By Col. Ben Findley
USA -(Ammoland.com)- Where do you focus in a self-defense situation? You must get your shots off to stop the threat and to end the gunfight quickly.
Most of us recognize that you should use your sights if you can, but realistically in the 2-3 seconds that a typical up-close combat, tactical deadly encounter lasts, you just don't have the time to precisely aim by lining up your front and rear sights.
You might fire from the hip and probably may not even use your sights. Distance has a lot to do with it and so does your handgun skills and the shooting technique you use for the particular situation. Do you focus on the threat or target? Do you focus at all on your front and/or rear sights and at what usual self-defense distances? What are the factors to help you make these decisions?
There are two aiming techniques that you might consider, apart from the usual plinking, non-combat longer distance sighted shooting. They are the Flash Sight Picture (FSP) and Point Shooting (PS) aiming techniques.
What is the Flash Sight Picture Shooting Technique and the Point Shooting Technique?
Flash Sight Picture Technique
For up close, shorter combat self-defense distances, a technique called the “Flash Sight Picture Shooting” (FSP) technique may be used, e.g. from about 3-7 yards. Distance from the threat or target is only one consideration when deciding on the aiming technique. For other than self defense, sighted aiming is usually used for distances beyond about 7-10 yards, but the situational factors and the shooter's expertise and preferences affect that decision. For quick self defense, defenders want well-placed shots to stop the threat and discontinue the gunfight. With FSP, the shooter does NOT concentrate on the nearby threat or target, does NOT dwell on the front sight or even use the rear sight for precise aiming, but rather focuses on the Front Sight (FS) … ONLY.
When you do this, the target or the threat and the rear sight will be blurry. They should be blurry. Using FSP, the shooter is NOT looking specifically and directly at the bad guy/gal threat or the target, but in his/her general area.
Very quickly glance at the front sight relative to the fuzzy rear sights, and place the front sight on the center of the blurry target or threat in the background. Concentrate and focus ONLY on the front sight, with this technique. Just focusing on the front sight seems unnatural for those new to this technique. Some are distracted by the bad guy/gal's movement, gun, or the bad guy/gal's aggressiveness or angry facial expressions. They are accustomed to looking directly at the target or the bad guy/gal. But up close for self-defense purposes, you must discipline yourself to NOT do this. Focus on the front sight. BE CAREFUL! You can get killed by using this technique without practicing and mastering the technique.
Practice. You MUST practice this extensively BEFORE you use it and apply it in a real-life, deadly-force encounter.
You need to build this technique into your muscle memory for an automatic and proper response for self defense. So PRACTICE this BEFORE you employ it. Seriously practice it, so you do not put your life in jeopardy by not having the specific skills to effectively use the Flash Sight Picture technique for quick hits.
With the Flash Sight Picture the key is NOT the number of rounds fired, but rather the well-placed hits in a reasonable amount of time. Self-defense shooting with the FSP is NOT precision, bullseye shooting or competitive shooting. It is NOT precision sighting and exactly lining up the front and rear sights. While I strongly believe you should use your sights as much as possible, in as many situations as you can, and should know proper sight alignment and sight picture fundamentals, the up close and personal encounters in sudden and imminent shooting situations with bad guys/gals call for an immediate response to quickly stop the threat.
This is a very situational decision and is not an optimal technique for ALL encounters or purposes at all distances.
Point Shooting Techniques
Flash Sight Picture is very different from Point Shooting. Some think they are similar, but they are different. The “Point Shooting” (PS) technique involves not using the front and/or rear sights at all in very close encounters of less than 3 yards. PS is very controversial since there is NO sight alignment or aiming at all and sometimes a finger other than the trigger finger is used to fire the gun. One PS approach is to place the index finger along the side of the gun, with it pointed at the target. The trigger is pressed with the middle finger, rather than with the customary trigger or index finger. Some like this technique, but this writer dislikes it as the primary or only shooting method because of its inconsistent accuracy results. There are several inconsistent results noted in studies, but some support its use. Col Rex Applegate, for one, in 1943 believed that PS should be a primary technique for up close self-defense.
[Editors Note, the following video training techniques are dated and for interest only.]
For me, I am not accurate with this technique, but must admit I don't practice with it that much. So carefully practice with it and make your own conclusions and decisions.
Did you know that Jack Ruby used his middle finger to press the trigger and his index finger to point his gun at Oswald when he killed him in 1963.
I have a chapter about both the FSP and PS techniques and others in my recent book “Concealed Carry and Hangun Essentials.”
How Do You Perform the FSP Technique?
Using the FSP technique means quickly looking/glancing at the FS. ONLY the front sight. It does not mean taking the extra time to look at both front and rear sights for this specific technique.The FS should be placed somewhere in the region or area of the blurry target or threat where you want your hits to be to stop the threat and to impact. You are quickly looking at the FS to confirm the general area for hits before your press the trigger for the shot. Recognize that when using the FSP your FS placement can vary a little up or down or left or right in the area. This is acceptable for this close encounter approach using this technique and you will realize an epiphany. It will suddenly hit you and you will realize in this epiphany that most of your shots with this technique will hit the desired general area or region of the threat or target.
But, there are no guarantees and you have to do your part with the fundamentals of shooting.
Your hits should be in the general area of center mass of the body and they do not have to be in the same, ragged hole. This is not bullseye precise competitive shooting. Your goal using FSP is to have hits in an area of the body target that will give you the highest probability of stopping the threat and the gunfight quickly. Effectively using the FSP means that almost all of your shots will usually hit the center mass of your target at about three to less than ten yards. Since trigger control is a very important part of the FSP, in addition to solely focusing on the front sight, be sure and Dry Fire practice at home, in addition to actual live-fire practice.
Continued success and enjoy the Epiphany!
About “Col Ben” Findley
“Col Ben” is retired with 30 years service in the U.S. Air Force, with joint services Special Ops duty and training, and is Air Force qualified as “Expert” in small arms. Ben is an experienced NRA-Certified Pistol Instructor, NRA Range Safety Officer, and FL Concealed Carry License Instructor.
Ben recently wrote the book Concealed Carry and Handgun Essentials for Personal Protectionwith 57 comprehensive Chapters about concealed carry and handgun principles, techniques, and tips for both experienced and new shooters. His book is endorsed by several organizations and is available on his website at at www.FloridaHandgunsTraining.