Hip shooting


July 8, 2009, 11:57 PM
When I was a kid I deer hunted with an old man who shot his 12 ga from the hip. Tonite I watched bob mundon split a card in half with a handgun from the hip. Yes I understand how important careful aim is, but a practiced hip shot is aimed just not conventionaly.

So my question is........would it be foolish to practice instinct shooting expecting chest sized hits or will that develop bad habits? I'm talking about 7-10 yards with a handgun. although I used to love to hip shoot coffee cans with a shotgun and shot as a kid. On the ground of course. Is this a bad idea if shooting for actual practice and not just burning powder?

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July 9, 2009, 12:02 AM
Self defense is always a series of personal choices. You make your own choice, and I make mine.

In a self defense situation, especially if other persons and property are the backdrop, I need to know exactly where my projectiles are flying. That determines my personal choices.

July 9, 2009, 12:05 AM
I do pratice hip shooting in some of my pratice
in some situations you will not have the room and its unpratical to fully extend to shoot with sights. but instead of out to 10 yds maybe out to 7 and thats about it.

Tim the student
July 9, 2009, 01:06 AM
The only way I think it would be an sensible option, is if you didn't hip shoot, then the BG would be able to physically be on you and fighting.

If there is room to extend and aim, why wouldnt you? I don't see the purpose to it if you have 7-10 yards, but you do what you feel is appropriate in that situation, and so will I.

Regular Joe
July 9, 2009, 07:06 AM
There are some things I do just to see if it works. In the case of hip shooting, I don't bother. That's already been worked out, and I know I can, at short distance. One or two hip shots will do "something" while I'm getting better situated, or killed. If it helps, that's good. If I die, I don't care. Wyatt Earp was a terrible shot, but he knew to start shooting just as soon as your finger finds that trigger. Shoot first, while you're waiting to start thinking.
You have 7~10 yards when you become aware that it would be a good thing to shoot. Bad guy is most likely to close that distance to zero in just about a second. SHOOT!!!!!!

July 9, 2009, 07:21 AM
You don't have to fully extend your arms to use the sights on a handgun. Having both biceps on your chest leaves the sights usable. If you are shooting a 500 something, this is probably not the best stance.

Wyatt Earp was a terrible shot, but he knew to start shooting just as soon as your finger finds that trigger.

Regular Joe, Care to explain? He also wrote you should take your time...quickly, or words to that effect.

July 9, 2009, 08:11 AM
Practice and see what you can do.

There are countless techniques used by many to hit what they are aiming at, some including use of the sights, some without.

When it comes to reliably hitting what you need to hit, only YOU can determine what technique you need to use for a given target size and range.

July 9, 2009, 09:46 AM
Point shooting is an extremely useful option for SD. It's naive to believe that you will get a chance to line up a proper sight picture when you are forced to defend yourself.

July 9, 2009, 09:53 AM
I have seen some of the demonstration shotgun shooters who are world class shoot clays from the hip and not missed a single one. Can't say that they are wasting their time developing bad habits. The biggest catch would probably be the sheer number of rounds and time that may be required to develop responsible habits in this arena which are most likely cost and time prohibitive for all but a few people.

July 9, 2009, 04:25 PM
Hip/point shooting is something I practice as part of my self defense tactics. Especially in the 3 to 5 yard range. Sometimes I do one, two or three shots from without actually "sighting" in the pistol. Sometimes I'll shoot once from the hip, then retreat while raising the pistol to use the sights and squeeze two COM and one in the head.

While I believe accuracy and shot placement are most important, I feel that speed doesn't follow up to far behind them either.

The Lone Haranguer
July 9, 2009, 07:38 PM
It has its place, but IMO not more than about three yards. Except at these very close ranges, even a coarsely aimed (e.g., Jim Cirillo's "Silhouette Point" technique) shot is about as fast and far more accurate. Only hits count, not only for stopping the attack, but for not hitting bystanders.

July 10, 2009, 11:51 AM
WWI era browning automatic rifle ammo belts actually had a metal cup built into them to put the buttstock when shooting from the hip.... I found it pretty suprising and interesting that it was actually sanctioned at one time in the military.

July 10, 2009, 12:15 PM
"Marching Fire" as it was called, or shooting a BAR from the hip while advancing used to be U.S. Army doctrine.

It still is in Russia.
Soviet tactics involved dismounting from the BMP APC's at under 200 yards from the enemy line, then advancing with everyone shooting their AK's full-auto from the hip to keep the good guys under cover.

As for the OP's question.
Shooting from the hip with a handgun is a highly developed skill involving way more shooting then most of us have the time or money to perfect and keep well honed.

I got really good at it when I was much younger, but I was shooting several hundred rounds a week practicing it.
Once time & money constraints stopped the daily practice, the hip shooting accuracy quickly went really south in a hurry.


July 10, 2009, 01:42 PM
I don't practice hip shooting with long guns although that's not because I'm against it. I do practice shooting from the hip and thereabout with handguns, if for no other reason than hopefully the muscle memory will get my offhand up on my chest and out of the way of the muzzle when it goes boom.


John Wayne
July 10, 2009, 01:48 PM
I'm surprised no one has mentioned laser sights for this kind of practice.

They will dramatically cut down on the number of rounds needed to become accurate, and allow you to actually see where your shot is going without lining up the sights. They are no substitute for regular practice with iron sights, and will not make up for shooter errors like jerking the trigger, but they are an extremely valuable training aid.

Hip shooting is definately worth practicing as it may very well be your only option if you have to use your firearm.

July 10, 2009, 02:52 PM
WWI era browning automatic rifle ammo belts actually had a metal cup built into them to put the buttstock when shooting from the hip.... I found it pretty suprising and interesting that it was actually sanctioned at one time in the military.

It still is. The manual of arms for my M249 and our M240s have a standard firing position for shooting from the hip while moving.

.38 Special
July 10, 2009, 08:40 PM
I spent a year or so practicing fast draw and hip shooting with a Model 19, wax bullets, and a Jordan border patrol holster. I got reasonably fast and accurate, though Ol' Bill still would have killed me every time.

But hitting from the hip at 7-10 yards takes time. You have to "feel" the gun and wiggle it around a little. It's almost certainly slower than aimed fire. In Jordan's book "No Second Place Winner" he specifically states that at that distance, fast shots from the hip are a poor practice. 7-10 feet is more like it. In that case, it's a worthwhile skill.

July 10, 2009, 09:49 PM
I practice shooting from the hip alot,but at very close range (2-6ft.)I also do most of my practice by "point shooting"because I feel sights are probley not going to be used in most self defence shooting's.That said,I still want my rounds to hit POA,even if I don't plan on useing them;)

July 10, 2009, 10:12 PM
I've sighted in my Crimson Trace laser grips so that where the bright red dot is, is exactly where the bullet hits...no need to raise the pistol or use the sights. Fine for dusk or night shooting...but worthless in good light.

But it still takes a lot of practice on trigger pull for smoothness and assurance you will hit where desired! ESPECIALLY with my double-action only S&W Model 642 Airweight!!:banghead: That trigger pull is a Bitch!

July 10, 2009, 10:16 PM
I think "shooting from the hip" is certainly a technique that could be implemented into a "training" routine as a "traditional" sight picture may not always be available during an HD encounter. But, there are better solutions such as the "stress fire" technique (Massad Ayoob) which is essentially a hybrid of both point shooting and aimed fire.

Regardless, in regards to hip shooting, I tend to favor the shotgun vs. the handgun as it seems to offer a more "natural" feel vs. the handgun, IMHO.

With the handgun, I think that getting the front sight over the target, in the very least, is necessary for truly effective shooting... unless we are talking about handshake distance(s).

Of course, as has been mentioned before, a laser sighting device could bridge this gap. But, such a device can open up a whole other can of worms...so to speak.

July 10, 2009, 10:19 PM
Hip shooting is a good face to face SD technique. If I have learned anything about close quarter combat its how easy it is to take a weapon away once your hands are on it. If the bad guy is close enough to touch your weapon then dont extend it out closer to him. Thats just an invite for him to take it away. A practiced hip shot is a great way to say goodbye to an attacker at close range.

July 10, 2009, 10:22 PM
A practiced hip shot is a great way to say goodbye to an attacker at close range.

I agree...but, at VERY close range...nothing more. After all, it would be quite difficult, even at very close range, to effectively stop an opponent with a handgun without anything even remotely approaching aimed fire (speaking in the general sense). The shotgun, of course, should prove much more effective in this case.

July 10, 2009, 10:47 PM
"Hip shooting" is generally refered to as "firing from retention" meaning you are at close range (<6') and the attacker could attempt to disarm you if you present the pistol from the draw. Some IPSC or IDPA scenrios will refer to this as a "speed rock", but it is very affective and should be practiced. I general have our first scenario start off that way so we all get practice at the drill.

July 10, 2009, 11:43 PM
I think a laser would be quite useful in developing a reliable hip shot for self defense. It is pretty difficult to shoot well from the hip.

Years ago, I used to hunt rabbits with a 22 semi-auto rifle. We hunted with beagles, but I still tried to hit them on the jump much like you would with a shotgun. Got pretty good at it shooting from the hip with a short burst and adjusting the point of aim based on the impact points. You would expect that I shot 5 to 10 shots, but in reality, it was usually two shots. The hardest shot was on a running rabbit moving across your shooting area (side to side) versus toward you or away from you.

I shot a whitetail buck from the hip with a 243. It was about 5-7 yds, runnning past me, moving too fast and was too close to aim properly with a scope. One shot, dead deer from the hip. Lucky I know (sort of). My hope was to hit it in the front shoulders and then hopefully have a quick followup. As it was, it was not necessary. The practice with a 22 rifle is what made that shot possible. Otherwise, I would never have taken the shot.

July 11, 2009, 12:18 AM
Within six feet, give or take, I usually try to bring the weapon (handgun) just below center/mid-torso (using a two-handed hold) vs. shooting "straight from the hip." Of course, with the semi-auto, I make sure to leave enough room for the slide to do its thing.

This may not be "proper" technique, but it seems to allow for greater focus/control (for me) vs. true side shooting...all while still maintaining respectable weapon retention.

July 11, 2009, 09:47 AM
Definitely shoot from mid torso for you "hip shot", not from down lower (at the hip) like you see in the western movies. Those are mostly bs. The mid torso location is a more intuitive shooting position. Be careful if you practice this way.

July 11, 2009, 10:53 AM
I agree that hip shooting and point shooting have their place. Combat is often a one handed affair up close and dirty. Sure I would be happy to have cover and time to aim but then a good shotgun or carbine would be preferable, too.

July 13, 2009, 07:04 AM
I believe Frank Hamer was asked about hip shooting and was quoted as saying the only time he didn't use the sights on his revolver was when the front sight snagged on the other guys shirt.

July 13, 2009, 10:55 AM
One more tool in the bag. As mentioned, laser sights help tremendously.

I try to train in ways that will help in likely scenarios. Having the time to line up sights is pretty unlikely for most SD situations, so I incorporate a lot of point shooting, shooting from retention, etc. in my training.

July 14, 2009, 09:35 AM
I'd love to be able to accurately shoot any of my handguns while holding it at hip-level.

I'm not even going to begin to try it, however, as I'm pretty sure it swiftly gets addictive and will require enormous amounts of ammo & range time to get proficient in.

July 14, 2009, 10:31 AM
I added two tap hip shooting to my practice schedule just in case the BG gets within <6 ft. In practice I do very well with mostly COM hits but from a prepared position and that would not be the case in an actual event. Hopefully I never have the opportunity to use any type of SD to ward off a BG.

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