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Point shooting and old movies

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

  1. Casefull

    Casefull Member

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    Those matches are a game and no one is shooting at you. How would someones aim be if the target was emptying a magazine at them?
    It’s delusional to believe USPSA matches are anything like a real gun fight.
    I’m not advocating against two handed shooting if one has the time or if the distance dictates that level of accuracy. I also understand that some of us are not very accomplished with a pistol. My goal is to get a first round hit in the shortest time possible with the least risk to my torso.
     
  2. Casefull

    Casefull Member

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    You being ‘conflicted’ is just your common sense kicking in. You are thinking in real terms of what might actually happen rather than a TV police drama or a target match training session.
     
  3. Casefull

    Casefull Member

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    I am not a paint baller and have never tried it but that would be more realistic training against a live aggressor instead of a paper target.
     
  4. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Of course USPSA is a game. The crux of the game is getting rounds on targets fast. That seems relevant.

    How does someone shooting at you alter whether you can shoot better one-handed or two-handed? You got Captain America’s shield in your left hand or what?
     
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  5. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    I went to college with a criminal justice major who, I hate to say it, was studying to become a bully with a gun with a lot of preconceived racial biases. One of his favorite things to go on and on about was about all the gang members holding their guns sideways and not hitting a thing. Keep in mind this chucklehead had never fired a gun in his life.

    One of the girls in our class said that wasn't quite true in her experience. She was in the Reserves and had shot a bit in her freetime. Whoever was coaching her actually said that cocking the gun to the side can help stabilize the shot...sorta. What they meant by cocking it to the side was not a full 90 degree. Instead if you rotate the gun about 15-20 degrees your arm bones kind of line up. She said she could hit most combat distance targets within a rapid fire kill zone consistently this way. I didn't know it then as I was not a shooter at that time, but this may be a form of point shooting. Lock your arm, look at your target, squeeze off a few rounds. The recoil doesn't make your arm go up and down as having your elbow cocked keeps it a bit straighter. Obviously the sights are useless, but if the object is to keep rounds at chest level in a hurry that are coming out of a low recoiling firearm like a 9mm pistol, I could see how it would work to some degree. To further the gangster stereotype, if you were driving a car alone and needed to make a few fast and messy shots on the sidewalk toward your passenger side, putting down the window and firing with your armed slightly cocked and elbow locked might get you accurate enough to hit your target. I dunno. Just speculation.

    I think point shooting of some flavor is important. I know that over 50% of my range time is spent shooting instinctively. I dont fire from the hip, but I dont use the sights. I just sort of aim down the barrel and look at my target. I won't win any bullseye matches, but at 7-10 yards I'm putting the rounds into a decent defensive grouping. I practice archery the same way as well as slingshots. I figure that it is the most crucial skill to have with a gun, as I would imagine most altercations requiring deadly force are at bad breath range and the gun being fired from the hip or certainly lower than a eye level locked two-hand stance.
     
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  6. Kendahl

    Kendahl Member

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    At the gun club I once belonged to, I remember a match in which blind point shooting was required. The event organizer set up a target at five yards and put a barrier at waist height in front of the competitor. The competitor had to shoot from below the barrier. He could see the target but not his gun. I don't remember if I shot the match with my 1911 or my S&W M&P. I "aimed" at the target's chest but hit what would have been the crotch of a live target. On the second run, I corrected my aim by trying to hit the target in the head. In other words, the gun was pointing well below where my senses thought it was. This makes me think point shooters are getting their guns high enough to index visually off the frame even though they don't get a classic sight picture.
     
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  7. kBob

    kBob Member

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    Point Shoulder Technique was part of the NRA pistol course in the 1980's....

    -kBob
     
  8. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    As I said earlier, the hard part about point shooting is trusting your instincts. The gun doesn't need to be in your sightline. Concentrate on the target and your brain and body can do all the work if you let it.
     
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  9. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Contributing Member

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    Could be. Alternatively, they may have selected a gun that 'pointed' more naturally for them, or they may have practiced enough to groove muscle memory.
     
  10. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    I don't believe that it was ever actually a "thing". I'm supposing that by "thing" you mean training or a method of shooting. No it wasn't and about that I'm pretty certain. When you read the books and articles written by the old timers or about them none of them proposes that a person jab the gun forward or back and forth while they pull the trigger. This is something done in the movies for dramatic effect. It came over to film from stage plays where blanks weren't always used and a fella off stage had to time the sound of the gun shots to the action of the actor. Think of sword fights on stage and film, they are always over the top to enhance the drama and tension. So similarly with gun play on stage and film.

    Kids learn to play guns from film.. ya point the gun go "bang, bang, bang" and jerk the gun as you do that. No trainer ever taught anyone that.
     
  11. roo_ster

    roo_ster Member

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    OP:

    The men in decades past were not dumb, they just were building on past experience with evolving hardware. Some of those techniques are truly obsolete, some merely overshadowed by lessons learned over time but still viable depending on circumstances.

    USPSA, IDPA, etc. are valuable training, evaluation, and technique development tools the same way say, rally racing is to developing driving technique for VIP protection, military applications, and suchlike.

    Point shooting is viable and has utility and a couple of posters have detailed the sighted/non-sighted interface.

    I like the luckygunner guy, but he is overly broad in some of his points in that video. Shooting a revolver single action has its place in SD, though that is a smaller place than in times past. Even down on to the bitty J-frames. I am a fan of the shrouded (not enclosed) hammer J-frames and Taurus equivalents. With one of them, I can hit COM with all 5 on a silhouette target at 25 yards consistently using the trigger DA. If I want to do the same for the cranium shots, moving to SA makes it do-able. Given time, training, and resources, maybe I can get to the point where 5 shots on a silhouette head using a J-frame DA is something I can claim. Today is not that day and I know my capabilities for today with the gear I own.
     
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  12. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    Fairbairn didn't innovate point shooting. It's been done since spears, darts, and primitive archery. It was certainly practiced with guns before sights were invented. Fairbairn & Sykes did promote point shooting skills because they understood that in many gunfights, a person could be prevented from any opportunity to use the sights. This remains sound advice to this day, and will continue to be sound for the foreseeable future. They never promoted the idea of forbidding the use of sights, but that idea did come about later as an indirect result of their influence.

    It is not clear from Shoot to Live how much of the handgun techniques were sourced from Fairbairn and how much from Sykes. William Fairbairn held a superior rank in the police force (he was the chief), while Eric Sykes was a civilian, volunteer and then part-time reserve. Fairbairn was the student of Jiu Jitsu and Judo -- actually, boxing, wrestling, savate, Shin no Shinto ryu jujutsu and Kodokan judo. He also invented his own martial art "Defendu." I believe he was the source of most of the hand-to-hand and knife techniques, and that Eric Sykes was actually the source of most of the firearm techniques. Whatever Fairbairn taught about firearms, he probably learned from Eric Sykes.

    Eric Sykes primarily worked for "import/export" trading companies in Shanghai, where he met Fairbairn. Fairbairn involved him as an instructor, and SWAT team leader. He was the leader of the Shanghai Muni Police sniper squad, and between the two, he was definitely the firearms expert. He did most of his work as a civilian, unpaid volunteer or part-time and so he never competed with Fairbairn for rank, nor did he have a reason to consider himself inferior -- but that's exactly how Fairbairn treated him. It's been written that this is ultimately what split them after "Shooting to Live" was published. I suspect that Fairbairn was the one who had the kind of influence that could get books published and ideas promoted as authoritative, and Sykes was just "used" as a source, but that with respect to firearms, he was the source.

    Sykes was a hunter, and expert with a rifle and pistol. His father had worked as a cotton trader in Manchester, and Eric had come to Shanghai working for Reiss & Co., a Manchester-based cotton goods trader that had offices in Canton and Shanghai. He later joined the China & Japan Trading Co., the Colt and Remington importer for China, and then worked for S J David & Co., a Bombay-based trader and pioneer of the mill industry in India. Manchester and Bombay certainly had cotton mills and industries that exported to China, but India had more exports to China than just cotton. Perhaps that's what kept the Shanghai Muni PD so busy.

    Eric Sykes worked for S J David & Co. from 1929 until he left China 1940. I found that this company was active in the opium trade besides Indian yarns.

    When Shooting to Live was published in 1942, the US was in need of doctrine for handgun methodology. The US had no authority or subject matter expert on this topic. Their British allies did, having sourced them from the Shanghai International Settlement's municipal police. Shanghai had been a hotbed for combat with the Chinese criminal underworld and its drug and arms trades. The US, on the other hand, had no such "sandbox" in which to prove hand-to-hand, handgun, and knife combat techniques. They had gone through Prohibition, but without a central institution (like the FBI that would come later) to congeal the learned knowledge into any kind of doctrine. What the US did have, was an excellent handgun, the 1911 Government model (which Fairbairn & Sykes were big promoters of).

    Contrary to the Lucky Gunner video, Fairbairn and Sykes never promoted double-action revolvers. They described and illustrated the "Fitz Special" in their book for plainclothes (undercover) detectives for use as what others would describe as a "belly gun," but they very strongly promoted the semi-automatic pistol as superior for all other practical purposes. Their reasons were exactly the ones that have resulted in semi-automatic pistols prevailing in law enforcement today. Fairbairn and Sykes mentioned the Americans' affinity for revolvers and considered it inexplicable and indefensible.

    It appears that Col. Rex Applegate of the US Army undertook an effort to promote sidearm and hand-to-hand combat methods for the US. He became a disciple of Fairbairn and Sykes doctrine because at the time (WWII), the British were the best available source of such. It is not clear that Rex Applegate ever met William Fairbairn or Eric Sykes, but he certainly adopted an interpretation of practically all their published doctrine. Applegate popularized his version of the doctrine in the US where the FBI later adopted it and promoted in the fashion that was typical of the age: as an engraved-in-stone, righteous gospel, enshrined by your superiors that must never be questioned. This was the folly of "point shooting" as it came to be known, and not the actual practice of instinctive shooting with proprioception. I have heard from police officers trained in the 1970's who described being battered by their range officers if they dared to use the sights on their revolvers. We've already seen the videos of FBI training where the sights are inexplicably ignored, and nobody ever shoots with more than one hand. The whole thing was obviously taken to the point of foolish extreme. I am sure Eric Sykes, who was a hunter, marksman, and sniper, never intended the use of sights to be prohibited, and he certainly taught using both hands.

    In Shooting to Live, Fairbairn and Sykes explicitly describe how to improve the sights on a handgun:

    "...for long-range, such as we have been describing, sights offer a distinct advantage. We have little faith, however, in those usually furnished. Good as some of them are for use against a white target and a black bull’s eye, there are very few that can be picked up against a dark background, and this difficulty is increased to the point of being insuperable if the light is bad. To overcome this, the authors' personal pistols are fitted with foresights of silver, of exactly the shape of the ordinary shotgun bead and about the same size. If kept bright, these sights collect any light there is from any angle and can be seen instantly in all circumstances except pitch-darkness. They stand up very well to rough work and can be easily replaced if damaged. We see no reason against the adoption of this type for service issue if some suitable white metal allow were used instead of silver. Though not claimed as suitable for target work, these sights answer their purpose admirably where speed is the prime consideration.
    The best rear-sight for use in conjunction with the silver bead is a wide and shallow V. The rear sight should be affixed with a distinct slope to the rear, and once the gun is sighted in, it should be kept in place with a small set screw. It will not shoot loose then and will be less liable to displacement or loss by accident or ill-usage."

    The above should be read in consideration of what the Colt factory sights were like in the 1930's.

    two-hands.jpg
    Two-handed shooting was promoted by Fairbairn and Sykes, but it is another aspect that seems to have been neglected in the bastardized Applegate and FBI versions of "Point Shooting."


    low-ready.jpg
    The (low) Ready Position from Shooting to Live, 1942

    Fairbairn and Sykes described and illustrated the low ready position which is still taught in many handgun classes today. It has a purpose for training beginners prior to holster work. That method is described in Shooting to Live. The Low Ready should be done away with as soon as a holster is introduced. The Low Ready position is not advisable in combat or on the street, but many modern schools fail to communicate this effectively and instead drill it incessantly even after students are drawing from the holster. The Low Ready is not part of the draw stroke from the holster, and it is a poor method to hold the handgun when the muzzle is not on target. If the muzzle is no longer required on target, the #2 or #3 position with the muzzle down is better.

    If the muzzle no longer needs to be on target, Low Ready does not point it in a sufficiently safe direction. It still presents a threat to non-combatants downrange such as those who might be rendering aid to other victims or the perpetrator once the threat has been stopped. It even gives the appearance of a continuing, on-going threat to anyone, even law enforcement, coming upon the scene. They see someone with a gun drawn and pointed toward people.

    With the gun in the #3 position with the muzzle down, we have better control and retention of the gun, the muzzle is pointed at the ground immediately in front of us instead of a ten-foot radius in front of us, and we're in a position that is part of the draw stroke we practice. We can either return it to holster, or turn the bore parallel with the ground and extend (punch) out toward the target. From the low-ready, we would have to "bowl" up to reacquire the target.

    The Low Ready position is another way in which Fairbairn and Sykes teaching is misconstrued to result in bad practice even by those schools which have foresworn "point shooting" and espouse the "modern method" or some derivative thereof.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
  13. bdickens

    bdickens Member

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    Fairbain & Sykes taught point shooting because the tiny little "sights" on those early 1911s were just about useless.
     
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  14. Goosey

    Goosey Member

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    A lot of things still seem to be promoted in said fashion...
     
  15. Mosin Bubba

    Mosin Bubba Member

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    Sounds like she was John Wick before John Wick.
     
  16. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    I was raised on air rifles and black powder pistols.

    I learned early that I could keep a BB on the center of mass of a chalked target in near darkness at fifteen yards firing from the hip or half-raised, using the barrel as reference but ignoring the sights.

    I carried this experience over to black powder revolver shooting, which worked pretty well. I tended to bring the revolver up closer to the plane of the eye, as the barrel of the revolver was shorter and was a poorer guide for point-shooting.

    The 7-12" barrel and comfortable plow-handle grip, combined with the mild recoil of the .44 round ball made this point-shooting fairly simple and easy for me.

    This practice stood me in good stead during my only serious situation, when I had to fire from the floor while tangled in blankets against a silhouetted attacker in near-darkness.

    I don't like point-shooting short-barreled pistols or revolvers and I've had little success with double-action revolvers using this technique - with long barreled single actions, however... .
     
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  17. Viper1357

    Viper1357 Member

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    I had a very similar upbringing on air pistols and rifles, and not ones with acceptable sights like modern ones..lol I too learned just by crap loads of shooting, to point shoot and it came over time just adjusting to the poa to poi time, after time, after time like this for a few years. Then came pistol and rifle firearms, and I learned all the proper techniques of grip, stance, sight pictures, squeezing tigger, etc... I have been a decent shot in some amateur competitions with all the proper techniques, but then in the last couple decades of carrying, training, practice, and considering as many aspects of an actual defensive situation, I came to a conclusion that typical range or competition gun handling techniques may not be useful or possible depending on circumstances. At the range and competitions I know what to expect, so I am in control of a lot of the activity involving what's going on, and my practice and personal proficiency for each/any event. In a defensive situation (countless stressful variables I imagine), while having a solid background of proper handgun techniques will definitely help you with technical mechanics, I don't believe I'd have the time look for the front sight, proper alignment, adjust my stance, squeeze not pull the trigger, etc.. and not necessarily in that order, or is it? I'm also a bit paranoid that if something did happen and I was involved, and I had time to do all of the proper techniques under all the stress, pressure, blood pressure rising etc. some attorney could make that look bad and turn it against me or whoever. So, the last few years I try to practice rapid point shooting without consciously using my sights almost as much as controlled sight alignment target shooting. I've found that either one handed or two handed point shooting with large or small pistols at appropriate (?) defensive distances (shorter 3 to 7 yrds or so) for COM hits can be mastered pretty well with getting to know your particular gun(s), practicing as often as you can, and actually enjoying it as much as typical sighting target shooting. More time and effort will add proficiency.

    My first 30 years or so of shooting handguns I had to always shoot/own the biggest baddest sized ones, in the most powerful calibers I could afford at the time. I wouldn't have considered any compact handgun or puny calibers and ignorantly argued against them as I was blasting down bowling pins and falling plates with .357 and .44 mags most weekends..lol Now I'm old(er) and a bit wiser, but probably still mostly ignorant, but I now also embrace and enjoy shooting smaller handguns and yeah, even puny caliber micro pistols and have gotten fairly proficient point shooting them, which I suspect would be what I'd have with me if (God forbid) I ever was forced into a defensive use situation. I had some really good luck last year shooting a newly purchased Seecamp .32 acp without any sights at 15' at a mini silhouette target both one and two handed. I don't think that my .32 acp is a good defensive choice unless it's all I have available, but merely stating how surprised I was at how well I shot it as it was only the second time I actually shot it, and 15' can be a bit of a stretch for this up close and personal use little gun.

     
  18. BlueHeelerFl

    BlueHeelerFl Member

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    I've only put up wooden fences and holding a gun sideways was very useful when using my Ruger P95 as a hammer
     
  19. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    I had that training too. Those techniques can be applied to pistol shooting. But it takes experimenting and practice. Lots of practice.
     
  20. AK103K

    AK103K Member

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    If that diagram is accurate, and in fact how they were teaching it, it looks like the "thumbs forward" grip isnt really anything new either. :D
     
  21. Jeb Stuart

    Jeb Stuart member

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    Fantastic post. A firm believer in Point shooting and constant practice at home. Actually just using the hand a index finger throughout the day. Get a BB or Pellet pistol and you can train for Point shooting over and over and be very cost effective.
    Thanks for the Post, even though I have seen it before, it is nice to revisit it.
     
  22. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    I am pretty sure Wild Bill Hickok and others would dispute this. My son in law shoots clay pigeons with a pistol as did many of the old west shooters in shows like Buffalo Bill's. As well as more modern day exhibition shooters. He may have formalized training but he did not invent anything.
     
  23. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    This is the basis of the Army Quick kill technique which I learned in the 1960's. We learned to shoot dimes tossed in the air with a BB gun without sights. I have one from when I taught shooting.
     
  24. Casefull

    Casefull Member

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    A point that is not brought up with the speed shooters is the low powered loads that they use. Have them use standard pistols with plus P loads and they will slow down significantly due to increased recoil.
     
  25. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    I have done factory pistol testing with lighter target loads (USPSA minor power factor) and various factory loads (including S&B which is hotter) along with premium JHP ammunition. Difference I noticed at 7-10 yards is about an inch in POI on target.

    When I teach/share point shooting, I use minor PF reloads but once proficiency is reached, when point shooting with factory loads, not much difference at defensive distance of 5-7 yards. I also use different calibers (9mm/40S&W/45ACP) for point shooting instruction and once proficiency is reached, even with factory loads, not much difference.

    Girlfriend of neighbor I taught earlier this year, after point shooting 9mm/40S&W/45ACP pistols, to her boyfriend and my surprise, found point shooting Glock 23, even with factory loads particularly well. When she asked which caliber/pistol she should get for carry, I told her whichever pistol she is comfortable with and can shoot fast and accurate (She ended up buying a Glock 23) - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...for-first-handgun.848681/page-2#post-11076315
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
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