In a Fight, Front Sight! – Street Smarts


In a Fight, Front Sight!
by Brent T. Wheat

Core to instinctive shooting theory holds that during high-stress events, you throw everything out the window that your higher intellect has learned, and respond using only the more primitive “limbic” or “old mammalian” part of your brain. Far more accurate scientific explanations of the concept exist, but that summary will do for the moment.

Thus, unable to process or complete complex movements such as sight alignment, the theory holds that you won’t (or can’t) use the sights on your gun. I might add that you would probably also scream, run willy-nilly, cower, cry, freeze, throw your firearm away, or do many of the other unproductive things ill-trained and unprepared people commonly do when confronted by imminent death.

In other words, this argument isn’t really about the inadvisability of using sights, but rather a backhanded admission of failing to properly prepare for that eventuality.

If you look closely at real-world examples starting from the time modern firearms were invented, shooters have acquitted themselves quite nicely using their weapon sights even in horrific circumstances against overwhelming odds.

People who trained and maintained their cool under the circumstances were able to use their weapon sights effectively instead of the sadly too- common “spray and pray” method of return fire.

So we must ask: How is a lack of “grace under pressure” an indictment of sights on a firearm? If we can be painfully honest, the whole thing is simply a matter of operator error rather than failure of equipment or concept.

The second argument often presented is that during extreme close-range conflicts, it takes too much time to develop a proper sight picture before firing. This concern is also valid to a point but is often and wildly misconstrued when touted by instinctive shooters and trainers.

As the recent Force Sciences newsletter #279 notes, “At less than 20 feet, you’re probably best to fix your gaze on your target and quickly drive your gun up to align with that line of view, firing unsighted.” That makes sense and even the most doctrinally crusty instructor would probably agree.

But the article goes on to note, “to do this successfully requires a great deal of consistent practice (by) responding to force-on-force scenarios at various distances that develop realistically in terms of action, movement, and speed.”

In other words, even thrusting your pistol out in short-distance, extremely short-duration scenarios requires “a great deal of consistent practice.” This explains why poorly trained “instinctive shooters” have sometimes fired a dozen rounds at a target located within bad-breath distance and never caused more than short-term hearing loss to their adversary.

Misplaced Tactical Training


Why do some competition-focused shooters make fun of tactical training, force-on-force or shoot-house exercises?

M1 Garand Resources


From John Tate

Here are some M1 info links. Some are appropriate for pure beginners; some a bit more advanced; none are very advanced.

Rifle Marksmanship with the M1 Garand Rifle

This is an excellent video for those who would like to know more about M1 Garand Rifle shooting. They are great for both the beginner and the expert who needs a refresher. The series focuses on the M1 but the techniques can be applied to any rifle. part one covers sling usage and shooting positions.

M-1 Garand Tips & Tricks series:

M1 Service and Maintenance

Call Your Shot: Range Stories


Learn To Call Your Shots
by John Tate


Wind Strategies for Long Range Shooting


Sent in from John Tate. I guess we’ll file this one under “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” If something is “wrong”, but the results are there, then it isn’t wrong. The great thing about competitive shooting is providing objective, empirical measure to sort out what idea(s) actually work.

Connecting with the Wind Or Surfing F-Class
by Larry Bartholome

The range I shoot on allows me to shoot out to 1,000 yards, but it has NO flags, no pits and I don’t even try to read the wind. I let the bullets go where they may while testing, but I try to test in good conditions. I am mainly concerned with the elevation of loads. Since I don’t get any practice and shoot few matches I haven’t developed the habit of watching flags, etc.

So….what do I do to win as much as I do? As I wrote before, I basically chase the spotter. I try to connect with the wind since I know I can’t read it. I use the word “connect” because when I am connected (i.e. in the zone!) I can see mirage changes pretty well. If I become unconnected due to a distraction of any kind I have lost the wind connection and usually points.

Of course I am watching what indicators I can while “chasing”. I try to note what the mirage looks like and file it away in my mind’s eye. Of course here comes that old memory problem, da. I keep my eye in my rifle scope as much as I can while the target is in the pits. I don’t use a spotting scope and I don’t plot shots. That is too distracting for me.

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Why Practice?

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Why Practice?
by John Tate

Why should we practice manual skills like defensive tactics, draw, reloading, etc? Why is it crucial that police practice DefTacs, cuffing, draw, reloading, etc?



Wisdom from Robert E. Quinn

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Excellence is a form of deviance. If you perform beyond the norms, you will disrupt all the existing control systems. Those systems will then alter and begin to work to routinize your efforts. That is, the systems will adjust and try to make you normal.

The way to achieve and maintain excellence is to deviate from the norms. You become excellent because you are doing things normal people do not want to do. You become excellent by choosing a path that is risky and painful, a path that is not appealing to others.

– Robert E. Quinn

The norm among gun owners is to not participate in organized shooting, to think routine qualification or occasional attendance at class/instruction is training, to remain at novice skill levels. Deviate from those norms.

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