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!
Jim Benoit's thoughts on guns, gear, & training
CAJUN ARMS & TUSCARORA TACTICAL TRAINING
WEST CHESTER, THOMPSONTOWN, PA