In a real self defense close quarters situation (CQB), you can lose your near vision focusing ability, which is needed to align the sights correctly, and place them on a target.

And if that is the case, you will not be able to use Sight-Reliant Shooting in those situations where there is the greatest chance of you being shot and/or killed.

So, unless you know of, and how to use an alternative shooting method, you won't have an effective shooting method to use in your self defense.


Our ability to focus on close objects like the sights, or far objects, depends on the flexible lens of the eye (A). The lens is adjustable from thick for close vision, to thin for far vision. The Ciliary muscle of the eye (B), controls the thickness or thinness of the lens.

eye pic

eye pic

To enable focusing on near objects like the sights, the lens (A), is thickened by a contraction of the ciliary muscle (B).

eye pic

And for focusing on far objects, the ciliary muscle (B), is relaxed and the lens (A), flattens.

eye pic

If the lens is thin for focusing on far objects, close objects like the sights, will be out of focus.

[The above 3 diagrams, were developed based on web images of eye accommodation, and highlight the difference in the thickness of the lens.]


In a real close quarters life threat situation, our instinctive Fight or Flight response is triggered, and a variety of things happen automatically, which are meant to insure our survival.

One is a dump of adrenaline into the blood stream, which will cause the Ciliary muscle to relax. And with that, the lens of the eye will flatten, and our ability to focus on up close objects like gun sights can be lost.

And if so, you will not be able to use Sight-Reliant Shooting in a situation where there is the greatest chance of you being shot and/or killed.

As such, unless you know of, and how to use an alternative shooting method, you won't have an effective shooting method to use in your self defense.



Had an eye exam May 6, 2014, and eye drops were used to dilate the pupils of my eyes to help in the exam. The eye drops act on the eye like adrenaline does, and as such, I should have lost my near vision and my far vision should have sharpened. But that didn't happen. I could clearly see the individual hairs on my arm with my hand at pistol firing distance. It was my far vision that was blurred.

I asked the doctor about that, and he said that the eye drops affect the eye as adrenaline does, but with age and natural changes in the eye, changes in vision may or may not happen.

For the drive home, I put on glasses that I have for distant vision/driving, and my distant vision was not blurry, things were clear. My near vision was not sharp. I could no longer clearly see the individual hairs on my arm with the glasses on, they were like peach fuzz.

So, will you ALWAYS lose your near vision in real life threat situations in which adrenaline is dumped into the blood stream via the activation of our instinctive Fight or Flight response? The short answer is no.

However; we do know that adrenaline is dumped into the blood stream with the activation of the Fight or Flight response. And we know that the adrenaline can result in loss of near vision focus. So, we may or may not be able to focus on the sights.

We also know that Point Shooting works and is effective at close range. It also can be used in situations where the sights can not be used due to bad light, other environmental conditions, time constrains, and/or the loss of near vision.

As such it would be prudent to know of it, and become proficient in it.

If the sights can be used, and there is time to use them, Point Shooting is not a bar to doing that.


Below are several reference snippets and links to articles and info on this subject area. Portions of the snippets have been bolded and [any added comments are in brackets].


Reference from St Luke's Cataract & Laser Institute.



...The ciliary body lies just behind the iris. Attached to the ciliary body are tiny fiber "guy wires" called zonules. The [eye lens] crystalline lens is suspended inside the eye by the zonular fibers.

...the ciliary body controls accommodation by changing the shape of the crystalline lens. When the ciliary body contracts, the zonules relax. This allows the lens to thicken, increasing the eye's ability to focus up close.

...When looking at a distant object, the ciliary body relaxes, causing the zonules to contract. The lens becomes thinner...


Reference from an article: Fight Or Flight: Understanding The Adrenaline Dump And How It Affects The Body


...The fight or flight response is an ancient protective mechanism designed to enhance survivability by physically priming humans to either fight or run. [And when triggered, an adrenaline dump will occur.]

...Body Systems Negatively Affected By Adrenaline


- Loss of near vision

- 70% reduction in peripheral vision

- disrupted depth of perception


Reference from an article: Fight or Flight - The Three Stages, by Warren Breckenridge.


...Three specific metal states that a person goes through when facing a threat are: Threat Anxiety, Survival Stress, and Combat Stress. Threat anxiety occurs when one is anticipating danger. Maybe it is the fear of the unknown, maybe injury or death. Once this has been triggered, the body goes into the fight or flight decision, which is to fight for self preservation or flee for self preservation. The Autonomic Nervous System at this point engages the flight or flight option. This occurs when the Sympathetic Nervous System releases Epinephrine and Nor Epinephrine hormones into the system.

...effects that maybe encountered are: loss of near vision, loss of night vision, loss of depth perception, inability to focus, inability to process information, loss of memory and the inability to make rational decisions.


Reference from an article on the Sure Sight site.



...If sights are necessary for precisely placed hits, and police officers receive special training in the use of sighted fire, why can't they see them in the heat of battle? There are a number of factors, but the most likely explanation lies in basic human physiology. When a human being is suddenly scared, shocked, or surprised (as is the norm in a life-threatening situation) the body experiences the "fight or flight" reflex, and a number of involuntary physiological changes can occur. "Fight or flight" reflex is simply the activation and domination of the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) over the Para-Sympathetic Nervous System.

...The Para-Sympathetic Nervous System is in primary control of your body when it is not in a state of crisis. It is responsible for functions such as the constriction of the pupil, the slowing of the heart, and dilation of blood vessels.

...The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is in primary control of your body when it is in a state of crisis, such as when facing a lethal force situation. It releases adrenaline, which cause involuntary and automatic increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and blood flow to the extremities. SNS activation can heavily affect mental processes, motor skills, sensory perception, and, particularly, vision. Three important visual aspects that are affected are reduced peripheral vision, distance-only eyesight and forced binocular vision.

...Reduced peripheral vision, commonly referred to as "tunnel vision", often occurs in gunfight conditions. Up to a 70% decrease in peripheral vision is normal. Occurring with this is a highly reduced ability to detect subtle motions, such as that of the handgun's relatively small front sight bobbing in and out of alignment in relation to both the rear sight and the target.

...Distance-only eyesight occurs as we instinctively focus on our threat. Human instinct will cause us to focus on our threat during combat-this means our eyes need to be focused for distance.
It is theorized that this reaction is a result of SNS activation simultaneously dilating the pupils in the eye and relaxing the ciliary muscle (the eye muscle responsible for close focus). Even if distance-only eyesight does not occur, according to Guyton's Medical Textbook (and others), it takes about one full second for the human eye to switch from near focus to far, (as in shifting focus from the front sight to the target). In contrast, a shooter of average ability, armed with a long-trigger-pull, double-action revolver, can fire three rounds toward a target in .75 seconds. This is an unacceptably long delay in the rapidly changing, dynamic situations like gunfights or competitive shooting events.

...generally speaking, when a person is in the grips of SNS activation, that person is facing the threat squarely,intently focused on it and with a reduced ability to detect small movements and near objects, regardless of how he or she has been trained. Under these circumstances, traditional sights become difficult, if not impossible, to see.


marine picture

This picture is from the US Marine Corps Pistol Manual of 2003, and shows the gun sights in focus, which means the ciliary muscle is contracted, and the eye lens thickened.

With SNS activation and the resultant relaxation of the ciliary muscle, and the thinning of the eye lens, the target could be in focus, and the sights out of focus (blurry). Also, in a "real" situation, the lighting can be expected to be poor, and the target dark or mottled and likely moving. All factors taken together, accurate shooting via the use of the sights, would be highly unlikely.


Reference from a question on Accommodation.


...Accommodation is to change the focal length of the lens by changing the curvature of the eye lens.

...Normally, when our ciliary muscles are relaxed, parallel rays form distant objects will converge onto the retina.

...If our eye is maintained at the above state, and a near object is put before it, light rays will converge behind the retina. As the sharp image is behind the retina, our brain can only detect a blurry image.


Reference on the Body Alarm Reaction (BAR), and vision - EDWARD C. GODNIG, O.D.


...Autonomic Nervous System Involvements

...The autonomic nervous system has two major branches; the parasympathetic and sympathetic. Generally speaking, the sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for direct action and confrontation by increasing heart pulse rate and bringing increased blood supply to large muscle groups. Also, ocular pupil diameter increases, and the ciliary muscle relaxes, forcing a person to focus the eyes at far distance, perhaps to be behaviorally better prepared for a perceived on-coming threat. Looking towards infinity has the tendency of allowing the observer to process a relatively greater volume of peripheral space.

...The parasympathetic nervous system allows one to maintain a more relaxed, balanced state of readiness by slowing an accelerated heart rate, decreasing pupil size, and allowing the eye's accommodative system to focus at closer distances. The parasympathetic nervous system aims to bring neural physiology back to a state of balance or relative homeostasis....

[This paper also states that with training the affects of the BAR of Flight or Fight response can be controlled to a degree.]

...with the appropriate degree of attention, skill and practice, an athlete can visually "see" images within the limits of his peripheral visual awareness while simultaneously viewing a clear, central straight-ahead visual image....

[But it also states that]

...Current physiological eye research seems to indicate that once sympathetic nervous system dominance is activated during the BAR, there is not a way to control or instantly recover from the loss of near point (positive accommodation) focusing ability....


Ciliary Muscle: Reference from: Answers.com.


...According to Hermann von Helmholtz's theory, the circular ciliary muscle fibers affect zonular fibers in the eye (fibers that suspend the lens in position during accommodation), enabling changes in lens shape for light focusing.

...When the ciliary muscle contracts, it pulls itself forward and moves the frontal region toward the axis of the eye. This releases the tension on the lens caused by the zonular fibers (fibers that hold or flatten the lens).

...This release of tension of the zonular fibers [it] causes the lens to become more spherical, adapting to short range focus.

...The other way around, relaxation of the ciliary muscle causes the zonular fibers to become taut, flattening the lens, increasing the focal distance,[9] increasing long range focus.

...Although Helmholtz's theory has been widely accepted since 1855, its mechanism still remains controversial....


Bill Lewinski of the Force Science Institute had this information about the eye in his 2002 Police Marksman article titled: Stress Reactions Related To Lethal Force Encounters: "The eye undergoes three changes under high stress. The pupils dilate, the lens flattens and the eyes begin to move in a "saccadic" fashion...."

Unfortunately, he did not spell out for trainers that the flattening of the lens can cause the loss of near vision, and the ability to focus on the sights. As such, Sight Reliant Shooting can be moot in a lethal force encounter.

The sad result will be that Police Officers and others trained in Sight Reliant Shooting will have no effective shooting method to use in their self defense in those situations where there is the greatest chance of their being shot and killed, unless they are taught an alternate shooting method such as P&S.

Here's a link to the article.



....Cannon (1915) found that SNS excitement triggers pupil dilation, leading to the loss of near vision. The SNS also disrupts the ability to focus, which is a function controlled by the tension on the ciliary muscle. This muscle maintains the convex shape of the lens, which is necessary for clarity and focus. But when the SNS is activated, the ciliary muscle relaxes and the contour of the lens changes from a convex to a flattened state. This results in a loss of depth perception and the ability to focus on close objects. Therefore, the ability to focus on the front sight of a handgun is not possible when the SNS is activated.

Here is a link to it.


What we do know, is that adrenaline is released into the blood stream in a real CQB situation. The adrenaline relaxes the Ciliary muscle. And the shape of the eye lens will be thin for focusing on objects that are not up close.

I have spent many hours making web inquiries about adrenaline and its affects on vision, and have not found material that says it does not affect vision. I also don't know of any science based evidence presented by Sight Reliant Shooting advocates which says that the ability to focus on the sights is not affected negatively when adrenaline is in the blood stream. My own experience when my eyes were dilated, as mentioned above, could be accepted as an exception, but of not enough weight to overcome the preponderance of evidence that supports the loss of near vision focus.

To accept the unsupported supposition that you will be able to focus on the sights in a real close quarters life threat situation, regardless of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, may be a comfort and reassuring to the flocks, but in reality, it is just wishful thinking. And thinking that I for one am not willing to risk my life on, and in particular when effective alternative shooting methods for use in close quarters encounters exist and can be learned with little or not training and in minimum time.

For example, on 5/11/14 I took my adult granddaughter, who had shot a rifle before, to a range to shoot a pistol. I had shown her how to use P&S with an airsoft pistol, but only once. With P&S, you just grab your gun, with you index finger along the side, point at the target and pull the trigger with your middle finger. CAUTION - Click here for a brief on it.

I stuck one of my aiming aid/finger rests to the side of a rental 9mm Springfield XD-S. It makes correct index finger placement mechanical and automatic. And it helps to keep the index finger away from the slide when shooting rapidly and the gun is bucking and jumping in your hand. Also, when one is used, the gun will feel comfortable and secure in your hand, and it will fit like a glove. My granddaughter said she agrees with that.

Here's a pic of one attached to a Springfield XD (the XD-S is smaller, a single stack, and easy to shoot).


After 20 9mm rounds which hit a target COM at 8 feet or so, I moved a target out to 12 feet, and she used P&S, one handed and with rapid fire, and continued to hit the target COM, and in groups that would easily be covered by a standard sized piece of paper. (She pointed and pulled the trigger as soon as the 9mm Springfield XD-S dropped down from jumping up six inches or so with the firing of the previous round)


Finally, and by definition, self defense requires that one be reacting to a threat.

So if a person says that Sight Reliant Shooting was used in self defense in a close quarters life threat situation, he/she would be in error;because to be able to use Sight Reliant Shooting, he/she would not have believed it was a life threat situation.

Could there be exceptions, sure, see MUDDYING THE WATER above, but expect them to happen rarely.

Sight Reliant Shooting has been taught for 100 years to millions and millions, and yet there are no pics or videos of it being used effectively in a close quarters life threat situation. There should be hundreds if not thousands of pics if not videos, but they are as rare as hen's teeth.

It has been established that most all gunfights occur at less than 21 feet (at close quarters). And we also know that if you are going to be shot and/or killed there is an 80% chance that will happen at less than 20 feet (at close quarters). And science has established that our instinctive Flight or Fight response is triggered automatically in real close quarters life threat situations, and that it can result in the loss of the ability to focus on the sights.

So, unless you know of, and how to use an effective alternative to Sight Reliant Shooting like AIMED Point Shooting or P&S, you will have no effective shooting method you can count on using in a situation where there is the greatest chance of being shot and/or killed.

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