As I wrote in the first installment of this series, learning to shoot effectively at close quarters with one hand is key to surviving a life threatening situation. The stats say that with few exceptions, you will defend your life shooting one-handed. Anecdotally, the security video from the recent convenience store robbery attempt shows what happens to most shooters under stress: they fire one-handed. Obviously, there are accuracy and gun control problems that come with one hand shooting. According to the literature, in combat you will 1. have a crush grip on your gun, and 2. shove your gun out towards the threat when shooting . . .
With a crush grip on your gun, your thumb exerts pressure on the frame. It pushes the back of the gun to the right. At the same time, your middle, ring and little fingers pull the gun muzzle down and around to the left. Your index finger adds to the twisting. As a result, your shots tend to go low and left. Also, when the gun is shoved out to full extension, your wrist naturally rotates around and down to the right, which adds to low and left shooting.
There is a very simple shooting method that works very well when shooting one-handed. It provides you with a strong and level shooting platform. It can be learned with little if any training. And it can be maintained with minimal practice. It works in good light or bad, standing still, moving, shooting at moving targets, and even shooting aerials. It provides the user with automatic and correct sight alignment, and an automatic and correct sight picture.
Basically, the index finger is placed along the side of the gun, and pointed at a target, and the middle finger is use to shoot. The method has been around and known of since at least 1835, but it’s generally unknown in the US due to years and years of cautioning against its use by the US military.
I call the method: AIMED Point Shooting or P&S to separate it from other methods that use a point of aim, body indexing, a locked arm, etc..
AIMED Point Shooting is not recommended for 1911-style pistols. US Military manuals (published from 1912 up until the 1940s) contain a specific caution against using P&S with the 1911s.
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.
The 1911 was the only standard issue firearm of US forces. After thirty or so years of specifying that the index finger was to be used on the trigger, it’s easy to understand why the method was—and still is—considered the only way to shoot an automatic.
Truth be told, in a close quarters life threat situation, it doesn’t really matter which finger you use to pull the trigger—unless you are using a 1911. You will have a crush grip on your gun. And using your index finger to aim a pistol works.
Here’s what the US Army says about our ability to point at things. It is found in the US Army’s 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 grip used is a strong four-finger grip made up of the natural pincer of the thumb and index finger with the ring and little fingers adding strength and tenacity to the grip. You can squeeze the begeebers out of the gun and all you will do is strengthen the grip. You can make front punches, elbow smashes, and even use the gun and forearm as a crude battle ax.
[Note: This is not the three-fingered range and marksmanship grip, where the thumb is not supposed to press against the gun, and the index finger is supposed to be held aloof from the gun and used to squeeze the trigger smoothly back until the shot breaks.]
The index finger, when extended, helps lock up the wrist and improve recoil control. When the middle finger is used on the trigger, the gun sits down lower in the hand, which also helps with recoil. The middle finger pulls back straighter in the hand. It’s stronger than the index finger, which helps makes it easier to shoot double action guns with their heavy trigger pull.
Common sense is required. Don’t use it with a gun where the index finger will be hit by the slide, or rest over the ejection port, or extend beyond the front of the gun. And don’t use it with the 1911. Also don’t use it with revolvers if your finger will be burned by hot gas when the gun is fired.
Several of the new flat sided minis are excellent candidates for use with the method, and for adding a P&S aiming aid to them. (S&W Bodyguard, Walther PPS, Beretta PX4, SIG P290, Ruger LCP) The aiming aid helps to assure mechanical and automatic correct index finger placement, and to keep the index finger in place and away from the slide during rapid firing while the gun is jumping and bucking in your hand.
You can easily prove that the method works, by trying it with most any type of gun (airsoft, pellet, or firearm), and looking at your targets. It also can be used to enhance and improve the effectiveness of other shooting methods.