Note from a skilled shooter with competitive experience and knowledgeable firearm instructor.
I have my NRA basic pistol students do a point shoot exercise at the end of the basic live fire exercises. (this is NOT part of the NRA curriculum and I tell them so, it is just a bonus).
Point shooting rapidly at a human sized target at three yards typically yields a group size of 4-12″, rapidly firing three shots. It is amazing and gives them a great deal of confidence in using their pistols in a real world scenario where they won’t be able to “breath in, breathe out, focus and puuuuullllllll.”
– SFC Hubert Townsend (ret.)
USAR Marksmanship Program
Distinguished Pistol Shot
Fair enough. I sum up my thoughts on this here:
One could argue all shooting is point shooting. If the barrel is pointed with sufficiently-good-enough alignment to hit a given target and the shot fired without disrupting that alignment, the gun doesn’t care if that alignment on target was verified by external visual cue, such as by using sights. Artillery and mortar fire proves this by “point shooting” at targets the gun crew can’t even see.
In practice, that “without disrupting alignment” part is what fouls up most shots. Artillery and mortar crews rely on a precision-adjustable mechanical carriage/cradle (or baseplate and bipod) in mil increments and “point” at targets based on forward observer and fire direction control data. The “carriage and FDC” with small arms is the human holding it and most humans are not capable of repeatable mechanical mil adjustments. Having a visual cue showing where the tube is actually pointing helps in most cases. Worse, most humans without sufficient training will tend to react to the gun going off, randomly redirecting the lay of the gun at the moment of truth.
A humanoid-sized E-type silhouette at three yards is 600 minutes of angle (ten full degrees) wide (!!!) A human adult seven yards away is 271 minutes of angle (4.5 degrees) across the shoulders. Obtaining sufficient alignment to hit such targets is usually not the problem. Getting the human to avoid flinching, yanking, jerking, pushing, pulling, leaning, heeling or negatively reacting to the gun while shooting is the problem.
Eliminating these normal but debilitating reactions is commonly known as developing trigger control. It’s best done as precision, sighted slow fire exercises, typically on bullseye-type targets. Once these bad habits are eliminated (or at least greatly reduced) as measured by improved scores on target and passing Ball-and-Dummy and Skip Loading tests, trigger control is greatly improved. This will have positive carry over to any other firearm-related skill or task.
A skilled shooter, as demonstrated by successful results on a reasonably stringent test of basic fundamental skills, will have greatly reduced any bad habits or negative reaction to shooting. I’ll define “reasonably stringent test” as the ability to hit a three-inch diameter circle at 30 feet five times in a row on demand with an issue/rack grade carry/service pistol slow fire, two handed from a standing, unsupported position. A shooter can (and should!) certainly exceed this standard, such as continuing to meet it with increasing time limits, but this baseline demonstrates the ability to shoot mostly error free.
Point shooting advocates take note: A shooter with this level of skill will readily meet and likely far exceed any sort of test you’re capable of meeting. Removing or obscuring their sights and focusing hard on the target won’t diminish a shooter’s already-developed good trigger control IF trigger control has been developed. Again, on such large and close targets, sufficient alignment to obtain hits isn’t the problem.
Note also, trigger control can be very, very fast. A USPSA/IDPA competitor shooting a “Bill Drill” in two seconds is firing five rounds per second. With 0.2 seconds between shots there is no time for a gentle, slow squeeze but the trigger is controlled all the same. If it isn’t, shots will be out of the A zone and the drill is scored a fail.
I know SFC Hubert Townsend earned a couple of gold badges demonstrating first-hand knowledge of all this. I’m just adding to the discussion.