Pointing Vs Aiming

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Bill Jordan survived innumerable gunfights on the Texas/Mexican border and went on in his later years to be a demonstration shooter for Colt and Smith & Wesson. He taught point shooting up close and aiming further out. As a demo of his point shooting he had a horizontal target board on which he had glued 6 discs cut from a Cedar approximately 2 inches in diameter. He would draw and shoot from the hip at close range (I don't know the precise distance but it was likely around 12-15 feet.) and center-punch all 6.
Then he would put up another board with 6 Necco wafers and bust them with the next 6 rounds. Finally he would put up a third board, this time with 6 aspirin tablets and blow them through the board. After a while he decided that was getting stale and would bore his audiences so he added a fourth board, this one with Saccharin tablets. All of these were shot with his weapon held at waist height. Good enough for me.
Elmer Keith could snipe targets at 100 yards with a revolver. He used the sights and sometimes a rest. Also good enough for me.
Ed McGivern regularly shot thrown aerial targets with a revolver. He claimed he used the sights. He also regularly grouped a wheel full of rounds into a target area smaller than a playing card at 12-15 feet in incredibly short times, also using the sights. Once again, good enough for me.
I was once privileged to hear Sgt William Blankenship's response when he was asked the secret of his phenomenal skill by a reporter. Bill Blankenship was the All-Army Pistol Champion for several years running. His answer was - as close as I can remember it - "There's no secret. All you need to do is acquire a proper sight picture and cause the pistol to fire without disturbing it. The rest is practice."
All of these are valid techniques. I've tried them all and had success with all of them at different times, although I never got very good at aerial work. I was taught as a boy not to fire into the air at random, and I think that affects my reflexes. I have a box of awards somewhere in storage that came from competition shooting, and once I hit a running jackrabbit in the head, shooting while standing in the back of a moving pickup down a gravel ranch road on the Texas/New Mexico border -- with an unaimed snap shot from a revolver held at waist/chest level. We won't talk about the many, many shots - aimed and otherwise - that I've missed.
Long story. My apologies, but there's my experience for what it's worth. I'm of the opinion that it really comes down to what Bill Blankenship said --- "practice."
 
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Bill Jordan survived innumerable gunfights on the Texas/Mexican border and went on in his later years to be a demonstration shooter for Colt and Smith & Wesson. He taught point shooting up close and aiming further out. As a demo of his point shooting he had a horizontal target board on which he had glued 6 discs cut from a Cedar approximately 2 inches in diameter. He would draw and shoot from the hip at close range (I don't know the precise distance but it was likely around 12-15 feet.) and center-punch all 6.
Then he would put up another board with 6 Necco wafers and bust them with the next 6 rounds. Finally he would put up a third board, this time with 6 aspirin tablets and blow them through the board. After a while he decided that was getting stale and would bore his audiences so he added a fourth board, this one with Saccharin tablets. All of these were shot with his weapon held at waist height. Good enough for me.
Elmer Keith could snipe targets at 100 yards with a revolver. He used the sights and sometimes a rest. Also good enough for me.
Ed McGivern regularly shot thrown aerial targets with a revolver. He claimed he used the sights. He also regularly grouped a wheel full of rounds into a target area smaller than a playing card at 12-15 feet in incredibly short times, also using the sights. Once again, good enough for me.
I was once privileged to hear Sgt William Blankenship's response when he was asked the secret of his phenomenal skill by a reporter. Bill Blankenship was the All-Army Pistol Champion for several years running. His answer was - as close as I can remember it - "There's no secret. All you need to do is acquire a proper sight picture and cause the pistol to fire without disturbing it. The rest is practice."
All of these are valid techniques. I've tried them all and had success with all of them at different times, although I never got very good at aerial work. I was taught as a boy not to fire into the air at random, and I think that affects my reflexes. I have a box of awards somewhere in storage that came from competition shooting, and once I hit a running jackrabbit in the head, shooting while standing in the back of a moving pickup down a gravel ranch road on the Texas/New Mexico border -- with an unaimed snap shot from a revolver held at waist/chest level. We won't talk about the many, many shots - aimed and otherwise - that I've missed.
Long story. My apologies, but there's my experience for what it's worth. I'm of the opinion that it really comes down to what Bill Blankenship said --- "practice."
Practice doesn't make Perfect, properly performed Practice makes Perfect

You can go blow 1000 rounds a day training improperly and you're just cementing bad habits
 
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Elmer Keith did describe how Civil war calvary veterans would practice shooting from horseback. According to Elmer, the mounted shooter would gallop past a target such as a fence post and using sort of a "chopping" motion snap a shot at the target. Apparently Elmer witnessed some of this practice and commented how proficient some of them were.
 

nick_1

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lots of documented police gunfights where they both missed at the distance of a car hood. cops are notorious for dumping all 17rnds downrange and only hitting the perp one or two times. sometimes you get 3 cops emptying their glocks and the dead guy only has 4 holes in him... there's a little pointy thing on the end of the barrel. look at it.
 
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Well, an estimated 625,000 men died in the Civil War, so somebody was pretty good at shootin' and cuttin'. (Admittedly many died of disease because of poor sanitation and infection.) Knowing little about cavalry, in a typical "Cavalry Charge", at what point do you reckon pistols were used (as opposed to the saber). Dismounted, of course, would seem to be the same as infantry I suppose. Later years when the Spencer carbines showed up, reloading would've been much less a problem than with even single-shot breech loaders. Still ..moving horse, moving target trying to shoot you or stick a bayonet in your guts? Quite a bit different than a paper target or steel plate.

Add some grape shot, minie balls, and such ..a perfect sight picture, breath control, etc. might not be my highest priority at times. Don't know.
 

stephenprops1

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Jesse James was accused of a lot of things that he didn't have anything to do with? He did enough without any help?
During the American Civil War Jessee and Frank James rode, "Under the Black Flag" with William Quantrill's Raiders.
 

stephenprops1

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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 !
Think of the LeMat revolver used in the Civil War. It was a 9 shot revolver with the 10th shot being a short 20 gauge bore under the primary barrel. It was used by Confederate Cavalry.
 
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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?
I agree aiming for the well trained is matter of fact. When I was a kid we used to shoot in the woods non stop with our pellet pistols and 22 rifles. Many a time I would just raise the barrel and hit target not even thinking about it. I was 14/15. Then one day the police came and took me and my friend home and said no more shooting In the woods. Shooting came to an end on that day. 😂 I got back into it at 28 still had some left in me. But then the wife kids and work came. Lol I don’t know what happened but at around 50 I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. I’ve scine put thousands of bullets down range but still don’t have the skills i had when I was young. 😂
I got pretty good with my unmentionable pistol when I lived in Florida. But when I moved back in 2016 and didn’t pick it up again until a few years ago it was like starting over. Today I have several pistols but don’t have the time. I think living with the colt in your hand and using daily as the gents of the CW probably did makes all the difference. I read the south were better than the north which makes sense they probably shot regularly before the war
 

nick_1

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Bill jordan wrote a book on gunfighting but I am not sure that he was ever in a pistol gunfight?
 
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When I was young and had good vision and reflexes and shot a lot I was able over the years to shoot six crows out of the sky with a .22 pistol. and one grackle with a .22 rifle. I have one long tail feather from each of these birds stapled to the wall of my loading room to prove to myself that I was able to do this. Alas, the last one, the grackle was over 15 years ago. I can't remember if I used the sights or not. A friend and I used to hunt squirrels with .22 pistols and we got a lot of them and at least I used sights. I don't know about him. Nowadays I use sights but co-ordination is somewhat lacking but I keep trying.
 

Red Owl

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These great feats with handguns. It comes after thousands of practice rounds until the handgun is virtually part of your body. I just have never had the patience to do that and even if I did- no guarantee I could achieve that level. That said, I think the average mortal, with a 22 rimfire handgun could probably get to make a large tin can dance around at 7 yards and for self defense, probably far better than just standing at a target range. But that's just my opinion. The use of sights seems split. Some just shoot but some very famous folks claim they used the sights.
NOT TO bust anyone but this idea that cavalry units carried short rifles or shotguns- is that really true? I look at the old photographs and at least for the Union troops I see only swords and revolvers. Was the other more of a Confederate thing? I realize Dragoons were a different matter.
 

flashpoint

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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.
To your point, when you ride a horse at full gallop and stand in your stirrups, you have a very smooth platform to shoot as the horse is moving under you.
 

nick_1

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Union Calvary absolutely used carbines and very rarely swords. the seven shot .56 spencer carbine was a game changer. It was sop for calvary to fight dismounted. day one of Gettysburg Dismounted and outnumbered union calvary stopped A.P. Hill in his tracks and bought time for union regular infantry to come up.
 

flashpoint

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Bill Jordan survived innumerable gunfights on the Texas/Mexican border and went on in his later years to be a demonstration shooter for Colt and Smith & Wesson. He taught point shooting up close and aiming further out. As a demo of his point shooting he had a horizontal target board on which he had glued 6 discs cut from a Cedar approximately 2 inches in diameter. He would draw and shoot from the hip at close range (I don't know the precise distance but it was likely around 12-15 feet.) and center-punch all 6.
Then he would put up another board with 6 Necco wafers and bust them with the next 6 rounds. Finally he would put up a third board, this time with 6 aspirin tablets and blow them through the board. After a while he decided that was getting stale and would bore his audiences so he added a fourth board, this one with Saccharin tablets. All of these were shot with his weapon held at waist height. Good enough for me.
Elmer Keith could snipe targets at 100 yards with a revolver. He used the sights and sometimes a rest. Also good enough for me.
Ed McGivern regularly shot thrown aerial targets with a revolver. He claimed he used the sights. He also regularly grouped a wheel full of rounds into a target area smaller than a playing card at 12-15 feet in incredibly short times, also using the sights. Once again, good enough for me.
I was once privileged to hear Sgt William Blankenship's response when he was asked the secret of his phenomenal skill by a reporter. Bill Blankenship was the All-Army Pistol Champion for several years running. His answer was - as close as I can remember it - "There's no secret. All you need to do is acquire a proper sight picture and cause the pistol to fire without disturbing it. The rest is practice."
All of these are valid techniques. I've tried them all and had success with all of them at different times, although I never got very good at aerial work. I was taught as a boy not to fire into the air at random, and I think that affects my reflexes. I have a box of awards somewhere in storage that came from competition shooting, and once I hit a running jackrabbit in the head, shooting while standing in the back of a moving pickup down a gravel ranch road on the Texas/New Mexico border -- with an unaimed snap shot from a revolver held at waist/chest level. We won't talk about the many, many shots - aimed and otherwise - that I've missed.
Long story. My apologies, but there's my experience for what it's worth. I'm of the opinion that it really comes down to what Bill Blankenship said --- "practice."
Great post.
 

M. De Land

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Well, an estimated 625,000 men died in the Civil War, so somebody was pretty good at shootin' and cuttin'. (Admittedly many died of disease because of poor sanitation and infection.) Knowing little about cavalry, in a typical "Cavalry Charge", at what point do you reckon pistols were used (as opposed to the saber). Dismounted, of course, would seem to be the same as infantry I suppose. Later years when the Spencer carbines showed up, reloading would've been much less a problem than with even single-shot breech loaders. Still ..moving horse, moving target trying to shoot you or stick a bayonet in your guts? Quite a bit different than a paper target or steel plate.

Add some grape shot, minie balls, and such ..a perfect sight picture, breath control, etc. might not be my highest priority at times. Don't know.
The Spencer was a seven shot gun I believe, had to be loaded through the butt with a tube magazine and then had to be levered and hammer cocked for each shot. I'd take a 60 Colt over it any day for horse back fighting. Three or four Colt 60's fully loaded would give you 24 quick shots and "soup" enough to dump a horse and rider.
Grab the Spencer when your on the ground for longer shots although the Spencer cartridge did not have the power of the Springfield and Minie ball but gave one a lot more volume of fire.
I think the grape shot and canister loads from the cannon was the real lawn mower of men though. I've read it was lethal to 3-400 yards and could take out a whole wave of men in the first row.
The trouble was tactics not keeping up with weapon innovation and efficiency. The line abreast formations were completely obsolete and tailor made for grape and canister loads.
 
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Let's talk about dumb luck shots. I had a trigger job done on my unmentionable 44 mag and was driving up in the hills with my brother when a gopher ran across the dirt 2 track and stopped at it's hole. I jumped out drew and cocked my single action pointed it at said gopher and boom , it went off before I could aim. Dead unlucky gopher!😂😂
 

stephenprops1

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I agree aiming for the well trained is matter of fact. When I was a kid we used to shoot in the woods non stop with our pellet pistols and 22 rifles. Many a time I would just raise the barrel and hit target not even thinking about it. I was 14/15. Then one day the police came and took me and my friend home and said no more shooting In the woods. Shooting came to an end on that day. 😂 I got back into it at 28 still had some left in me. But then the wife kids and work came. Lol I don’t know what happened but at around 50 I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. I’ve scine put thousands of bullets down range but still don’t have the skills i had when I was young. 😂
I got pretty good with my unmentionable pistol when I lived in Florida. But when I moved back in 2016 and didn’t pick it up again until a few years ago it was like starting over. Today I have several pistols but don’t have the time. I think living with the colt in your hand and using daily as the gents of the CW probably did makes all the difference. I read the south were better than the north which makes sense they probably shot regularly before the war
I did Cowboy Action Shooting for about 12 years. A friend taught me instinctive shooting with a handgun. We would size up our target, draw our six gun and fire the first shot without thinking about it. It has been 21 years since I last competed in that sport. I'm not sure if I could still do that.
 
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lots of documented police gunfights where they both missed at the distance of a car hood. cops are notorious for dumping all 17rnds downrange and only hitting the perp one or two times. sometimes you get 3 cops emptying their glocks and the dead guy only has 4 holes in him... there's a little pointy thing on the end of the barrel. look at it.
I belive it was the early 2000’s, the L.A. police shot a man on the 405 frwy, he was shot at by about 5 to 7 police officers. The man was hit about 4 times, they pick up 93 9 millimeter shell casings afterwards. All those bullets flew into the suburban neighborhood that was adjacent the frwy.
 

M. De Land

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I belive it was the early 2000’s, the L.A. police shot a man on the 405 frwy, he was shot at by about 5 to 7 police officers. The man was hit about 4 times, they pick up 93 9 millimeter shell casings afterwards. All those bullets flew into the suburban neighborhood that was adjacent the frwy.
I make my living as a Glazier ( Glass cutter and installer) and have replaced glass with bullet holes from stray rounds fired in sub-verbs. It is amazing more folks are not hit by as many shots as often happens in these police shoot outs.
 
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