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Thread: Point Shooting

  1. #1
    Teuthis is offline Member
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    Point Shooting

    The eons our species spent leaping from tree to tree, branch to branch, has given us amazing eye-hand coordination skills. For any endeavor in which we need to associate a location with mutual eye-hand function, we have a natural ability to accurately align all the points.

    I was just reading the "sticky" series in this section on draw and fire technique. The elements that Mike pointed out are certainly correct and valid. They should be practiced assiduously. But after all that, there is still something missing. Point shooting.

    Point shooting is a skill that is naturally and quickly learned. Sight the target, draw the weapon and your hand will point the gun where you look; once you learn how. One does not need to always execute an extended arm, two-handed grip on a pistol to place one's shots accurately.

    If you train yourself, as you would in tossing a rock, basketball, grenade, smashing a tennis ball, etc, and learn to fix your eyes on your target, you can place accurate shots on that target with one hand, without using the sights and extending your arms out. All that takes time. Learning to draw and fire at what your eyes see is faster. At armed-citizen, self-defense distances it is deadly, and provides you with a tactical advantage of speed and surprise. Point shooting requires practice of course; and it has distance limitation for most people. But it is a technique that I believe all self defense shooters should develop.

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    JeffWard's Avatar
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    The only problem... ammo is more expensive than a baseball. It's all about reps.

    I do agree, and the addition of a laser makes it even better.

    JW

  4. #3
    Dsig1's Avatar
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    For all of us multiple gun owners, do you think Point Shooting varies with the gun as grips, triggers and sights all vary? If so, I would personally only practice this with my CC or HD guns.

  5. #4
    Teuthis is offline Member
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    Point shooting is a general skill. It works with any pistol. The skill is found in aligning the eye and hand. Once you know how to do that, there is only minor, functional variation between weapons, and at close range it just won't matter.

    Rather than practice slow fire all of the time, trying to put all my rounds into one hole in the target at 15 yards or more, I often run the target up close and expend the majority of my rounds in point shooting. I think that is one of the most valuable skills for close range combat.

  6. #5
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    Please post your draw and fire times with two a-zone hits at three yards, using point shooting versus an eye-level index.

    At Gunsite last week, using eye level shooting we were drawing and making two A-zone hits (total of four shots) on each of two turning targets, at three yards, in under 1.5 seconds from the holster. Can you "point shoot" this fast and accurately?
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  7. #6
    Teuthis is offline Member
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    Well Mike, it sounds like you are all ready if the perfect gunfight comes about. If you have some expert training that's all the better. But I am speaking here always of the armed citizen, who may have marginal skills compared to you, no actual combat experience, and perhaps will face a frightening, real life, close-up crisis; not the contrived scenarios that are practiced at Gunsite. I am well aware of their training, and it works well for bodyguards. And the pistol skills that one learns there are certainly invaluable for anyone.

    But what you are practicing in those exercises, in reality, is what happens if you are a guard, your principle has been violated and you are up there taking the bullets for them, and returning fire. There is usually no other reason for someone to stand up and shoot it out as a sacrifice without going for cover. Cops have to do that sometimes, but, but they usually go for cover if they can. A moving target at least has a chance; even close in.

    Do you already know what your reaction time is in a crisis? How long before you react and draw that weapon? Where do you carry most of the time? Can you reach your weapon with the speed that you did at Gunsite? Can you stick that pistol up in someone's face and be sure they won't take it from you? For the average, armed citizen who might sense a dangerous situation, it would be far better to have the weapon drawn.

    Point shooting is for those times when you can't stand up and shoot it out with someone in a Dodge City gunfight; like when you are diving for cover and only have one hand free, taken by surprise, close enough to touch someone, and perhaps they are shooting at you first.

    All of the skills you have been learning are certainly valuable. I made note of that in my post. I learned them too once upon a time. But point shooting is a skill that should not be ingored or denegrated. It can provide a precious, tactical advantage when one is sorely needed. I still practice one-hand, and weak-hand shooting too for some reason.

  8. #7
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    So you don't have a shot timer, then? Or you just don't want to post the results?

    If you can't do it on the "contrived" square range, there's no way you can do it in a real fight.
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  9. #8
    zhurdan's Avatar
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    @ Teuthis,
    No offense intended, but Mike being a benefactor of this site, and he having been in a gunfight or two, from what I've heard of his experience overseas, I'd probably take a half step back and try to see what he's getting at.

    Now, on to the post....

    Drawing and firing a gun is a simple task, if you've done it a few thousand times. Drawing and firing a gun accurately is another story all together. Point shooting is a good skill to have in ones toolbox, but it usually comes about from those times where the situation has not been scanned with what some call the "pre-draw process". In my experience, if it comes down to point shooting, the person in question has done a great many things wrong to get to that point. That is not to say that it isn't something we should be good at, but it should be a skill that comes with the natural progression of shooting, not something that is practiced as a skill by itself. The ability to get one's pistol into the fight comes from "square range" practice and should be done as often as is feasible (read affordable). Now, after the practice comes naturally, comes the skill of reading a room, or visible area. There have been countless posts about "what went wrong" or "could I have done this better", but the issue is, those are all in hindsight. I recently posted on Penguins post that there were some things that I would have done differently. Granted, reading about it on an internet forum and actually being there are two different things, and I clarified those differences by saying that assumptions were being made on my part. Please search and read for Penguins post for clarifications. My point is, until a person has actually had to draw their pistol in an "event", all bets are off, and people can quarterback that scene to death, having not been in a situation similar.

    I doubt that Mike is trying to call you out on our skills, but trying to add a bit of real world experience plus some real time training tools (aka shot timer) to give those who carry for defensive purposes an edge, if not the deciding edge in a semi-controlled situation.

    Semi-controlled situation... well that means that if something is happening around you, then you have a pretty good indication of what is about to ensue based on peoples behaviors. In the event that you are caught totally unawares, then a deep introspection in peoples behaviors might be warranted. What do I mean by that? People watching. Plain and simple. How many times have many of us been out in public and a fight ensued... how many times did you see it coming? None of us are ever going to be perfect, but personally, I've moved my wife and I to a safe distance in a bar before the "drunk arse fight" happened. Simply by watching what is going on, and recognizing some basic signs. Stupid people do stupid things, move away.

    Now, to point shooting, if it comes down to the fact that something happened and you are caught unawares, and it calls for lethal force, by most accounts, you are not going to have time to line up your sights and fire off some calculated shots at the bad guy. On the flip side of the coin, if you see something happening a few minutes or seconds out, you can move yourself and others away from the danger and be in a position where you have more time.

    The shot timer comes into play when fractions of a second count. Like Mike said, if you can't do it under perfect practice conditions, how can you expect to do it under duress? I recently bought a shot timer of my own. I had access to one and practiced with it about once every other week. The nice thing about owning your own is, you can do it whenever you choose. Shot timers give you an edge, just like situational awareness, or people watching.

    Any advantage is only accentuated by practice, practice, practice. Any advantage is also doubly accentuated by timed practice, timed practice, timed practice. It gives you the ability to judge your skills to the tenth of a second, and push yourself through repetition to be faster. I thought I was fast when I first went up against a timer, but now, after some times practice, I'm much faster. As a point of clarification, the first time I had to draw my pistol in defense I thought I'd be fast, the problem arose when everything went in slow motion!!! I felt like I was moving through molasses!!! Sure, I was fast enough for the situation, but that guy only had a crow bar... what if he'd had a pistol?

    Timers do one thing well, they keep time accurately. The faster you can do something on a square range with consistency, the faster you will be able to do it when the excrement hits the proverbial oscillator!

    I comment Mike for recommending timers, in fact, as I stated earlier, I recently bought my own so I didn't have to wait for the timer to become available to me. It has done wonders for my ability to draw and fire from concealed carry and in all honesty, it's improved my shot placement too. Here's me at about 3/4 speed. ( I miss about 2 times at full speed)


    I share this because even this isn't fast enough. But with a timer, I can get faster while still being safe. Timers are, simply put, a must for training.

    For what it's worth, I literally got sick to my stomach after having drawn my pistol for the first time in a life and death situation... puking in front of people, especially cops, is very embarrassing.

    Practice safe, practice often, practice smoothness, as it is directly related to speed. (practice at 1/2 speed until you are perfect, practice at 3/4 until you are great, practice at full speed to humble yourself.)

    Shoot safe.

    Zhurdan

  10. #9
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    My experience indicates that true non-sighted point shooting is largely ineffective past double-arms-length, ESPECIALLY under real-world scenarios (or replications of same). Even on the range, point-shooting advocates often miss close-range targets or hit them in non-vital zones, despite having plenty of time to prepare, advance knowledge that the "fight" is about to start, and facing the target squarely on solid, level ground. Put them (or anyone else) off-balance, scrambling for cover, facing a life-threatening situation, and the results don't get better, they get WORSE. One oft-quoted saying on the subject of defensive shooting is: "You won't rise to the occasion -- you'll default to your level of training" (Barret Tillman).

    Competition shooters in the action pistol sports are some of the most dedicated shooters around; popping-off 20,000 or more rounds per person per year is commonplace. They will seize ANY advantage they can, as long as it gets bullets into the target a split-second faster. If they haven't been able to find a way to make accurate and fast point-shooting work consistently past 2-3 yards, even under RANGE conditions, then I don't believe it can be done.

    Finally, I am of the opinion that launching bullets helter-skelter into the general direction of your target in the real world is a highly irresponsible act. Not only does it endanger other folks, it reduces the amount of ammo left in your defensive weapon, with very little chance that it will have any positive effect on the outcome.
    Last edited by DJ Niner; 07-29-2008 at 04:04 AM.

  11. #10
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    My point is simply that getting an eye-level index is demonstrably just as fast (and in some cases, faster) than true "point shooting," and almost invariably much more accurate. Once again, we see the misunderstanding that people who shoot from eye level are carefully lining up the sights. We're not. We're simply confirming an alignment of the sights that our techniques and practice have already allowed our bodies to achieve.

    No shot outside literal touching distance should be fired without some sort of visual index of the gun on target. This does not mean a classic bullseye sight picture, nor does it even mean a Modern Technique (Gunsite) flash sight picture. It may be as simple as "metal over meat."

    Point shooters almost always decline tests involving humanoid targets and shot timers. I can see why, since their techniques for getting fast center hits were largely obsoleted back around 1959. The idea that point shooting works when diving for cover, where visually indexed shots do not, is largely hokum. If a technique like point shooting doesn't even allow good, fast hits in the easy drill I mentioned, there's no way it will allow good hits on moving targets while the shooter is also moving.

    Shooting technique evolves. Just as elements of the Post Modern shooting school have supplanted elements of the Modern Technique (even at Gunsite), the Modern Technique largely supplanted the old FBI/Fairbairn/Applegate point shooting methods. It's not as if we've learned nothing about fighting with pistols since WWII. We've actually learned an enormous amount.
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  12. #11
    unpecador's Avatar
    unpecador is offline Senior Member HGF Gold Member
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    It's ok to point and shoot, just make sure you hit your target in the right places, that's not impossible to do. Your chances of eliminating a threat faster and safer are greater with more advanced training but one shouldn't feel discouraged with the lack thereof. I have a passion for guns and shooting but my guns are for home defense. I practice at the range as much as I can and I focus mostly on aiming with the sights and a steady trigger pull to hit my target in the right places. I also practice point shooting but it's always at eye level and I'm actually more accurate at rapid firing this way.

  13. #12
    Dave James is offline Junior Member
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    As always its a apples and orange argument, "PS" is not meant to be the end all to a well rounded hand gun training system,,it is a viable system to lean, but sighted fire and the basics must be in there as well, I have never given a tinkers damn about shot times and or punching paper targets, but in my younger and faster days I maintained second splits , using "PS" up to 15 yards and keeping center hits, of course this was on the targets of use then which I believe where the older B-21 models.

    There have been several old time "PS" argue that its all thats needed, in truth they where wrong, square range is fine but I have seen and its been shown in FOF classes taught else where that exploding off the "X" as they call it "PS" can and does work.

    I'll not argue against any use any one desires, just PRACTICE!!!!

    Although its a "general " skill changing weapons can change grip enough that shot impact can change, that's why I was all ways told not to monkey around with carry guns

  14. #13
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    In my experience, I have to agree completely with what Mike has been writing here.
    But I have to add something.
    Do not, ever, "shoot while diving for cover." First get to cover. Then shoot.
    Effective defensive shooting includes being sure, at all times, of your target, your sight picture, and the locations of all the innocent bystanders whom you just might accidentally center-punch with a negligently-discharged bullet.
    This is not a war zone. You will never be surrounded by enemies, such that any hit will be a useful one. Rather, you will almost always be surrounded by innocents, and all negligent hits will be tragedies.
    Every shot you fire must be very carefully controlled.
    Every shot.
    Without fail.

    Do not, ever, "shoot while diving for cover."

  15. #14
    Old Padawan's Avatar
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    I gotta disagree with you Steve. Engaging while going to cover is good tactics (and one reason I dislike ankle holsters). Cover is not always immediate. Draw, engage, retreat to cover and continue to engage or break off the engagement by your choice.
    Now if you were talking about the whole John Woo flying through the air diving, I am in complete agreement.

    To all.
    With a 4 – 5 step draw technique, the gun enters your field of vision while looking at the target. Focus shifts to front sight as this occurs.
    The draw is accomplished regardless of what your body is doing. You could be pushing a loved one behind you with your left hand, levering yourself off of the ground, or standing bladed to the target. The whole idea is aligning the gun with the target.

    Point shooting (excepting touching distance) is a thing done for amusement not self-defense. Many of you shoot with friends. Many of you know guys who handle guns well. How many of them can hit a gallon milk jug at 10 feet from first to last shot?

    I personally know 1. One. Of the 30-35 shooters I know, there is one. These are guys who shoot.

    Advocating the archaic art of point shooting ala Ed McGivern as a thing to be practiced for self-defense is a waste of time and ammo.

    Re: timers. Timers allow us to balance accuracy with speed. I know many people who can put 7 rounds touching in a 3” circle at 7 yards. While this level of accuracy is fun, it is un-necessary in a self-defense situation. The timer gives us the impetus to hurry up and get it done. When used as a test (as challenged by Mike) it allows us to gauge the effectiveness of a technique. Timers help us to push ourselves and measure improvement.
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 07-30-2008 at 03:40 PM.
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    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Bill;
    There's a huge difference between shooting while moving toward cover, and shooting while "diving for cover."
    In my mind, one implies deliberate, aimed fire, while the other implies "spray and pray" technique.
    Deliberate, aimed fire while moving toward cover will save your life. "Spray and pray" will always result in tragedy.
    Never, ever, shoot while "diving for cover."

    (The original statement actually was "scrambling for cover," not "diving for cover." I changed "scrambling" to "diving" to make my particular point clearer. Maybe I wasn't clear enough. Sorry 'bout that.)

  17. #16
    Old Padawan's Avatar
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    I thought you might have meant that, thus the John Woo comment. I agree there is no place for a covering fire type retreat.
    "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." -Mark Twain

  18. #17
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Padawan View Post
    I thought you might have meant that, thus the John Woo comment.
    I bet fivehourfrenzy has tried the John Woo thing.
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  19. #18
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    TOF
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    If you encounter a Mariuana garden in the forest guarded by AK 47 armed illegals, such as have been found in Arizona, you might find a little covering fire while exiting the area to be in order. Especialy if they fire and miss. There can be occasions when you do not have massive quantities of innocent civilians in danger if you happen to miss a quarter size spot. BG's in the NY subway system or Walmart pose a very different challenge than when encountered in the wide open spaces. Just leave a little wiggle room in your thinking to accomodate the unusual situations that could be encountered.

    Stay safe.

  20. #19
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOF View Post
    If you encounter a Mariuana garden in the forest guarded by AK 47 armed illegals, such as have been found in Arizona, you might find a little covering fire while exiting the area to be in order. Especialy if they fire and miss. There can be occasions when you do not have massive quantities of innocent civilians in danger if you happen to miss a quarter size spot. BG's in the NY subway system or Walmart pose a very different challenge than when encountered in the wide open spaces. Just leave a little wiggle room in your thinking to accomodate the unusual situations that could be encountered.
    Agreed, but if I'm in the deep woods alone against guys with AKs, I think I would want to shoot very conservatively. I may need a lot of ammo if I have to E&E while being pursued.

    Of course, the only E&E I am likely to face is getting out of South Phoenix in my Honda.
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  21. #20
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    If I should ever encounter a marijuana garden in our woods here, I think that I would ask for a "review sample" rather than trying to shoot my way out.

    If I were confronted for any reason by guys with AKs, I think that I would retreat as fast as I could without firing even one round, dodging in and out of the trees to keep the BGs from getting a clear shot. (No trees: crawl faster.) I don't routinely carry a rifle, and my carry pistol is short-range-only, so I'd be at a terrible disadvantage if I indulged my macho fantasies by entering into a firefight.

    For he who turns and runs away
    Will live to fight another day;
    But he who is in battle slain
    Can never turn to fight again.
    —Oliver Goldsmith

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