SIGHT RELIANT SHOOTING IS NOT USED IN CLOSE QUARTERS GUNFIGHTS.
MYTH OR FACT?
Sight Reliant Shooting has been taught for use in combat for the past 100+ years. So, to question whether or not it is used in Close Quarters gunfights at this late date, seems to be ridiculous.
And many say that they have used Sight Reliant Shooting, or that they know of others that have used Sight Reliant Shooting in armed encounters, and that they got hits.
But, the fact of the matter is that in most all CQB situations, Sight Reliant Shooting is not, or can not be used: due to 1. bad lighting, 2. other environmental conditions, 3. the close proximity of the adversary, 4. the need for the swiftest possible reaction, 5. the dynamics of the situation, 6. time constraints, and 7. the automatic and instinctive activation of our Fight or Flight response, which occurs in real life threat situations, and can result in the loss of near vision focusing that is needed to focus on the sights.
For example, NYPD officers were taught Sight Reliant Shooting, yet one of the findings of the NYPD SOP 9 study of over 6000 combat cases, was that aiming was employed in only 20% of the cases.
In 70% of the cases reviewed, Officers reported that they used instinctive or point shooting.
In 10% of the cases, Officers could not remember whether they had aimed or pointed and fired the weapon instinctively.
As the distance between the Officer and opponent increased beyond close proximity, the aiming or sighting ran from using the barrel as an aiming reference to picking up the front sight and utilizing fine sight alignment.
Also, Officers with an occasional exception, fired with the strong hand, which is contrary to the way most all shooters are shown on TV and the internet, and trained to shoot. Makes range safety sense, but is not reality.
The study, was published in 1981, and though dated, its findings are still relevant.
There is NO hard evidence in the form of pics and videos of Sight Reliant Shooting ever being used effectively in Close Quarters gunfights. But there should be hundreds if not thousands of them, since it has been taught for over 100 years for use in CQB situations.
In a 2009 SureSight.com web article, this is what is said about the use of the sights in gunfights.
"It is an acknowledged fact that very few gunfight survivors ever remember seeing their sights at all during a life-threatening encounter. In other words, regardless of the amount of practice using the sights at the target range, the vast majority of shootout survivors are unable to see their sights when faced with life-threatening stress. One study found that when faced with stress, "93% of Officers focused on the threat, not the weapon, and 88% of the Officers resorted to binocular vision."
And this is what science says about our ability to see the sights.
In a Close Quarters life threat situation, our instinctive Fight or Flight response kicks in automatically to help us survive. Its activation is unstoppable and causes a number of involuntary and immediate physiological changes to occur.
One is a dump of adrenaline into the bloodstream. And the adrenaline will act on the ciliary muscle of the eye, which controls the thickness of the lens of the eye. When it is contracted, the lens will be thickened to enable focusing on near objects like the sights, and when relaxed, the lens will flatten for focusing on far objects. When the lens is thickened, far objects will be blurry, and when it is flattened,near objects will be blurry.
The adrenaline can cause the ciliary muscle to relax, and the eye lens to flatten to enable focusing on far objects, and as such, near vision focus will be blurry. Here's more info on that. (Note that with aging, and natural changes of the eye, vision focus changes as stated above, may not happen.)
Another result will be an immediate jump in the heart rate to well above 150 BPM. As such, fine motor skills, which are necessary for aligning the sights to get a correct sight picture for accurate shooting, will be lost to use as they start to deteriorate around 115 BPM.
The above answers the question of why there are no pics or videos of Sight Reliant Shooting ever being used effectively in a CQB situation, and even though it has been taught to millions and millions over the past 100+ years.
Some gun professionals place the blame for the failure of Sight Reliant Shooting on a lack of training on the part of police, and non participation in competitions.
Denigrating police does not relieve trainers, gun makers, and gun experts of the responsibility for coming up with something that is practical in terms of training time and costs, and that works in CQB situations.
And if not for the police, for the millions and millions of US gun owners who bought a gun for self defense with the thought in mind that they would be able to use it effectively in their self defense in a real life or death situation.
I know that Sight Reliant Shooting does work. The rub comes with its attempted use with a pistol in close quarters real life threat situations, and where the chance of being shot and/or killed, is the greatest. If you are going to be shot and/or killed, there is an 80% chance that it will happen at less than 21 feet. It is in close quarters situations where Sight Reliant Shooting is not or can not be used.
POINT SHOOTING USED IN FORCE SCIENCE TEST
In 2007, the Force Science Research Center published the results of a test designed to determine the shooting ability of 103 volunteers who were "new" to guns. Only a few had more than a passing exposure to side arms, and over 1/3 had never fired a handgun.
After a brief safety review with red guns, they were given functional weapons with live ammunition. Those with no experience were allowed to fire half a dozen familiarization rounds to get the feel of sound and recoil but were not told how to hold the gun, except to grip it firmly and to avoid touching the trigger until the muzzle was safely down range.
POINT SHOOTING DEFAULTED TO
An overwhelming majority of the test subjects used Point Shooting at all distances when firing rapidly, and almost all used 1-handed techniques at close ranges. At 5-7 yards and beyond, many shifted spontaneously to 2-hand stances, with an increase in hit probability.
HEAD SHOTS MADE
At close distances (1-3 yards), more than half shot at the head without being told to and had a very high hit probability with at least 1 of their shots. At 5 to 7 yards, many of the shooters "directed fire at a bigger part of the body" than the head. But still, a lot of shots hit in the head, neck, and upper chest.
POINT SHOOTING = SPEED
A strong majority of the shooters fired all 3 rounds within 1.5 seconds. And an actual assailant could be expected to get a first round off even faster than the volunteers.
POINT SHOOTING IS QUICK TO LEARN
Within a very short time, at least half the volunteers had a very good grasp on the basic mechanics of shooting. Some people just have a natural ability to pick up a gun and be able to control it. It was amazing how well many of these people could shoot with no training at all.
A LIFE AND DEATH MATTER
Some say that Point Shooting is an advanced shooting method that can be learned only after extensive shooting practice. However, the test results refute that.
Point Shooting is quick to learn. But waiting to learn it until one is in an armed encounter, could be fatal.
A savings grace is that the miss rate in armed encounters is more than 80%. That means that for every five bullets fired at a target, four+ go somewhere else. So, unless you are having a very unlucky day, chances are you will not be in a gunfight as they are rare birds, and if you are, you will survive.
However; to not train students to Point Shoot at Close Quarters, is to set them up for failure in situations where there is the greatest chance of their being shot and/or killed.
Also, Point Shooting is not a bar to using the sights. If you can see and focus on the sights, and your hand eye coordination skills have not been lost to use, and there is time to use them, Sight Reliant Shooting still can be used.
There are various types of Point Shooting: CAR, FAS, QK, Quick-Fire, P&S, and others. Each is contingent upon a variety of things such as: stance,body index, gun grip, positioning the gun on your centerline, canting the gun, using a stiff arm and sighting along it, placing the muzzle on an aim point, placing the index finger along the side of the gun to aim it by pointing, etc..
Bill Burroughs, in his paper: Components and Considerations for Combat Shooting, says that "combat shooting is actually quite simple and anyone can learn it. In a span of less than two hours and fewer than 100 rounds of ammunition an Officer can be taught this method and can reproduce it during periods of stress. Marksmanship levels are high inside the distances where the method was designed to be used - Close Quarters."
The US Army in its Combat Pistol Manual (2003), says to use Quick-Fire Point Shooting for engaging an enemy at less than 5 yards and for night firing.
"Using a two-hand grip, the firer brings the weapon up close to the body until it reaches chin level. He then thrusts it forward until both arms are straight. The arms and body form a triangle, which can be aimed as a unit. In thrusting the weapon forward, the firer can imagine that there is a box between him and the enemy, and he is thrusting the weapon into the box. The trigger is smoothly squeezed to the rear as the elbows straighten."
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