Point shooting is a controversial topic and one that people seem naturally drawn to discuss...yet I fear that quite often folks discussing it are talking about different things and the other guy doesn't realize it. I don't claim to be the last word on this but I think a reasonable definition of point shooting is:
That's it. Shooting with no sight index, simply using your body and arm position along with the feel of the gun in your hand. This can be one-handed or two-handed shooting and it can be shooting from the hip a la the late great Bill Jordan, or it can be shooting with the gun held higher. What it cannot be is shooting with the gun held where you can see it.
Now wait a minute, you can hold the gun out in front of you without looking at the sights, why isn't that point shooting?
The reason is that anytime you can see the gun and the target you are aiming, even if in a very crude way. The gun in your line of vision becomes a way to index on the target. As I said, crude, but it is aiming nonetheless. So the first thing we need to accept if we are going to have a sensible definition is that point shooting means shooting without benefit of any method of indexing on the target save for feel. Anything else is aimed shooting and it runs the gamut from ultra-crude to very precise.
A simple way to think of all this is to call it visually indexed versus non-visually indexed shooting. And we should remember that this concept of "point shooting" is a type of shooting, not a type of pointing. I only mention this because some people always bring up pointing when they discuss point shooting. Folks, that is fine, but you're not talking about shooting there. The idea seems to be that you can learn point shooting in the same way you learned to point. (There's a guy with a web site who wants you to put your index finger alongside the pistol and point the gun by pointing your finger at the target. Oh my.)
You point at an object by pointing your finger but you are also visually focusing on the object, which is like aimed shooting--when you point at an object with you finger you generally have your finger in your line of sight--thus you are aiming your finger. If you do not have your finger within your vision you are just gesturing in the general direction of something which you also probably do not see. Semantics are a pleasant side debate but a distraction here at best. You better never be gesturing your handgun in the general direction of something you cannot see!
The guys who want to equate point shooting with pointing in general define point shooting as simply visually focusing on the target rather than the gun. That is not workable folks, it simply isn't for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that in a gunfight you are always going to look at your attacker regardless because you are going to be scared and when we are scared we look at what scares us. But if we are both trained and practiced (not the same thing), we will attain a visual index on our gun and not just point it without AIMING and let bullets fly downrange without regard to our backstop.
I don't want to get too far afield in this short editorial but the minute you let loose with a single bullet anywhere on this planet except in a place where you have a known backstop like an established shooting range, you open the biggest can of worms you ever imagined. I truly cannot imagine anything worse than putting one of my bullets into an innocent bystander because I failed to make the attempt to aim my gun at my attacker. If these couple sentences don't convince you of the importance of that perhaps nothing will so I won't drag it out.
While I think my definition is a pretty solid way to divide point shooting from aimed shooting, I do realize that there will always be arguments, and for whatever reason, aimed versus point shooting is such a controversial topic that even defining it has been something people like to argue about, so no doubt this won't settle anything. Still, I hope you'll give my comments some thought, and perhaps you'll agree that simply accepting aimed shooting means achieving a visual index of any sort and point or unaimed shooting means not achieving a visual index. Seems like an easy way to distinguish the two methods. (26Feb09)
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