Point Shooting vs. Sight Shooting Debates
By: Robin Brown with John Veit
Discussions on Sight Shooting Vs Point Shooting surface now and again on the internet. And as soon as they do, they often become loud and noisy affairs that turn into verbal arguments.
Sides are taken quickly, and the proponents and opponents, start to rapidly exchange thoughts and words in a way that would make a machine gun instructor proud. Subsequent exchanges go on and on, and with heated ideological clashes to boot.
Recently, a voice of reason and logic has been heard above the din and smoke of the verbal battles. It is the voice of an unflappable, plain talking, long time trainer and shooter. He is an old marine who is a proponent of Sight Shooting as well as Point Shooting. His name is Robin Brown.
Unlike most of the current gun thread pundits, Brownie, as he is called, has the ability to sense or anticipate the slings and arrows being thrown and meet them with calm no nonsense responses, time after time.
A standard refrain heard from the "Sights only Shooters" is that Sight Shooting may degrade into Point Shooting under stress, but Point Shooting can’t evolve to good sighted shooting. Another is that training in both Sight Shooting and Point Shooting, violates the KISS principal and can result in confusion, muddled thinking, and disaster for the operator in a real life threat situation.
Well, Brownie certainly will agree that those are points well made.
He answers that mindset with the following.
Years ago, men were told to put the front sight into the rear sights notch and with them properly aligned they would hit their intended target. And that anything but that, would result in poorer results where accuracy was concerned. Bullseye shooters still use that method where precision shooting is necessary.
With time, men learned that they could get good hits making use of just the front sight, and that they did not have to take the time to make sure the front sight was aligned in the rear sight. This loosely became known as the Front Sight Press method. Then we were told it was not necessary to align the sights perfectly to make good hits in a combative situation.
The result was two methods of survival shooting. The complete reliance on BOTH sights being aligned properly. And the use of just the front sight, which morphed into the Front Sight Press methodology. It reduced the lag time of full sight verification when time was critical and a precise shot was not required to stop the threat.
If the threat is 20 feet away, standing behind a barricade, giving us only a portion of his head and hand as a target, we would need to make use of perfect sight alignment given the size of the target presented
and the accuracy needed to hit that small target.
If the threat is 20 feet away and out in the open, would we still wait for verification of a perfect bulls eye shooters sight alignment?
I think most would go to the Front Sight Press method with its front sight only requirement when the threat presents a bigger target at the same distance and we do not need a bulls eye shooters precision shot to solve the problem at hand. And most would be able to transition from one to the other quite easily as the situation demanded.
They would probably agree they could determine on the fly and under stress what was necessary to solve these two different situations.
Were people getting their thought processes muddied by learning two different ways to get hits then? Maybe, but men still learned and practiced BOTH methods.
They could use the sights to make a precision bulls eye type shot and they also would be able to utilize just the front sight to make shots that did not need that type of precision or accuracy, thus taking less time for sight alignment and probably solving the problem in a shorter time frame.
That hasn't caused a major issue between the two solutions to my knowledge. It certainly is not in keeping with the KISS principle as suggested by some who would have us believe that only one sighting method should be trained, in their attempts to convince others that Point Shooting will muddy the thought process under stress.
Sighted and Point Shooting methodologies present two survival shooting options for a defender and allows the defender to chose one or the other while in a high stress life or death situation depending on time, accuracy and distance requirements.
With Front Sight Press, less verification of sight alignment is needed before shooting, so one can usually get the shot off sooner with it and less time will be spent getting on target as a rule.
Most defensive tactics instructors also recognize that one can go to perfect sight alignment, or to Front Sight Press based on time, distance, and accuracy considerations.
The thinking behind the achnowledgement and acceptance that the Front Sight Press method is an effective combat tool, though less accurate than bulls eye shooting, is equally applicable when weighing the relative merits of selecting Point Shooting or Front Sight Press.
And there is a bit of irony in that, as some of the most vocal advocates of Front Sight Press, have been very vocal against any of the known Point Shooting methods to solve time, accuracy and distance problems.
Effective Point Shooting, just like Front Sight Press, is dependant on the time available, the distance to the threat, and how much accuracy is actually needed to solve any given situation.
Point Shooting takes survival shooting even further along the road of change because it does not rely on the use of the sights for delivering effective, controlled fire in close quarters defensive situations.
Point Shooting, just like its counterparts, requires both training and practice to achieve a proficiency level that also can be range tested via targets.
Where Point Shooting really shines, is in situations where the full bulls eye sight picture and the front sight press method can not be used as effectively [quickly], such as in close quarters force on force situations. As such, it is fast becoming a beacon that is lighting the way to the future of survival shooting because most defensive handgun shooting occurs at close quarters distances.
Shooting without the use of the sights, is not new by any means. It has lots of aliases like Quick Fire that was developed by the military; Reflexive Fire which also was developed by the military and from previous systems that Were adopted in the 60's; and FAS (Fairbairn/Applegate/Sykes), which was developed specifically for police in China in the early 1900's and for men who went in harms way during WWII.
There also is Quick Kill with a pistol or revolver which was developed by Lucky McDaniels in the 50's and adopted by the US Army for their rifle training programs in the 60's. The Army did not adopt the Quick Kill with a pistol or revolver technique due to the small numbers of soldiers who needed to be trained in pistol craft at that time.
Each has their pluses and minuses, and have a place in the overall picture of self-defense. They are very effective under a variety of conditions and particularly those, in which an operator may not be able to see or use the sight/s.
It has taken time to bring it to the fore. That has come to pass because of the adoption of car cams that capture what really happens on the street in gunfight situations, the perseverance and patience on the part of advocates, and the fairly recent realization by force on force participants using airsoft pistols that what they were taught and practiced in the past, can and will likely fall apart in a threat situation where close quarters and dynamic movement of the participants is the norm.
The thought that only one technique should be trained exclusively is at odds with history and mans ability to use what is known to his best advantage.
Statements are often heard that Point Shooting should not be taught beyond bad breath distances. This normally comes from instructors who are offering words of due caution, but who also obviously lack formal training and knowledge of any of the Point Shooting systems, and the fact that Point Shooting has been proven effective in battle long ago.
Some police are required to shoot "point shoulder" at the three yard line on a static range that makes no use of sights. However, most of those who are asked to qualify thusly are not trained in how to effectively employ it. They are only told to "do it" by trainers who themselves, probably do not have a thorough understanding of what is required and needs to be done for it to be as effective as it can be.
The result is a mindset that Point Shooting was tried, but it just isn't that effective. That is an understandable conclusion and one that flows from a training shortfall, not a method that is inadequate for the task at hand.
More and more people are learning that Point Shooting is a viable and effective survival shooting tool. At a minimum, they need an understanding of what it is and how to use it effectively through training. A working knowledge of Point Shooting is available to the public and Law Enforcement Officers through several sources who actually trained with the masters who are no longer with us.
The authors advocate training in both Sight and Point Shooting, not one over the other.