Point shooting - Applegate style.

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    Point shooting - Applegate style.

    Many may have seen this but - it's quite a good read.

    Col Rex Applegate - Point shooting

    I think we should all include point shooting practice with our carry pieces - so we know the ''feel'' that comes with reasonably accurate shooting from un-sighted positions..
    Chris - P95
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    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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    I have heard many definitions of point shooting, but I give it a very liberal (oops) description. Shooting without taking the time to acquire a sight picture. Even if time allows to see the front sight, I consider it point shooting. I have heard it called instinct shooting, as well, but I think there's more to it than instinct.

    Applegate was trained by Fairbairn, who studied the methodology of one hand gun fighting prior to WWII. Fairbairn postulated that the best combination of speed and accuracy came not from the hip, but rather from an outstretched hand, centered with the body, at belt level, while crouching.

    "The winner of gunplay was the one who took his time. I would shun flashy trick-shooting, grandstand play, as I would poison. In all my life as a frontier peace officer, I did not know a single proficient gunfighter who had anything but contempt for the gun-fanner or the man who shot from the hip." -Wyatt Earp
    Liberty, Property, or Death - Jonathan Gardner's powder horn inscription 1776

    Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.
    ("Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.")
    -Virgil, Aeneid, vi, 95

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    Man, if there is one way to get an argument going on gun forums it's to bring up point shooting. :)

    It's making a mountain out of a molehill. There is only one time when "point shooting" makes sense and that is when it's accurate enough to get the job done and faster than using your sight picture.

    Any "B-class" IPSC shooter can illustrate the 3 stages of dynamic shooting. I say "B-class" because this seems to be where most break over the barrier of too long sighted shooting or just throwing lead at the target.

    My personal ranges are about:
    0-5yrds = "point shooting" or "indexing only"
    6-15yrds = "flash picture" unconcious sight picture that the eyes pick up, but I only notice the barrel of the gun in recall.
    16-infinity = traditional sight picture

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim_Linch
    There is only one time when "point shooting" makes sense and that is when it's accurate enough to get the job done and faster than using your sight picture.
    Well said Jim!

    Although the concept is simple, in practice, a lot of shooting time is needed to achieve the excellent range of Jim Linch. The famous fast draws of the 20th century, Jelly Bryce and Ed McGivern, were point shooters with DA revolvers.
    Last edited by gunthorp; September 22nd, 2005 at 09:43 AM.
    Liberty, Property, or Death - Jonathan Gardner's powder horn inscription 1776

    Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.
    ("Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.")
    -Virgil, Aeneid, vi, 95

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    I practice point shooting at 0-7 yards (and firing from retention 0-3 yards).

    Ideally, I'd stick with using my sights because it's the proper and safer thing to do, but sometimes that can't always happen, especially if you are unable to maintain a distance safe enough to bring the handgun to eye level in a more traditional stance without providing an opportunity for the attacker to wrestle for the gun, or if spending split seconds to bring the gun to eye level means your assailant has meanwhile stabbed you or clocked you upside the head. Or maybe you're suffering from arm wounds and cannot physically lift your arms and hands to eye level.

    So in other words, that's just a long-winded version of what Jim_Linch said.
    "Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power." - Yoshimi Ishikawa

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    Point Shooting

    I know that I have trained myself to point shoot & hit accurately & very quickly out to 20 feet. Past that...& things start to rapidly "fall off" for me personally.

    Since I only ever carry a firearm that shoots where I look ~ I am able to hit fast & COM at 20 feet (and closer) without using my sights or even needing to acquire any sort of sight picture.
    We were not born with sights growing out of our respective index fingers & we can instantly point that finger exactly where we look and do it every time.

    Anybody should be able to accurately point that finger from the the hip, chest, or up at eye level & it should really be no different with your carry firearm.

    For me...I would not ever carry a firearm that did not shoot right where I looked.

    I don't really care if anybody agrees with me or not ...because it sure works for me & I'll forever continue to do it and to always practice doing it.
    And besides...it's downright fun!
    Since I am not a shooting instructor - I don't ever tell other people how to shoot and hit what they are aiming for.
    I'm a true "loner" (in that respect) and I only do what works for me.
    Whatever works for somebody else is just "peachy keen" with me.
    Do whatever you will to hit whatever you're attempting to hit.
    That is absolutely fine with me...DO...whatever you need to do & I'll not ever argue with you about it.
    I consider "instinctive shooting" to be a valuable additional tool to have in my little Defensive Bag of Tricks.

    This (below) is going to sound SILLY but, it's nonetheless true.
    I think that when an individual starts hitting intended targets instinctively & extremely accurately and consistently at a very young age with things like pea shooters & sling~shots ~ bow & arrow & BB Pistols (with LOUSY sights) ... then accurate instinctive shooting becomes a very ingrained and natural thing to do.
    I'm guessing that some people are naturally more gifted at it than others.
    Of course...just my opinion on all of this.
    No argument - just my personal opinion.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

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    Point shooting certainly is a hot subject, and often emotionally debated. Iíve followed point shooting for many years and find it is commonly misunderstood and very loosely defined in most peopleís mind. A common misconception is that retention shooting and point shooting are synonymous. Many perceive point shooting is any shooting position where the sights cannot be used.

    If you take a close look at the tenets of point shooting from point shooting schools and advocates, it essentially has nothing to do with not being able to extend the arms or the ability to see the sights, but rather the notion of always point shooting out to 15+ yards.

    The Applegate point shooting method is a specific point shooting discipline consisting of target focused shooting that has nothing to do with retention shooting. The Applegate dogma clearly claims that point shooting should be the primary method of shooting and sighted shooting is rarely needed in defensive shooting. That's out to 15 yards remember.

    As described in the book, "Bullseyes Don't Shoot Back: The Complete Textbook of Point Shooting for Close Quarters Combat" by by Rex Applegate, Michael Janich, the Applegate method is well defined. It involves one-hand shooting using a death grip on the gun, an arcing draw stroke that is unlike any draw stroke I have ever seen; the body is in a significant crouch, again, unlike any other stance I know of; and the support hand/arm is down and out to the side at about a 45 degree angle or so. The gun is raised with the shooting arm in the extended position until the gun reaches eye level and aligns with the target. So you can see, the Applegate method has nothing to do with retention or hip shooting.

    So when we talk about point shooting, do we really mean we point shoot in the specific point shooting discipline as it is taught or we talking about our own method of point shooting? It seems that if we want to reap the benefits claimed by point shooting advocates like Applegate, et. al. then we must embrace their entire method, not just use our own methods and focus on the target, instead of the front sight.

    And one closing observation. Point shooting purists, claim that one reason that LEO have such poor hit ratios, 25%, is that they are trained to use the front sight and when they have a real threat, they focus on the threat instead of their sight and miss. Well, if they are, in fact, focusing on the threat instead of the front sight as trained, are they sight shooting, point shooting, or instinctive shooting? By definition since they are not using their sights, and they are focusing on the threat, they are actually point shooting. So did they miss because they used their sights or did they miss because they point shot?

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    So did they miss because they used their sights or did they miss because they point shot?
    The miss factor which ever way you view that is inevitably down to shere lack of practice, including often IMO very inadequate familiarity with the platform.

    I am with QK in as much as, whatever we practice for ourselves, obviously, has to work and that overall is what really matters.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    Excellent point QKS. Jelly Bryce started showing his natural abilities as a kid. By age 10 and 12, my brother and I were shooting our BB guns from the hip and hitting pine cones at 30'. The earlier children start projecting rocks, baseballs, darts, ping pong balls, BB's, thoughts, and opinions, the better. My three boys started as soon as they expressed an interest, and that was very, very young. It's unhealthy to restrict natural curiosity, expression, and the hand-eye coordination excersizes of the young. Frued says that the fear of guns is a sign of arrested sexual development. The proof is in the anti's comparing the gun to the male part. Now that's the only part of their anatomy with which they can point and shoot. Because of their insecurities, they more often point it in the wrong direction before moving to Hollywood.
    Liberty, Property, or Death - Jonathan Gardner's powder horn inscription 1776

    Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.
    ("Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.")
    -Virgil, Aeneid, vi, 95

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    Chris,
    I may have misunderstood your post, I got the impression from your post that you were saying we should include the Applegate point shooting method in our practice. The thing I was concerned about was that if I did include Applegate's point shooting methods, I would have two really different methods of shooting - two handed sighted and one-handed point shooting.

    And of course that's not a problem on the range, but I do wonder if in a life threatening situation, my mind would take a bit more time to choose which method to use since both methods are supposedly good out to 15 yards.

    I don't consider firing in a struggle or from a retention position point shooting. And other than those I have never seen a scenario where I could point shoot, but couldn't use my front sight.

    I come from the other side I guess in that often it is implied that if I don't point shoot, my training is inadequate and there could be a situation in real life that if I can't point shoot, I likely won't survive. I just can't visualize what situation that is.

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    Thumbs up

    Well, you guys that teach are the ones that really need to do your homework & decide and what (and how) you will teach. I honestly love knowing that you are so concerned and thoughtful about it.
    I am being 100% serious when I say that.
    Shooters that want to learn to shoot and want to learn to shoot BETTER can do no better than learning from the highly qualified instructors of today.
    You folks have gleaned and garnered & "tried & selected" from various techniques & shooting styles & firearms & holsters and have used that knowledge along with practical common sense to develop teaching methods that really do WORK for the vast majority of people.
    That is no small task!!!
    Thanks to your tireless efforts most of your students/pupils go off into the world better able to protect themselves and FAMILY than they could have ever have dreamed to accomplish on their own.

    Hopefully just as you yourselves evolve & adapt...so will your former students (with diligent practice) also develop their own small personal idiosyncrasies that will help them to shoot even better.

    There is not one perfect firearm or one best holster or body location or cant/angle nor is there ONE BEST shooting Instructor.
    If there is I'd like to meet him & shake his hand.

    Concerning Rex Applegate ~ read him & take what you can & put the remainder "In The Can."
    I think you know exactly what "can" I'm talking about.

    From my own basically "Self Taught" point of view...I THANK you "modern day shooting instructors" CONSTANTLY.
    Thanks to you'all I am MUCH MORE Less Likely to catch a stray bullet (as an innocent bystander) from some totally untrained carry person.
    Thanks also to your careful instruction HOPEFULLY there will always be more Surviving Good Guys than surviving Bad Guys.

    It a RARE thing to have a "JOB" that potentially saves future lives.
    I'm glad that you take it so seriously...and I'm glad that you argue the finer points (and even the main points) of good defensive shooting & technique & style.
    It will only scare me when you instructors stop worrying about what is best to teach and how...because, that will mean that you've stopped caring about what you do.

    I once read a book that told people EXACTLY what they should eat.
    Oatmeal should NEVER be eaten unless it has been Well Cooked (For at LEAST 20 minutes)
    APPLES should NEVER be eaten raw...cooked apples are OK but, not too many.
    Bread should only ever be OAT or RYE never wheat.
    ONLY ever goat cheese and not too sharp!

    I should add that the Proper Food Book was written about 80 some years ago.
    The author of the book PROBABLY had a Stomach Ulcer or Acid Reflux BEFORE anybody ever knew that there WAS such a thing as a Stomach Ulcer!
    The author was so Self~Centered that he honestly believed that EVERYBODY should not eat the foods that upset HIS personal stomach.
    If he ate some food & it did not agree with HIS stomach...then it was poison to The Human System.

    The guy was deadly serious...you get my point I'm sure.
    Last edited by QKShooter; September 22nd, 2005 at 03:29 PM.

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    I got the impression from your post that you were saying we should include the Applegate point shooting method in our practice.
    Ron - Not quite - I was probably imprecise (not unusual ) - I was more throwing it to all for ''consideration'' ......... if you will, take from it what might be useful - to you.

    This is where I come back to QK's thinking in a way. Instead of following a specific and regimented single approach it's perhaps useful (for me anyways) to take morcels and scraps from other folks - see what works - and finish up with perhaps a slight ''hybrid''. Something that works best, for me.

    I doubt any one person and method is totally incontravertible and foolproof but among all the afficionados and teachers are many handy ideas.

    What has to be successful in the end is a solid defence by whatever means - orthodox or unorthodox - and definitions of those will vary
    Chris - P95
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    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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    For the CCW classes I hold I advocate and teach point shooting for a variety of reasons. In a self defense situation that happens fast and at close range, 21' or less, most under 10', and mostly in low light or darkness, I think this is your best option. If I am teaching an NRA First Steps class I teach the traditional method of aiming and shooting.

    You might note that both the Police officer and BG are amining in the traditional manner in the video, and both are missing their targets, in broad daylight. The high stress of the situation is going to impair all of your senses and fine motor skills. You will be lucky to point shoot correctly let alone aim in the tradional manner.
    DEMOCRACY IS TWO WOLVES AND A LAMB VOTING ON WHAT TO HAVE FOR LUNCH. LIBERTY IS A WELL ARMED LAMB CONtestING THE VOTE.

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    With regard to, "In a self defense situation that happens fast and at close range, 21' or less, most under 10', and mostly in low light or darkness, I think this is your best option.", how did you determine that that's the best option?

    The reason I ask is because I've seen a lot of people shoot in all kinds of light levels at different schools I've attended. At 3 yards they do pretty good; at 5 yards they start getting "fliers", at 7 yards they simply can't hit. The problem is the same every time, they aren't using the sights. Up close, 3 yards, they can get by with it, at 7 yards, it really shows up.

    Two buddies and me had that very experience at Blackwater. Blackwater teaches sighted shooting only. When they turned up the "heat" a bit on the drills, we started missing shots that we normally hit easily. During a break Jimmy said, "I know what my problem is, I've learned I can shoot without using the sights." Matt, Jimmy, and I kinda looked at each other and when the next drill started we went back to our sights and started hitting again. I see that over and over.

    At Blackwater, they did a drill to show us something else. We were shooting hard and fast up close and then the far targets came up. None of us could hit the the far targets because during the up close, hard and fast shooting, we got in a habit of shooting without the sights and were getting by with it. When the more distant targets came up, the point shooting "hangover" messed us up. We were all whining that we should be making the shots we were missing. It was amazing long it took to overcome the "hangover".

    What video shows officers shooting with the sights and missing? The only ones I'm aware of confirm that the officers are not using their sights and often shooting with one hand from a crouched position and missing.

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    Guys I suspect point shooting is the most "sensitive" issue that can be discussed in gun circles. That's why I want to be very sure that if I have stepped on anybody's toes with my remarks that I didn't step too heavily.

    Here's what I'm all about, it's what I am, and I can't help it. I learned this at Gunsite, "Practice doesn't make perfect! Perfect practice makes perfect." From the first time I heard that at Gunsite, it rang true in every area I could think of. The saying has proven to be true.

    What does that have to do with point shooting? Well, this. Every shot I fire, I try to fire it exactly the same. By doing so, I reinforce that technique and gradually approach that 2000 - 3000 reps that is required for it to "ingrain" (to give credit where credit is due, ingrain is Chris's concept) to a reflexive level. In order to reach that reflexive level, I have to shoot every shot the same to build on the technique. If I don't, not only am I not gaining on the thousands of reps required for ingraining, I am actually digressing. Well, that still doesn't explain the point shooting thing does it? So...

    Everytime I point shoot, I have to force my eyes to focus on the target, that's something really unnatural for me because sight focus is ingrained in me. The more I point shoot and focus on the target, the closer I come to un-ingraining the sight focus. I point shoot well, BTW, but I rarely practice point shooting because, it splits my practice time half, it un-ingrains my sight focus, and most of all to me, by practicing two methods, I fear that in a life threatening situation, my reflexes may not kick in because my brain will have to determine which method to use based on numerous factors of the situation. That could increase reaction time, may cause hesitation, and even confusion. OTOH, if I only know and only have one solidly ingrained way of shooting, I don't have any decision to make.

    There's two other training experiences that support the consistency theory. One was at Blackwater and one was at Tactical Shooting Academy - a 100% point shooting school. By the time I attended these two training schools I was ingrained with the Weaver and sighted shooting. Blackwater teaches sighted shooting only, but from an "I" stance. I wanted to learn this shooting platform so I, and my two buddies also ingrained in the Weaver, worked all week trying to be sure we learned the "I" stance. One day, we looked at each other and somebody said, "I've learned a new shooting position; it's something between a Weaver and an 'I' stance." We all experienced the same thing; when the stress went up we started shifting from an 'I' to a Weaver.

    Then at Tactical Shooting Academy they teach a reverse Weaver and point shooting. Again, when the stress level went up, I found myself somewhere between point and sight shooting and somewhere between a Weaver and a reverse Weaver.

    It was after those experiences that I decided every shot I make will be shot by the same technique. Now that's not to say from a standing Weaver position, but from a front sight focus.

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