An encouraging shift in Police CQB training is underway. It is based on the recognition and acceptance of the realities of CQB situations, and attempts to deal with that reality in a practical and constructive way.

Below is information on a few of the innovative changes that are being implemented in the area of Police CQB training.

Positive benefits can be expected to accrue to both Police Officers and members of the public alike, as they gain wider acceptance.

Change in the world of the gun, with its strongly held traditions and institutionalized dogma, does not come easily or quickly.

For example, at the 2010 ILEETA conference (International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers), a use-of force panel discussed Point Shooting vs. Aimed Fire.

An article by David Griffith about the discussion, is in POLICE Magazine. This is a link to it.

"The panel, which consisted of firearms trainers, law enforcement officers, a physician, an attorney, a physician, and a psychologist, discussed the issue in terms of training and officer-involved shootings. And it concluded that point shooting may be what happens in a gunfight but to point shoot well under stress officers need to aim when they train."

"Point shooting well under stress is all about muscle memory," said one panel member. "And the way you achieve that muscle memory is by learning to align your sights."

He said that training officers to point shoot without training them to aim was a "shortcut." "There is no instinctive ability to shoot. So we need to teach our people to use the sights under realistic conditions. That's the answer, not point shooting."

However, the sad fact of the matter is that there are no pics or videos of Sight Reliant Shooting being used effectively in a CQB situation, and it's been taught for over 100 years.

Also, the US Army disagrees with the discussion panel member as to instinctive aiming.

Here's what the US Army says about our instinctive ability to aim. It's found in the US Army Field Manual 3-23.35: Combat Training With Pistols M9 AND M11 (June, 2003).

"Everyone has the ability to point at an object....

"When a soldier points, he instinctively points at the feature on the object on which his eyes are focused. An impulse from the brain causes the arm and hand to stop when the finger reaches the proper position.

"When the eyes are shifted to a new object or feature, the finger, hand, and arm also shift to this point.

"It is this inherent trait that can be used by a soldier to rapidly and accurately engage targets."


For the past 22 years, Police Officers have been shot and killed at the rate of one every seven days, and thousands are injured each year. The total killed now exceeds 1,100. Also, the hit rate in armed encounters has been and still is: less than 20%. And yet, most all shooting training has remained the same for 22 years.

In Afghanistan, 1,700+ US troops have been killed in the past ten years, thousands and thousands have been injured, and billions and billions of dollars have been spent on that war.

IMHO, there's a real war going on in the United States, and no body seems to be in charge, or care, or do much about it.


Lou Chiodo of gunfightersltd.com, who is a modest and long time "on the street" Police Officer and trainer, said in a recent e-mail that the process of change is much like turning a large ship.

Lou led the development and training of California Highway Patrol Officers in Target-Focused Shooting.

The system "relies on hand eye coordination" and it "emphasizes a proper grip that makes the handgun an extension of the arm, hand and index finger."

It is similar to the shooting method of Fairbairn, Sykes, and Applegate, in that the sights are not used in CQ aiming. For more info on the Fairbairn, Sykes, and Applegate method, click here.

Target-Focused Shooting differs from it as does not rely on body indexing. The firearm is positioned directly under the dominate eye.

There was an extensive article on the system in the Oct 2001 issue of Guns And Weapons For LE.

Per the article, in developing the program, Lou researched 25 years of his Border Division's shootings.

"He found that 54% of the CHP Officer involved gun battles occurred within six feet. Three quarters of them happened at less than 10 feet. Almost 100% took place within a 15 yard envelope.

"Ninety percent involved suspect movement and while under marginal light conditions. In 60% of the deadly force encounters both combatants were moving."

The article also states that based on his analysis, and how the majority of shooters react when confronted by a deadly threat, Point Shooting at close ranges became the core of the program. Included were techniques for shooting while moving when one or both parties were distancing themselves or closing.

Here is a link to Lou Chiodo's site: Gunfighters Ltd. The URL is http://www.gunfightersltd.com


In January 2000, Mike Conti was given the task of setting up and putting into operation a Firearms Training Unit (FTU), for the Massachusetts State Police. He was then a well seasoned Massachusetts State Police Officer with both SWAT and firearms instructor experience.

The FTU would be responsible for conducting yearly qualification courses of fire for department personnel, and for training academy recruits in firearms use.

The basic in-service firearms training program that was developed encompasses: 1. safe weapon handling skills and marksmanship skills; 2. techniques that exploit natural body alarm reactions, stances, grips, and gross motor skills; and 3. the use of dynamic and interactive Stress-Inoculation Training (SIT) scenarios that mirror typical threat situations.

It is a one day affair that includes four courses of fire. Each builds, one upon another, to reach the goal of preparing an officer to deal effectively with typical real life threat situations.

By design, the distances involved and the techniques utilized, mirror the reality that the typical officer can expect on a day by day basis, and how police combat studies and data say an officer will respond.

In all the courses of fire, the distances to the targets are the reverse of what is found in traditional pistol training courses because the distances in training have been adjusted to more accurately reflect the distances encountered in actual shootings. And specialized or stylized stances and techniques are absent.

The first course of fire is dedicated to skill building. It includes: a reset drill to assist in precision Sight Reliant Shooting, a point shooting exercise, a stoppage-clearing drill, a close proximity engagement drill, and an integrated use-of-force element.

36 rounds are fired from 7 yards and closer. And, 83% of the firing is done one-handed.

The second level course of fire allows the instructors to evaluate the student's safe handling and marksmanship skills. This includes: sighted fire from the prone and kneeling positions with the use of cover, kneeling and standing point shooting aimed fire, flashlight-assisted point shooting aimed fire, close proximity and reactive movement point shooting aimed fire, and various types of reloading drills. It can be run un-timed and timed for emphasis.

This second course of fire, is the closest to that of a "traditional" course of fire. 36 rounds are fired. However, just 3 rounds are fired from 25 yards and 3 from 17 yards. The rest are fired from 7 yards and closer. And, 67% of the firing is done one-handed.

The third level course of fire, is designed to expose the student to some of the realities that can be experienced during a dynamic, real-world encounter. It involves, emerging from a vehicle, moving to and using cover in an efficient manner, employing verbal commands, recognizing threats based on visual cures, and using good judgement in the application of deadly force.

The level four and ultimate course of fire, is a scenario-based, dynamic interactive diminished light training course conducted in a live shoot-house setting. It is based on, and closely follows, the original "House of Horrors" training vehicle that was used by Applegate during the WWII years.

This is a link to: A Book Report On Michael E. Conti's: POLICE PISTOLCRAFT. The book contains the background information and details on this reality-based program.

This is a link to Mike Conti's Saber Group Inc. site.

I have no financial connection with Mike Conti or Saber Group Inc. IMO, Mike Conti's new book: The Officer's Guide To Police Pistolcraft is a must read for anyone interested in Close Quarters self defense.

Here is a link to a report on it.


The Alamo Area Regional Law Enforcement Academy, has updated and modernized its firearm training and qualifications.

According to John Buol, who is an adjunct instructor for the AARLEA

During the firearms portion of every class, students shoot a qualification that exceeds TCLEOSE (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education), standards, and is a requirement for graduation.

A 50 round qualification has been used for the last several years for all classes.

88% of shots are fired at 21 feet or less, and 20% are fired at three feet from retention and incorporate movement. Everything at nine feet and less is shot one handed, and all shots within potential contact distance of the target are fired from retention.

Here is a link to John's site.


I received the following from Dan Danaher of Tactical Encounters Inc.. He was responding to my article on Shooting Distances And Survival that was sent to him on a FYI basis.

Thanks for the article.

I couldn't agree more. It amazes me that the argument continues today on sighted vs non-sighted shooting given the facts. Our agency converted our course of fire about 10 years ago and we thank God we did.

Unfortunately there are too many agencies across the Country that are still firing prescribed courses of fire that do little, by way of cqb, to prepare them for a gun fight.

We teach single handed shooting and moving off line from 0-21 feet. Beyond that we teach more traditional sighted shooting when officers aren't necessarily in the survival stress mode. I am a student of Lou Chiodo and have attended three of his courses. In fact, Lou was the one who started us in the point shooting/target focus direction.

Great information, glad to see others feel the same way and are getting the word out.

Here's a link to his site.


Paul Castle, who has had a distinguished career in Law Enforcement and training in Europe and America, has developed and teaches the Center Axis Relock system. It is a gun fighting technique, not a range application.

It can be used effectively in small spaces and vehicles, and it is applicable to team assault situations. It provides for maximum weapon retention, and it also serves as a practical and effective base for contact fighting.

Here's a link to an article on C.A.R. that I wrote and which was approved by Paul Castle as written

This is a link to his site.


Here are links to three no nonsense articles by Mike Rayburn who has over 26 years pf experience in the security and law enforcement fields.

Point Shooting vs. Aimed Shooting - Liability Issues With Point Shooting - The Trigger Control Fallacy

I support AIMED Point Shooting, or P&S. It was most recently and successfully tested a few years ago, at the Vermont Police Academy.

[The method was not part of the official training, it was presented to new VSP members by Walter Dorfner, the long time lead firearms instructor for the VSP. Walter died in 2001.]

P&S is fast, instinctive, automatic, and accurate. It can be used at day or night, in good light or bad, and under a wide variety of conditions. It is a no-brainer which according to the scientific literature, is just what is needed for effective use. Here is what a State Legislator, said about it.

"I was taught the P&S method by my father 36 years ago and taught it to both my daughters when they started shooting. Until today, I never even knew it had a name. It was just the way I was taught to shoot. It works!"

This is a link to a digest of a paper that Walter Dorfner wrote about his experience with P&S.



I plan to add a listing here of other Police "Agencies" and trainers that have or are implementing reality based programs similar to Target Focus Fighting, the Massachusetts State Police, C.A.R., the updated qualification standard of The Alamo Area Regional Law Enforcement Academy, the Fairbairn/Sykes/Applegate method, or P&S.

So if your Agency or company has a similar program, please send some info/details on it plus a link to: ps (at) pointshooting dot com.

Those who go in harms way for us as well as home defenders, deserve nothing less than the best practical and workable methods for their use.

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