Outdoor Life - - PERSONAL DEFENSE -

“YOU HAVE THE great­est com­puter in ex­is­tence sit­ting on your shoul­ders. You just need to get out of the way and let it work!”

That ad­vice was given to me about 30 years ago from a shot­gun shoot­ing coach, and I never for­got it. When I stopped try­ing to “aim” my shot­gun and started point­ing it, the clay birds broke. Point shoot­ing, also called in­stinc­tive shoot­ing, is also a very use­ful de­fen­sive hand­gun skill. But like any skill, you need to prac­tice to de­velop it.


▪ BRUCE PIATT is one of the top shoot­ers in the world and was a trainer for the New Jersey State Po­lice. He told me ev­ery­thing within 20 feet should be point shoot­ing with a de­fen­sive hand­gun.

In a de­fen­sive sit­u­a­tion, it makes sense to have point-shoot­ing abil­i­ties. Af­ter-ac­tion re­ports show that, al­most without fail, peo­ple don’t look at the front sight in a panic sit­u­a­tion. Even trained peo­ple. Our in­stinct is to look at the threat. So why not de­velop that in­stinct into a us­able shoot­ing skill?

If your lizard brain takes over in a panic sit­u­a­tion and you fo­cus on the threat, this tech­nique will have given you the skills and mus­cle mem­ory to make the hit. If you have enough pres­ence of mind to see the sights, so much the bet­ter. Ei­ther way, you hit the tar­get. Of course, point shoot­ing is also very use­ful in low-light sit­u­a­tions, where see­ing the sights can be hard or im­pos­si­ble.


▪ THE PROPER WAY to point shoot is to raise the gun to your nor­mal shoot­ing po­si­tion. The dif­fer­ence is that you look at the tar­get, fo­cus­ing on where you want to hit rather than on the sights. It’s im­por­tant to fo­cus on a spe­cific lo­ca­tion rather than the en­tire tar­get. Like they say, aim small, miss small. So fo­cus on ex­actly where you want the bul­let to strike. The amaz­ing thing is, be­fore long, that’s where the bul­let will hit.

To learn some of the tech­niques, I took a course at the Sig Sauer Academy a few years ago called Re­flex­ive Shoot­ing, which is a fancy name for point shoot­ing. It was taught by a sharp young in­struc­tor named Dy­lan Ken­neson and was ex­tremely in­for­ma­tive.

For this course, we re­moved the sights from our guns. Those who didn’t want to re­move them cov­ered the sights with tape.


▪ START WITH the gun in the low-ready po­si­tion at 3 yards from the tar­get. On com­mand, raise the gun and fire a shot at the tar­get. When you are this close, use only pa­per or card­board tar­gets un­less you have fran­gi­ble ammo.

Re­peat that drill sev­eral times un­til you are com­fort­able with it. I find it is very easy to get cen­ter hits ev­ery time at that range. It’s also amaz­ing how fast you can break the shot when you don’t have to think about sights. Within just a few prac­tice cy­cles, you should be able to eas­ily do head shots on a USPSA tar­get in un­der a sec­ond.

Once you have reached this point, take one step back and shoot again.

When you are mak­ing cen­ter hits ev­ery time, take an­other step back and shoot. Keep mov­ing back, and at some point you will no longer make cen­ter-mass hits 100 per­cent of the time. That is your max­i­mum point-shoot­ing dis­tance. For most shoot­ers, it will be 10 to 15 yards. Be­yond that and you must go to sights. Of course, that is sub­ject to change as your skills im­prove.

A Glock mod­i­fied for pointshoot­ing drills at Gun­site Academy.

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