Fundamentals of Pistol Shooting (Part 3)

The second Fundamental of Pistol Shooting is:

‘Visually index the pistol on target.’

This post is NOT intended to arouse more of the point shooting versus sighted fire debate. Those arguments are loaded with fuzzy definitions and the Telephone Game. The Telephone Game and the Training Industry Rather, it is an acknowledgement that humans are visual creatures. We are much more adept at hand-eye coordination when the eye guides the hand. Try hammering a nail sometime without being able to see the nail head. It doesn’t work very well.

Even Fairbairn and Sykes tacitly acknowledged this in Shooting to Live. Notice the Firing Position that they began their Preliminary Course for Recruits with. It clearly demonstrates a visual reference to the target, even if that doesn’t include ‘aiming’ using the sights.

Another frequently overlooked concept in Shooting to Live is to “cover the aiming mark.” While not well explained in the book, it seems to imply the principle of ‘spot shooting’ Spot shooting that their contemporary Ed McGivern talked about explicitly.

The late great Jimmy Cirillo RIP Jim Cirillo developed a similar technique for teaching POlice officers. He called it the “weapon silhouette point.” With this technique, the silhouette of the gun, rather than the sights, is visually indexed on the target. Jimmy would actually tape the sights of the pistol to show that they were not required to make effective hits at close range. However, the gun itself had to be aligned on the target for the technique to be effective. Even without using the sights, there were aspects of spot shooting in classes that he conducted.

It’s worthwhile to keep in mind Tom Givens’ comment about how inadequate the sights of autoloading pistols were in 1942 when Shooting to Live was written. Scott Jedlinski of the Modern Samurai Project made a humorous quip at this year’s Rangemaster Tactical Conference. What is the Tactical Conference?

1911 sights in those days were ‘suggestions.’

The bottom line is that the most important line in pistol shooting is the eye-target line. The closer we get the gun to that line, the better our hits will be, even if TJ Hooker did teach you to keep the gun low.

Part I of the Series Fundamentals of Pistol Shooting (Part 1)

Part II of the Series Fundamentals of Pistol Shooting (Part 2)

The next segment will cover ‘Press the trigger smoothly and straight to the rear.’

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