Pointing Vs Aiming

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Red Owl

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Never shot from a horse, but suspect most horses don't take kindly to gunfire. Trying to draw a bead while Ol' Traveller's ears are down, eyeballs peeled, gallomping all around to me, would be a daunting task. Then again, John Wayne made it look easy in True Grit.

Surely someone on this forum has shot from a horse ? Stories, please.
 
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It wasn't target shooting, it was fighting with a gun

Cavalrymen used revolvers but also had a shotgun, or carbine, or something else besides revolvers

For Officers, a revolver was a symbol of rank, a personal defense weapon and were "supposed " to be for shooting deserters or men who ran from a battle but were rarely if ever used for this.

We'll never have any way to know but I'll bet the numbers of men killed by revolver bullets was relatively low vs Minie and round balls, and artillery. Not counting disease which was obviously the biggest killer. It's not like 10s of thousands of men fell to revolver fire
 

Bobby44

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Point and shoot? Never had to choose but spent lots of range time so here is my .02. I guarantee that if it was a small room rapidly filling with black smoke and noise I would be adding noise as soon as I could. Remember you need that kill circle and not the 10X. Try this. Use your dominant hand and index finger. Rapidly raise the hand and line up (not aiming) on a light bulb. Then check (by aiming) to see if you have to adjust very much by looking along the index finger. I bet you are close. So rapid reaction = point and shoot.
Shooting a rabbit for supper? Different story.
 
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Ok I’ll jump in the deep water here. Law enforcement for over 20 years and investigations and dignitary armed protection for 10 plus years. With the unmentionable brass cartridge handgun I always trained point and shoot. Cause #1 rule is cover and concealment. When the SHTF 98% of the time your adversary will be under 10 feet away. By the time you aim your dead. There is no time when the bad guy is shooting at you. I train at range with 2 targets one 15 feet another about 5-8 feet from standing ready pistol at side I thrust straight out center of mass fire 3 at the closest target then twist body still arms out straight shoot 3 more at the further target. Both at center of mass. Arms come straight back to my chest still pointing forward.
Access the targets and repeat. load when needed. I train so it becomes
Muscle Memory. Anything further in distance, cover is first up and aiming at target instead.
Now as a sport and shooting my favorites, that being muzzleloaders and BP handguns, well most times I aim and enjoy the shooting experience of them. Occasionally with the handguns I’ll do a point and shoot. But realistically in any combat BP or not at close range it will be point and shoot.
Answering your question I would venture to say back in the day duals and majority of civil war combat it would have been point and shoot with handguns. If one should have cover, then that buys you time and it’s time in seconds that you need to aim.
 
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Never shot from a horse, but suspect most horses don't take kindly to gunfire. Trying to draw a bead while Ol' Traveller's ears are down, eyeballs peeled, gallomping all around to me, would be a daunting task. Then again, John Wayne made it look easy in True Grit.

Surely someone on this forum has shot from a horse ? Stories, please.
As a boy, hearing about those things, I took my 22 rifle with me horseback riding When I was about 13 or 14. I took two or three shots just off to the side at nothing in particular, but at every shot the horse sped up, And I chickened out on anything more than that. I don't know what would've happened if it would have been a revolver, the rifle was loud enough. Also, about that same time in life, I rode a horse out hunting deer early on the first day of season. Tied it up at an old fence corner, snuck over the hill and shot several times at some buck deer was an old 3030. When I came back, the horse had got loose, went on home and I walked home, probably about 3 miles. I don't really know if it was a bad job of tying the horse, or the noise of the shots, that made him jerk loose and go home.
Squint
 

LME

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There is an account of Jesse James shooting an innocent young man in the head at full gallop on horse back during his first bank robbery. The young man was crossing the street carrying some library books. I would guess the murderer did not use his sights in that instance. I belive Mr. James belonged to a guerilla outfit during the Civil War.
Jesse James was accused of a lot of things that he didn't have anything to do with? He did enough without any help?
 

LME

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You can take a fork full of food and put it in your mouth every time? If your leg/arm itches you can automatically find it and scratch it? There are a host of things you can do without even looking.Look at a typiest all those keys and they seem to never look at the key board? Some people that hunt with a shotgun never even think about the sights and seem to never miss. Running shots at deer need leading and there are hunters that can make these shot with ease. My nieces boy, by the time he was 15 years old could hit five eight inch round steel targets at 15 feet in less than what I guess is two seconds with a pistol. I had a very good marksman tell me it is hard to believe.One day I bought the boy with me and turned him into a believer. Pointing is a natural ability all of us have but few know how to apply this talent when it come to shooting. Jesse James probably could have shot the fellow but too many authors take liberties with the pen. We will most likely never know the truth?
 

Loyalist Dave

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Ok I’ll jump in the deep water here. Law enforcement for over 20 years and investigations and dignitary armed protection for 10 plus years. With the unmentionable brass cartridge handgun I always trained point and shoot. Cause #1 rule is cover and concealment. When the SHTF 98% of the time your adversary will be under 10 feet away. By the time you aim your dead. There is no time when the bad guy is shooting at you. I train at range with 2 targets one 15 feet another about 5-8 feet from standing ready pistol at side I thrust straight out center of mass fire 3 at the closest target then twist body still arms out straight shoot 3 more at the further target. Both at center of mass. Arms come straight back to my chest still pointing forward.
Access the targets and repeat. load when needed. I train so it becomes
Muscle Memory. Anything further in distance, cover is first up and aiming at target instead.
This is correct, it's situational.

LEO for 32 years, Marine Corps Infantry Officer for five before that.

Many handgun fights are from one to two arms lengths away. 15 feet or less is pretty much where most gunfights happen, not 15 or more yards.

So you and a buddy face each other, hold one arm forward and level with the ground and just barely touch the finger tips of the middle fingers and THAT is the distance, but many of them are at a distance where you could touch the bad guy's chest. It's darn close, and yes, it was within that distance for me when it really happened to me.

I've been trained just as RicM, only I will add that because of my stance and arm position, IF the target is beyond a certain distance then it's very quick to pickup the sights, and if I don't then at that distance and beyond I likely won't hit that distant target, and the training gets a person to know when the situation calls for an actual sight alignment. A lot of modern stuff is designed to help gun alignment for pointing when it's up close and personal. Does that equate to 160 years ago...???

Yes, I think it does. In reply #14 Bnewberry experienced something very similar with actual cap-n-ball revolvers and that is my experience too. I shot CAS for several years, black powder cartridge and black powder cap-n-ball..., AND just as in the modern gun I would bring up the revolver and point aim..., when the target was very close. One event, my front sight post fell off the barrel of the revolver, but I finished the stage clean, no misses (the targets were close).

I read an account of a gunfight in a western saloon, where the two men were at a bar counter, got into an argument, and went for it... close range for sure, but after 12 rounds neither was hit. The saloon was already smoky due to cigar and cigarette smoke, and the black powder gunfight worsened the visibility, but it wasn't just that, so why did they both miss?

So first, they likely used only one hand. Either they tried hip shooting (I'm trained to do that too but ONLY when the bad guy is close enough to grab my gun if I'm silly enough to fully extend my arms out and practically give the gun to him), or they had some bad shooting habits, such as "punching" when presenting the handgun.

"Punching" one handed is presenting with a quick forward motion like delivering a punch. IF you watch Richard Boone in Have Gun ; Will Travel you will see him use a proper punching technique when he draws... especially in the opening of the show when it shows him drawing and talking. It's a controlled motion, fast but not as fast as possible for him, and it shows that he was well trained. YET apparently a lot of the guys back-in-the-day were not.

When you improperly use the one handed punching technique, you snap your handgun and hand forward, and the abrupt stop causes your muzzle to dip downward at a severe angle just as your fire. You have a most excellent chance of shooting the badguy in his foot, or shooting into the ground between you both. It's deceptive as it's a snapping motion that causes the problem and the recoil means the shooter has a very low chance of understanding what's actually going on. "Breaking the wrist" to anticipate recoil is another, similar problem. It was likely something like these two bad habits that caused the two men of which I read, to miss so badly.

Didn't Wyatt Earp say something like during a shootout one needs to "Take your time as fast as you can." ...???

LD
 
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Never shot from a horse, but suspect most horses don't take kindly to gunfire. Trying to draw a bead while Ol' Traveller's ears are down, eyeballs peeled, gallomping all around to me, would be a daunting task. Then again, John Wayne made it look easy in True Grit.

Surely someone on this forum has shot from a horse ? Stories, please.
When I was a kid, my uncle bought a Tennessee mare to hunt from. He let her settle to us and the farm for about three weeks. We fired our rifles in a field next to the horse lot quite a few times during her settling in. After that, he started handling her and riding her with his pistol and gun-belt on and sometimes carrying his rifle. After a couple of weeks of this, he got on her out away from house and barn, rode her a few minutes and stopped . He looked over at me and said, "Here goes. Her gun training starts". He told me to step back and he unholstered the pistol, aimed and fired. She jumped and rared a bit. He holstered and talked to her and petted her. I even walked up to her. I stepped back and he fired again. she only raised her forelegs a bit. After about an hour of this , she was not even flinching and she would look where he was aiming to fire. She did settle pretty quick. She was a nice riding woods horse for him.
 
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Here's the point deal:
What Fairbairn & Sykes preach are techniques they developed or learned as police inspectors in the streets of Shanghai in the 1930's. A difficult time in a place that could be very rough.
 
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When I was barely a teenager, I trained my English Springer Spaniel to hunt from a book and learned to teach him how not to be gun shy by firing a blank pistol on time about 30 feet away from him while he ate. Yes, he jumped and then went right back to eating. Over the course of the next few weeks, I got closer while he ate and then got to the point I could shoot all six rounds standing over him while he ate and he only blinked while I did it.

A few years later, one of my friends got me in to work at a stable and our "pay" was being able to ride the horses the owners rarely came by to see and approved our riding them. We were coon hunting by this time with our semi auto .22 cal. pistols. There was a bounty of $20.00 each on feral dogs and coyotes, which was a lot of money. Heck, a really high quality coon pelt only got us about $8.00 a pelt in those days. So I trained some horses to not being shy of gunfire about the same way I had trained my dog, though I began shooting outside the barn at first and slowly over weeks got closer and closer until I could shoot the blank pistol off their backs without them doing much of anything. This eventually led to us shooting our .22 pistols from horseback to collect a few bounties mentioned above.

They didn't have blank pistols in the cavalry days, but I imagine they trained their horses with loud noises at first and then went with blank charges in their handguns.

I won't try to BS anyone about riding at full gallop and shooting to collect bounties. It never happened. Most of our shots came when we stopped the horses to shoot or one time they moved a lot when we got into a pack of feral dogs and they attacked. The biggest thing we worried about was FIRST not shooting each other or the horses by mistake and then could only point shoot at close distance, because of the horses moving defensively. We were lucky they didn't get the horses or us (in the legs) and decided it wasn't worth doing that anymore after that one time.

Gus
 
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Loyalist Dave and other who may have served, Thank You for your service.
Also your spot on with your comment and I love that quote, gotta save that one:

Didn't Wyatt Earp say something like during a shootout one needs to "Take your time as fast as you can."

One last note and true fun test. Has anyone on this thread ever participated in paintball shooting. If so next time doing so, with face mask on, grab a fellow paintball friend. Load up stand back to back, count out loud as walking 10 paces then turn and fire. Let me know it you aim or point when you shoot. lolol I did the 3rd choice, I hit the dirt as I turned and fired, we both missed our shots. Tried a second go round without me chickening out hitting the ground. I pointed and fired as did my friend. We both got hit. No video on who hit first, but it was a fun exercise and a good laugh.
 
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I'm wondering how often percussion revolvers were pointed rather than aimed historically, especially during Civil War battles. I'm guessing after the initial charge, it was largely a point shooting affair. In cavalry engagements too, I'm sure the weapon was simply pointed at the enemy.
Since the Colt revolvers, in particular, point so naturally, I think careful aiming and squeezing for groups is pretty academic. Though I could be wrong, I'm just kinda thinking out loud. What do you think? I might do some experimenting in that area.
Probably most of the time; just using their instinctive "point and shoot" reactions.
 
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This is correct, it's situational.

LEO for 32 years, Marine Corps Infantry Officer for five before that.

Many handgun fights are from one to two arms lengths away. 15 feet or less is pretty much where most gunfights happen, not 15 or more yards.

So you and a buddy face each other, hold one arm forward and level with the ground and just barely touch the finger tips of the middle fingers and THAT is the distance, but many of them are at a distance where you could touch the bad guy's chest. It's darn close, and yes, it was within that distance for me when it really happened to me.

I've been trained just as RicM, only I will add that because of my stance and arm position, IF the target is beyond a certain distance then it's very quick to pickup the sights, and if I don't then at that distance and beyond I likely won't hit that distant target, and the training gets a person to know when the situation calls for an actual sight alignment. A lot of modern stuff is designed to help gun alignment for pointing when it's up close and personal. Does that equate to 160 years ago...???

Yes, I think it does. In reply #14 Bnewberry experienced something very similar with actual cap-n-ball revolvers and that is my experience too. I shot CAS for several years, black powder cartridge and black powder cap-n-ball..., AND just as in the modern gun I would bring up the revolver and point aim..., when the target was very close. One event, my front sight post fell off the barrel of the revolver, but I finished the stage clean, no misses (the targets were close).

I read an account of a gunfight in a western saloon, where the two men were at a bar counter, got into an argument, and went for it... close range for sure, but after 12 rounds neither was hit. The saloon was already smoky due to cigar and cigarette smoke, and the black powder gunfight worsened the visibility, but it wasn't just that, so why did they both miss?

So first, they likely used only one hand. Either they tried hip shooting (I'm trained to do that too but ONLY when the bad guy is close enough to grab my gun if I'm silly enough to fully extend my arms out and practically give the gun to him), or they had some bad shooting habits, such as "punching" when presenting the handgun.

"Punching" one handed is presenting with a quick forward motion like delivering a punch. IF you watch Richard Boone in Have Gun ; Will Travel you will see him use a proper punching technique when he draws... especially in the opening of the show when it shows him drawing and talking. It's a controlled motion, fast but not as fast as possible for him, and it shows that he was well trained. YET apparently a lot of the guys back-in-the-day were not.

When you improperly use the one handed punching technique, you snap your handgun and hand forward, and the abrupt stop causes your muzzle to dip downward at a severe angle just as your fire. You have a most excellent chance of shooting the badguy in his foot, or shooting into the ground between you both. It's deceptive as it's a snapping motion that causes the problem and the recoil means the shooter has a very low chance of understanding what's actually going on. "Breaking the wrist" to anticipate recoil is another, similar problem. It was likely something like these two bad habits that caused the two men of which I read, to miss so badly.

Didn't Wyatt Earp say something like during a shootout one needs to "Take your time as fast as you can." ...???

LD
Hrfunk is a yutube channel that covers this subject very well, he even demonstrates shooting a police qualification course with a cap and ball revolver. That video is my favorite, it really shows a cap and ball revolver is effective if the need arises.
 
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Ok I’ll jump in the deep water here. Law enforcement for over 20 years and investigations and dignitary armed protection for 10 plus years. With the unmentionable brass cartridge handgun I always trained point and shoot. Cause #1 rule is cover and concealment. When the SHTF 98% of the time your adversary will be under 10 feet away. By the time you aim your dead. There is no time when the bad guy is shooting at you. I train at range with 2 targets one 15 feet another about 5-8 feet from standing ready pistol at side I thrust straight out center of mass fire 3 at the closest target then twist body still arms out straight shoot 3 more at the further target. Both at center of mass. Arms come straight back to my chest still pointing forward.
Access the targets and repeat. load when needed. I train so it becomes
Muscle Memory. Anything further in distance, cover is first up and aiming at target instead.
Now as a sport and shooting my favorites, that being muzzleloaders and BP handguns, well most times I aim and enjoy the shooting experience of them. Occasionally with the handguns I’ll do a point and shoot. But realistically in any combat BP or not at close range it will be point and shoot.
Answering your question I would venture to say back in the day duals and majority of civil war combat it would have been point and shoot with handguns. If one should have cover, then that buys you time and it’s time in seconds that you need to aim.
Most self defense shootings , notably home defense, show that the vast majority of people aren't using any sights from across the room distance

And Police Depts are notorious for "sympathetic shooting "
 

Red Owl

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I too read that 7 yards (21') is about the maximum distance of most gun fights. If any of you have been to Tombstone the first thing you realize is these guys were close and yet they missed a lot. I agree with the conical bullets- probably not that destructive. They were used because combustible cartridges were issued. The Western lawmen seemed to prefer the round balls with sprue forward.
 

M. De Land

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It wasn't target shooting, it was fighting with a gun

Cavalrymen used revolvers but also had a shotgun, or carbine, or something else besides revolvers

For Officers, a revolver was a symbol of rank, a personal defense weapon and were "supposed " to be for shooting deserters or men who ran from a battle but were rarely if ever used for this.

We'll never have any way to know but I'll bet the numbers of men killed by revolver bullets was relatively low vs Minie and round balls, and artillery. Not counting disease which was obviously the biggest killer. It's not like 10s of thousands of men fell to revolver fire
If I had to fight from horse back I would prefer a hand gun over even a carbine for close work up to 25 yards. Even a carbine is a two hand proposition and that's tough on a galloping steed.
My horse would not tolerate shooting off his back in any form without coming unglued and dumping you in a pile !
 
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