Front-Sight Focus: An Essential Aspect of Defensive Shooting

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posted on July 27, 2018
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Years ago, Skeeter Skelton, that great gun writer, created a character that he called Jug Johnson. Jug was Skeeter’s way of pointing out that our shooting industry has what he called a lunatic fringe. That fringe is nowhere more evident than in the antics and teachings of some of the folks who call themselves defensive-shooting instructors. Some of the videos that we see on social media are way better than anything that the Three Stooges ever filmed. The trouble is, some of these guys aren’t trying to be funny; they are gambling that their bizarre post will become the next “cool thing.”

What really amuses me are the instructors who come up with the latest and greatest technique for getting hits on a target without using the sights. Now, you would think that this old bromide had been put to bed long, long ago. Even the FBI's agents used to do those deep crouches with their guns at waist level, but the agency saw the light many years ago. Earlier than that, Texas Ranger Captain Frank Hamer was quoted as saying that the only time he shot from the hip was when the bad guy was so close to him that he couldn’t raise his arm high enough to properly see the sights.

So now, it is in vogue to give point-shooting a new nameOptical-Rectal-Somethingoranotherand assure students that they won’t look at their sights when they are in a gunfight. Therefore, they shouldn’t practice it. Wrong again, Oh Innovator-of-the-Week.

Back in the 1970s, when some of these modern-day commandos were still watching cartoons, Col. Jeff Cooper began to teach the importance of focusing on the pistol’s front sight in a gunfight. First, he showed that, when done properly, sighted hits could be delivered just as fast as point-shooting misses. Secondly, he demonstrated that students could be taught to focus on their front sights in actual gunfights. As amazing as it may be to some, these were the same students who were winning actual gunfights by getting fight-stopping hits on crooks.

Some of the point-shooting commandos like to refer to videos of actual shootings where the shooters involved are not using their sights as proof of what a person will do in a real gunfight. Coincidentally, these are usually the same videos where multiple shots are fired, but only 1 or 2 rounds actually find their target. What these videos prove is that the shooters pictured needed lots more training and practice. 

What I would submit to you is that the Jug Johnsons of the defensive-shooting world are really looking for some sort of gimmick that will draw attention to themselves and make them rich and famous defensive instructors. 

If you are into staying alive more than discovering gimmicks, I would suggest that you learn to use your sights in defensive shooting. Not to sound too radical, but you might even seek out good professional training so that you can learn to do it correctly and quicklyThunder Ranch and Gunsite Academy are two places that will gladly help you with that.

The only time you really have to use your sights in a gunfight is when you want to win that gunfight. You might also keep in mind that personal defense is a lifestyle, not a hobby.

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