Sights or Point Shooting in CQB Situations


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The Army pistol manual of 2003 calls for using "Quick-Fire Point Shooting" at less than 5 yards and at night. The gun is brought up close to the body in a two handed grip. Then at chin level, it is thrust forward. And the trigger is smoothly squeezed as the elbows straighten out.

The NRA endorses the use of Point Shooting in CQ self defense situations.

And the Force Science Research Center has just released info on a new study on CQB.

Here are links to articles that. To come right back here after reading either one, just use you go back button or X it. [URL=""] [/URL]


I also advocate Point Shooting for shooting at CQ. The method I suggest is one that has been around since at least 1835, and was used by the Chinese military in the early 1900's.

The method calls for using the index finger along the side of the frame to aim the weapon and using the middle finger to pull the trigger.

Unfortunately, it could not be used with the 1911 due to a design flaw in the 1911.

Here's what the Army says about aiming with the index finger.

Everyone has the ability to point at an object, and that:

"When a soldier points, he instinctively points at the feature on the object on which his eyes are focused. An impulse from the brain causes the arm and hand to stop when the finger reaches the proper position.

"When the eyes are shifted to a new object or feature, the finger, hand, and arm also shift to this point.

"It is this inherent trait that can be used by a soldier to rapidly and accurately engage targets."

But, if the index finger is used to aim a 1911 as described above, the take down pivot can be pushed in and cause the gun to jam.

This flaw was known to the Army, as the first manual on the 1911 carried a caution against using the natural, fast, and accurate aiming method with the 1911. The caution was repeated in other manuals of the early years after the 1911 was adopted.

IMHO, the result was to squelch the use of the method, and deprive the soldier of an optional method of shooting in CQB when it was dark or when the sights could not be seen, or there was no time to use them.

For info on the 1911 see

As the 1911 is no longer the standard issue, perhaps the method will again become popular for CQB use.

Data on Police combat, and scientific studies on CQB say that you will use Point Shooting, so why not???

It is not a bar to use of the sights, and most all other negatives about it have been disarmed so to speak.
At 5 yards (4.6 meters), you got to be a really poor shot not to hit a target even in limited visibility with a pistol.

I'd be curious to see how some one did shooting the U.S. Army Combat Pistol Qualification Course using just that method. My guess is not well as targets are from 7 meters to as far out as 31 meters. But the course is scored hit or miss and you get more rounds than targets. So who knows?

But they'd probably fare even worse shooting the Alternate Pistol Qualification Course which is on a point system at 25 meters and from various positions such as prone.

Nothing wrong with the 1911A1, it was a good service pistol and had a real long life. The M9 does hold a better shot group for a service pistol and has a much larger magazine capacity. But the 1911A1 was a larger calibur and had more safety features. So you had trade offs.

The CPQC was designed for the wider variance in shot group for the 1911A1 and the standards never changed when they transitioned to M9s. With simulation training and live fire practise, anyone can qualify Sharpshooter at least on the CPQC using a M9.

And the U.S. has invested a lot in simulators for small arms. We have some great ones, like FATS. EST is a good simulator too if it is a bit fussy. And you can't take EST on the road with you like FATS.
You'd need to put of alot pressure on the slide stop nub to push it out if it's not aligned with the take down notch on 1911. I index with my trigger finger along the frame all the time and the slide stop has never been a problem.

As far as sights vs point shooting in CQB situations point shooting only makes sense at close range although there is a school of front sight only. It's all in how you train. Train consistently and regulary and your gonna come up with what works best for you.
I have to go with 03 here. Some units and forces train with point shooting at certain ranges(pistol and rifle), and get awesome good with it. Other units train to shoot through the sights, and are also very good at it. If we are talking about simple CQB where you are simply trying to kill an enemy, than at 5 yeards one can easily point and shoot 2-4 quick rounds, disabling or even killing(depennding on the targets physical strength, the body armor worn, and the caliber and type of ammo shot at the target). But if you have things like hostages or non-combatents in the room/alley/whatever, you have to be very good to make sure you only hit the enemy and no one else.
I go to sights always with my pistol, but i am a poorly trained shooter. with my M16 I would point shoot at up to 20 meters with good results, and over that i would go to my sights.
A good indication of this not working as as well as advertised is that no major military or LE unit (I'm talking the heavies here, FBI HRT, USASOC, Delta, LAPD SWAT, SEALS, Force Recon) advocate not using the sights even for CQB. The reason the Army manual alludes to it in the first place is because standard Army issue weapons (read: M9) do not have any sort of night fighting capability built into them at all. At night, with an Army issue pistol, you would have no choice but to point shoot because you would be unable to see the sights at all. Have you ever tried to look at an iron sight on a pistol with NVGs when it's right in front of you? If you adjusted them to see the sights, you would not be able to see the target, so this is why the manual makes mention of it. The theory is sound, and has many proponents, but none of them are people who regularly engage in close combat, which should be your first indication of how effective this is. This is a contentious issue in the MIL/LE world, and here's a brief look at this subject on another board: (bear in mind that to even post on this board, you must fax or scan them current LE/MIL credentials and you must use your actual name, so you are reading stuff from people from the actual community who uses it. I happen to be a member of this organization)

Also, the 1911 is still in use by several organizations and I happen to be extremely familiar with the system. I doubt that point shooting was omitted from "early" publications on the weapon, because CQB wasn't really a huge focus during the days of bolt action rifles. Of course trench warfare often got up close and personal, but widespread tactical CQB training is fairly recent in the Army, so I seriously doubt the objective was to deprive soldiers of an alternate shooting method. The manuals you refer to must be very old indeed. I just reviewed US Army TM 9-1005-211-12 (PISTOL, CALIBER .45 AUTOMATIC, M1911A1 (1005-673-7965)a 1968 reprint) and it made NO mention of this issue, so could you tell me what manual you mean? If you can find me one person who in an actual fight has pushed out the bolt catch on a 1911 I would be shocked. Especially since it's detented in place on the other side and takes quite a bit of pressure to push out, not to mention that it MUST be aligned with a notch on the slide which IS NOT in line with the catch when the slide is in battery. I really don't think you are getting both sides of the point shooting debate from a site called ""
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In a close in fight...5 meters etc, you really don't have time to sight in the normal sense, as the other guy may have swung and sprayed by the time you line up. i know at short range I can swing shoot,trap style,and hit a can at 5 meters. That's IMO...better than being a half sec late.

Hostage rescue is obviously a special skills case. Door to door urban combat....get a damn shotgun. At 5 m I can hit you by candlelight as quick as I can swing the barrel with a short 12 ga. I also get the target knocked down and least.

leading with an M4,I'd worry that I punch a nice hole in the guy...who bleeds out 5 min later,but is on his feet and shooting for the next few sec.
I am no fan of the M16 or the M4, but I think considering all of us have been trained(at least I hope) to fire 3-5 rounds at the target, that shouldent really be an issue.
I am no fan of the M16 or the M4, but I think considering all of us have been trained(at least I hope) to fire 3-5 rounds at the target, that shouldent really be an issue.

There is no magic number of rounds to fire at the target. You fire until the threat is eliminated (not killed, just not a threat). If a target is taking offensive action against you, it might take 2 rounds or 7. Each situation is different and I train my guys to fire until the threat is down, not just "double tap" or any other perscribed number of rounds. The M16/M4 is not a bad weapon. I don't get the whole argument behind hitting someone with an M4 and he just stands there shooting and dies 5 minutes later. If you shoot and he's still up, keep shooting and I swear to you he will go down. It happens all the time. People are really not that hard to kill up close.
actually my problems regarding the M16 and M4 have nothing to do with leathality, they have to do with the quality of rifles we in the IDF got. And as far as ammount of bullets per target, while there is no prescribed number, the way we train prettey much grantees that we fire at least 3 rounds before we even know if the target is down. its not tap-wait-tap-wait-tap-wait, its tap-tap-tap....
Yes so do US troops. We don't have a specific number of rounds we fire on a target. You keep pulling the trigger until the enemy drops.

As for quality of the rifles mine never jams up. I can't remember the last time I have had a malfunction. When you do have a malfunction it is either the rounds or the spring in the mag going bad. As long as you keep the rifle clean it in itself will not fail.
I know that with american weapons there seems to be much less trouble. I dont know if its IDF poor maintanance, poor cleaning, or simply that we recieved weapons already discarded by the US military. I fully admit I dont know the reason, but I have had endless troubles withthe M16 in the dessert, and it was surely not MY cleaning tthat was poor...:)
I might have given the rifles a little too much credit by saying they wont fail. I am lucky enough to be in a unit who doesn't get shafted like the rest of the guard so all of my gear is new, I have a new m4. If you have a m16 thats 15 or 20 years old it will fail every now and then but they aren't too bad. I remember being able to count on 2 hands how many failures I had with my m16a4 at basic and you put alot of rounds down range at infantry school. 90% of the time failures are due to the magizine though.
Sometimes if the rifle and the parts inside are too old it will become more prone to jamming. I've seen some old SAW that were kept clean enough to eat your food from but were malfunctioning because the parts were so worn out.
It's possible that the M-16s that Sherman came across were 30 years old.
Proper double taps as they relate to CQB are done in series. Not the double tap evaluate double tap some instructors teach. Double taps are meant to be fired until the target no longer presents a threat. The purpose of a double tap is to maximize your effect on target.
Sawed off? That's pretty crazy. I know the full legth gas tube on the M16s are designed with a 20 inch barrel in mind. Perhaps sawing it off would cause the gas pressure to vent while it still requires that pressure in the tube to cycle the bolt properly. This would make it hyper sensative to lack of lube, or sand/dust and cause the weapon to cycle improperly. When you say sawed off, do you mean they cut them just in front of the front sight post?
They sawed off the M-16s??

Sawed off? That's pretty crazy. I know the full legth gas tube on the M16s are designed with a 20 inch barrel in mind. Perhaps sawing it off would cause the gas pressure to vent while it still requires that pressure in the tube to cycle the bolt properly. This would make it hyper sensative to lack of lube, or sand/dust and cause the weapon to cycle improperly. When you say sawed off, do you mean they cut them just in front of the front sight post?

What they did was take M16 or more accuratly vintage M16s, and cut them down to the length of the M4 or CAR-15, or in some cases the length of the shorty.
The IDF has both CAR-15 made in colt factories and what we call "Sawed" weapons, which are the result of this idiocy. If we were in europe or north america this might actually fly, but in the desert it is an absolute catastrophy. They jam very frequently. Its less of a problem now because infantry no longer has them at all, they now have either M4 or Tavor. The only combat units that carry them are armor and arty, which fire their rifles less frequently in combat. Still, I always thought that giving up the Galil SAR for the armor troops was silly. As a tanker you dont tap around much on foot, and the Galil has unmatched reliabilty in any conditions.