By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight focused Concepts
It is clear to me that a second part of this article needed to be written, since there is so much information that needs to be transferred, so as to understand why the recent bashing of a life saving skill, such as point shooting, has resurfaced. The first article is nothing more than a quick introduction into the topic and a more in-depth look is needed, since we are talking about matters of “life or death.” When it comes to making decisions on matters of life or death, a quick introduction is simply not good enough.
In part one of this series of articles, I wrote this:
” Point shooting has a very definitive purpose and an absolute role. It is an aiming method that is designed to work well inside the very worst of situations. It is what you default to when things are very close, extremely fast, horribly bad, and you simply cannot get to your sights.”
And while this paragraph says a lot, it simply does not say enough. Point shooting can be brought to a very high skill level and when it is, it can dramatically increase your abilities to fight when you are behind in the reactionary curve, during the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, during a body alarm response, when there is a retention problem, in low light, when both you and/or your adversary is moving dynamically, from odd angles and positions, when you have physical limitations, and when you have poor eyesight. The number of areas that point shooting facilitates a higher fighting ability is what leads me to always say;
“It is not about point shooting……it is about what high level point shooting skills allow you to do.”
These are facts that are known by those that have actually attempted to raise their game by seeking out and mastering the material and skills. As their skills rise, they are capable of taking these skills to levels that the vast majority of people simply believe to be impossible. This allows them to excel in areas that would be impossible for the uneducated to even imagine. This allows them to own an entirely different level of “the correct context of point shooting” and when they speak of it, most uneducated people simply roll their eyes in disbelief. When I witness this fact, over and over, it further increases my dismay and disbelief of those that “do not know what they do not know” disparaging something that they have very little knowledge of or mastery over, especially when they have zero idea of the amazing skills owned by those that have actually put in the work.
When we look at “the correct context of point shooting” and when it is being used in the right situations, we need to understand that the biggest factor inside of the situation is the individual and his abilities and limitations. A point shooter with poor vision, slower reflexes, and slower speed of hand will always bring his point shooting abilities to bear, at a much higher rate than a person with perfect vision, quick reflexes, and fast speed of hand. That is what being “as deadly as YOU can possibly be” is all about. That is what tailoring YOUR response to the specifics of the situation is all about. That is why it says “see what YOU need to see, to get the hits that YOU need to make, inside of the specifics of YOUR situation. I find it amazing that the people who bash point shooting cannot grasp the most simple and basic of pure common sense. It is so ridiculous, that it must be one of those things where you ask “why” and the only possible answer is “follow the money.”
If you ever become interested in learning point shooting and begin to discuss it with accomplished point shooters, I would highly recommend that you ask them about their context/situation and why they do what they do, in order for you to begin to tailor your context/situation to the varying skills. This is not a “one size fits all” issue. It is deep in layers and to judge it at a glance, without the requisite knowledge, work, and skill is the height of ignorance and arrogance.
It is also very important to keep the context of the training in mind. This means that any point shooter worth his salt practices in two manners. He practices within the correct context of the skill that he is working on, inside of the correct context of the fight. This means that he is working the skill at logical distance, all while attempting to ingrain this tool, for its use inside of this specific portion of the fight. He also practices outside of logical distance to establish ability, skill, confidence, and limitations. The thinking is “if I own this five yard technique, out to twelve yards, then I truly own this five yard technique.” Just because we can consistently own a five yard skill at twelve yards, does not mean that it is the best solution to the twelve yard problem. All of this skill, all of this well roundedness, all of this fluidity, all of this ability to improvise, adapt, and overcome is all geared to finding out exactly what you need to do to be as deadly and safe as you can possible be, inside of the correct context of the fight.
The civilian context is that we are looking to go through life, all while being able to protect ourselves and our loved ones, just in case somebody decides to target us. We are taking care of our daily business with usually nothing more than a handgun, a reload, a knife, and a flashlight. If something comes down, in most cases it is going to be us (as individuals) against the world. We cannot depend on being proactive. We cannot depend on anyone helping us. We cannot depend on the availability of better weapons. We are very limited in our options and abilities.
How is that anything like a military context?
While I am not military, I have discussed the differences in the civilian context and the military context with hundreds of students and friends, who do know both contexts. They are overwhelmingly in agreement with me in regards to just how different the contexts are. I have complete respect, admiration, and am in complete agreement with the military applications, inside of the military context. My concern obviously arises when this is not reciprocated by the military based trainers, to those that focus on the civilian and law enforcement context.
The military context of collecting intelligence, coming up with a plan of action, having an evacuation plane, securing air support, securing armored support, setting up communications, gearing up with high numbers of highly trained units, all while carrying an array of differing offensive weaponry is very much a proactive environment. It is designed that way to take the initiative and hopefully dominate the battle. Sure, there will be reactive engagements but the goal is to remain proactive as much as possible.
This military context does have overlap into law enforcement and inside of this context the need for point shooting is not a priority. But, that is not the only context that law enforcement deals with. The context of a lone patrolman heading out every day to “serve and protect” can find themselves in the much higher chance of a reactive situation. Complacency is a very real problem for law enforcement, especially for patrolman whose main contact with people is that of law-abiding people. Routine stops can turn into life and death struggles in an instant. This is why we are seeing an acceptance of point shooting (usually under another name to make the lawyers feel better) in most departments, all while seeing a push away from point shooting in the more elite units of law enforcement. It is simply about the context of the mission at hand and whether the mission is more likely to be proactive or reactive, or handled with a handgun or a rifle.
Another huge portion of the differences between the military context and the civilian context is about experience. How many civilians get into multiple encounters inside of one day, how many have the chance or time to slap themselves, in order to remind themselves to get to their training and their sights?
As it stands, I have not had one tier one military guy tell me that he automatically went straight to his training and the sights in his first encounter. There was the initial reaction to the activation of the sympathetic nervous system or body alarm response, where they remained focused on the threat, then an eventual settling into their training and their sights.
I have heard these stories over and over again.
How can you experience that and still disparage point shooting being taught, in the civilian context, knowing perfectly well that stress inoculation, from multiple encounters, is a very real and tangible thing?
As reactive lone civilians, we do not get the luxury of that time. We most likely go from zero to a thousand miles an hour as the sole focus of who is being targeted. There is no settling in to get to our training, there is not stress inoculation from numerous encounters. There is just one person, who went out to take care of the business of living a life and found themselves in a life or death struggle, with next to zero warning, and possibly with zero life or death experience.
Context is everything!
Be very careful who you listen to and follow in regards to matters of life or death. If a tier one military guy struggled to get to his sighted fire training in his first encounter and is now telling you that sighted fire is all that you will need in a civilian context…….ask yourself if that really makes sense. Check your ego at the door. If he could not do it……what makes you think that you can do it?
Do you have the experience! Do you have the time to make the correction?
Or would it just be best to accept the civilian context of a life or death struggle and learn the amazing set of skills that is designed around the natural human response of a life threatening encounter?