Over the last few years I’ve run into guys who advocate muscle memory shooting (or point shooting), and as soon as they do I try to keep from rolling my eyes. What they claim to be able to do is draw and fire their pistol accurately without using the sights. Some have told me they practice so much that if they draw and point their weapon at a target and THEN look at the sights, everything will be lined right up. Others have stated that sights are ok for flat range shooting but that in real shootouts (or combat) muscle memory shooting is better because any hit on a target is better than letting them get a shot off on you.
I need to bring up a few points of clarification. In every instance the advocate of muscle memory shooting was a cop and in every instance the distances we were discussing were beyond that of 3-5 yards.
I should also note that I have good friends who are police officers so this isn’t a dig on the entire force, and I also guarantee there are police officers out there who could definitely out-shoot me in any given scenario. However I did find it ironic that the only source of this muscle memory shooting did come from cops as I have never heard of such a thing in the military.
Here’s the part that’s hard for me to overcome: why take the shot (outside of very close range) when you aren’t looking down your sights? How can you be accountable for every round that goes down range if you have no idea where that round will go? The muscle memory advocates will state that they can draw and fire just as accurately without looking at the sights, at distances of 10, 15, and 25 yards and I find that very hard to believe. That’s not to say that world champion shooters couldn’t knock the wing off of a gnat at 25 yards while shooting from the hip, but those individuals are few and far between.
This is what I think happens in many cases, and I make this assertion because I USED TO DO THIS MYSELF back in the day. We all like to be fast and the combination of speed and accuracy is a hell of a thing. Unfortunately working through drills a few rounds at a time in a methodical manner isn’t sexy and while at the range we often find out that trying to use the fundamentals equates to not being fast. So the only way to speed things up is to ignore some of the fundamentals (i.e. sight picture) and blow through those last few boxes of ammo doing fun stuff. Utilizing an standard IPSC target getting 10 rounds within the C or D zone (hey they are still hits right?) is pretty easy at 10 yards using muscle memory. But what about one of the targets picture below or even worse a real life scenario which mirrors the said target? Point and shoot? Not that if that’s your wife or mom he has next to his body.
Here’s a great vid from Kyle Lamb where he gives his thoughts on point shooting, his credentials obviously dwarf mine by miles. Great stuff and something to ponder the next time you are out on the range.