If you train to simply point your sidearm in the general direction of threat, fire and walk your shots in, you are training incorrectly. Point shooting is an advanced technique that requires practice and the ability to shoot defensively using your sights first. “Front sight focus” is not repeated by our instructors thousands of time because we like how it sounds! It is a technique that needs to be mastered before ANY advanced techniques can be learned and made part of our muscle memory.
The misconception of point shooting:
If however, you bring your pistol up in to your line of sight and superimpose the back of the slide or the outline of the gun over your intended target, you are not point shooting. You are using a form of aimed fire. As an instructor, I would prefer you see your front sight, however you are on the right track. At least you are aiming, whether you knew it or not!
Do not confuse point shooting with contact shooting. Contact shooting is done in extreme close quarters where removing your gun from its holster and putting the muzzle inches away from the threat’s torso - that is all the aiming required. This technique requires training and thought as well. Malfunctions and problems arise at this distance that may not have crossed your mind. If you have any doubts, come train with us and you’l experience it first hand!
Threat Focused techniques have merit. Typically most folks after experiencing a deadly violent attack requiring shooting the bad guy can’t remember if they used the sights or not. Human nature is such that it is likely your focus will be on the threat. Be that as it may, if both your eyes are not open you may not see innocents in the vicinity. Remember, you are accountable for every bullet that leaves your muzzle. Shooting an innocent is not part of the equation. “Every bullet has a lawyer riding on it” also comes in to play here. However, I would not make this style of shooting part of my training repertoire.
Index shooting requires the shooter to use a specific presentation to hit targets without using your sights. It is not recommended that you train in such activity that can only work from a specific distance or stance.
If you are having trouble seeing your sights and focusing on the front sight, practice dry fire at home! Practice at varying distance and amount of ambient light. Practice using your flashlight whether it be hand held or weapon mounted.
While we don’t often relate to or emulate competition shooters in our defensive shooting world, one trait the best shooters in the world share is using their sights!
True point shooting is an extremely advanced technique. Above average hand-eye coordination is required and an intimate relationship with the firearm. A simplified example is to look at an object with your hands by your side. Quickly raise your dominate finger up and superimpose it on the object you were looking at. That’s point shooting. Point shooting is unaimed fire.
If someone were watching me shoot, they may think I’m point shooting when I’m going fast. I’m just actually aiming very quickly. Flash sight picture, front sight focus. It is “coarse” aiming. Not fine aiming. As we say in class, we really don’t care about tiny 10 rings! A fist sized group is more than tight enough at 7 yards. The front sight doesn’t have to be in sharp focus, or even perfect focus. Practice tells us what is more than sufficient.
Try different sights. Different colors too. Find out what works best for you!
I’ve been running a red dot on my Glock 19. That requires a different skill set that needs consideration. The dot comes quickly into view if you have the threat in focus and superimpose the gun on the threat (a form of point shooting, sort of). BUT REMEMBER, you need both of your eyes open. You need your peripheral vision. Another technique to pick up your dot quickly is to pick up your tall sights very quickly then look through the glass on the red dot. Amazingly, the dot will be there every time.
Get out there and shoot, practice, and train!
A bad guy’s actions can take thousands of different paths. There is no map that says if this happens you have to do this, or if this scenario occurs that you respond with this variant. Most violent confrontations are not black and white. Training in a classroom does not teach you these variables. The only benefit to that type of training is that at least you are thinking about different strategies. Bad guys do not announce their intentions and are very clever at hiding their intentions until the last second. That will be all the time you will have to make a life or death decision. You can talk all day about condition yellow, or red, or whatever, but unless you’ve programmed yourself to quick reaction, you can be seriously injured or killed while trying to figure it out.
If a stranger approaches you with his hand in his pocket and says, “Your money or your life” - a reasonable person would hand over the money. Consider that you’ve been caught by surprise and you didn’t see this coming. There is no way you can get to your gun if what is in his pocket is a gun. He’s given you a choice and I would choose to live. Presuming he doesn’t shoot you, by complying you’ve actually saved yourself a ton of money and heartache.
You didn’t have shoot and kill him. You’re not arrested, or on the evening news. You still have your job, your friends, your own life. You’re not paying for psychological counseling. All of the aforementioned things can become your reality after a fatal defensive shooting.
Another unbelievable thing can happen after a defensive shooting. The bad guy, drug warped, scum of the earth is depicted by the media as a wonderful guy. His family and friends and preacher come out of the woodwork saying how he was getting his life together and was going to spend time with his children. How could someone have killed him? Now you need spend over $75,000 to defend the civil case against you that is being tried in the media.
If you get true indicators during an assault as to the bad guy’s intentions such as being herded into a freezer, forced in to a vehicle, shoved down a dark alley, or to kneel - FIGHT! Fight with your last breath. You are about to be killed.
The problem is the gray ares when the threat is not specific such as an aggressive panhandler. Is he just being persistent or is he going to rob you? If you don’t stand firm, he may just try to rob you even if that wasn’t his original intention because you seem to be an easy mark.
In a situation like the previous one, you should act rude, firm, abrupt, and short. A bad guy is counting on your resistance to such behavior to get inside your defensive zone and attack you. Bad guys use societal rules against us.
If a threatening person approaches you, ignore him. Move away without running. Move to a safer more crowed spot. Now the threat has to make a decision to pursue you. In most cases he will not. If he does, hopefully there are people around that can make it harder for the threat. At a minimum, you’re in a better place to deal with the situation at hand.
Avoidance is not being a coward. It is being smart. Avoiding a confrontation requires thought. Stopping one before it starts takes effort and skill. Firearms training and tactics are important for your self-defense plan. Keep in mind that some time should be spent in your planning to learn how to be rude and ignore people while keeping aware of their presence and intent.
Jim Benoit's thoughts on guns, gear, & training
CAJUN ARMS & TUSCARORA TACTICAL TRAINING
WEST CHESTER, THOMPSONTOWN, PA