Many decades ago an unknown US Marine officer, World War II combat vet and History professor turned freelance writer published a little book entitled Fighting Handguns. His name was John Dean “Jeff” Cooper.

This book was published well before the Modern Technique of the Pistol had been developed. In fact, Fighting Handguns, was published before Cooper organized the first Leatherslap shooting events held as a part of the annual Old Miner’s Days festival at Big Bear Lake in California and before he had met Jack Weaver.

Turn to page 97 of that old, pre-Modern Technique book and you will see what Cooper had to say about “pointer fire.”

“It’s an axiom that hitting your target is your main concern, and the best way to hit is to use your sights, but circumstances do arise in which the need for speed is so great, and the range so short, that you must hit by pointing alone, without seeing your gun at all.

Pointer fire is not as hard to learn as sighting, once you realize it’s range limitations. using the 1911 auto-pistol I have found that I can teach the average infantryman to stay on a silhouette at 10 yards – using pointer fire in two shot bursts – more easily that I can get him into that 25 yard bullseye using slow fire and sights.

Of course this sort of shooting is strictly a way of obtaining body hits at essentially indoor ranges ( 30 feet and under) …. But up close pointer fire can be murderously effective, and it’s mastery is often the difference between life and death.”

Fighting Handguns, pages 97-98

Point shooting appears to be the antithesis of the Modern Technique and here is Cooper, the chief organizer and proponent of MT-type shooting, extolling the virtues of point shooting in print. What gives?

Cooper truly believed, as did most shooters of the time, that some form of point shooting was necessary for fast, close-in pistol shooting. In the opening years of the original Leatherslap competition nearly all of the participants used some form of point shooting technique, including Jeff Cooper and Jack Weaver.

Then, after a series of experiments and trials, Mr. Weaver tried something considered odd at the time. He decided to use both hands on his revolver and purposely use the sights to confirm alignment when shooting. Many of his fellow shooters ridiculed Weaver for his strange approach.

Until he started winning. Nearly every time. Weaver’s strange idea allowed him to consistently dominate for so long that everyone else trying to beat him eventually copied his approach.

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