Self-Defense Tip: Practice with Your Eyes Closed

 

OK, disclaimer first. Only practice this “eyes closed” live fire drill where it is safe to do so. We’re talking closed range, close range, experienced shooter. I repeat: don’t be a putz. The idea is simple enough: when push comes to shove, you won’t be using your handgun’s sights. You’ll be point-shooting. So you might as well practice doing so. Of course, you could tape over your sights. But then you’d still use the under-tape bumps to line up your shots . . .

You could remove your sights. But then you’d have to put them back on to practice enough to get good enough not to need them. You could also buy a sightless Colt New Agent (below). But then you’d own an $885 double-action-only (at best) 1911—which is a bit like wearing the world’s most fire-retardant paper hat.

So . . . close your eyes. You can close your eyes, it’s alright. I don’t know no love songs. I can’t sing the blues anymore. Sorry; big Richie Havens fan.

Also for safety’s sake, it’s best to start by dry-firing. About a thousand times. Moving up to a non-lethal round—before you inflict a leadache on Mr. Target—is not a bad idea. When you’re ready for live fire, do it one round at a time, with a spotter (positioned out of harm’s way) to keep you out of trouble.

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Despite what you saw in Kevin Costner’s Bodyguard, this is not the kind of Kung Fu Panda shit you want to deploy in actual gunfight. And try it the other way ’round as well: keep the sights on and practice shooting as fast as you can—so you don’t have time to use your sights. (RO permitting.)

And after you master all that, remember that slowing down during a gunfight and using your sights is an excellent way to hit what you’re aiming at. And then remember that you need to get as much lead into the bad guy as possible as soon as possible.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

comments

  1. avatar John Fritz says:

    Looking at that New Agent reminds me of when this little guy was my CC gun. It took a lot of shooting to learn how to look down the top of a (practically) sightless gun and hit anything reliably.

    Shooting a New Agent would be like driving your car around with the sun visor pulled down in front of your eyes. Except you would hit something with the latter.

  2. avatar Magoo says:

    Point shooting is interesting and lots of fun, but you can’t do it with your eyes closed. Point shooting relies completely on the shooter’s visual acquisition of the target. In that regard it is no different than conventional sighting. The trick is to make your weapon point where your eyes are looking, for example forefinger style, which can be surprisingly accurate (considering) out to 20 yards.

  3. avatar 2Wheels says:

    I haven’t seen any of the DAO New Agents in stores yet, but the original single action versions are all over the place, and I own one and carry it daily. It’s an excellent and reliable handgun.

    Y’all should pick a New Agent up and shoot it before passing judgement. Once you get used to its unique “trench/gutter” sight (it isn’t totally sightless) it’s suprisingly accurate within realistic CCW distances (15 or so yards).

  4. avatar John Veit says:

    What Magoo said if the forefinger is the same as the index finger, except that if you shoot someone at 60 feet and claim self defense, you probably are a certified nut case so you won’t care if you are locked up for the next thirty years.

    The shooter used two hands which the stats say won’t happen in real life, so he is building up “bad muscle memories” which probably make him confused in a real deal.

    And without having practiced with one hand, and as he will be squeezing the gun hard in a real deal, he will torque the gun down and around to the left, and his shots will go where most misses go, low and left.

    It just a matter of the laws of nature and physics.

    Shooting a gun with your eyes closed is STUPID!

    Why do people go around advertising that they want firearms banned, or at least taken out of their hands. The lady in the yellow shirt is another example.

    They are poster children for the Brady bunch

    Airsoft guns and BB’s operate under the same laws of nature and physics as firearms do.

    1. avatar Rabbi says:

      John,

      “if you shoot someone at 60 feet and claim self defense, you probably are a certified nut case so you won’t care if you are locked up for the next thirty years.”

      Incorrect. If you are in fear of death or grave bodily harm from someone 60 feet away, you are completely justified at shooting back. Since it is easy to hit a target at 60 feet with a handgun, a shooter at that distance is definitely a threat. My police qualification includes shooting at 75 feet–which is still easy to do.

      I don’t advocate practicing with eyes closed. The video was to demonstrate that body index plays an important role in the physical mechanics of unholstering and aiming a handgun. Your body index alone can get the gun pointed very close to where you want with your eyes doing the final adjustment.

      While I certainly advocate practicing one-handed, it is irrelevant to the demonstration.

  5. avatar Magoo says:

    John Veit says: “Shooting a gun with your eyes closed is STUPID!”

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Yes, forefinger = index finger. I was taught the method as a kid decades ago and still like to practice it sometimes because it’s fun — and very interesting to me in the hand/eye interface. In family lore it was supposedly an old military thing.

    If you are the same John Veit, I have read of your method, which formalizes and greatly expands upon the rudimentary technique I was taught. Excellent, thanks for all you do. I can see you have given it considerable study.

    I also completely agree about shooting range in self defense. I am not a defense shooter, just a sportsman. However, I am intrigued by that fact that point-shooting can be remarkably accurate from a variety of stances and positions or moving in any direction. I am surprised that more self-defense shooters don’t practice with it. With their eyes open, I mean.

    1. avatar John Veit says:

      Thanks Magoo,

      Comments like yours, keep me going along.

      Have a good one.

    2. avatar KR says:

      “Under stress you won’t use your sights?”. Under stress, you do what you’ve trained to do. Data from dozens of high stress activities is available to prove this very basic point: flight simulators, SCUBA diving, driving, just to name a few. Surviving emergencies in those situations requires more complex skills than firing a gun, and people that are trained properly (basics, escalated to high stress training where they practice their skills under stress) successfully survive incidents every year.

      Back in the 60’s and 70s, when that “you won’t use your sights” trope became popular, “training” consisted of slow fire group shooting, nothing like the realistic, high speed/high stress training most schools do now. The level of knowledge about handgun shooting, and the relationship between sight picture quality, target size and proximity, and shooting speed wasn’t understood the way it is now, after 20+ years of serious study by competition shooters and trainers. Most of that knowledge isn’t new.

      Read real history: Wyatt Earp used his sights. So did Charles Askins, who survived a LOT of gunfights and was a top competition shooter in his day.

      Read Brian Enos’ book. Read Jim Cirillo’s book. Talk to trainers like Tom Givens and Scott Reitz who have had many students win real gunfights, who were trained to use their sights, and who DID use their sights.

      The assumption that there are only two types of shooting: completely unaimed, and bullseye precision, is ignorant of the lessons learned from the last 100+ years of training and combat. Enos’ book explains the whole spectrum from point shooting to bullseye and all the variations in between better than most, but honestly any school in the country taught by any credible instructor, even one teaching the new NRA Personal Protection material, explains those variations.

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