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Point shooting and old movies

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by bersaguy, Nov 29, 2019.

  1. bersaguy

    bersaguy Member

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    Recently I've seen two things that have piqued my interest in how shooting techniques have changed over the years. One was a segment from lucky gunner on DAO revolvers which has a short bit in it about training FBI agents to point shoot from the hip.

    And the other was the Nextflix show "The Irishman" DeNero's character would fire his revolver like I've seen many do in old gangster movies from the 30s and 40s. Kind of extending the hand out, firing at almost full extension, recoiling back and pushing forward again. Now, I always figured this was a Hollywood trope, over compensating for the lack of recoil offered by flashy blanks used in movie production. My question is, was this ever actually a thing? Was this like holding a Glock sideways or C-clamping an AR15? Kind of a style of shooting that has just fallen out of favor
     
  2. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Member

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    Point shooting using your hand/the gun as an indexing point while keeping the target in focus has always been an effective method of quickly aiming a firearm at close range. It's an absolutely vital skill to hone, in my opinion.

    Relating to old guns and things people believe are outdated:

    Those tiny sights on old revolvers? They aren't useless. If you have time to be precise, they are far superior to big block sights because you can more clearly see your front sight against a small point on your target.


    If you dont have time? You never look at that tiny rear sight. You bring the gun up just under your line of sight, keep your target in focus, and that big half moon front sight in combination with the natural shape of a pistol makes for a clear Indexing point like a triangle. Target goes above this "triangle", trigger gets squeezed and you make nice fast hits on the target.
     
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  3. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Yes, sort of. You have to remember that repeating/self-loading pistols were a comparatively new thing in the early 20th century. There was a lot of carry-over from the days of single-shot pistols. If your pistol only has one shot, then recoil management is a non-issue. What matters is putting that single shot where you want it. With no recoil control constraints, it's pretty easy and tempting to get into a "free recoil" kind of shooting where you grip softly and let the gun move as it wants after dropping the trigger.

    After WWII, the invention of the "practical" handgun games dramatically altered handgun shooting techniques. Because different styles/approaches were being tested against one another*, and because they were being tested as to both speed and accuracy, it quickly became apparent what worked best.

    • First they learned that you should get both hands on the gun.
    • Then they learned that paying attention to recoil control by applying significant force to the gun was important.**
    • A decade or two later, they learned that turning sideways doesn't help you shoot a pistol.
    • They learned that sights get used in different ways for different target distances/difficulties.
    • They learned that it's better to apply force relatively high up on the gun than lower down.
    The old stuff is interesting as history. It is not useful for learning how to do things optimally.

    *As opposed to say, bullseye, where a one-handed approach is dictated by rule.
    ** At first they did this with opposing push-pull forces. Later developments proved this not to be quite as good as other ways of applying force.
     
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  4. 25-5
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    25-5 Contributing Member

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    Point shooting was the innovation of William Fairbairn (Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife). A shooting technique he instructed the
    fledgling OSS training in Canada just before WWII.
     
  5. bersaguy

    bersaguy Member

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    So, I tried a bit of this at the range today. I had a cz75, Taurus TCP, and a Ruger security six. Did some drills one handed point shooting, just bringing the gun up off the bench, focusing on the target and just looking over the sights. I tried rapid fire, 6 shot strings at 7 yards. The cz75 was the worst of the bunch, resulting in a group quite low and to the right, the TCP faired better, about a 8" group, pretty much covering the man sized silhouette. The Ruger however, with 38spl, shooting double action, consistently resulted in about a 4" group to center mass. Now, with each of these firearms at this distance I can tear ragged holes in the center of the target when using the sights...I was not expecting the revolver to do so well without aiming. Tried it once with 357 rounds...that didn't work so well...too much recoil for one handed, double action rapid fire. But with 38's that was a very natural pointer and very easy to put hits in the engine room quickly. That may become the new nightstand gun.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
  6. Dibbs

    Dibbs Member

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    I'd say whatever style you think is best, a lot of practice is more important.

    Some of the most accurate shooters aim from the hip, BUT, they practice constantly.
     
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  7. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Point shooting is alive and well, particularly for close range defensive shooting.

    Video explains why point shooting is applicable for certain shooting situations like fast low light close range defensive shooting



    I teach/share defensive point shooting and one can readily produce fast accurate shots of 2" - 4" groups at 5-7 yards on multiple targets. Here's my introduction and training on point shooting by a PD/SD SWAT instructor - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/trigger-control.834737/page-2#post-11244660

    And point shooting can be incorporated into action pistol match/competition shooting to engage multiple targets with fast double taps. Try these drills for your next range trip - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...-help-me-speed-up.824618/page-4#post-10902245

    With practice, you can point shoot like this:



     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
  8. Pat Riot

    Pat Riot Member

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    Here is a film of FBI defensive training from the mid 1970’s. The person that posted this on YouTube says it is from 1965 but they are a few years off.
    Anyway, it is a somewhat corny but very serious training video that I discovered searching for info for this thread. I was searching for police trading on revolver shooting showing the one handed point, shoot, reset method of shooting the OP mentioned regarding the movie The Irishman. By the way DeNiro is very anti gun so I am anti DeNiro. He’ll see no royalties from me.

    The video is nearly 15 minutes long. The “Point Shooting” portion starts at 10 minutes.


    A point about the Lucky Gunner video regarding shooting a revolver single action and the need to do away with that annoying hammer...Bob your hammer, dude. Revolvers aren’t semi-auto pistols. And, Pennsylvania has never had a “Highway Patrol”. The Pennsylvania State Police” were formed in 1905.
    I really hate know-it-all’s that don’t know it all. Sorry...off on a tangent. No reflection on the original poster is meant.

    Here is a video depicting FBI training in the 1930’s. Notice they are firing single action and aiming, shooting and resetting (not sure that is the term for this). The action that the OP mentions regarding the movie was probably an emulation by the actor of what is seen here.


    Here is a film made around the time of WW2 showing point shooting in a combat training film. I love how they used “tracer” rounds for effect.
     
  9. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    But that's impossible, like so many other "VIP's", he has a NYC concealed carry permit. Do what I say, not what I do.

    In Army basic training we were taught a type of point shooting with rifles called "Quick Kill". After practicing, and gaining, the ability to shoot small discs thrown in the air with BB rifles just looking over the barrel, we learned to quickly throw the M-14 to our shoulder, look over the barrel at your target with both eyes open, and shoot quickly for shots out to 50 yards or so. Very consistent hits on man sized targets.
     
  10. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    For those interested and OP for your next range trip, we recently discussed virtues of point shooting as part of this trigger control thread in detail.

    How neutral grip is essential basis for point shooting to not move the front sight/muzzle - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/trigger-control.834737/page-2#post-11245649

    Jerry Miculek's method of dry firing practice - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/trigger-control.834737/page-2#post-11249110

    (Jerry Miculek slow motion demo) Point shooting factors multiple actions of stance, draw, grip and trigger as one continuous motion with dynamic adjustments so POI matches POA - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/trigger-control.834737/page-2#post-11245640

    Teaching point shooting to someone who never shot before to the point of mastery in one session (Well, with lots of dry fire practice) - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/trigger-control.834737/page-2#post-11249077
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
  11. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

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    I was told once, while discussing pistol combat, the sideways shooting evolved from fencing stances. Not being a fencing expert (although I put up a couple of chain link ones) I can't say with any certainty that it's true or not.
     
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  12. amd6547

    amd6547 Member

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    Bill Jordan was once asked how he was so fast against bad guys...
    He answered "they tried to aim..."
     
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  13. MrShooter

    MrShooter Member

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    I've been practicing a drill where I draw and fire 3 quick rounds more pointing than aiming. Pretty consistently the first will be a little high and left, the second will be within an inch of bull and the third will be a couple inches high and left again. I run this drill from 3-5 yards. The more I practice the easier it gets.
     
  14. Casefull

    Casefull Member

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    When you have spent a lifetime pointing tools it is very natural to point a tool (pistol) where ever you are looking. I have always thought the 2 handed shooting stance was slow and awkward and a poor use of the inherent quickness a pistol enables. Moving our entire body versus a twist of the wrist or arm.
    Speed and accuracy, obviously they are both important. What if we catch a round while lining up the sights? What is getting shot going to do to that sight picture? We each have to decide in a given situation which is most important.
     
  15. Good Ol' Boy

    Good Ol' Boy Member

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    I would advise anyone who is of intermediate skill and doubtful of PS to shoot a competition match like USPSA or IDPA. You will find more than likely that targets within 5yds you dont actually precisely aim at. You get the gun target and shoot.

    Most of my matches targets under 5yds I'm not aiming so much as looking at the target with the gun on target. You do have to keep in mind that this isn't Bullseye shooting but defensive or "gaming" where speed, timing and points rule the day.

    Still, its worthwhile if your somewhat proficient but have doubts about PS.
     
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  16. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    You're referencing a different "sideways"

    You reference to originating from a fencer's stance applies to bullseye shooting...it actually does. Within the context of the post you quoted...combining speed and accuracy...it is referencing blading (usually with the strong side foot toward the rear) while using both hands to hold the pistol
     
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  17. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    Think about this -
    You start pointing at things when you're an infant. It's instinctive. You can do it with either hand from almost any position at a very early age. Point shooting is just an extension of something you already have a lifetime of experience doing.
    Of course the hard part is allowing yourself to trust your instincts and just point and shoot.
     
  18. LaneP

    LaneP Member

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    @3:35 it's humorous seeing the difference between training techniques thought to be cutting edge at that era compared to someone like Jerry Miculek today. I don't think "draw and squat" would advocated today :)
     
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  19. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Go shoot some USPSA matches and you can test how your one-handed quickness stacks up to the 2-handed stuff.
     
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  20. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    hmmmmm.





    (course these are some of the fastest shooters in the world)
     
  21. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    I have informally tried this, and found that I'm faster shooting one-handed on the first shot (especially if I don’t have immediate line of sight to the target) and faster on target transitions that require movement, but slower on splits/multiple shots on the same/adjacent targets. I am reasonably accurate one-handed at 7yds, but longer distances benefit from a two-handed grip.

    What has your experience been?
     
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  22. Iggy

    Iggy Member

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    An afternoon shooting with Bill Jordan saved my life more than once.
    I was in two shooting incidents while a LEO, in both cases there was no time to aim.
    I saw my gun between me and the BG and fired. They missed.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019 at 12:28 PM
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  23. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Similar. I can get one shot off OK with one hand pretty quickly. Since I rarely, if ever, want/need only one shot, I pretty much always go ahead and draw to the 2-handed grip. The second shot benefits are so overwhelming that it's not a close call for me.
     
  24. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    That's exactly what I tell people when I introduce them to point shooting. It's a skill we have developed to level of mastery our entire life. With point shooting, you are not learning a new skill rather utilizing a skill you have already mastered.

    Most people are surprised that they can point with their fingers within an inch of things around the room with eyes open or closed.

    Not convinced?

    How about a real life step-by-step demonstration you can try for yourself now?

    • From where you are sitting/standing, point at a door knob or light switch with your index finger.
    • Next clear your pistol and hold with your index finger running along the barrel and point at door knob/light switch. Imagine a continuous laser light or stick extending from your finger tip to the door knob/light switch as you point back and forth. (In fact, imagine you poking the door knob/light switch with the tip of the stick)
    • Now put your finger in the trigger and point with the knuckle but continue imagining the laser light or stick extending from knuckle to the door knob/light switch.
    • With barrel pointed at the target, you have sight alignment and when trigger is depressed without moving the barrel/front sight, bullet will hit the target.
    This is point shooting, at least my version I share with people.


    And if your point of impact (POI) deviates from point of aim (POA), that's due to trigger control pulling/pushing on the trigger. Once you have barrel aligned with POA (sight alignment), what will move POI from POA is input on trigger, grip or pushing down in anticipation of recoil. Obviously proper grip/trigger control are essential to point shooting and demonstrated in this thread - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...-help-me-speed-up.824618/page-4#post-10902444


    And why do I start people off point shooting with their eyes closed?


    I found this to be the fastest way to unlearn many habits people have picked up over their life. Once people reach the point where they can depress the trigger without moving the front sight, shooting with eyes closed at 5 yards will produce their natural point of aim. I have them practice until their natural point of aim is synchronized with POI. Once this is achieved, they can place their POI anywhere on the target at will, fast, on multiple targets. (Many match shooters call this "Zen" of shooting)

    THEN I have them open their eyes to point shoot with their eyes open at 7 yards and longer distances. :eek:

    Most people are seriously shocked and surprised how accurate they can shoot with their eyes closed. I tell them they are simply utilizing pointing skill they have mastered their entire life. :D

    While I prefer people practice point shooting with two hands as I believe it is more stable, point shooting can be done reasonably accurate with one hand at closer distances as trigger/grip input can spread the group size.

    Next time you are at the range, try shooting with your eyes closed to see what your natural point of aim is. Then try the point shooting drill outlined above. You might be surprised how effective point shooting can be. :)


    At 1:25 minute mark of video, Rob Leatham demonstrates shooting at the target with EYES CLOSED.

     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
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  25. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    I sometimes find myself debating this point in my head. :) When I look at surveillance camera videos of SD shootings, rarely do I see the aggressor being anchored to a given position / approach - they're always ducking and weaving and generally moving to concealment (if not cover) once the combat begins. If I presume this to be the predominant SD dynamic, then instinctive snap shooting at elusive targets while also moving would seem (to the voices in my head) to have some value.

    This leaves me conflicted, and to reconcile that conflict I make a point of finding the firearms that point most naturally for me and then practicing both doctrinal and ad-hoc (e.g. one handed) shooting.
     
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