A book published in 1835 on self defense measures, provided instruction on how to shoot a firearm in a life threat situation.

The cover of the book: Helps And Hints - How To - Protect Life And Property is shown below. Also shown are three pages of the book that deal with the use of firearms in life threat situations. The author is: Lt. Col. Baron De Berenger.

I found the following to be very interesting:

1. his note on using your forefinger for aiming at objects,

2. the use of the social digit for trigger pulling, and

3. his mention of threat focused shooting in those days (some 170 years ago).

My thinking is that one should make target acquisition as mechanical as possible and repeatable, so that in a real life threat situation, you will have the simplest of methods for aiming and shooting.

Relying on Sight Reliant Shooting which requires cognitive and coordinated actions, may be fatal for you. That is because there may not be time to aim with the sights, or the lighting may be poor, or your fine motor skills and close vision may be lost to use due to the affects of the Flight or Flight response which automatically activates in close quarters life threat situations. And it is in those situations where your chance of being shot or killed is the greatest.

So it may be time to think of using P&S and adding a P&S Aiming Aid to your pistol. I makes correct finger placement along side the gun mechanical and automatic, and keeps your index finger in position and away from the slide when firing rapidly.

Could be a real life saver for the average shooter who has a handgun for self defense, or anyone who wants to increase his/her chance of surviving a real close quarters life threat situation.


Here is the cover of the book and the three pages.

1835cover 1835page1 1835page2 1835page3

The book was electronically produced by Google in PDF form. Here is a link to it.


Below are links to articles and books which mention using P&S.


This link is to an 1804 book named Instructions For The Drill... in it, we find that the middle finger is used to pull the trigger.


Here is a link to a general Military Dictionary written by a Lieutenant Colonel and published in 1810. It states as in the book linked to immediately above, that to fire you should..."Pull the trigger strong with the middle finger...."


Another book, Encyclopedia Perthensis' or Universal Dictionary... that was published in 1816, carries the same language. This is a link to it.


This link is to a book named the Arcana of Science...which was published in 1829. It mentions "pulling the trigger with the middle finger."


From the pub: Recreation of January, 1898, pg 148 : ... In shooting a rifle, most sportsmen use the index finger to pull the trigger. If your readers would try using the second finger, and squeezing the hand together, instead of a direct pull, they would find a great difference in the pull of the trigger. This method is of great advantage when one has a standing shot at deer, as one is less liable to pull off. ...


From Bullet and Shot in Indian Forest ..., 1900, ... Some beginners are very apt to "pull off" in the act of firing. If such will make a practice of using the middle finger put well round the trigger, in place of the forefinger, they will probably find a great improvement in their shooting. ...


Here are pictures from a 1902 Patent and a 1908 Patent:

1902 1908

Here is wording from the 1908 Patent:

"This invention relates to a device adapted for attachment to fire-arms of various kinds, more especially to shot - guns or hunting rifles, and has for its object to facilitate quick and accurate pointing of the weapon without being obliged to adjust the gun-stock to the shoulder for aiming at birds just rising from the bush or in flight, or at other game.

The invention is based largely upon the fact that the conscious or sub-conscious faculties intuitively enable men to point the index finger directly and accurately at any visible object without bringing the outstretched finger into alinement with or between the eye and the object."


The following quote is from Joseph Renaud's self defense book: "la Defense Dans La Rue" 1912, as translated by James Farthing and Herve Dautry. Joseph Renaud was a professor of La Canne, Savate, Knife, English boxing and Jiu-Jitsu. The quote is from the chapter: "The Revolver." The full text can be found at http://defensedanslarue.wordpress.com/history/the-revolver/

Special handling

Some people will find it useful to press the trigger with the middle finger while keeping the index finger against the cylinder, parallel to the barrel. This technique relies on the habit of using the index finger to point at things.

I heard the General de Chabot tell that such a method of shooting had saved his life in several occasions. For example, the day before the battle of Sarrebruck in 1870, he found himself face to face with a Prussian captain�while seating in a small canteen. They both shot at each other straight away. Mr de Chabot had a single action weapon while his foe had a double action one. Nevertheless, the German missed five times while the French lieutenant mortally wounded him with his second shot. It must be noticed that both had fired hastily but this technique for handling the revolver makes instinctive shooting more accurate. Always used this technique with a good quality revolver, as it will prevent any spit of lead from between the cylinder and the baillet that would burn your fingers.


From Automatic Pistol Shooting ... 1915, ... Some Englishmen shoot with the second finger on the trigger and the first along the pistol; ...

The following paragraph is from John Minnery's 1973 book: "Kill Without Joy" The Complete How To Kill Book (not a read for the weak of heart or squeamish).

book para

The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was a World War II organization of the United Kingdom. It was officially formed to conduct warfare by means other than direct military engagement. Its mission was to encourage and facilitate espionage and sabotage behind enemy lines and to serve as the core of the British resistance movement.

Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, SIS provides the British Government with a global covert capability to promote and defend the national security and economic well-being of the United Kingdom. It is also known as MI6.

Here's the pic of Oswald and Ruby, just a split second before Oswald is shot.

Ruby shoots Oswald

Ruby, the two Officer who were escorting Oswald, and Oswald, were moving and the target area was small. So, there was no time to use the sights or do any of the "standard" requirements listed above. Only time to point-n-pull.

This pic shows Oswald just after he was shot. In it, you can see that Ruby's middle finger is sticking out from the trigger guard, and his gun is way below eye level.

Ruby shoots Oswald


Note the comment in this modern link about the strength of the grip.

From Trauma Room One: The JFK Medical Coverup : ... Detective Leavelle, cuffed to Oswald's right are, notices Ruby holding a pistol by his side. He sees Ruby crouch, extend the pistol, and quickly move in on his prisoner, but has no time to react. Ruby, gripping a .38 Colt Cobra pistol tightly in his right hand in an "assassins grip" (a Chicago term for the grip used by an assassin to prevent the weapon from being wrenched from his hand; this grip utilizes the middle finger on the trigger and the index finger on the cylinder above), ...


This link is to another JFK assassination book that mentions in part...use of the middle finger to pull the trigger of his pistol when he shot Oswald was a common method of firing and the preferred method for quick shooting at short distances....


From page151 of Frontier Living.... published in 2000 : .... "He did snap shooting, without sighting the gun, by placing his forefinger along the barrel and squeezing the trigger with his middle finger. ..."


The following is from a review of the Mauser C-96 "Broomhandle" Machine Pistol by David M. Fortier. In it, he said that the C-96 was extremely popular in china from the early 1900's up through the 1940's and beyond.

C 96

"....Special commando units were armed entirely with the C-96, and later the selective fire variants, as well as a large beheading sword carried in a leather scabbard on their back. Recognizing the Mauser's weak and strong points, the Chinese developed the following technique for using the C-96 and later the 712. They would hold it sideways (what we would today refer to as "Gangbanger style"), with the index finger lying on the magazine well pointing at the target, and pull the trigger with the middle finger.

Click here to see a copy of this excellent "historical" article on the C-96. It appeared in Gun World -February 2001, and is reproduced by permission. This is the URL: http://www.pointshooting.com/c96ok.pdf


Several military publications of the early 1900's cautioned against its use with the 1911. That confirms that shooting that way was standard practice, or else it would have made no sense to include it in the training manuals.


The drawing above is from the April 1, 1912 publication: Description Of The Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, Model Of 1911.

Here is a quote from it that cautions against using P&S with the 1911:

..."(3) The trigger should be pulled with the forefinger. If the trigger is pulled with the second finger, the forefinger extending along the side of the receiver is apt to press against the projecting pin of the slide stop and cause a jam when the slide recoils."

Here is a link to it.


Almost the same language is in the US Army's 1917 Small Arms Instructors Manual: An Intensive Course, Including Official... The only change is that the word squeezed is used in place of the word pulled.

On Page 82 we find: "3. The trigger should be squeezed with the forefinger. If the trigger is squeezed with the second finger, the forefinger extending along the side of the receiver is apt to press against the projecting pin of the slide stop and cause a jam when the slide recoils."

Here is a link to it.


A 1917 military manual describing the automatic pistol, Caliber .45, carried the same warning. Here is a link to it.


And so did an ROTC publication of 1921. Here is a link to it.


This is a link to the US Army's 1917 Small Arms Instructors Manual: An Intensive Course, Including Official "C... This is what can be found on Page 82 Operation of the pistol: "3. The trigger should be squeezed with the forefinger. If the trigger is squeezed with the second finger, the forefinger extending along the side of the receiver is apt to pass against the projecting pin of the slide stop and cause a jam when the slide recoils."


The drawing below is from Platoon Training by Lt. Col. William H. Waldron, United States Army - Page 612, 1921. It carries the same language as the 1912 publication: "...(3) The trigger should be pulled with the forefinger. If the trigger is pulled with the second finger, the forefinger extending along the side of the receiver is apt to press against the projecting pin of the slide stop and cause a jam when the slide recoils." Here is a link to it.



The Colt automatic pistol was adopted by the U. S. Army, Navy and National Guard in 1911 per the international military digest annual by Cornelis De Witt.

IMHO, excluding the use of the P&S shooting method as I call it, with the standard issue firearm of the US Armed services from 1911 to of that time, effectively squelched it, and with dire consequences for those who were to rely on the use of the 1911 and similar arms in close quarters life threat situations.

Not being able to use their natural ability to point accurately at objects, they and all those who came after them, would be left to rely on dumb luck, and/or Sight Reliant Shooting which fails to be used in most close quarters life threat situations. That is due to our natural and instinctive Body Alarm Response which is triggered in those situations, and environmental conditions such as low light or dark targets and the use of dark sights.

Excluding the use of a life saving option to accommodate a weapon, rather than making a minor modification to the weapon to accomodate those who go in harms way, makes no sense to me.

It is like producing a rifle without a bayonet lug. In a CQB situation that could prove to be a deadly for the rifle user.

Per Wikipedia, the Colt automatic pistol caliber-45, was adopted by the U.S. Army, Navy, and National Guard in 1911. It was the standard-issue side arm of the U.S. armed forces from 1911 to 1985, and it is still carried by some U.S. forces.

IMO, there is no doubt over the past "100 years" of army and police combat, the 1911 design flaw has resulted in countless injuries and deaths to members of our Armed Forces and Police. And in turn, the squelching of the use of the natural and accurate shooting method, has resulted in the poor armed encounter hit rate which continues to this day.

The suppression of the P&S shooting method may not have been intentional, and I also feel that those who wrote the manuals and others like them, were not trying to get their own shot and/or killed.

They were just doing the best that they could to describe how best to use the side arm which was becoming the standard for all US armed forces.

Here is a picture of a Tokarev TT-33, and one of the end of its slide stop pin that is held in place with a two pronged clip. The Tokarev has features that are similar to those of the Browning pistol. The Tokarev was used by the Soviets and over 1.5 million were produced. Apparently the Russians believed that practicality and survival should drive gun design. The Tokarev photo is by: Mike Killebrew.

Tokarev spacer Tokarev

I think it is way past high time for a responsible body to make a scientific investigation and come up with the best shooting method to use in QC armed encounters for our armed forces, police, and civilians alike. And to share the results with the millions of US citizens and police who have a firearm for use in their self defense.

This is a link to this article in PDF form. You are welcome to download it and use/share it as you like. I am 80+, so this site may be gone at any time.

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