Research studies have established that there is a split second time lapse between thinking - Shoot! - and doing so. The process is both mental and physiological.

The time needed to perceive-process-respond to a visual stimulus to shoot, is about 1/3 of a second.

There also is a time lapse in responding to a stop shooting stimulus, and it can be about the same or longer.

For example, the research established that only .06 of a second is needed to pull a trigger. So, if a trigger is started to be pulled, and a situation changes from a shoot to a no-shoot one, the trigger will still be pulled.

Basically, the research has shown that there is no such thing as an Instant Response to a stimulus.

Here is a link to the study info.


The time lapse between perception and response, can be critical to survival in a real life and death situation.

For example, in the first of three photos of an attempted robbery, the robber has noticed the store guard, and the druggist is returning to the counter with pills in his hand.

robery 10

The guard with a two handed Isosceles type grip on his pistol, which puts it close to his center line, points it at the robber as he moves to his left and away from the counter. Note that his thumbs are up and not forward along the frame as some trainers teach. The druggist continues to move towards the counter, and the robber points his gun at the guard.

robery 11

The guard shoots and the robber begins to fall to the floor.

robery 12


I was surprised that the guard was not shot when the robber pointed his gun at him. That certainly would have happened, had the guard not shot the robber.

As to why the robber did not shoot, it could have been that he had made the decision to shoot, and was physically in the process of doing that, when he was shot.

I also wondered why the guard had not shot the robber as the robber was bringing his gun around towards the guard. It may have been, as just mentioned about the robber, that the guard had made the decision to shoot, and was in the mental/physical process of doing that.

Per the research that takes a split second, and during that split second time lapse, the robber pointed his gun directly at the guard.

Pictures freeze the action being taken, so it may look like things happened slower than they actually did. In real time, it took less than two seconds for the guard to move out from behind a counter, directly confront the threat, and then shoot. The three pictures of the action sequence all show the same second (21).

The pictures clearly show that Point Shooting works, and that it is deadly effective.

If the guard had attempted to use the sights, and align them on the target, he could have missed seeing the gun being pointed directly at him in the split second it took the robber to do that, and he in all probability, he would have ended up on the floor and dead.

In regard to the use of Sight Shooting in real close quarters life threat situations, per the marksmanship section of the U.S. Army's combat pistol manual: "The eye can focus on only one object at a time at different distances. Therefore, the last focus of the eye is always on the front sight. When the front sight is seen clearly, the rear sight and target will appear hazy."

It would have been folly for the guard to attempt to line up the sights, focus on the front sight and a hazy target, while squeezing the trigger smoothly to the rear until the shot broke. Had he tried to get even a flash sight picture, he in all probability, would be the one who ended up dead on the floor.

And what about your average home defender or Police Officer?

What are they to do when someone is fast approaching with murder on his/her mind?

Would they have the time and the presence of mind to meet the complex and must-be-met marksmanship requirements for successful Sight Shooting, or even get a Flash Sight Picture, and then shoot?

I think not.

The picture below is from the Marine Corps Pistol Manual. It shows the back of the Marine Corps M9 pistol and the sights.

sight pic

Look at the picture, and ask yourself if you really could expect to focus clearly on the little dot that is the front sight, or even a larger sight, when a life threat is a split second away from killing you, as was the case in the robbery photo.

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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