All About Aiming and Being Inclusive (Revised)

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

As long as we keep the correct context of the fight in the fore front, this inclusive approach is a very good way to train. Fluid concepts that flow through the situational dependent aspect of the fight will be better than set techniques……any day of the week!

With these truths in mind, while working varying distances, needed precision, time pressure, position in the reactionary curve, necessity and type of movement, necessary visual input of the entirety of the encounter, and retention considerations it is plain to see that it is not a “one size fits all world.”

Here is the full sight continuum as I see it (opinions may vary.) As individuals, I feel that we need to find out what is necessary for us to see, at a personal level, to be able to make the hits inside of the correct context of the fight.

Gun Focus -Sighted Fire

  • Hard Focus on the top edge of the front sight
  • Hard focus on the front sight
  • Solid sight picture
  • Flash sight picture
  • Shooting out of the notch
  • Front sight only with focus on the gun

Target Focused – Point Shooting

  • “Type two focus” Focus on the threat with a fuzzy sight picture
  • Front sight only with focus on the threat
  • Aligning down the top of the slide
  • Metal and meat (silhouette of the gun)
  • Below line of sight with peripheral vision input of the gun

The last one works all the way down to “half hip.” If you can see your gun in your peripheral vision your brain will use that information to help facilitate your hand/eye coordination…..whether you want it to or not. That is what the brain, eyes, and body does.

There are also point shooting and body indexed firing position with zero visual input on the gun.

There are muscle memory techniques such as Quick Fire which relies on punching/driving the gun to the targeted area.

I know that many people will say that this is too complicated. But it really is not as long as you have the fundamentals down and you have the basic knowledge of “seeing what you need to see.” This does not mean that we consciously pick and choose between thirteen different options. It just means that we know exactly what we need to see and do (as individuals) to make the shot within the correct context of distance, time, needed precision, and movement.

The focus of my handgun courses are usually from seven yards and in. This is the “most likely” situation for self-defense shooting. Due to recent church shootings, mall shootings, and Islamic Jihadist attacks this “most likely” aspect needs to be supplemented with additional skill sets. These skill sets leave behind the threat focused world of close quarters combat and leads us into alternative aiming methods and a versatile approach to the use of the sights. This seamless integration of body indexed skills, point shooting skills, alternative aiming methods, and versatile sighting methods is the only way to cover the entire fight continuum.

Most of my students come to me with solid sighted fire skill sets. Most of them can use their sights while using controlled movement. My job is to give them additional skill sets to go along with these skills. This makes the focus of my course point shooting and dynamic movement. But there must be a clear and seamless integration between what the student already does and what I teach them. To do this you must integrate the reactionary curve, the take off concept, the movement concept, the draw stroke concept, the retention concept, the sight concept, and the trigger and grip concept into one “just do it!” concept. This can easily be accomplished as long as the curriculum is set up in a building block approach and you have the drills in place that solidify the concepts.

I have begun using the “zigzag” drill in all of my courses. I usually run it out to twenty-five yards so that the student can see the difficulties of shooting on the move at these distances. This drill really nails down the continuum’s inside of the fight (all except the reactionary curve, but I have other drills that work that one.)

As we look at the retention concept it is plain to see that there is no “one point” better than another. Full extension is great for marksmanship, but it sucks for retention and when the urgency is so high that we can not get to full extension before being shot. Half hip or count three has limited marksmanship, but kicks ass for retention and when the urgency is extremely high. Three quarter hip or mid-point is simply a compromise between the two. It is a balancing point of marksmanship, retention, and when the urgency is high.

“The fight will be what the fight will be.” If we can all agree that the context of the fight is the dictating factor, then it is clear that a fluid, sliding scale approach, that covers the dynamics of the encounter in the most effective and efficient manner as possible, is the very best way to go.

To have full extension and one retention position as your only options, force fits these skill sets into sub-optimal positions in the fight continuum, positions where they are simply not the most effective or efficient response, within the correct context of the fight. By being more fluid we can work the retention concept in conjunction with the fight continuum. Where the gun is drawn and used at the optimal position within the balance of speed and accuracy, taking into consideration the retention and visual input needed, while keeping within the main goal of “to hit and not be hit.”

Guys, this all sounds complicated……but it is not. This is what people with good instincts do. This is what they do when they are under pressure and working at the subconscious level. That makes this as uncomplicated as it can possibly be. To accept what your “good instincts” want to do is never a mistake. For those that do not have good instincts, this stuff can still be taught in very short order…..it just has to be explained and drilled. Let’s face it, not all of us have good instincts….and that is why we seek out training….to improve where we might be lacking.

Be very careful listening to those that are trying to water down the realities of the fluid dynamics of a fight, solely as a marketing ploy. Keep an open mind, do not accept limitations set down by others, and start out by being inclusive, then refine your way down from there. Fluidity and versatility lead to the ability to improvise, adapt, and overcome. “Keep it simple stupid” has been proven to not work against a formidable, live, thinking, and resisting adversary.

Beware of those that are looking to race to the bottom in the quest for a fast buck. Self defense training is a matter of “life and death” where watering down and racing to the bottom needs to be seen for what it is.

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