

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Yes, and point shooting requires being able to use your natural point of aim. Part of my process in learning natural point of aim was closing eyes and bringing unloaded firearm to shooting position, then opeing my eyes to see where I was aiming. That way when you are actually shooting, your handgun is already pointing where you want it, even before, or if, using sights. As others, and myself, have stated on other threads, one can accurately point shoot to at least 10 yards - far longer than we are told most self-defense incidents occur within (3 - 5 yards). Point shooting is quicker than bringing handgun to shooting position, then aligning sights to target as the firearm would already be on target.

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those videos may help:

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Thanks, they do help. One of the things I like about a variety of instructors is that you pick up on subtle nuances and new things to think about at the range (assuming they don’t just totally suck). I like his addition of running up to a firing line to see where you plant your feet. And it turns out, these guys are right down the street in Escondido, CA. I’ll to have to keep an eye on their training schedule.

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No matter how the Instructor explains, the whole idea remains the same.
Closed eyes only helps to feel, not to see only. It doesn’t come easy. It requires thousands repetitions, but eventually your body will naturally make the ideal posture every time you are ready to shoot. It is not a recipe for marksmanship, it is a part of whole system which makes you faster and more accurate by cutting down unnecessary body movements and adjustments.
Good luck and be patient with this…
:love_you_gesture:

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