I consider firing from retention to be an important skill to master. One tip is to pull your elbow into your ribcage for better indexing of your weapon when you can't index with slide or sights. Also rotate your firing hand away from your body to lessen the chance of interfering with the recoiling slide.
I believe in getting the first shot off as fast as possible right from the draw if necessary. Obviously if there's time to aim at eye level then it's not necessary. I, too had to do it when qualifying for an Armed Private Security License but it's something I've never really practiced. Maybe I'll give it a try the next time I'm shooting. But your question as to what distance to try it is good one. The standard 21'? I've watched enough cowboy movies to know it's possible from any distance IF you're wearing a white hat, lol.
Some navy training I went through taught us the position of "third eye" as soon as the gun clears the holster the business end is down range at at target and you would be surprised how accurate you can become from the hip. The whole point is to start getting lead down range ASAP the entire time you at bringing the gun up to sight picture. I enjoyed the 3 week training and was consistently putting 3-4 shots in a 4 inch circle in the from hip to sight picture motion. It is definitely something I practice and keep in the tool box. Only suggestion would be at an outdoor range (no ceiling)
If the gun is only at 'chest level', it is still point shooting
Scott you are correct, if you are seperating into two categories of aimed fire and point shooting this would fall under point shooting. I think of point shooting the way the OP described it as shooting from waist level or slightly above. If I get the gun up to chest level then I will find the sights and use them if possible.
Point shooting means different things to different people. To me point shooting is below line of sight, too include your peripheral vision. The speed rock is a perfect example as is shooting from retention. Once your firearm comes into your line of sight you begin to index the firearm to the target visually, as ones acclimation to the sites increases so does accuracy. My .02
As to the effective range of point shooting if you can smell the other guys breath you're at point shooting distance.
Have y'all actually tried hip shooting; a hillside of clay pigeons, wood chips in a fast moving stream, hedge apples? A Colt SA Army (or Ruger Blackhawk) seems almost to shoot BEST from the hip. It's not mythical or magic, it's just practice. No, it's not my preferred SD method but I would NOT "avoid it at all costs", especially if the cost could include...my life. I wouldn't CHOOSE to shoot sitting on my butt or flat on my back either, but I sure would fire from holster-level before I would get shot for being...afraid of missing.
Take a broom handle, pool que etc, hold it in one hand close enough to a wall ect so you can touch it with your stick, hold stick parallel to the ground; pick out a spot (a piece of tape for example), now thrust the end of the stick at the spot. Notice you don't swing up, you thrust out and you are pretty darned accurate.
Now start with your handgun at low ready, look where you want to hit, thrust the gun forward don't swing up, firing at full extension, then once you have that down go to drawing and firing remembering to thrust forward (even very slightly) not swing up while looking where you want to hit. It is somewhat like throwing a baseball, you don't have sights to use, after a while you automatically throw where you look.
As a side note an Elmer Keith book I read describe the technique used by the old indian fighters to shoot from a galloping horse was actually like throwing a baseball, firing at the point where the ball would be released. He said they could regularly hit melons at a full gallop at 20 or so yards. It is a matter of practicing enough to develop that automatic hand eye coordination.
Why would anyone want to shoot from the hip @ 21FT? We're not in the movies play acting.
This is not a technique that anyone should want to use, or really spend too much time practicing. If you have developed the body awareness to not shoot your other arm... you've sort of got it.
All of my guns have sights and the goal should be to use them, next best is an indexed shot, followed by some sort of shot from retention.
When would you use it? When you are too close to extend the gun out and you need to draw, but it won't be hip shooting... it will be shooting from retention.
It all becomes body-memory.
Anyway, for me it's easy at the close distances of 3' or 4' - and accurate - and also accurate out to 7' or so. But I can see what folks mean by using it only when a BG is very close.
The only problems are two: I have holsters that this draw is easy from, the gun can be drawn in an instant (yet the holster holds the gun when it is in it). So, with the wrong holster it may not work well.
The other problem is getting clothing out of the way ENERGETICALLY AND QUICKLY and before it settles back have the hip-draw completed - otherwise your clothes can interfere with the draw when they move back in place. Have to practice that. And under some clothing it probably wouldn't work. But I always practice that with the clothing I walked into the range with. Otherwise, you could get a surprise in an emergency, and that is not the time to get surprises.
I think you should always practice defensive shooting with the clothes you would be wearing - (but start learning a particular element without them until you get it down, then add the clothing)
I practice point shooting every time I shoot my carry guns. Out to about 7 yards I can hit center of mass with a double tap.
I hip-shoot at two yards as part of my annual qual with each handgun, because it is required. On my own, I generally practice shooting unsighted fire from the region of the pectoralis muscle, with my elbow back, a position which is more defendable than the area of the hip. In SouthNarc's ECQC language, this is Position #2. An advantage of this position is that the weapon is angled slightly downward, so there is no risk of shooting overhead lighting and ceilings at an indoor range, or shooting over the berm at an outdoor range. This technique is for close range, only, where if the target were a live human, he could reach my extended weapon. At this distance, shots would be entering the center-mass area of an opponent of equal height.
Sometimes, I practice a bit of point shooting, from a low position, a bit beyond a couple of yards, if using a longer-barreled
revolver. (longer than snubby) The weapon is not at my hip, but extended forward, as shown in Bill Jordan's _No Second Place Winner._ I probably start this at about ten feet or so, and if it feels right, run the target a bit farther out. This is a big
reason I like to carry longer revolvers on my own time, as I am more accurate with them in a wider variety of shooting
Back to hip-shooting at my annual qual: The rules call for my wrist to be in contact with my side. It works well enough with the 3"-4" revolvers and an all-steel 1911 that I use concealed off the clock, and for "back up" a work, but not so well with snubby revolvers and double-stack duty pistols, with their more neutral balance. It is not that miss the target, but accuracy is not to my liking. I consider this poor street technique, but some traditions die hard.