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Thread: Sighted vs. Unsighted fire

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    Icon6 Sighted vs. Unsighted fire

    Is there a time when you would use unsighted fire? or do you always plan on using your sights?
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    ASD Member Arc Angel's Avatar
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    Well, ....... after umpteen thousand fired rounds I no longer need to use sighted fire at and inside 7 1/2 yards. In fact I haven't needed to use sighted pistol fire at close distance for, at least, the past 30 years. A lot of shooters don't understand what Jim Cirillo was talking about when he recommended using instinctive sighting during pistol combat. For whatever reasons, I do; and I actually prefer to point shoot whenever I'm working a close-in target line.

    Perhaps I should offer more of an explanation: One of my friends is a damned fine pistolero. A few years back he got himself into a CQB pistol gunfight; and the event caused him to suddenly discover a psychological truism of CQB gunfighting. He told me he almost immediately realized the other guy had a handgun, and was getting ready to go for the weapon. What puzzled my friend was, 'Why' his opponent (a local drug dealer) was waiting, and didn't immediately draw on him?

    He could see the butt of a dark pistol behind his opponent's belt buckle; the man was moving quickly towards him; but, still, the guy didn't draw. The question became, 'Why'? So what happened; well, 'curiosity nearly killed the cat' is what happened! My friend, also, waited to draw. Then, when they were about 7 yards apart, the bad guy began to reach for his gun; but, alas, he was too slow, and didn't make it.

    After this encounter the question remained, and begged to be answered: Why had he waited to draw his pistol and begin the fight? My friend believes that the BG didn't want to start firing until AFTER he had entered into his own, 'CQB personal combat comfort zone'. The fellow didn't want to reveal the fact he was armed, and didn't want to begin gunfighting until AFTER he was sure that he could engage effectively. He didn't want to start shooting until he was certain he was going to hit my friend!

    Me, personally? I don't start looking for my front sight until the target(s) are at or beyond 7 - 8 yards. At 10 yards I always look for the sights. Closer in I may, or may not. If I'm using a double-action revolver I'll, also, switch to single-action fire for the longer shots. (Which is, 'Why' I never use a revolver that doesn't have a hammer spur.)

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    I agree with ArcAngel. Inside of 7 yards or so, I believe the instinctual sighting/shooting training comes into play, especially if the engagement is going to be in LESS than 7 yards up to physical contact. Anything outside of that sphere is going to require sight picture acquisition.

    This all comes back to training, and how effective and real your training has been.

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    One of the neurological facts is that when we get "scared" and there is someone a "short" distance away, our brain will tell us to focus on the person that is trying to harm us. Since our eyes can only focus on one thing at the time, it is neurologically impossible to focus on the threat and on the front sight. A longer distance, lets just say 10 yds and beyond, our brain acts differently, the target "seems" smaller (even thought it isn't) so our brain will tell us to slow down and use the sights because of a neurological input of " perceived penalty for a miss".
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    Quote Originally Posted by NWFFT View Post
    One of the neurological facts is that when we get "scared" and there is someone a "short" distance away, our brain will tell us to focus on the person that is trying to harm us. Since our eyes can only focus on one thing at the time, it is neurologically impossible to focus on the threat and on the front sight. A longer distance, lets just say 10 yds and beyond, our brain acts differently, the target "seems" smaller (even thought it isn't) so our brain will tell us to slow down and use the sights because of a neurological input of " perceived penalty for a miss".
    Interesting point and makes sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arc Angel View Post
    Well, ....... after umpteen thousand fired rounds I no longer need to use sighted fire at and inside 7 1/2 yards. In fact I haven't needed to use sighted pistol fire at close distance for, at least, the past 30 years. A lot of shooters don't understand what Jim Cirillo was talking about when he recommended using instinctive sighting during pistol combat. For whatever reasons, I do; and I actually prefer to point shoot whenever I'm working a close-in target line.

    Perhaps I should offer more of an explanation: One of my friends is a damned fine pistolero. A few years back he got himself into a CQB pistol gunfight; and the event caused him to suddenly discover a psychological truism of CQB gunfighting. He told me he almost immediately realized the other guy had a handgun, and was getting ready to go for the weapon. What puzzled my friend was, 'Why' his opponent (a local drug dealer) was waiting, and didn't immediately draw on him?

    He could see the butt of a dark pistol behind his opponent's belt buckle; the man was moving quickly towards him; but, still, the guy didn't draw. The question became, 'Why'? So what happened; well, 'curiosity nearly killed the cat' is what happened! My friend, also, waited to draw. Then, when they were about 7 yards apart, the bad guy began to reach for his gun; but, alas, he was too slow, and didn't make it.

    After this encounter the question remained, and begged to be answered: Why had he waited to draw his pistol and begin the fight? My friend believes that the BG didn't want to start firing until AFTER he had entered into his own, 'CQB personal combat comfort zone'. The fellow didn't want to reveal the fact he was armed, and didn't want to begin gunfighting until AFTER he was sure that he could engage effectively. He didn't want to start shooting until he was certain he was going to hit my friend!

    Me, personally? I don't start looking for my front sight until the target(s) are at or beyond 7 - 8 yards. At 10 yards I always look for the sights. Closer in I may, or may not. If I'm using a double-action revolver I'll, also, switch to single-action fire for the longer shots. (Which is, 'Why' I never use a revolver that doesn't have a hammer spur.)
    I agree with everything ArcAngel is saying based on his different scenarios...but lets take it step further and say that the attacker has your family/friend in a choke hold and all you have is a head shot to the attacker...are you still not going to use your sights to take that shot?
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    ASD Member Arc Angel's Avatar
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    This is a situation I've often thought about. I've even got a large poster of a gunman holding a young girl by her neck while he points a 1911 at the viewer.

    My poster is hanging next to my desk; (It's a very common target poster!) and it has the gunman's head riddled with 9mm bullet holes; but, at the time I shot this target, I knew I was only firing at paper; so I can't really say whether or not it counts!

    My suggestion would be this: If you're not used to firing a pistol precisely, AND know how well you're going to hit, and at what distance then, no, I don't think a less than highly skilled AND frequently practiced pistol shooter should attempt any such shot.

    (Unless you've been thinking about getting a divorce, or breaking-up, and you don't know quite how to tell her, or something.)
    Last edited by Arc Angel; 08-08-2014 at 11:27 AM.

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    That all comes back to the level and intensity of your training. I have had that level & intensity of training, but not everyone has been where I've been and done some of the things that I have done.

    A small moving target, with a hostage attached, is a difficult endeavor for even an experienced shooter. So, if you're that experienced shooter, do you or don't you take that shot? Only the situation will dictate that answer, and whether your level & intensity of training and meet the criteria for taking that shot.

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