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Old 10-08-2008, 07:26 PM   #41
Emily Maisannes
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Re: Shooting Skill (firearms that is) Improvement

Dry fire is good for practicing sight alignment/picture. In the exercise I described earlier in the thread, it is excellent to train a newer person not to anticipate the shot. I have seen some seriously jacked up sight adjustments because of newer folks who weren't grasping the fundamentals of keeping the sights in the right place all the way until the round is fired. Rapid fire exercises are also very important, since they teach the shooter to manage trigger reset, regain the sight picture, and controlled trigger squeeze all very rapidly while still keeping anticipation in check.

On the issue of locking arms or not locking arms, I must lock my arms or else I'll get stovepipes and double feeds like a madwoman. Not locking the arms also creates problems for my good ol' friend, anticipation. If you aren't absorbing the (even if only minor rearward component of) recoil with your shoulder (and therefore core muscles) and you're just catching it with your triceps, good luck not anticipating.
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:26 PM   #42
Stefan Still
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Re: Shooting Skill (firearms that is) Improvement

I wish someone had told my NCO's that dry firing is worthless. Maybe then I wouldn't have spent so many hours laying on the floor, squeezing the trigger, and trying not to knock the dime off the cleaning rod protruding from the end of my M16.

I never had a problem though because rifle marksmanship is something that has always come easily for me. Probably has something to do with being a Mississippi redneck.
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:52 AM   #43
John Frazer
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Re: Shooting Skill (firearms that is) Improvement

John,

First of all congratulations on the newest family member -- what a great picture on the affiliate blog.

My real point on distances is that a lot of people (including some instructors) downplay the need to shoot accurately because "you only need to hit a doormat at 3 yards" (or something like that). While close quarters skills are important, a successful outcome may also require more deliberate accuracy. (My original comment, of course, was not directed at you but at others who may have seen gun magazine articles that use the term "good combat accuracy" as a synonym for "not very accurate.")

As for seeing the sights, it's an interesting issue partly because there's absolutely no way to verify what someone else subjectively saw. (Unlike, for instance, the study that used dashboard camera tapes and found that shooters trained in the Weaver stance actually fired from an Isosceles position when under real-world threats.) A person could use the sights and not remember doing so, or not use them and think he did, and no one (including the shooter) would be any the wiser.

John Holschen at InSights (in the class I just took) had a comment that shed some light on this for me. He thinks most people who think they're focusing on their front sights are actually focusing somewhere between the front sight and the target. In the class, he had us shoot with our normal front sight focus and then asked us to see the front sight so clearly that we could see the dings, scratches, worn bluing, etc. Both accuracy and speed (multiple shots per target, and target transitions) improved.

Paul Howe also had an interesting comment on use of sights:

"... if you practice point shooting and also practice using your sights, youíre using
two systems. Remember what I said about using one system that will do everything
or handle all situations? It applies here. I believe that point shooting requires less
mental discipline than does using your sights every time. So, when it comes to a
high stress situation, which system will your mind revert to, the easy way or the
disciplined way? Unfortunately, being human, I believe you will revert to the easy
method, which is point shooting. I donít think your mind will say, it is under 10
yards, it is time to point shoot or it is over 10 yards and it is time to use my sights.
You will simply revert to one of two systems and generally that will be point
shooting."

http://www.policeone.com/training/ar...r-your-agency/ (w/f/s)

I can vouch for this from Simunition training. I took a 2-day class a few years ago in which we did various defensive scenarios. Even after some live-fire warmup, I found that when I got into a scenario I was point shooting (and missing); in later scenarios I started using the sights and getting hits.

Finally, just to clarify on dry fire, do you think dry fire is actually detrimental, or just that it's not as good as live fire or airsoft?
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:15 AM   #44
John C. Brown
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Re: Shooting Skill (firearms that is) Improvement

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Frazer View Post
John,

First of all congratulations on the newest family member -- what a great picture on the affiliate blog.
Thanks man!

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Frazer View Post
While close quarters skills are important, a successful outcome may also require more deliberate accuracy. (My original comment, of course, was not directed at you but at others who may have seen gun magazine articles that use the term "good combat accuracy" as a synonym for "not very accurate.")
I agree with that, the difference is that almost always when the situation requires higher precision, we are afforded the time by proxy of the situation. What I mean here is that if we have made a cognitive decision to use our sights, then we have had the time to make that decision instead of just responding with our most efficient option. As far as combat accuracy goes, this is a tricky phrase that is almost always misunderstood as a part of the target. I will give you two examples and you tell me which is "combat accurate." (Assume that all fire arms carrying is legal)

1. John Brown and John Frazer are standing in a bar in Va Beach, where John Brown had made several friends and probably an enemy or two. Out of no where during our conversation some guy (standing about 10 feet away)says I am going to kill you. At this point I notice the knife that has already been pulled as he is moving toward me. I pull my gun out and out of fear, pull the trigger early and shoot him in the leg, he drops the knife and the fight is over.

2. Same situation except this time dirtbag A is a little more planned out and he actually closes the distance before the shouts. He is bigger and stronger than me. As I go to gun, the knife starts to come down toward my throat. I get 3 shots off and 2 hit in the high center chest (center mass for all tactical purposes) but his moment carries his weight into me and the knife into my throat, severing my jugular.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Frazer View Post
As for seeing the sights, it's an interesting issue partly because there's absolutely no way to verify what someone else subjectively saw. (Unlike, for instance, the study that used dashboard camera tapes and found that shooters trained in the Weaver stance actually fired from an Isosceles position when under real-world threats.) A person could use the sights and not remember doing so, or not use them and think he did, and no one (including the shooter) would be any the wiser.
This as you say is educated guess land at best, but I propose this; through evolution the body has learned that when the Amygdala has perceived a threat, it goes into some automatic and instinctive reactions. One of those is to orient towards the threat starting with the eyes and following with head and body. We also know that we go through some tunnel vision (which is good at this point because it increases our visual acuity with regards to the threat). If these are true, and science says that they are, then shifting our focus from threat (where the eyes will be) to the front sight will take time. If this is an unnecessary step, then it will be less efficient. If the situation requires more precision, then you will have the time to take this step (usually).

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Originally Posted by John Frazer View Post
John Holschen at InSights (in the class I just took) had a comment that shed some light on this for me. He thinks most people who think they're focusing on their front sights are actually focusing somewhere between the front sight and the target.
I doubt this is true, mainly because of the scientific evidence. But even if you have a soft focus on your front sight, then you are still focused on the front sight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Frazer View Post
In the class, he had us shoot with our normal front sight focus and then asked us to see the front sight so clearly that we could see the dings, scratches, worn bluing, etc. Both accuracy and speed (multiple shots per target, and target transitions) improved.
Back to consistency. If the majority of the shots that you will need to take do not require that level of precision, then it really isn't necessary to train to that level very often. I am not saying don't ever do it, but don't do it as often.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Frazer View Post
Paul Howe also had an interesting comment on use of sights:

"... if you practice point shooting and also practice using your sights, youíre using
two systems. Remember what I said about using one system that will do everything
or handle all situations? It applies here. I believe that point shooting requires less
mental discipline than does using your sights every time. So, when it comes to a
high stress situation, which system will your mind revert to, the easy way or the
disciplined way? Unfortunately, being human, I believe you will revert to the easy
method, which is point shooting. I donít think your mind will say, it is under 10
yards, it is time to point shoot or it is over 10 yards and it is time to use my sights.
You will simply revert to one of two systems and generally that will be point
shooting."
This would be true for someone who used a system that never allowed them the opportunity to find their balance of speed and precision. We all (as individuals) have a distance, or a size of target or some other similar situation that would require us to implement more deviation control on the gun. Deviation control would be the difference between shooting one handed or two, sighted or unsighted, weaver or isosceles, both eyes opened or one closed. If you never find your balance, then you will never know what you are capable of (this goes back to the aforementioned Coach Glassman quote). But the bottom line is that each situation is different. If you can become what Col. (ret) Grossman calls the pre-combat veteran, you may know how you will need to respond because you have been in "THAT" situation before, either in high level scenario training, your imagination, video games, whatever.


Quote:
Originally Posted by John Frazer View Post
I can vouch for this from Simunition training. I took a 2-day class a few years ago in which we did various defensive scenarios. Even after some live-fire warmup, I found that when I got into a scenario I was point shooting (and missing); in later scenarios I started using the sights and getting hits.
So if this is what you were doing in sim training, which is ultimately the closest thing to real life that we can get, then why would you not advocate training this way? I have had hundreds if not thousands of students. I have taught the front sight focus method and Combat Focus. The people who learned how to shoot intuitively (Combat Focus) learned how to be proficient much sooner than the Front sight focus guys (and they were going to be SEALs and their lives more urgently depended on the skill). I believe that the intuitive program is far better for beginners, and then the more mechanical FSF program can start, bearing in mind that none of the fundamentals change, just where your plane of focus is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Frazer View Post
Finally, just to clarify on dry fire, do you think dry fire is actually detrimental, or just that it's not as good as live fire or airsoft?
Detrimental or not, it isn't nearly as beneficial as people make it out to be. Again, I have gotten several hundred students at Valhalla to get good, high center chest hits at a reasonable pace without ever having them dry fire, or mention the words. In other words, to me it is a waste of time that could be spent learning how to make crepe, or studying the affects of a good GPP program in the elderly.
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Old 10-12-2008, 12:56 PM   #45
Frank M Needham
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Re: Shooting Skill (firearms that is) Improvement

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Originally Posted by Casey Raiford View Post
One of the best shooters I ever knew swore by practicing with a .22. He's a good friend of mine and had the fastest mag changes, pri/sec weapon swaps and stressfire groups I ever saw. His choice in hadndgun was a .45 ACP, but he couldn't wheedle the armorers out of enough ammo to practice as much as he wanted (he shot a [i]lot/I]) so he shot rimfire off duty. It's easy math; $20 or so will get you 50 rounds of big bore center fire ammo, or 1,000 rounds of rimfire. Kind of like greasing the groove.
I totally agree on this one. When in high school we used to cut class sometimes and go shooting. Our weapons were primarily .22 pistols and rifles. We fired a combination of semi-auto and wheel type pistols. The rifles we shot were semi-auto. I did shoot some from a single shot .22 rifle that I still have. Our method was to buy blocks of .22 rounds. I forget just how many there are right now but there are hundreds to a block. We fired lots of rounds. To this day I have no problem hitting what I aim at and I attribute that to the days we spent blasting thousands of rounds. Good times too.
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:49 PM   #46
John Frazer
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Re: Shooting Skill (firearms that is) Improvement

Quote:
Originally Posted by John C. Brown View Post
1. John Brown and John Frazer are standing in a bar in Va Beach, where John Brown had made several friends and probably an enemy or two. Out of no where during our conversation some guy (standing about 10 feet away)says I am going to kill you. At this point I notice the knife that has already been pulled as he is moving toward me. I pull my gun out and out of fear, pull the trigger early and shoot him in the leg, he drops the knife and the fight is over.

2. Same situation except this time dirtbag A is a little more planned out and he actually closes the distance before the shouts. He is bigger and stronger than me. As I go to gun, the knife starts to come down toward my throat. I get 3 shots off and 2 hit in the high center chest (center mass for all tactical purposes) but his moment carries his weight into me and the knife into my throat, severing my jugular.
Sure, you may need less accuracy if you have a less motivated and less skilled attacker. Most civilian defensive gun uses begin and end with a verbal warning or display of the gun, but I'm not planning on that best-case scenario either.


Quote:
Originally Posted by John C. Brown View Post
We all (as individuals) have a distance, or a size of target or some other similar situation that would require us to implement more deviation control on the gun. Deviation control would be the difference between shooting one handed or two, sighted or unsighted, weaver or isosceles, both eyes opened or one closed. If you never find your balance, then you will never know what you are capable of (this goes back to the aforementioned Coach Glassman quote).
No argument there and I hope no one thought I meant that every shot must be an absolutely perfect sight picture -- for a very close target, "aha, the sight is between me and the target" may be good enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John C. Brown View Post
So if this is what you were doing in sim training, which is ultimately the closest thing to real life that we can get, then why would you not advocate training this way?
I know the "natural" reaction was to point shoot. The more effective reaction was to aim. BTW all the scenarios occurred at across-the-room distances and some were in low light.


Quote:
Originally Posted by John C. Brown View Post
I believe that the intuitive program is far better for beginners, and then the more mechanical FSF program can start, bearing in mind that none of the fundamentals change, just where your plane of focus is.

In other words, to me [dry fire] is a waste of time that could be spent learning how to make crepe, or studying the affects of a good GPP program in the elderly.
The level of the shooter may have a lot to do with this. I haven't taken your training so I don't know the starting point of the people you are generally working with. People at the top level (i.e. if they don't shoot well, they don't win matches, don't take home prize money, lose their sponsorships, and have to get day jobs) dry fire a lot.

Few links below -- some have good drills BTW (all w/f/s, though it might not be work safe to run dry fire drills at your computer):

http://www.handgunsmag.com/tactics_t...807/index.html
http://www.shootingusa.com/PRO_TIPS/JULIE6/julie6.html
http://www.mattburkett.com/flashfiles/dryfire.html
https://www.mattburkett.com/index.ph...tent&Itemid=84
http://www.brianenos.com/pages/reviews.html#steve
http://www.andersonshooting.com/refinement.htm
http://www.krtraining.com/IPSC/Infor...ndPractice.htm

Also Dan Young's excellent drills page:

http://www.kuci.uci.edu/~dany/firearms/all_drills.html

A little dated now -- the InSights standards are a little different from what he describes, actually they're more of a sliding scale to figure out where your weaknesses are to practice.
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:05 PM   #47
Ryan Lynch
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Re: Shooting Skill (firearms that is) Improvement

This is a great discussion by the way...

I just got back from a 2 day course at FAS. Did a lot of shooting. My "strength" has improved quite a bit on controlling the gun. Quite pleased with today's performance. As far as the discussion goes, we did a lot of point shooting and a lot of FSF shooting.

I found that the high stress (less than 3 yards and quick reaction), moving and shooting (starting from arms reach moving away at any of 180deg from the threat), and low light shooting I naturally did point shooting and had about 90% of those (even while moving) were A zone hits. When in the 7 yard rage, I did more FSF shooting (even on moving targets) and again, about 90% were A zone hits. Getting out to the 15yrd and 25yrd, those are all aimed shots, and about 80% were A zone. On the combat course where you run and shoot (15yds to 25yrds) from behind cover, I was maybe 50%.

Good times.


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Old 10-12-2008, 09:55 PM   #48
John C. Brown
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Re: Shooting Skill (firearms that is) Improvement

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Originally Posted by John Frazer View Post
Sure, you may need less accuracy if you have a less motivated and less skilled attacker. Most civilian defensive gun uses begin and end with a verbal warning or display of the gun, but I'm not planning on that best-case scenario either.
How motivated or not the attacker is has less to do with accuracy and much more to do with volume of fire, which I guess would say smaller requirement for accuracy. The bottom line is that the attacker dictates the need for accuracy. If a guy is hiding behind your kid... I would say go sighted for that. If the guy is in the open, 5 yards away, in front of a brick building, well that shot requires less precision and therefore less time.



Quote:
Originally Posted by John Frazer View Post
I know the "natural" reaction was to point shoot. The more effective reaction was to aim. BTW all the scenarios occurred at across-the-room distances and some were in low light.
Guess what, holding the gun upside down and pulling the trigger with my pinky may be effective. I want efficient, and if you actually trained the way your body was going to really react, you may have been better at it, but all the trainers that you have gone through have told you to bend your bodies natural reaction to how you train, and I think that that is a backwards premise. Fighting nature is often like ****ing in the wind.


[quote=John Frazer;421714]The level of the shooter may have a lot to do with this. I haven't taken your training so I don't know the starting point of the people you are generally working with. People at the top level (i.e. if they don't shoot well, they don't win matches, don't take home prize money, lose their sponsorships, and have to get day jobs) dry fire a lot.[/QUOTE}

The level of shooter does have a lot to do with this. If I don't have to break years of bad habits or fight through some guys ego then things go really well. As a matter of fact, the people that turn out to be the best shooters in a realistic context are the one's that haven't shown up with contrived ideas. As far as the people that I have worked with, well I have taught a blind woman to shoot, I have taught children to shoot, I have worked with tier one special forces guys and most in between. They all benefit from the things that I teach so long as their egos don't get in the way.

As far as the last sentence that you said in the above quoted paragraph... I have to say that it pi$$es me off, almost enough to tell you to kick rocks all together. The high level shooters that I work with don't worry about not winning matches, they worry about not coming home. And I really don't give two ****s what some guy that trivializes that by making it into a game and playing it off as "Tactical," says about much. You talk about all of these guys that get their courses of fire the day before a competition where there is relatively no stress level, and they rehearse them to the point where they can complete them without opening their eyes. That is NOT real world. A true dynamic critical incident is surprising and chaotic and you are not likely to have it memorized before it happens. If you look at the things that you are saying, you will see a lot of inconsistencies, I suggest you look at them. You talk about how scenario based training revealed something to you, and then you look at it as faulty, or as something that you can change by training in a way that is exceedingly unrealistic. And for what it is worth, you probably won't be able to see your sights at all in low or no light situations, and if that is the case and you haven't trained to use your fire arm in an intuitive manner, then you are way behind the power curve and none of the front sight focus in the world is going to help you climb out of that hole.
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Old 10-13-2008, 12:48 AM   #49
Brandon Oto
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Re: Shooting Skill (firearms that is) Improvement

You should see Peyton Quinn point shoot. He stares straight at the target with bug eyes and his mouth hanging open and just sticks his hand forward. Because, well, that's how it's going to look in reality... fun to watch.
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:09 AM   #50
John Frazer
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Re: Shooting Skill (firearms that is) Improvement

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As far as the last sentence that you said in the above quoted paragraph... I have to say that it pi$$es me off, almost enough to tell you to kick rocks all together. The high level shooters that I work with don't worry about not winning matches, they worry about not coming home.
If it's bothering you that much I may as well just let the whole thing drop ... it's interesting, but not worth the aggravation. Anyway, these discussions tend to get into a lot of "My Tiger Style kung fu will defeat your Dragon Style" anywhere they occur.

But I want to stress that when it comes to dry fire I'm talking about shooting and gun handling skills, not tactics. I saw an interview with Todd Jarrett where he mentioned being brought in to teach a special ops unit -- he stressed that he doesn't try to teach them anything about tactics, just how to get as many hits as possible in a short amount of time, draw and reload faster, etc., etc. The people I mentioned may be shooting artificial courses of fire, but no one can say they don't have a pretty good idea of how to run a handgun.

Anyway, some day pretty soon we'll have compact, reliable holographic-type optics on our handguns, and all the "front sight vs. point shooting" debates will sound as archaic as arguing over twill vs. flannel for musket ball patches.

Last edited by John Frazer : 10-13-2008 at 04:20 AM.
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