Todd30, I’ve heard the idea. I practice both instinctive and sights. It seems to me that if you’re too hyped, scared, etc to see your sights, you’re also not going to square your body to your target, etc for instinctive shooting methods to work either. From my perspective the best training for this is force-on-force. You have to learn to control your adrenaline, and also what your natural reactions will be. Without a lot of training, I think gun sighted laser seem to work well for most people. They naturally look to the threat and it works regardless of your stance.
I teach both, point and sight picture. Brand new pistol owners that are wanting to learn for self defense I will start with point shooting. As stress will cause muscle memory to initiate and everyone has pointed many times in their life. So tactically someone who has not practiced much can point better then use of sights in a stressful situation. I will then teach sights and as their training progresses, I will push for more sight picture instead of pointing. In addition, we also push what is behind the target, those who point maybe able to see a bigger picture then trying to focus on the sight picture. There is no wrong way, but what ever way is practice, practice , and more practice. Eventually, those who do not practice, will most likely stay with point, and those who practice more will rely on sight picture.
Interesting what @Theodore11 posted. I agree with his point . I can also tell - teaching opposite way works as well.
I do teach fundamentals, so aim and have a sight picture. Point shooting / instinctive shooting comes naturally as a part of preparation for sight shooting.
My students learn how to align sights together with target…and one moment find they don’t need it in short distance…
I love it, when they discover something by themselves.
For what it’s worth, the second time I ever shot somebody (in the military) was at night, and I had to transition from my rifle to my pistol. I clearly remember not only looking at my front sights but thinking to myself, “Hey, look at that! I’m seeing my front sights. [name of the person who trained us] would be proud!” while shooting. My point is that you will fall to the level of your training, as most everyone here already knows. I don’t advocate one or the other (target vs front sight) but rather letting the situation and capability dictate. Shooters should know before they draw their gun what their focus should be based on target difficulty and their skill level. I certainly wouldn’t make it an either/or option because it would only limit options. Just my take.
This is also called “snap-shooting”. I’m 5’4", and 145#, and I can envision being jacked-up by my jacket or sweatshirt. Since I’m also old and creaky, what CAN I DO? Whether the thug is armed or not, he might wind up being “jam-shot”, or otherwise convinced to let go. All I know is that I’m not going to accept a strongarm robbery, or become “street-pizza”, trying to fight the thug off. This is why you practice sound gun-handling skills, develop a “combat mindset”, and learn to expect the unexpected. Jeff Cooper’s remark rings true, especially in today’s coarse society - criminals MUST fear us.
Rob Pincus always talks about the balance of speed versus precision. There is a place for both depending on what shot you need to take. While I have not taken any of his classes, I do agree with that philosophy. Even when shooting competition, you learn that you can speed through and point shoot at the closer targets and then take the sighted shots for the longs ones.
Rob Pincus is one of the best sources of self-defense information.
If you want to attend a class which is close to his classes - go with USCCA’s DSF. First part is based on his ideas.
I never thought about that. The next time I go to the range I will learn to shoot that way.
Point shooting uses several visual aspects to align the gun with the target, including the gun frame, peripheral vision, close distance to the intended target, etc. It is using those things to AIM the firearm. As distance increases, the need for precision aiming with sights becomes more important. Both styles of aiming require practice and attention to the effective distance for that style.
In a previous CCW class taught by weapons instructor for the state police I was introduced point-shooting. At close range I find I’m more accurate. I feel it has it’s place. If you were forced to defend yourself at close range, chances are you will not have time or the where-with-all to use your sites. You may not be even be able to do so! As some instructors I see have exercises (to be done with trained people to observe on closed ranges) where you keep your pistol canted and tucked high into your side below the arm pit, with the other hand used to keep an attacker away from you. This allows less of a chance of an attacker to be able to get his hands on your weapon. This kind of point shooting from what I was told goes with the concept that the bullet will go where the fingers are aimed. With a proper grip, the fingers are aligned with a barrel, and this is very intuitive to many people. Other exercises I had demonstrated to me is visually selecting your target, pulling up the pistol from a ready stance to your eyes and firing. Again meant for close threats in a scenario where reaction time may be milliseconds. With practice I found I’m able to get better than cobat accuracy… which some describe shots within and paper plate or 8.5x11 inch sheet of paper. This is not to say proper sight alignment and proper technique doesnt have it place. IMO, you should master these first before moving on to this. Practicing though is good training as it’s hard to get your body something where you mind hasn’t been first.
How may point shooting differ from aimed shooting? A fellow Marine patrolling down a road and out pops a Taliban and starts shooting at him. As he is moving, point shoots at the Taliban but is missing him. He then aims his shot, using his front sights and takes the Taliban out. I have heard of other scenarios of reaction shooting where it worked out well with the first two shots. I practice both and have amazed friends with being able to shoot a beer bottle at 25 to 35 feet away. I have trained since 1984, and still try to maintain a good skill set. This is just something I wanted to enlighten new shooters or even some what experienced shooters to be aware of, I have found that training both ways have increased my accuracy skills as well as, my reaction time. Practice, train and be safe!
^^^^^^^ This!!! Unless you have the FUN-Duh-Mentals down you have no business getting into this type of training.
Same here. It seems that my eyesight is limiting how I shoot these days.
I trained on my draw for a long time and to get faster you need to be able to point shoot without aiming. You need to work on your muscle memory from 3 to 5 yards and be able to look at your target point and shoot.
A coworker used to be a police officer in CA. He said he rarely had a day when he didn’t have to at least draw his weapon. He said when it comes time to fire, they basically don’t pay attention to the sights, but acquire the target and fire as many rounds as possible, until the threat is removed. I’m great with accuracy when taking my time, but I’m terrible at point and shoot and fast shooting, with a grouping of…oh…maybe 8 inches to a foot at 7 yds. I work on it with my daughter when we go to the range, hoping to improve as time goes on. I figure with enough training I’ll gain that muscle memory. I appreciate the posts of the rest who have more experience than I do.
Perhaps this is why most officers miss with 50 to 70+% of the rounds they fire at distances most often in the 7 yards and much closer range?
Not saying I would necessarily do any better in a real life or death encounter. I hope to never be put to that test.
Even with my current lack of practice, I can fire impressively fast just looking at the target and shooting instinctively. But even under low/no stress conditions I get occasional misses this way. I definitely shoot more accurately when I at least get a fuzzy, instantaneous sight picture and don’t let my trigger finger get ahead of the sights. This only slows me down a little bit but cuts my misses down to almost zero and noticeably tightens up the groups.
With a rifle or pistol at long range, unless you’re Roy Rogers… you need to aim. Point shooting is more meant for threats who are 6-8 feet or closer. As if you’re in imminent danger and the attacker is about to go hands on or stabby with you.
Your source is a paintball experiment?
While interesting, I don’t think it applies much to the real world.
"Overall, this experiment generates more questions than it does answers. I set two very critical limits in this experiment…a fifteen-foot separation distance and the firing of two rounds per shooter. "
There are hundreds of videos of police shootings showing the officers either doing a mag dump or panic fire.
Really lucky more bystanders aren’t hit.
Thanks for sharing Jesse. Great post. Lately, I when I practice, I’ve been doing more practice with Point Shooting. I had not realized how common it was in terms of training. I believe it is interesting, but I also wonder if to those new to conceal carry, if some might not know what it means or what it entails. I need to look up best practice techniques.
I find myself focusing my eyes on the target and not on the sights, keeping my arms, and firearm pointed toward the target. I realize some experts may disagree with the technique, but for me, it seems natural, allows me to be more aware of my surroundings, and seems more natural - when simulating for a real life (in the heat of the moment) case scenario.