19th Jan2012

Natural Point of Aim (The Art of The Draw 1)

by A.J.

Why Spend So Much Time On Pistol Drills?

Pistol training can consume a large part of all skill training for the tactical athlete because, it takes much more training input with the pistol to gain a competency as opposed to other weapon systems. There are many skills that apply to handgun training that will determine if you can successfully engage a target in a short amount of time; they include pistol stance, trigger squeeze, sight picture and a host of other skills. None of the above skills will have as large an effect on your overall proficiency as the development of a natural point of aim.

Develop A Natural Point of Aim

I know these NVGs have a day time setting but how hard is it to just flip them up. Besides Col. or not can we please all agree to get a forward leaning aggressive stance.

What Is A Natural Point Of Aim?

A natural point of aim is often defined as the ability to have your pistol pointed at a target with your eyes closed. If you present a pistol with your eyes closed and then open your eyes to find you are pointed at the target where you have intended it to be you have developed a natural point of aim. Many pistols have differing configurations with respect to grip angle and trigger pull so if you have used one type of pistol for the majority of your training you may notice that you shoot differently with another type. When J.M. Browning first designed the pistol that would later become the 1911 he was said to have spent a great deal of time studying the human hand before he decided to set the grip angle at 103 degrees because he felt that angle would create a natural point of aim with the average shooter, also of note is that a Glock with a 109 degree grip angle will require a different stance and grip than a 1911 to achieve a natural point of aim. To develop a natural point of aim the name of the game is drilling like crazy. This skill can and should be developed in a dry practice environment where no shots are fired and instead you can focus on the body position and joint angles. The wrist joint is one of the more difficult to train because unlike the hinged joints of the elbow and knee the wrist flexes in many different planes which can lead to great variance in presentation.

How Do I Improve My Shooting

I have made a video that outlines a couple of dry practice drills you can use to develop a mastery of the pistol and should be a first step to developing a foundation in pistol training for the beginner as well as a skill that a shooter of any level can gain something from. Please leave your comments I read them all and try to make replies in a timely manner.

27 Responses to “Natural Point of Aim (The Art of The Draw 1)”

  • Mike

    Good stuff AJ, for those of us with departments or agencies reigning in the ammo budgets, its great to have stuff we can do for free. Thanks!

    • A.J.

      Thanks Mike I hope this can help you all out, because we depend on you guys. I appreciate you taking the time to write a comment.

  • david

    Part 3 of this series should be about what to say when your wife catches you practicing in front of the mirror in the bathroom…..

    • A.J.

      Oh I already know what I would say, it would go something like this:
      Wife: What are you doing in front of the mirror?
      Me: Well if you must know, I am saving us $750,000.00.
      Wife: er what are you talking about?
      Me: Well remember when I sent you that proposal that included a pro forma for the purchase of the motion capture equipment they used on Avatar, because I needed to perfect my pistol draw to protect the family? You said I wasn’t allowed to buy it even though I thought it was a good deal. Protecting the family means so much more to me than money but, because for some reason you put a price tag on safety I have been forced to improvise. The way I see it a penny saved is a penny earned, so if you will excuse me I AM BUSY EARNING US $750,000.00.
      Wife: You know I could have married that guy with the great hair.
      Me: I think he married that other guy with the great abs.

      • david

        Perfect! I have a good feeling that this will be more than enough to satisfy an inquisitive wife as I brandish a firearm in as many as two or three rooms. Possibly four.

  • Silent1six4

    “Capt. America” ,

    As always, great video with great drills that is clear and concise. Awesome and keep it coming my man! Oh by the way, I see we are working the “cool guy hair again”. Must be the cold weather…I will be waiting for you on the dark side when you cut that rug off ! Stay in the fight and Stay safe my man!!

    • Yeah but every time I grow my hair out it seems to get thinner each time so now I am definitely in the final stages of cool guyness.

  • Brian B.

    The perennial discussion of 9mm vs .45 cal. Looks like we both use a 9mm. Is that your preference and why? For me the mag capacity, accuracy and more controllable recoil are factors.

    • Hey Brian,
      Sorry it took so long to get back to you I have been at a shooting school out in Utah. As for why I use a 9mm, mostly it is because I have small princess hands and it is difficult for me to manage the recoil on a larger griped weapon system. Also my unit uses the 9mm so I decided to get good with it, plus the rounds are less expensive and shooting about 1000 rounds a month it can really add up.

  • Brian B.

    No worry. Training never ceases. My hands are small too. Up North, the 9mm is standard. I got a chance to work a 45 when I was down in Va awhile ago. I finally bought a 9mm of my own & have been putting it thru the paces as I can afford. Ammo is more expensive up here. I’ll be doing a bunch of work trips to the US shortly & want to fire some more 45 to confirm whether I stick to a 9mm, go to a single stack 45 or a double stack 45. My overall intent is to have a 9mm, a 45 ACP and a .357 revolver to round out my .22 that I’m training my girls on before bumping them up to the 9mm. My near-term personal goal is to do some IPSC competitions and see if I shoot as well as I think I can. Should be fun.

    • Well the funny thing about the 9mm versus .45 debate besides the fact that it may never end; is that bullet placement, in my humble opinion has the best stopping power. keep training and thanks for the comment.

  • Brian B.

    Roger that. Two in the heart, one in the head!

    • The ol’ Failure Drill or Mogadishu drill depending on who you ask. Thanks for the comment.

  • Brian B.

    A.J., I had to chuckle. My first walk in the sun was in Mogadishu. Dodge City every day. The locals high on Khat and a low value on life. The place was a rush to be sure. Anyway, back to today. I’m only recently taking on pistol shooting as a serious endeavour as I can finally afford it. Over my career we focused mainly of the long guns of course with the pistol considered by many as a decoration. I have always carried both and been reasonably successful. In my opinion, my soldiers have got to be proficient with both. Urban, CQB situations are the norm as you well know better than I. Our budgets are just catching up to this reality as we expend as much 9mm as 5.56mm in training.

    • Brian,
      Yeah for sure, the reality is that the pistol is just so much harder to get great at than the carbine. A great carbine shooter can do so much and for me the pistol really is just a back up on the other hand though when the solution is a pistol it really behoves us to get awesome at it. For me I have a .22 carbine for training so I can afford to keep up and I really believe in dry practice for pistol development. Thanks for the comment and thanks for your service.

  • DG

    Awesome stuff again! Simple, concise instructions with-out the jargon (not that I’m dumb). I’ve always depended on my boom stick (870 Marine Magnum) and my AR as my primary HD weapons (I’m a lefty, but have qualified so many times on a righty M16, so I decided to stick with a righty in my purchase, so all my muscle movements are already down-pact), since I’m already proficient with these two, but with my kids getting older and more inquisitive, I’m starting to realize I’ll have to rely on my pistol more (S&W .40), and these pistol drills will definitely help me in my weak areas. Thanks again!

    • Pistol work definitely requires a huge commitment and great pistoleros are made and not born. For guys like us (military/law enforcement types with more desire to shoot than money to shoot) the dry practice become fundamental to the development of true mastery. Thanks for taking the time to comment and keep us up to date on your progress.

      • DG

        Will do Aj…also, I’m a flashlgiht junkie…got about 50 Surefires…I’d be interested in a article/piece on low light tactics. The stuff in the mags is usually written from an institutional stand-point, and the guys writing the articles never used low-light tactics in a combat environ. I’d be interested on your take from a fresh (Post 9-11), real world experience. I could defintiely add to it as far as “gear selection” tips, etc..

        Dave (I found your site last night, and have officially read all the posts…good stuff)

        • Dave that is awesome,
          Of course being isolated out on the “Bomb Dump” (where you can’t scare the Aviators) you probably have some time to do some research. Using flashlights is a funny thing with guys because everyone knows “the best way to do it is the way the highest ranking guy did it at his last unit.” That being said I am going to build one based on some of the TTPs I have used. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • AJ

    Great site, please keep it up. Also let me know if you need anything from Viking Tactics.

    Kyle Lamb

    • I can’t believe I am getting a comment from a legend!!! This is the highlight of my month. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

  • Ben Lacasse

    The same drill can be used to train Trigger Control.

  • Good stuff AJ –

    This is where economy of motion really comes into play. We try and people to have as little movement as possible. Get them to focus on bringing the gun up to their eyes in a good stance. Great isolation drills that should do us all well in a cqc stressed environment.

  • wikilinks

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on pistol stance. Regards

  • johnnylumplump

    Please please please for the love of all things holy tell me why you chose a 9mm vs a larger round. I am buying my first concealed carry gun (my 2nd handgun) and I already have a glock 17. Lots of people say “45 or nuthin” so please end this struggle for me. Thanks! and I think the site is way cool.

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