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Eyes closed shooting position check

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by RecoilRob, Mar 20, 2018.

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  1. RecoilRob

    RecoilRob Member

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    Back when I was first learning to shoot the pistol, a test was proposed to demonstrate whether or not your position was comfortable and natural....this being the 'eyes closed' drill.

    How to do it: With an empty pistol...pick out an aiming spot across the room (or wherever you might be) which can be a target, light switch...whatever, just something to align your sights on. Take dead aim then close your eyes....and slowly count to 30. Don't cheat!! After 30 seconds open your eyes and see where you're pointing. It might surprise you!

    I've shot with a lot of people and watched countless video's where people are adopting all kinds of weird looking and what appear to be uncomfortable positions which I believe are hurting their performance. If you have to strain to hold your position...fatigue will set in and your body will want to go to a place where it's more comfortable. Without the constant correction provided by your eyes your body will drift to that more comfortable place. In recoil you then must fight both the forces just experienced on top of what's needed to maintain the position. If your body will go back to where it was without effort...recovering from recoil should be quicker and easier. That's what this drill might be able to show you.

    For some it might only take a minor repositioning of the feet to be able to pass the test, but if you're like me...the Isosceles position just doesn't work no matter how hard I tried. The only way I can pass this test is with a Modified Weaver (or Chapman...whatever you call it) and once I found this it's worked very well for over 40 years now.:) Pistol gripped straight up the forearm, arm almost straight with eye looking down the arm and support arm applying tension rearward and inward to form a strong position. How far to angle toward the target and how aggressively to place the feet will show in a few tries. My stance is pretty much the same as if I was going to thud someone as hard as I can in the chest with a punch. That would be a good place to start if you know how to box....and sadly from what I've seen on YouTube the art of punching effectively seems to be a lost art on our young.:(

    Once you get to the point (if you do...congratulations!) where you can hold on target for 30 seconds, then you can expand to shooting with eyes closed...(only where it can be done safely of course) which will totally freak out your friends. We would do drills with 3 or 4 full size silhouettes spread out at 10 yards and from low pistol have someone call out one of the targets. Before you can raise the pistol you must close your eyes....then make the shot. With a little practice this can be done easily and instinctively and I think would make people a better defensive shooter. Please don't do this where it can't be done with complete safety so it might not be possible unless you have a private place to shoot.
     
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  2. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I fail to see the point to it, unless you plan on holding a gun on someone for 30 seconds with your eyes closed. As a beginning exercise, it might have merit, but it also might develop artificial dependence on the position you settle on.
    A more effective 'eyes closed' practice is to bring the gun into your firing position with eyes closed then open them and see if the sights are lined up. I learned this one for Trap shooting, but it translates for rifle and pistol also.
    We can't always get in the most comfortable position to shoot in a defensive situation , you have to learn to shoot from uncomfortable positions, because you'll more likely be in one of them when you need your pistol.
    Creedmoor pistol positon is very comfortable, but not practical for defensive shooting.
    In other words- you fight how you train, so it's best to train realistically.
     
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  3. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    Yes, I use it as a tool especially when teaching, to help correct 'forced' posture. Many new shooters step onto the line and scrunch up in odd ways (head down, hands too low, shoulders twisted, feet together, balancing on toes); closing your eyes and deliberately untwisting to a more neutral posture is helpful.
     
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  4. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I can see the usefulness in that. OTOH, most of those 'scrunched' positions are used by good people who make their living doing bad things to bad people in bad places. There is a reason for them. But not for everyone to use them.
     
  5. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    There's a place for a moving crouch, but that's not what new shooters seem to do in my experience. They seem to twist and balance on toes or heels in a way that reduces stability. I think it's a combination of recoil anticipation and Jason Bourne-itis; it's definitely not helpful.

    A good moving crouch improves stability and mobility.
     
  6. entropy

    entropy Member

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    :thumbup: Well put! Yes, when firing, the feet need to be planted solidly, some of the tactifools I see at the range are anything but solid.
     
  7. Klint Beastwood

    Klint Beastwood member

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    Finding a natural point of aim is just a basic basic marksmanship skill. All th cool things come from the basics. So good job with that. A lot of people are unfamiliar with natural point of aim.

    However, most fast paced shooting usually goes against it, so the as stated, the tacticool methods are a little different when it comes to fighting. However I don’t know what you’ve guys seen, chances are, if you seen a guy at your local range conducting shooting drills related to gun fighting, he probably saw a crash course or a YouTube video and it butchering techniques or not fully understanding them.

    When shooting on the move, making yourself smaller and leaning in does reduce recoil for follow up shots, and keeping a smaller profile when gliding. That’s in general. Generally having a wider base, more leaned in and rear foot toe dug in is how much of the guys including me do it. It’s not so much for shooting as is getting ready to maneuver an enemy. It’s like getting ready to race but with a rifle at the ready.

    Tacticool can always look silly if the person doesn’t apply what they are trying to learn to what the technique is for. Like a rolling prone...
     
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  8. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Wasn't that a Dylan song? ;) Good explanation, Klint Beastwood!
     
  9. MTNSTRYDER

    MTNSTRYDER Member

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    When I was very young with a cap gun my Grandfather told me “If you want to be a good shot with a pistol make sure it’s unloaded double check.Now point the pistol at something then check the sights is it on?
    That was 55 years ago I still do this a lot .Don’t forget to check that it’s unloaded.Double check again.
     
  10. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm glad someone else is familiar with this.

    Natural Point of Aim (NPA) is a basic shooting skill which should be learned early in your career. I learned it is high school on our rifle team, but I know many folks who learned it at an Appleseed class

    entropy described it correctly.

    To find your NPA, you look at the target, close your eyes, and bring the pistol up to where you think the target is. If you are a "bit off", the normal way to correct is to move the alignment of your feet. Moving your arms/hands/shoulders to bring your sights onto target is counter productive. The advantage is you don't have to be "honest" as you can't see to cheat

    Doing it in the reverse...starting with the sights on target...only teaches you to lock-in your "stance". Locking in will always seem better (more control) but is in fact slower for followup shots

    That isn't completely true unless you're only referring to shooting from a static position or new shooters.

    When shooting on the move, you're able to shoot more accurately while one foot is off the ground. A common fault of new shooters is attempting to time their shots with their foot fall, when you can easily get off 3 shots between steps...but it is a bit of an advanced technique
     
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  11. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Its more a Precision Pistol (Bullseye) thing, using one hand. IMO. Seen a guy draw an outline on the floor around his feet after finding the perfect placement.

    Sight on target, close eyes, see when sight alignment has drifted when opening eyes. More like 5 seconds then 30. Adjust feet and maybe grip on the handgun.
     
  12. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    It is....however

    It is very useful when working with a newer/poorer shooter in eliminating variables to diagnose/isolate their trigger management issues
     
  13. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    The natural point of aim can be checked without closing your eyes. Just divert them somewhere else for a couple of seconds (without moving your head), then go back to your sight picture.
     
  14. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    This thing, IMO, is somewhat more the effect of the geometry of the handgun/sights. If the gun has a "low bore axis" then you might have to bring your head down to line up the sights. There's nothing wrong with this, AFAIC. It presents a smaller silhouette, in case someone is shooting back. And if you don't have time to bring your head down, you can certainly still shoot more accurately than with eyes-closed, even without a classical sight picture. E.g., you can make a pyramid, front sight higher than the rear sights, but hold below the intended impact point. This is perhaps what I'd "relax to" with such a handgun in a 30 second test or if I were to shoot without aiming/looking. Even though the sights are not lined up with my eyes doesn't mean the bullets aren't going where they're supposed to. When shooting fast or at a moving target, this is the sight picture I use. Less precise, but it has a wider useable range without losing the front sight, completely. Notice that the sights are going to be well below the line between your eyes and target when shooting like this. But another good thing here is that the important bits in a human body present a tall and skinny target where side-side accuracy is more important than up/down.

    IMO, it is much easier to adjust for a lower bore axis than one that is too high for your "natural 30 second point of aim". The high bore axis pistol is more difficult, in general, for me to hold still while breaking the trigger. And in a gun fight, I would rather have some a complete but imprecise sight picture than just the rear sights and a prayer. A gun where my front sight has dropped into invisibility or remained level after the 30 second test is one that fails for self-defense. I want the front sight to naturally want to settle higher than the rears, when brought up to the line between my eyes and the target.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
  15. Klint Beastwood

    Klint Beastwood member

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    It’s like I said, it’s a very beginners thing to learn natural point of aim. It starts the foundation of shooting to stance or prone...whatever your doing, and slowly everything is kind of built onto it during the marksmanship fundamentals stage. That being said, specifically for combat, it’s a concept that doesn’t even apply. Although when staring at a window for 3 days, not necessarily a bad thing to be able to relax and feel natural on the gun.
    Long story short, every tool you have is a tool you can use.
     
  16. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    Finding your "natural point of aim" was/is a prerequisite for getting the proper stance when shooting with one hand in typical Bullseye matches. To add to the good advice 9mmepiphany offered, for a right-handed shooter, only the left (back) foot should be moved when positioning the alignment of your feet while acquiring your NPA.
     
  17. HB

    HB Member

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    NPA is applied in “practical” shooting when you take a stance. If you want to hit better adjust your stance. Nobody is saying you have to take a bullseye stance when you engage the cardboard bad guys.

    HB
     
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