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In the interest of speed versus precision in a dynamic critical incident, you won’t often have the luxury of lining your ...
target up with your sights. But there are times when it is appropriate as Rob Pincus explains in this valuable training lesson.
Tags:How to Use Gun Sights,gun sight,gun sights,pdn,personal defense,personal defense network,rob pincus,using gun sight
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Rob Pincus: Here is another important video from the Personal Defense Network.
When to Use Your Sights
A lot of students ask me at what distance they should use their sights when they're shooting, especially in a defensive context. What's important to remember is that that's only have to question it best.
No responsible instructor can really dictate to someone that they need to use their sights at a given distance, or even on a given sized target unless they know both the totality of the circumstances under which that shot is going to be taken, and the individual shooter's skill level with the particular firearm that they're using.
The fact is that because we can't predict those things into the future, into our situations that we're actually going to be defending ourselves in, we need to have a concept that applies into our training environment that lets us practice both sided and un-sided fire.
It's important to remember that all shooting is a balance between speed and precision. In defensive shooting, the precision component is going to be combat accuracy. The definition of a combat accurate shot is any shot which significantly affects the target's ability to present a lethal threat.
Under some situations, that could be a shot anywhere in the body. Technically, that could even be a shot that misses, but psychologically affects that threat and causes him to stop whatever it was he was doing.
Of course, most of the time, we're going to pick a combat accurate area that is going to be very likely to be available to us when we're defending ourselves. It's going to be very likely to have a significant effect on the target if we actually do hit them in the area we're aiming at, and in area that we are likely to be able to hit under a dynamic set of circumstances. That area is going to be the high center chest most of the time.
This area is available to us most of the time that we're shooting. Certainly, almost every time that we're going to be shooting to defend ourselves or others, add extension with a target that's beyond two arms reach. To shot into or through the high center chest is also very likely to have a significant effect on that target.
Multiple shots into the high center chest are very likely to stop the threat, especially if they are delivered in a short period of time.
Getting back to the idea of the balance of speed and precision, the other half of that equation is going to be the speed with which we hit that combat accurate area. The speed in the defensive situation is always as fast as you can. Now that's not as fast as you can pull the trigger or as fast as you can get a shot off as the gun comes out of your holster. It's as fast as you can expect to get a combat accurate hit.
We say certain things about that balance of speed and precision. First of all, the target dictates the need for precision. You can't arbitrarily decide that shooting a three-inch circle is good enough, nor can you know that taking the time, effort and energy to shoot a three-inch circle is what you're going to need to do in your dynamic critical incident when you're actually threatened with lethal violence.
Knowing what you need to shoot is impossible, so training in a variety of different ways that are plausible. Chest size targets, 12 inch targets, 8 inch targets, 10 inch targets at a variety of plausible distances 8 feet, 10 feet, 12 feet in a variety of plausible stances, up straight, seated, may be even lying on the ground, down on all fours, kneeling, sitting on the ground, sitting in a chair. All of those situations will let you experience the types of things that your target in your situation might dictate in terms of need for precision.
The next thing we say is that your application of skill will determine whether or not you get the hit you need to get. When you apply your skill appropriately, you'll get the hit you need to get as fast as you can. That's the proper balance of speed and precision.
Your confidence however, will determine how fast you shoot. Now that's not just general confidence in yourself and how good you feel about your ability at any sport or any activity or any defensive tactic, it's specifically how confident you are about your ability to take the shot you need to take in your fight. Of course, that's dictated by the target. The target dictates the need for precision.
Your application of skill will determine whether or not you get the hit you need to get, but your confidence ultimately and what level of skill you need to apply only can come from frequent and realistic training.
The more frequently and realistically you train with a firearm on a variety of plausible target sizes at a variety of plausible distances in a variety of plausible circumstances will you be able to know accurately, just how much skill you need to apply to deviation control. Deviation control gets us back to our first question. When should I use my sights?
The answer is you use your sights when you need to use them. Now some people say, use your sights whenever you can. The fact is for a long time this industry revolved around the traditional belief that you could not responsibly pull the trigger unless you are focused on your front sight. We are using good sight alignment in sight picture to get the hit you needed to get. Of course, just about everybody realizes that isn't true.
The important thing to remember though is rationalizing that you should your sights when you can or that you're going to subconsciously see your sights, or use the silhouette of your firearm to align the firearm on your threat is really going to distract us from a proper training model.
A proper training model will have us push ourselves to see what hits we can get without using our sights. Keeping our focus where our brain naturally puts it at the outset of a fight on the threat.
Learning when we need to use our sights, means finding out what we can do without them, and realizing how to use them quickly and efficiently when we do need them. When that target dictates a need for precision, which is going to require us to show so much accuracy and so much skill application that we want to use those sights to help us keep our firearm aligned, that's when you use your sights.
In training, use your sights when you need to. Vary your training so that you get a proper understanding of your balance of speed and precision. In that way, your confidence will guide you to the fastest shot you can get to get a combat accurate hit and an effect on that threat, it will keep you and those you're trying to protect safe.
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