Sightless Shooting

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Point shooters are a foolish lot… Good shooters are already good at point shooting. The reverse is rarely true.

Wanted to push the limits and see how well I could shoot a gun with absolutely no sights. Surprisingly it wasn’t as hard as you would think. Just really had to focus on trigger control. The times I missed were due to me trying to speed up my trigger pull.

The first drill is at 15yards with a plate 7yards to the side.

The second is at 10 yards.

The third is at 25 yards.

Give it a try and see if you can beat my times.

You Can’t Use Your Sights in a Gunfight


When I was still in uniformed patrol, I happened to be about a block away when another officer pulled into a restaurant parking lot just as two men were pulling masks over their face and getting ready to enter the restaurant. One had already drawn a handgun. When the suspects saw the marked car, they ran and immediately split up. The other officer chased the one who went east, and I saw the one who went north jump a fence into an apartment complex.

I gave chase and the suspect ran down into a creek, tripped in the mud on the opposite bank, and then flipped over on his back. It was night time, but the moon and a street light on a nearby bridge provided sufficient light for us to see each other clearly. The world slowed down for me as he reached into his waistband. I was approximately 30 yards behind him as I drew my pistol, brought it to eye level, and transitioned from focusing on him to focusing on the front sight. As I was pulling the trigger my subconscious screamed out to me that something wasn’t right. I focused back on the suspect and realized what he pulled out of his waistband was a cell phone. I believe you could classify being in a foot chase with an armed robbery suspect, alone, in the dark, and having to decide whether to shoot or not shoot qualifies as a stressful event. Yet, I was able to transition from target to sight to target for the simplest of reasons. I was trained to, and I had been through realistic force on force training that had made focusing on my sights instinctive.

I’ve spoken to a multitude of officers and armed citizens who have fired their weapons under stress. In one particularly relevant story, a rookie officer, still in his first few months on the street, was confronted by an armed suspect firing from behind a car door. The rookie had cover and was returning fire. In his own words, “I fired 5 to 6 shots very quickly, realized I was not being effective, and then slowed down and really concentrated on the front sight.” After the initial shock of being fired on dissipated, he was able to realize why he was being ineffective, fall back on his training, and use his sight to get good hits and survive the encounter.

Massad Ayoob relates similar conversations in this 2014 article in which he says, “I’ve lost count of how many gunfights I’ve studied where the survivor said something like, ‘I was pointing the gun and firing as best I could and nothing was happening. Then I remembered to aim with my sights, and the other guy went down and it was over.’”

John McPhee, the owner of SOB Tactical, confirms that it is not only possible to use your sights in actual gunfights, but it is key to your success. John, a retired special operations soldier with extensive combat experience from Bosnia and Iraq, has related to me that he was able to use his sights during stressful situations. In addition, when witnessing other soldiers shoot, they were obviously using their sights even if they had no conscious awareness of doing so. In his words, “Gun comes to the eye, shots are taken and gun is lowered. How does a guy bring the sight to his eye and not see it and… shoot perfect shots?” John also makes no bones that training to use your sights is imperative for success in combat shooting. “You have to train to see the sights every shot. When the time comes, you will do it so fast that the brain’s subconscious will do all this quicker than the conscious can even remember it.”

Read more:

Point Shoot Training


Some notes on point shooting training.

From John Veit

This is not on topic, but I checked out the NRA target mentioned and noticed that the target circle is centered on the target with extra space at the top and bottom.

IMHO it would be helpful to have the circle lower down so the distances from the bottom and the sides would be the same. The extra space at the top would allow for clipping the target in target holding clips, while also helping to keep errant rounds away from the clips.

This thought also applies to many of the targets on the NRA targets page.

These targets are to be mounted to a stiff backing material (often cardboard) because centers will be stapled up for each ten round string. The stiff board allows the use of a plug gauge if needed.

The backing mounting material can be any length needed to work in the carrier.

This part is concerning: The extra space at the top would allow for clipping the target in target holding clips, while also helping to keep errant rounds away from the clips.

If there are errant shots going that wild, there are bigger problems to worry about than saving target holding clips… The outer most ring (five ring) on standard distance competition pistol targets is 18 inches in diameter, the same width as a humanoid silhouette.

Review the full AIMED Point & Shoot training course.

I was advised to contact Lou Chiodo, who allegedly has trained members of the California Highway Patrol.

Here’s his assessment of his own results:

Statistical data is generally not a valid way of determining “success” since there are so many factors involved in the data that is used for evaluation. I have a graduate school level education that dealt with using statistics to determine various results of one thing or another and the one thing I learned is that there are so many ways that figures can be gathered, reported and ultimately used to determine if something works or not to understand that it is difficult to use much of the data in a valid way.

When trying to using hit rates etc., to determine validity of a program, there are SO MANY variables that other than generalities, it is difficult to determine results from the data.

This was corroborated by Ted Sames of SISS

The stats: Few, very few agencies publish stats…it’s a taboo

Remember, 19% hit ratio (anywhere on the body) within 0 to 12 feet away on the Bad Guy is the US Police stat.

Mr. Sames says very few agencies publish stats yet later claims there is an accepted “US Police stat” (whatever that is…) Not even various NYPD reports agree each other, never mind any sort of universally-accepted statistic. Police training and qualification standards varies among departments within the same state despite held to a state-decreed POST standard. Forget any sort of nationwide uniformity.

Even within a single department there are differences. NYPD’s poor hit rate is routinely reported (and often misinterpreted as some universal result for all policemen) yet NYPD SOU member Bill Allard managed a 100% hit rate in his nearly two dozen fights.

Grab Gun, Point Finger, Pull Trigger


The following article is by John Veit.


Aimed Point and Shoot Training Methods

1 Comment

The following guest article was written and submitted by John Veit.

We welcome a variety of points of view on the subjects of shooting and marksmanship. Test them objectively on the range and let the results fall where they may.


Point Shooting vs. Sight Shooting Debates


Here are other Point Shooting vs. Sight Shooting articles worth checking out as well:

Colonel Rex Applegate on Point Shooting

The Connection Between Combat and Range Results

Point Shooting vs. Sight Shooting (counterpoint to the article below)

Jeff Cooper on Point Shooting

LEO Pistol Qualification

Point Shooting vs. Sight Shooting – Handgun Training Effectiveness

The following guest  article was written and submitted by John Veit

We welcome a variety of points of view on the subjects of shooting and marksmanship. Test them objectively on the range and let the results fall where they may.


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