Saturday, December 19, 2009

About that mention of the wonderful 'pointing' in the Model M design

I mentioned a couple of days ago, here's the target in question:
The three big holes are from something else, ignore them(please!). The point of interest here is that tight cluster at the top of the 'shoot here' oval with two a little low. That's seventeen rounds at about ten-twelve feet, six of them fired as fast pairs from low-ready. In this case the light at the range was such I could get just a hint of 'bright' off the front sight, which helped.

Did I mention I really like this pistol?

Which brings me to something else. A while back Tam mentioned him, and it occurred to me that while I've read magazine articles and blog posts I'd never read any of Massad Ayoob's books. And I had a gift card for Borders. And they had a copy of Combat Handgunnery, so...

Very good book, but the part I want to concentrate on is his chapter that includes his advice on point-shooting. Two things here:
First, his advice is 'Don't'.
Second, an interesting difference from how he describes things and how I'd thought of it before.
I've mentioned before that the way I was taught(damn, that was a while back) was that at close range you had the piece close to you, moving it further out- and going to two hands as soon as possible- as range increased for greater accuracy, similar to what's shown in the pictures I posted here from Bill Jordan's book. I never thought of it as 'unaimed' fire, just 'fire without using the sights'. Ayoob, as I recall, described point-shooting as 'unaimed fire', with shots fired with the gun far enough forward that you can see it(especially the front sight), and reference it to the target as 'aimed fire'. Which got me thinking.

For all but the closest range- with the gun right at your hip- you can see it, way down in your field of vision(yes, I need pictures; later on, when I have someone to work the camera, I'll take some) which lets you reference it to the target, which by Ayoob's definition means you're aiming*. So I did a bit of messing with this: I started with a target about 5-8 feet out(this is a close-range thing), drew slowly and made a point of noting the pistol low in my field of view as well as the spot on the target I was aiming at, and fired. Repeat a bunch of times(I was using the .22 conversion for this to keep costs down, and also did a bunch of dry-firing).

Damn, working at it this way makes a difference! I could point-shoot fairly well before(when in practice at it, had been doing a lot less of it than in the past), but this made a definite improvement. By training to note the gun, it's position and the target when shooting slowly, you build the reflexes to do it without having to consciously think about it. Which means you're making aimed shots without looking with/over the sights at close range.** And my accuracy improved in this style of firing.

I do not argue, at all, Use The Sights. I do think that practicing point-shooting for very close and fast situations is something very good to do; having more tools in the box(tools that you've practiced using) is a Good Thing.

Something else: after reading Tam and others writing about the Super Kung-Fu Grip they learned from Jarrett, it rang a bell. Something I'd read about Jordan years ago popped up: a guy had a picture of him shooting on a timer pointed out that you could see the tension in his hand and arm, that his body was locked to support the shot(one-handed with a .357 Mag in something like 1/4 second, including draw!). Somehow, over time, I'd forgotten that. And in the book Ayoob makes specific point of the 'tight as you can' hold. So I started tightening up my grip; and yeah, that helps too. A lot, especially in rapid fire.

*Ayoob is very specific that you should always get the piece up far enough that the sights, mainly the front sight, is in your vision on the target. And I'm not arguing against that. I'm talking about close-up/low-light/fast situations.
**Repeating, whenever possible always use the sights, much better for a variety of reasons.

1 comment:

Keith said...

Hi Firehand, have you read Fairbairn's "Shoot to live?" there are a few copies as pirate PDFs floating around on the net.

Fairbairn certainly knew all about fighting to the death, with or without a gun. he was sneaking off on paratroop missions in wwii, when he was well into his 60s, I think he died of old age in the end.