According to the web, Snake Oil is a term used to describe the promotion of fraudulent or unproven medical practices. It also is applied metaphorically to any product with questionable and/or unverifiable quality or benefit. And by extension, the term "snake oil salesman" may be applied to someone who sells fraudulent goods, or who is a fraud himself.

A better definition for Sight Reliant Shooting and those who proffer it as an elixir for winning pistol gunfights, is hard to come by.

snake oil

This article is in response to the those who continue to trumpet for the use of Sight Reliant Shooting in CQB situations, or are of the opinion that competition pistol shooting experience will result in winning pistol CQB situations.

Now, there is nothing wrong with opinions or wishful thinking, but when the subject is killing or being killed, facts and documentation should drive the discussion.


A recurring theme in Sight Reliant Shooting Vs Point Shooting discussions, is that one must be able to account for every pistol shot taken, and the best way to insure that is to use the sights.

However; in most all CQB situations, Sight Reliant Shooting IS NOT, OR CAN NOT BE USED due to bad lighting, other environmental conditions, the dynamics of the situations, time constraints, and the automatic and instinctive activation of our Fight or Flight response which occurs in real life threat situations and can result in the loss of near vision focusing which is needed to see the sights for Sight Reliant Shooting. Here's a link to an article that provides more info on the loss of vision focusing in real CQB situations.

Basically, in a real life threat situation, our FOF response is activated instinctively and automatically. And with activation, adrenaline is dumped into the blood stream. The adrenaline in turn, relaxes the ciliary muscle of the eye, which controls and changes the shape of the lens from thick for focusing on near objects, to thin for focusing on far objects. And when the ciliary muscle relaxes, the lens can flatten, and the ability to focus on near objects like the sights can be lost.


The deadly serious problem associated with teaching Sight Reliant Shooting for use in CQB situations, is that Officers then are left with no reliable and effective method of shooting to use in those situations where there is the greatest chance of their being shot and/or killed, as Sight Reliant Shooting is not or can not be used in most all of them.

Per the FBI's stats, if an Officer is going to be shot and killed, there is an 80% chance that it will happen at less than 21 feet. Also, according to the FBI's 1999-2008 UCR, of the 486 Officers feloniously killed with firearms, 248 were killed within 5 feet, 91 within 10 feet, and 58 within 20 feet. (248+91+58/486=81.687 or 82%)

The NYPD's, dated but still good, SOP 9 study of over 4,000 CQB cases, found that sight alignment was not used in 70% of the cases. Officers reported that they used instinctive or point shooting.

According to that study, as the distance between the Officer and opponent increased, some type of aiming was reported in 20% of the cases. The aiming or sighting ran from using the barrel as an aiming reference to picking up the front sight and utilizing fine sight alignment.

The remaining 10% could not remember whether they had aimed or pointed and fired the weapon instinctively.

Now, to be effective, any shooting method must incorporate aiming. Just pointing your gun at a target and blasting away, which happens in most gunfights because Sight Reliant Shooting is not or can not be used, gives us the recognized CQB MISS RATE of over 80%.

That means that more than four of every five shots miss the target and go somewhere else, which is not my idea of acceptable shooting performance or accountability in any way shape or form.

And leaving the self teaching of instinctive shooting or Point Shooting to Officers in real life or death CQB situations, borders on reckless endangerment on the part of their trainers, the brass, and by association, the FBI and gun makers.

And members of the public also are endangered recklessly via the attitude and practice of trainers and administrators.

For example, on Friday morning, 08/25/2012, in Manhattan NY City, a gunman shot and killed a former coworker and then was shot and killed by the Police. 2 Officers shot 16 rounds at the man who was wielding a .45 caliber pistol after he engaged in a gun battle. The gunman was hit 7 times for a hit rate of 44%. That rate is very poor, but still better than the established and abysmal hit rate of less than 20%.

9 passersby were wounded by the police in the gun battle. Three sustained direct gunshot wounds, while the remaining six were hit by fragments, according to New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. All injuries were caused by police, he said Saturday.

The employment of Threat Focused Shooting, which is similar to that taught long ago by Fairbairn, Sykes, and Applegate, and currently by Lou Chiodo, would materially increase an Officer's or civilian's chance of survival and winning in a real gunfight. That is also the case with AIMED Point Shooting or P&S.


The SS Vs PS debate has been going on since at least 1835, and it is doubtful that it will be settled in the near future.

However; the downside of just continuing the argument, and not taking action to resolve it via scientific studies, is that for the past 22 years Police Officers have been shot and killed at the rate of one every seven days, and thousands have been wounded each year. And the carnage continues today and with no end in sight.

Sadly, most all Police organizations including the FBI, don't seem to care that much about it, as they have not developed and adopted via scientific means, a practical and effective shooting method for use in CQB situations.

If that was done, the result would be a reduction in the tragic Police casualty rates, and a great improvement in gunfight accuracy.

And as a by-product, millions of average citizens would be provided with a science based, practical, and effective shooting method to use in their self defense.

JUST THE FACTS MAM, JUST THE FACTS -- (Sgt. Joe Friday - Dragnet)

A bizarre fact about Sight Reliant Shooting, is that it has been taught to millions and millions over the past 100 years, yet there are no pics or videos of it ever being used effectively in a CQB situation.

Based on the stats and studies of CQB situations, it is obvious that trainers, the brass, and by association the FBI and gun makers, don't know what they are doing, or can't train, or both. And that is not being critical, just stating what the facts show.


In a book I read recently, the use of a pistol is proscribed for use in training scenarios which involve shooting at distances up to 50 yards. And an Aug. 2012 PoliceOne article, calls for increased training at 15-50 yards.

Since most all gunfights occur at less than 7 yards, training at extended distances may have some place in a training program and for some scenarios.

But, given that there is a premium on training dollars, spending dollars on training at extended distances, will result in training for dealing with gunfight situations that most Officers and civilians will never encounter.

According to the RAND Corporation study of the NYPD, it is statistically unlikely that an Officer will discharge his or her weapon during his or her entire career on the Police force.

For example: during 2006, only 156 Officers out of the force of some 37,000, were involved in a firearm-discharge incident. And fewer than half of those incidents involved an Officer shooting at a human being. Most involved Officers shooting at dogs. Here's a link to more info on the RAND study.

And there is the real question of shooting accurately beyond 7 yards with pistols given their short sight radius. Here's a link to an article on Muzzle Movement And Accuracy.

Also and as an aside, the use of higher caliber pistols such as the 40 mm, to increase stopping power, also increases the probability of misses due to increased recoil. Here's a link to the FBI's paper on the 40 mm.


I have found that shooting lots and lots of rounds can improve shooting performance. That was the case when I was practicing shooting at aerials (pop can tossed into the air), with an airsoft pistol).


Shooting aerials is not that difficult, but does require practice. After practicing 1 hour per day for a week, I was able to "consistently" hit 4+ cans in a row, and even more at times. For example, I have hit 10 in a row, and 11 in a row.

Here's a link to a video of me shooting 7 in a row.

I used AIMED Point Shooting or P&S. Trying to use the sights or even secure a flash sight picture when shooting at aerials just doesn't work, as anyone can easily prove using an airsoft pistol.

Very fast and precision shooting is required for shooting aerials, and it is attainable with P&S, as anyone also can prove with an airsoft pistol.

No demonstrations, or a "come on" such as "lets have a one-on-one competition" to see which method is best, as is often used as a sop by self designated superior shooters in on-line discussions/arguments about P&S, is required.

If they were a thoughtful and "superior shooter", they could easily learn P&S and evaluate it, as it can be learned and maintained with little or no practice.

Here's a link to an extended brief on P&S with how-to-do info.

And P&S is not a bar to, and can be used to enhance both Sight Reliant Shooting and Point shooting methods.

Also, in the real world, Jack Ruby used it when he shot and killed Oswald.


Sight Reliant Shooting instructors often talk about the need to perfect trigger control and manipulation to insure accuracy.

On the other hand, here's what Applegate said in his book "kill or Be Killed" (1943), which was published with the help of the US Army, and as Marine Corps: Marine Force Reference Publication (FMFRP) 12-80.

"Visualize the first-class target shot in the following combat situation: It is dark, he is in an alley, a poorly lighted street, or a room in a building. He can hardly see his gun at arm's length, to say nothing of the sights. His muscles are tense, his nerves keyed up to a fighting pitch.

"Suddenly the enemy starts shooting at him from an unexpected quarter.

"Even if he could see the sights, would he take the time to line them up and fire at the enemy's gun flash? Does he take up the trigger slack and squeeze off the shot as he has been taught to do in target shooting?

"Will he make sure that his feet are properly positioned and that he is breathing correctly? He certainly will not! He will grip his gun convulsively, raise it, point or shove it in the general direction of the enemy, and pull (not squeeze) the trigger.

...In daylight he will do exactly the same thing....

"It is a matter of record that the average hand gun shooting affray takes place at a distance not exceeding 20 feet...Any distance not exceeding 40 feet can be considered as Close Quarters in the combat use of the pistol or revolver. Beyond that distance the capabilities of the average individual and of the weapon show a marked decline.

"...By proper training at combat ranges, man-killing accuracy, without the use of sights and with extreme speed, can be acquired by the average soldier or Police Officer. This can be done in less time, and with less expenditure of ammunition, than is required to become even a fair target shot."

Here is a link to my article which explains why low and left shooting occurs in CQB: http://www.pointshooting.com/1alow.htm


Competition shooting experience is also touted as a means of improving shooting effectiveness that will result in winning CQB encounters where there is the greatest chance of being shot and/or killed.

Here's what Fairbairn and Sykes had to say about that in their book "Shooting To Live" which also is a Fleet Marine Force reference Publication (FNFRP) 12-81:

"(page 1) By "Pistol" is meant any one-hand gun....Excluding dueling..., there seem to remain two primary and quite distinct uses for the pistol. The first of those uses is for target shooting (i.e. deliberate shooting with a view to getting all shots in the ten-ring on a stationary target). Its second use is as a weapon of combat.

"This book is concerned solely with the latter aspect, but it must not be inferred on that account that we in any way decry the sport of target shooting, On the contrary, we admire the high degree of skill for which it calls and which we personally cannot emulate.

"We recognize the great amount of patient practice necessary to attain such skill, and we can see that in suitable circumstances the inclusion of a target pistol in the camper's equipment would not only be a source of pleasure but might be useful as well. Target shooting has its place and we have no quarrel with it.

"There probably will be a quarrel, however when we go on to say that beyond helping to teach care in the handling of fire-arms, target shooting is of no value whatever in learning the use of the pistol as a weapon of combat. The two things are as different from each other as chalk from cheese, and what has been learned from target shooting is best unlearned if proficiency is desired in the use of the pistol under actual fighting conditions.

"These views are the outcome of many years of carefully recorded experience with the Police Force of a semi-Oriental city in which, by reason of local conditions that are unusual and in some respects unique, armed crime flourishes to a degree that we think must be unequaled anywhere else in the world. That experience includes not only armed encounters but the responsibility for instructing large numbers of police in those methods of pistol shooting which have been thought best calculated to bring results in the many shooting affrays in which they are called upon to take part.

"There are many who will regard our views as rank heresy, or worse. We shall be content for the present, however, if in the light of the preceding paragraph we may be conceded at least a title to those views, and we shall hope to fortify the title subsequently by statistics of actual results of shooting affrays over a number of years.

"At this point it would be advisable to examine very carefully the conditions under which we may expect the pistol to be used, regarding it only us a combat weapon. Personal experience will tend perhaps to make us regard these conditions primarily from the policeman's point of view, but a great many of them must apply equally, we think, to military, and other requirements in circumstances which preclude the use of a better weapon than the pistol -- that is to say, when it is impracticable to use a shot-gun, rifle, or sub-machine gun.

"In the great majority of shooting affrays the distance at which firing takes place is not more than four yards. Very frequently it is considerably less. Often the only warning of what is about to take place is a suspicious movement of an opponent's hand. Again, your opponent is quite likely to be on the move. It may happen, too, that you have been running in order to overtake him. If you have had reason to believe that shooting is likely, you will be keyed-up to the highest pitch and will be grasping your pistol with almost convulsive force. If you have to fire, your instinct will be to do so as quickly as possible, and you will probably do it with a bent arm, and possibly even from the level of the hip. The whole affair may take place in bad light or none at all....

"(page 5) ...the necessity for speed is vital and can never be sufficiently emphasized. The average shooting affray is a matter of split seconds. If you take much longer than a third of a second to fire your first shot, you will not be the one to tell the newspapers about it. It is literally a matter of the quick and the dead. Take your choice."

"Instinctive aiming...is an entirely logical consequence of the extreme speed to which we attach so much importance. That is so for the simple reason that there is no time for many of the customary aids to accuracy. If reliance on those aids has become habitual, so much the worse for you if you are shooting to live. There is no time, for instance, to put your self into some special stance or to align the sights of the pistol, and any attempt to do so places you at the mercy of a quicker opponent. In any case, the sights would be of little use if the light were bad, and none at all if it were dark, as might easily happen. Would it not be wiser, therefore, to face facts squarely and set to work to find out how best to develop instinctive aiming to the point of getting results under combat conditions ?

"It can be done and it is not so very difficult.

"Everyone is familiar with the fact that he can point his forefinger accurately at an object at which he happens to be looking. It is just as easy, more-over, to do so without raising the hand so high as the level of the. That he can do so may be coordination of eye and hand or just plain instinct, call it what you will.

"Please try this little experiment while sitting at your desk. Imagine that you am holding a pistol in your right hand. Sitting squarely and keeping both eyes open, raise your hand from the level of the desk, but not so high as the level of your eyes, and with a straight arm point your extended forefinger at a mark directly in front of you on the opposite wall. Observe carefully now what has taken place.

"Your forefinger, as intended, will be pointing to the mark which you are facing squarely, and the back of your hand will be vertical, as it would be if it actually held a pistol. You will observe also that you have brought your arm across you until your hand is approximately in alignment with the vertical center-line of your body and that, under the directing impulse of the master-eye, your hand will be bent from the wrist towards the right.

"The elements of that little experiment form the basis of the training system which is elaborated in succeeding chapters. We cannot claim that the system produces nail-driving marksmanship, but that is not what we look for. We want the ability to hit with extreme speed man-sized targets at very short ranges under the difficult circumstances which have been outlined already. Nail-driving marksman-ship will not cope with such situations."


Here's what the US Army says about pointing which is a prime element of AIMED Point Shooting or P&S. It's found in the US Army Field Manual 3-23.35: Combat Training With Pistols M9 AND M11 (June, 2003).

"Everyone has the ability to point at an object....

"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."


The P&S grip provides a strong and level shooting platform. It is made up of the natural pincer of the thumb and index finger, along with the ring and little fingers that add tenacity to it. You can squeeze the gun as hard as you like, and all you will do is increase the strength of the grip.

It's not a weak three fingered marksmanship grip, where the middle ring and little fingers make up the grip, and the thumb and index finger are not supposed to press against the gun.

Also, with P&S, the index finger kept along the side of the gun, so that each shot can to be aimed accurately. The middle finger is used to pull the trigger.


The following is from a digest of Walter J. Dorfner's paper on P&S as I call it. Walter was the long time lead firearms instructor for the VSP. He has since retired and died. He introduced students to P&S, but it was not part of the official training program.

"When the middle pad of the middle finger was placed on the trigger, the force needed with double action to cock and fire the weapon, felt much lighter than the measured 12 pounds.

"With single action, the 4 pound force that was needed to fire the weapon, felt like simple air resistance.

"Also, as the middle pad of the finger was on the trigger, the curling action of the tip of the finger did not affect the fall of the shot.

"Another benefit was that the centerline bore was more closely aligned with the web of the hand. That provided for both a natural pointing of the weapon and better control of recoil forces.

"New shooters with limited hand strength, had a problem pulling the trigger smoothly with double action when the index finger was used to pull the trigger. That was not true when the middle finger was used to pull the trigger.

"When experienced shooters were exposed to the technique, some converted to it when they saw improvement in their speed of target acquisition and accuracy even when the weapon was not in the line of site.

"During entry drills against live targets, who were generally moving, AIMED Point Shooting allowed for fast accurate shots during dynamic and highly stressed encounters.

"In live fire entries, shooters did well even when the bullet traps were set anywhere from 3 to 7 feet off the floor and scattered about the building at varying distances.

"In the immediate area, accurate shots were made with the pistol at waist level while moving.

"When shooting instructors, students, and new shooters used the technique with a weapon in the line of sight plane and below it, the ratio of hits to shots fired went up significantly.

"To learn the cause for this, the weapon was pointed at the target, held in position, and the sight picture observed before a shot was fired. The impact corresponded to what the sight picture showed would be the point of impact."


I believe that P&S never caught on in the US as the US Military cautioned against using it in the first manual published on the 1911 in 1912, and in many other manuals (1915, 1917, 1918, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1929), published up until the 1940's.

Here's the cautionary language as found in the first manual published in 1912: "The trigger should be pulled with the forefinger. If the trigger is pulled with the second finger, the forefinger extending along the side of the receiver is apt to press against the projecting pin of the slide stop and cause a jam when the slide recoils."

Now, the 1911 was the standard-issue side arm from 1911 to 1985, and it still is carried by some US forces. And the US Military did not fix the slide stop flaw of the 1911.

So using P&S was not available to the 1911 user, though it was known of since at least 1835, and not having the option of using it, could prove to be fatal.

Since the 1911 was used in WW I, WW II, Korea, Vietnam..., there obviously were many many Close Quarters battle situations when P&S could have been used to good effect were it not for the design of the slide stop. And NOT having that option, no doubt resulted in hundreds if not thousands of U.S. casualties over the 70+ year reign of the 1911.

The Tokarev pistol produced by the Soviets, was very similar to the Browning design. 1.5 million were produced, and a simple 2 pronged clip was used to fix the design flaw of the slide stop of the 1911.

Here's a link to more info on the 1911 and its design flaw:


If anyone is aware of a scientific based study of CQB situations that has resulted in the development of a practical and effective method of shooting for use in CQB situations by Police and civilians alike, please bring both of them on. My email is ps (at) pointshooting.com.

The Police Officers who are going to be shot and/or killed, and civilians alike, and their families, would like to hear about them, and in particular, how the shooting method is done.

Here is a link to my article on How 2 Shoot 2 Kill More Effectively.

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