Real SD Moment is <2seconds?

I’m new to the CCW community and to USCCA; a move I decided to make given the defund the police and other policies of the current political party. What I’ve learned so far in the great USCCA training leads me to see that a “real” self defense moment, one that really justifies use of deadly force, is likely to allow less than 2 seconds to OBSERVE the threat coming at you (inside of 7 yards and closing fast), DECIDE this is truly a deadly threat, and ACT accordingly. Is it more or less likely that one will have the time to achieve the stance, draw, grip, raise, sights, trigger sequence while (most importantly) knowing FOR SURE what is beyond the threat if you miss??

So this thread is about guns and gear. Everyone has a favorite firearm. Don’t want to get into those comparisons. My real question is about sights. It occurs to me that it is more likely that I will NOT have the time to achieve correct (safe) aim using iron sights raised to eye level. Going with a laser sight would help ensure accurate aim. But will I have the TIME to fumble around looking for the ON button on the way up from the draw? A few companies offer “Instant On” lasers. Hmmm.

So I ask the forum your thoughts on this. At the end of the day, and assuming we are not all professional law enforcement folks that train every day all day, wouldn’t Instant On laser sights be the “best overall” way for the rest of us mere mortals to maximize our accuracy, and the safety of others beyond, in a true (<2seconds) self defense moment, coming from any direction???

Thoughts welcome.


Marksmanship matters often-enough. We see it plenty often in real life situations, such as on the active self protection YouTube channel, and in real life scenarios analyzed on the USCCA Protector Academy, for a couple examples.

Sometimes point shooting real close is the name of the game. Sometimes indexing the top of the slide. Or maybe a flash sight picture of just the front sight. Or it might be aligning the front and rear sights and aiming with a purpose that is called for. It all depends.

I don’t like lasers. They break from all of the other habitualized methods by not having you look at the gun or anything on the gun to aim. They can be useless in bright light. They highlight the path back to you through dust or smoke. They can be hard to follow in between shots for the follow up. If you do go with a laser, it needs to be something that is on 100% of the time you have a solid grip on the pistol.

A true lethal force self defense incident doesn’t have to be 2 seconds or less. It might be, but most seem to be longer than 2 seconds.

For example, Tom Givens has posted data on former class students using their firearms in defense. 63 examples, zero (armed) losses, distances all the way out to 22 yards, all justified. You’re going to want to aim, with sights, and not a laser, in most situations, I think, at 10-25 yards, which certainly do come up in real life real world defensive gun uses


A lot depends on your situation. Meaning when and where do you feel most likely to be in a bad situation? I am getting older and dont get out much so for me it is most likely a day time event, so I have never been overly compelled to put night sights on everything. When I was younger that would have been much different. I have no issues with white or gold dot fronts and U or V rears. Again it will most likely be a daytime event for me as that is most of my time out and about. Figure out when and where you are most vulnurable and then focus on what you will likely be carrying/using and you can make an informed decision on sights. Maybe a nice red dot or just some quality night sights. I carry a small flashlight as I personally prefer no light/laser for my EDC. Home defense is another story. Good luck and welcome!
Just IMO!


@Timothy282 Welcome! If you want to watch real life incidents go to.

Also study close quarters shooting, you may not have time to go through the process of stance and aiming. :us:


Laser sights can be a real asset and most are easy enough to turn on or off during the draw stroke with practice. True, they can be difficult to see in bright daylight and changing the batteries regularly is a good idea. And anything can break. Don’t discount them out of hand.

I have Crimson Trace grips on my snub that turn on when I grip the grip.

Rail mounted sights on a semi auto are a bit more complicated because they are turned on/off with a paddle switch by the trigger finger but that can easily be mastered with some dry fire practice. They also require a dedicated holster, so there’s that.

Then of course there are optic sights that are mounted on the slide. They’re not cheap but it’s definitely the future of handgun sighting. I have green dot sights on two of my semi autos but also practice up-close-and-personal point shooting.

Before taking any plunge in lasers or optics, learn to use the iron sights on your pistol and spend your money on ammo and some quality basic pistol training. And practice, practice, practice.


I think I’m going to push back a little on that.

If your main concern is to deliver an accurate shot in less than two seconds from the moment you first perceive a threat closing fast from inside 7yd — I think that scenario will usually be a lose for the defender, but the best chance for success will be almost entirely about training, practice, and technique. Equipment choices will hardly matter. Sights will not matter at all. In the scenario laid out, a charging attacker is likely to be within arm’s reach by the time you get a shot off — orienting and safely operating a pistol at that distance will not involve sights, but proficiency with operating the gun at speed.

Most real self-defense situations will allow more time. Using sights will require more time. Learn to OBSERVE and DECIDE before the starting bell. If you need to use sights, you are going to want the entire two seconds to ACT. Learn to do something without the gun in your hands. If you have less than two seconds to ACT, pulling the gun will only work if everything rolls in your favor.

My experience says that projected laser sights would only be advantageous in subdued light (indoors, cloudy days, dusk or dark). At ranges where they would be useful in daylight, they are slower for me than no sights and just as accurate. I’m not an expert with a red dot sight, but I find that I get my quick hits at 3 yards without ever seeing the reflected laser.

Learn to shoot well with the sights; then learn to shoot quickly; finally learn to shoot well without sights.
Skill will get you to places where equipment will not.
Equipment will not substitute for skill when it comes to speed or precision.

Welcome to the party @Timothy282 . :+1:


Welcome to the family brother @Timothy282 ,glad you could join us.

If I may say there has been a lot of great information shared here, and defending one self and family is most important. Take that which is best for you and whatever works for you is great but may I add, because of my past guns has always been a part of my life one way or another but I have found that the most important thing with the little I know of gun/weapons or firearms is this. I ask God to keep all from hurt harm and danger and allow me a day in which I would not have to put it into action this day but if I do, let me be in the right and get the win.

I do not think any of us wants to be in a situation in which we have to defend self or family but is always best we get the win.


@Timothy282 , Welcome to the Community.

Be prepared to have multiple opinions. Which options will work for you the best? You have to figure it out by yourself.

I agree with @Nathan57 about laser. It is useless in certain situations - and this is something that removes consistency from your habits.
What I personally noticed - laser adds destruction and actually extends time of first shot. The same red dot. I think this can be worked out somehow… but it doesn’t work for me.
Do not think about 2 seconds at this moment. Train to be proficient, speed will come with it.

If you are defensive shooter, you may not need to use your sights at all. Point shooting works great (if practiced) up to 20 feet. This doesn’t require any special sights.
For longer distance, you have plenty of time and to be honest - any iron sight will work.


Simply, with practice. Hard, constant work.


Welcome to the community @Timothy282 !

Many good responses above and I have never used a laser so can’t comment on their effectiveness. The main thing I would add is that your most important tool is your brain. Many, if not most, self defense situations can be avoided before they start. Training yourself to have good situational awareness will allow you to recognize and walk away from potential problems before they get close enough to threaten you. Having some good verbal deescalation tools in your toolbox can also come in handy.


I always stress to students that this is more important than being able to draw and shoot accurately within 1.5 seconds. If you can be better at avoiding being a target yourself and avoid any threats, you have taken the first steps in being able to use deadly force and to top that you will not have to use deadly force. If you try to catch a rattle snake with your hands, you’re likely to get bitten but, if you avoid the rattle snake all together you do not have to worry about getting bit.


I’ve used lasers and red dots. I like red dots more but rely on iron sights and or point shooting. Point shooting inside the 7 yard mark is a good thing to learn and is a good choice as you acquire a good sight picture.


A lot of numbers get thrown around, but this is always based on some hypothetical situation where a baddie is running in a straight line at you, like a bull to a matador. You have x.x seconds to identify the threat, decide your options, think about the legal and financial ramifications of introducing deadly force, think about the impact to your health if you don’t introduce deadly force, wonder if you forgot to close the garage door, consider how poorly you shot the last time at the range, then draw and fire. This is a nice, clean scenario, but hopefully not one you’ll encounter. Certainly not the only one you should train for.

In the unfortunate event you are involved in a life-or-death event, you could be ambushed with no warning (0.0 seconds to respond). You could also identify the threat long before he identifies you as the matador. Trade some space for time. Get to safety, find some cover. Escape if possible, but if not, try to give yourself the luxury of slow, well-placed shots that maximize your ability to stop the threat and minimize the risk to others around you. Some situational awareness and footwork could greatly increase that response time variable.

It’s great to have that fast draw time. It’s better to not need it.


I’m going to join @techs no on this. Expand your area of awareness, but practice your draw. Not til you get it right. But until you can’t get it wrong.

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This is where point shooting comes into play so if you own a striker fired weapon you can pot a dot color of your choosing in the middle back plate of your pistol use in conjunction with a blacked out rear It’s for repeatable point shooting where target is under 5-7 yards wile back of the gun is used to sight in in an instant just try it with a lil stick on dot first once all fundamentals are followed proper grip level hold on weapon, slide parallel to the marching surface . Trigger control. You should be able to place 3 center mass shots on a target I say three because you need to be moving and not stationary either finding cover or adding seconds by moving out of line or just not being a sitting duck


A lot of conventional thinking will suggest putting that bright dot on the front instead of the back — since your hand already knows where it is, and it’s the muzzle which needs to find the target.

But testing various temporary adjustments is exactly how to find what works for an individual. This one is cheap and easy. Changing guns, or red dot vs irons, is considerably more hassle.

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It’s a point shooting technique most special forces use target are very close basically wet works close no time for sights the only thing you see is the dot hazy. Front sight is usable up to infinity but your focus may wane it has to do with gross motor functions when people do it it clicks but all other factors play as well

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That’s an interesting concept. As I sit here with a SIRT it kind of seems like I could “point” a dot on the backplate somewhere very different from where the muzzle is pointed pretty easily.


Typically threat forward of the muzzle pistol is threat centered. Threat is 6 yards or less weapon is up high with sights aligned you are using the bore axis as your sight Stick a pencil in the barrel and see what I mean it’s for close range not typical distances both eyes open. You have the sirt tape a dot ant point at a close target use your sights as you would at nominal distances it’s for super high stress gross motor functions where trying to focus on sights can get you killed. Ask the seals that use it they know more than I care to say.

Think this sight except super simple note fundamentals come into play like lots of practice with the same gun and drills over and over

I just use a whole-top-of-the-slide or flash front sight (which is big and bright) picture for that, no focus needed that close. Don’t have to bring the gun all the way up in front of my eyes either can hit from pistol low with peripheral vision only by the big bright front sight.