Point shooting


Point shooting

Point Shooting is a method of shooting a firearm that relies on a shooter's instinctive reactions and kinematics to quickly engage close targets. Point Shooting does not rely on sights, but instead may place the gun below the line of sight, but in many cases still in the field of vision. Since the sights are not employed, the shooter focuses on the target. Point shooting methods currently are often referred to as "threat focused" shooting.

Early proponents of point shooting were Rex Applegate and William E. Fairbairn. Compare to the use of sights in Jeff Cooper's "Modern Technique" method.

Basis

:"When a soldier points, he instinctively points at the feature on the object on which his eyes are focused. An impulse from the brain causes the arm and hand to stop when the finger reaches the proper position. When the eyes are shifted to a new object or feature, the finger, hand, and arm also shift to this point. It is this inherent trait that can be used by the soldier to rapidly and accurately engage targets.":Chap. 2, Sect. II, US Army Field Manual 23-25, "Combat Training With Pistols & Revolvers"

Point shooting attempts to harness the innate ability to point at the target in such a way that the shooter can use that ability to hit targets with a firearm. This may be done in a variety of ways which differ depending upon the method used. The one thing the methods have in common is that they do not rely on the sights, and they strive to increase the shooter's ability to hit targets at short range under the less than ideal conditions expected in self defense and combat situations.

Point shooting in combatives

Point shooting is often included in military tactical training, alongside such other topics such as combatives and urban warfare. The following is a selection of various point shooting techniques taught as part of military doctrine.

Fairbairn, Sykes, and Applegate

Soon after the creation of the Office of Strategic Services in 1942, then 2nd Lt. Rex Applegate was tasked with adapting the training being given to British Commando forces for use by OSS agents. Applegate's methodology was published in his book, "Kill or Get Killed" which was first printed in 1943, and based on his training program for the OSS developed with W. E. Fairbairn and Eric A. Sykes. This method is often referred to as the Fairbairn, Sykes, and Applegate method, or "FSA" (though sometimes the order is altered to "FAS" [http://www.pointshooting.com/rb3.htm] ).

By 1976, it was into its 5th edition, which was re-published in 1991 as Fleet Marine Force Reference Publication (FMFRP) 12-80. This book covers a wide range of topics, from armed and unarmed combat to prisoner control and riot control techniques. Chapter 5, "Combat Use of the Hand Gun", covers the basic use of a handgun in a combat situation, while chapter 6, "Combat Firing with Shoulder Weapons", covers techniques for submachine guns, rifles and shotguns. While aimed fire techniques are covered in both chapters, along with topics such as use of cover and different firing positions, the point shooting techniques generally attract the most attention. Much of Applegate's instruction on point shooting involves developing a firm, consistent shooting position that allows the student to consistently hit where he is looking.

While Applegate did cover firing handguns from the hip--from a position he called the "1/2 hip" position--he was careful to point out that this method only worked on targets at the same level as the shooter, and only at very close range. The preferred method was to bring the handgun up to just below eye level. With the proper grip and a locked elbow and wrist, this will bring the gun to bear on the target. To reduce error in the stance, targets not directly in front of the shooter are engaged by turning the upper body at the hips; turning the arm at the shoulder, elbow or wrist will result in a loss of control and a miss, while turning at the waist keeps everything aligned correctly.

Another of Applegate's training innovations was the use of particularly intense combat firing ranges, which he called the "House of Horrors". A cross between an obstacle course, a haunted house, and a shooting range, it used a three dimensional layout with stairs and tunnels, pop-up targets, deliberately poor lighting, psychologically disturbing sounds, simulated cobwebs and bodies, and blank cartridges being fired towards the shooter. The range was designed to have the greatest possible psychological impact on the shooter, to simulate the stress of combat as much as possible, and no targets were presented at distances of greater than 10 feet from the shooter. Applegate also used his "House of Horrors" as a test of the point shooting training. 500 men were run through the House of Horrors after standard target pistol training, and then again (with modifications in the layout) after training in point shooting. The average number of hits in the first group was 4 out of 12 targets hit (with two shots per target). After point shooting, the average jumped to 10 of 12 targets hit. Further shooters trained only in point shooting, including those who had never fired a handgun before receiving point shooting training, maintained the high average established by the first group (FMFRP 12-80, p. 286). Similar methods were in use as early as the 1920s, and continue to this day--see Hogan's Alley for more information.

Quick Kill

Another method of point shooting, developed by Lucky McDaniel and taught by the US Army beginning in 1967, was the "Quick Kill" method. It was taught using an air rifle, although the same techniques apply to handguns or shotguns. The Quick Kill method was outlined in "Principles of Quick Kill", TT 23-71-1, and was taught starting with a special Daisy BB gun that had no sights. The slow moving steel BB was visible in flight on sunny days, making it an inexpensive tracer round. The students began by firing at 3.5" diameter metal disks thrown in the air slightly in front of the student and 2-4 meters above the student's head. After an 80% hit rate is attained firing at 3.5" disks, the student is then presented with 2.5" diameter disks. Once proficiency is attained with the aerial targets, it shows the student has mastered the fundamentals, and training moves on to stationary targets on the ground, first with the BB gun and then with a service rifle having its front and rear sights taped over.

The reason the Quick Kill method works is that the shooter learns to sight above the barrel, rather than along the barrel. While focusing on the target, the muzzle is placed about 2 inches below the target (the 2 inches being measured at the muzzle), which places the barrel nearly parallel to the line of sight of the shooter. To hit the aerial targets, or other targets above eye level, the shooter focuses on the top edge of the target; When shooting at targets on the ground or below eye level shooter focuses on the bottom of the target. One of the points emphasized in Quick kill is that it is essential to focus on a single spot on the target, such as the top edge of a thrown disc, or the bottom edge of a can on the ground.

The Daisy company commercially sold sightless BB guns and target throwers for a number of years under the name "Quick Skill", along with an instruction book that was a "de-militarized" version of aerial target portion of the "Quick Kill" course.

Quick Fire

Quick Fire is a method previously used by the US Army for teaching pointshooting. It is described in the following excerpt from US Army Field Manual FM 23-9:

For pistol::"Quick-Fire Point shooting. This is for engaging an enemy at less than 5 yards. The weapon should be held in a two hand grip. It is brought up close to the body until it reaches chin level and is then thrust forward until both arms are straight. The arms and body form a triangle, which can be aimed as a unit. In thrusting the weapon forward, the firer can imagine that there is a box between him and the enemy, and he is thrusting the weapon into the box. The trigger is smoothly squeezed to the rear as the elbows straighten out."

For rifle::"Aimed quick fire::"When presented with a target, the soldier brings the rifle up to his shoulder and quickly fires a single shot. His firing eye looks through or just over the rear sight aperture. And he uses the front post to aim at the target. Using this technique, a target at 25 meters or less may be accurately engaged in one second or less.

:"Pointer quick fire::"When presented with a target, the soldier keeps the rifle at his side and quickly fires a single shot or burst. He keeps both eyes open and uses his instinct and peripheral vision to line up the rifle with the target. Using this technique, a target at 15 meters or less may be engaged in less than one second.

:"Pointed and aimed quick fire should be used only when a target cannot be engaged fast enough using the sights in a normal manner. These techniques should be limited to targets appearing at 25 meters or less."

Reflexive Fire

Reflexive Fire is a method currently used by the US Army to teach point shooting with a rifle.

It is described in US Army Field Manual FM 3-06.11 (Combined Arms Operations in Urban Terrain). The full text describing instruction in reflexive fire can be found at the external link below.

Israeli Method

The "Israeli Method" is a point shooting system devised by the Israel Defense Force (IDF) for use in training personnel to use rifles, submachineguns, and handguns.

In its initial stages of training, it closely resembles the Fairbairn, Sykes, and Applegate (FSA) method described above. In later stages, training in the rapid acquisition of the sights is taught, as well as a more advanced method of pointshooting.

In the United States and Canada, the term "Israeli Method" is generally believed to refer to the carrying of a semiautomatic pistol with its chamber empty. However, the carrying of the chamber empty served a safety consideration, rather than a tactical consideration. In past decades, due to severe budget constraints, IDF purchased and issued large quantities of antiquated sidearms, the mechanical safety of which was questionable. In recent decades, as budget concerns are increasingly alleviated and more modern, standardized sidearms are issued, this mode of carry is increasingly being phased out. It should also be noted that specialized personnel, such as police and special forces units, have typically carried newer and safer firearms, and have rarely used this mode of carry.

Point & Shoot

AIMED Point Shooting or P&S, is a term coined in the 1990s by John Veit to describe a shooting method that dates back to the early 1800s based on a recent electronic publication by Google of a book on self defense which was published in 1835 in London. A reference to the book is given below. See pages 237-239, or visit www.pointshooting.com/1835.htm where a photo of those pages can be seen.

The shooting method involves placing the index finger alongside the gun and parallel to the bore. The middle finger is then used to pull the trigger.

A variation on this method uses a two-handed grip, where the index finger of the shooter's off hand pulls the trigger, again leaving the normal trigger finger free for aiming.

The method claims to utilize and employ our natural instinctive abilities as detailed in the US Army's combat pistol manual and repeated here for emphasis: "When a soldier points, he instinctively points at the feature on the object on which his eyes are focused. An impulse from the brain causes the arm and hand to stop when the finger reaches the proper position. When the eyes are shifted to a new object or feature, the finger, hand, and arm also shift to this point. It is this inherent trait that can be used by the soldier to rapidly and accurately engage targets."

A number of devices have been patented that claim to facilitate this method of shooting. They serve to keep the index finger clear of the operating mechanism and parallel to the bore. Also, as the method allows the bore to be lower in the hand, recoil forces can be better absorbed to facilitate rapid and accurate target re-engagement for each shot made. Also, keeping the index finger extended helps in "locking up" the wrist which further helps to control recoil forces.

Some claims of the method, are that it does not rely on a specific stance or grip for successful use. It can be used in bad light and good, and when moving or when one is faced with a moving target, as is normal in real life armed encounters. It also is not a bar from using the sights if time and lighting allow for their use.

It is claimed to be a compliment or enhancement to traditional shooting. Test shoot information and videos of the method being used are available for free on the pointshooting.com web site.

Walter J. Dorfner, the former and long time lead firearms instructor of the Vermont State Patrol, wrote a paper which detailed his own development of it. He felt that it would be the next step in survival shooting. A digest of his paper, which he approved of, can be found at www.pointshooting.com/pands.htm The method was not taught at the Academy at Pittsford, but it was presented to new members by Walter.

The following is from US Patent 694,969, "Finger Guard for Revolvers", A. A. Kemp, 1902

:"Fig. 1 shows the finger 15 lying with the chord of its curvature parallel with the barrel of the revolver, so that when the revolver is fired the index-finger may be laid along this finger 15 and will fit snugly there against not only to hold the revolver securely, but primarily to ensure proper aim."

P&S is currently considered to be the most controversial method used for point shooting, particularly where it applies to handguns.

Many modern day shooting trainers view P&S with skepticism, considering it more of a novelty than a legitimate point shooting technique with objections ranging from weapon retention to safety.

P&S advocates emphasize the ease of use, claiming the very natural and strong grip used, makes it effective without the training required for the other methods.

External links

* [http://www.threatfocused.com/forums Threat Focused Forums] , a discussion forum for Point Shooting Methodologies
* [http://www.isi-team.com/ICPS.html ICPS - Israeli Combat Point Shooting] Israeli Point Shooting and Tactical Training
* [http://www.edelweisstactical.com/ Tactical Pistol Training & Combat Point Shooting]
* [http://www.threatfocused.com/forums/showthread.php?t=112 US Army Field Manual FM 3-06.11] Reflexive Fire Text
* [http://www.pointshooting.com Pointshooting.com] , website with information on pointshooting methods, owned and operated by a proponent of P&S (see above).
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=jSiQEVNLMMoC&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22He lps+and+Hints%22+Berenger&lr=&as_brr=1] Link to Google eletronic pub in PDF format.


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