October 28th, 2008 07:33 AM
Seecamp on Point Shooting
From the Seecamp website/owners manual:
WHY NO SIGHTS?
If shot placement is so important, why no sights?
An exhaustive NYPD report (NYPD SOP 9) revealed that in 70% of recorded police shootings (the majority under poor lighting conditions) officers did not use sights while 10% of the time officers didn’t remember whether sights were used. In the remaining 20% of the cases, officers recollected using some form of visual aid to line up the target ~ which could be the sights themselves or just the barrel.
The NYPD statistics showed no correlation between an officer’s range scores and his ability to hit a suspect at close range. The mean score for NYPD police officers (1990-2000) for all shootings is fifteen hits per 100 shots fired, which is almost the identical hit ratio seen among Miami officers ~ who in the years 1990-2001 fired some 1300 rounds at suspects while recording fewer than 200 hits. Almost unbelievably, some NYPD figures show 62% of shots fired at a distance of less than six feet were complete misses.
The 1988 US Army training manual for pistols and revolvers [FM 23-35], in apparent recognition of the disconnect between sighted shooting at the range and the ability to score hits in short distance combat, wisely calls for point shoot training at distances of less than fifteen feet. The ability to shoot targets at 25 yards using sights sadly seems to provide little or no advantage in close combat. Nor are there recorded instances where an officer required a reload in close combat. When reloads do occur, there is no immediate threat to the officer’s safety and the perpetrator has usually barricaded himself in a defensive posture. A study by Etten and Petee (l995) showed that neither large capacity magazines nor the ability to reload quickly was a factor in shootings.
Speed reloads at short ranges just don’t happen, and practicing paper punching at long ranges using sights appears to prepare one for short range conflict to the same degree it prepares one for using flying insect spray. (Hitting an annoying yellow jacket buzzing a picnic table without spraying the guests or the food might be better practice for combat than long range paper punching. So might a plain old-fashioned water pistol fight.)
In the FWIW department, of 250 NYPD police officers killed in the line of duty in the years 1854-1979 there was only one instance where it could be determined an officer was slain at a distance of over 25 feet ~ by a sniper 125 feet away. Of the 250 fatal encounters, 92% took place under fifteen feet and 96.4% under 25 feet. In the remaining eight instances the distance was unknown.
But how do I qualify at 75 feet without sights?
If you hold the LWS pistol at a 45-degree angle semi-gangsta style there is a groove formed that can be used as a sighting tool
The 25 yard shooting proficiency test for carry qualification required by many issuing authorities is absurd. It's a request to perform a feat that would land you in jail if you ever tried to perform it "in self-defense."
It's like passing a driver's test that requires you to slalom between traffic cones at 120 miles an hour. Seventy-five feet shooting proficiency is not too much to ask from a police officer who may be firing at a barricaded target, as the ability to drive at high speeds is not too much to ask from a Trooper pursuing a fleeing vehicle, but it’s ridiculous to ask it of civilians.
Shoot an "assailant" at 75 feet. Then try to find a lawyer good enough to keep you out of prison.
On the one hand the law demands that you use deadly force only when you are in danger of serious bodily injury or your life is threatened. On the other hand they demand that you have the ability to commit a long-range homicide with a firearm before they give you that right.
Using sights at shorter ranges invites problems
In order to use sights a shooter has to put at least one hand in front of their face. This obstructs the view behind the hand they have placed there. When the focus is on the upper torso of the threatening individual, the lower portion of that person is partially or completely hidden from view by this deliberately chosen visual obstruction. The closer the target, the greater is the degree of visual impairment that may cause the shooter to fail to recognize potentially important information below the sight picture.
Statistics show pistol sights generally go out the window once shooting starts; however, this does not mean sights are not used prior to the commencement of hostilities. We can see on reality TV police programs numerous instances where officers in a Weaver stance point guns at suspects who are in absurdly close proximity to them.
With both hands in front of one’s face, one is less able to recognize whether a possible threat is reaching for a gun or a wallet when the landscape below the target area is blocked from view. One might perceive movement but one cannot see what is being moved. There is no doubt in my mind accidental shootings of unarmed individuals have in many instances been caused by sight shoot training, in which a trained focus on a clear sight picture leaves one necessarily with an incomplete view of the important overall scenario.
The potential hazard of losing perspective of the complete picture of the environment is well illustrated by American Matthew Emmons. He lost what appeared to be a safe Gold medal in the 2004 Olympics by shooting, with great accuracy, holes in his neighbor’s target. Overmuch concentration on the bull’s eye, which can be achieved with sights that exclude distracting but possibly important stimuli, may assist in hitting what one is aiming to hit but it can do so at the great cost of making an improper choice of target.
Suggestions for achieving proficiency
Other than range practice of point shooting at realistic combat distances (under fifteen feet), here’s what you can do to achieve proficiency, making sure you are using an unloaded pistol:
1. Dry fire the pistol to get acquainted with the trigger pull. Dry firing will not hurt the LWS. Slow deliberate dry firing will help you get acquainted with the pull, but make it a snappy pull once you get the feel because you’ll never use the slow pull to defend yourself. (Please keep in mind ‘unloaded’ guns are probably responsible for most accidental shootings, so never under any circumstances point the pistol at any living thing or something you are not prepared to suffer the consequences of shooting.)
2. Repeatedly pick up the pistol and point it towards a target without looking at the gun. Holding the gun in that position, bring your eyes down to examine whether the position of the gun lines up with the target. As much as you can, keep your arm straight without allowing it to interfere with your vision. A straight arm makes for more accurate pointing. (The pocket slipper laser aimer is also a good training tool for getting you on target. If a threat arises you should not be thinking of the pistol, which should become an extension of yourself, but on the threat that faces you.)
Most of those who buy pistols for self defense shoot infrequently. At the distance at which handguns are likely to be used for self-defense this doesn’t bother me as much as it perhaps should. Who doesn’t have a shotgun or some other weapon stashed away, seldom or never used, that they wouldn’t hesitate to bring center stage if there was a forced house entry. People who buy pepper spray and Mace don’t normally feel the need to practice a thousand squirts to feel comfortable they can hit an assailant. And, as mentioned, the studies seem to show little practical benefit from long distance range practice. I’d rather go up against a target shooter than an individual who plays occasional paintball.
October 28th, 2008 02:00 PM
Interesting read. Again, it reminds me of those who blithely discuss how they'll fire two shots center mass on BG1 and a headshot on BG2 holding their family member hostage.
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