View Full Version : Dot Acquisition Doctrine

09-03-2010, 10:56 PM
I'd like to hear from more experienced users along these lines: can someone put together a codefied doctrine--that is, a series of tested steps--by which one consistently and quickly acquires the dot off the draw.
I have found it helps to keep head high, not letting it dip, and to imagine the sight as an extension of my face; I bring gun to eye level (keeping head still), then extend.
I have also found that if the head creeps down, you tend to lock on the top of the sight and when it come up, you're completely lost and have to tilt, crank, bend and twist gun (in my case, a G19) to find the sight.
Do any of you think it better to concentrate on the sights and find them as you raise gun? Do you think it better to hold over target and come DOWN on it. Do you think it better to mentally index on your shoulders--or do you just trust instinct? I have the instincts of a rusted-out truck and about as much hand-eye. That is why I need someone out there to say: do 1, 2 and 3 to master the fundamental stroke. Any takers?

09-04-2010, 04:39 AM
Not doctrine. I have the back up iron sights on my 19. When I draw, I ignore the dot and focus on the iron sights. The dot is right there where it should be.

09-05-2010, 08:46 AM
Losing the dot is common for new open class IPSC shooters. Solution? Lots of practice. Draw and dry fire enough, and then it ceases to be a problem.

09-05-2010, 09:02 AM
I found that if I bring the pistol directly up to my line of sight, I sometimes have to line up the BUIS for the dot to come into view quickly.

However, if I use a point shooting, shoulder point technique (gun below line of sight) and THEN bring the gun up into my line of sight, the red dot is usually right there without having to focus on the iron sights.

A subtle difference, but it seems to work for me.

Gabriel Suarez
09-05-2010, 09:10 AM
The TSD system fixes all of that. If you can pick up your sights you also have the dot. Cheating? Yes.

I am working on a number of visual exercises to enhance red dot shooting that I will publish in the new ACRG V 2.0.

In short, repetition so that your sights end up where you are looking. We are talking about thousands and not hundreds. No free lunch here for the lazy. Then it is a matter of training the eyes to notice the dot and shoot through the optic. There are times when one may focus on the dot and times when one will need to focus on the target, and times when its a little of both.

Get a slide with both RDS and BUIS. Then drill with it until it is second nature.

Randy Harris
09-05-2010, 03:55 PM
Guys this is the same stuff we discuss about "finding " your sights. If you drive the gun to the same place everytime then the dot will be there.....just like the sights are.

But if your drawstroke is here one day and there the next...the dot will be here one day and there the next.

Poeple want bumper sticker sized answers for complex problems and "shortcuts" to avoid having to work. Unfortunately, shooting is like any other physical endeavor......the amount of (correct) practice you do is directly proportional to the level of skill you attain.

How do I find it? Drive it to where it needs to be......the rest will take care of itself. ;)

09-09-2010, 01:26 PM
It is a question of getting to there from here. Some tourists in Ireland stopped to ask a man at the side of the road the best way to get to Dublin. He thought for a few seconds and then said, "If I was going to Dublin, I wouldn't start from here." This is a bit the same. Where should we start from to get to where we want to be with the least delay or effort.

The goal is very like point shooting. We want to bring the pistol straight up to a position where the sight, whether it is irons or red dot, is on the line between the eye and the target without a need to hunt around.

I believe the best approach is a two stage approach. By the nature of things, sights shooting is more accurate than point shooting but it is also a little slower. Therefore, accept the innacuracy of point shooting and work on the idea that the first stage is to reverse aim the pistol at the eye. That should be no more difficult than any point shooting, but you really want to do it as the eye is looking at the target. That makes it more difficult because you now have to control both position and direction. The second stage is to correct the slight innacuracy of the aim by using the sights.

By the nature of a real gunfight, in contrast to shooting on the range, you might well find yourself needing to shoot using the sights when you are not in the recommended ideal stance and so you need to practice for different directions from side to side and up and down stairs or a slope. To this end a visual cue to the alignment of the sights is very valuable. If you train only for the ideal stance you can do it by muscle memory. If you have real angles it is more complicated.

I believe the best means to train this skill of picking up the red dot is the same as the skill for iron sights and it has three stages. The first is to bring the pistol sights close to the eye to target line with proprioceptive skill. That is, it is just like point shooting but instead of aligning the pistol with the target from positional sense you are aligning with both target and eye at the same time. This is obviously more difficult. The next stage is to train to recognize the alignment of the pistol from its appearance in that position so that you can be adjusting it as it settles down. The third is to make the fine adjustment to the sights or red dot which by then should be close to on the target.

To get to this ideal state you need to work backwards. Line the sights up and look at the way the pistol looks. Disturb the alignment of the pistol a little and bring it back so that it looks the same THEN check the sight alignment to see how good you were. Do it again and again. Ideally, especially for a red dot, you should be able to develop this skill so that you can see the alignment of the pistol as you focus on the target rather than focusing on the pistol.

When you can do this alignment of pistol silhouette to sights trick fairly well you can work on the presentation of the pistol to the point shooting alignment based on the appearance of the pistol as it comes up to alignment. Then you can connect the bits together.

This system follows the principle of reducing complex skills to less complex skills which can be developed independently, and more quickly, and can then be put together. It also uses the principle of building in easy to perceive feedback - in this case, the visual alignment or sihouette of the pistol as it comes up to alignment.

With iron sights we can fudge this first level alignment with the front sight a little high so that we don't loose it and then guide it down into position at the same time that we align with the target. This is not ideal but it works well enough and it is why, apart from all the shooting you have done with iron sights, that picking up the iron sights is easier than picking up the red dot. With the red dot the view over the top of the slide is much more obscured and needs a much bigger upwards inclination to get the same guidance and a correspondingly bigger movement to get back down with less good visual guidance. The best way for both is the apearance of the pistol when it is very close to aim, then the movement of the eye to the sights for fine adjustment. I believe!


09-10-2010, 01:21 AM
Quiet complicated approach mate.

It should be a fluent motion with decreasing speed up front. Let's split it in four sections, but just for the explanation. Those are no steps but don't forget: it is one fluent motion with decreasing speed up front!

First section is getting a good firm grip of your weapon. Where ever you carry it and after getting everything out of its way.

Secondly bring the gun up into the sightline between your eyes and the target.

Next drive the gun to the threat with a slight upward cant in order to pick up your frontsight first if there was time or the desire to do so.

In this case we don't need to do that, because we use the red dot as aiming aid if there is the time for it or the desire to make an accurate but slower hit on small or distant threats.

During this section you will need to find the pressure point of the trigger and if shooting with open sights one also needs to shift the focus to the frontsight if it was to be used. We are using a red dot, so keep your eyes on the threat. (you will anyways if it fires at you. Never saw my sights under pressure.)

Finally up front you break the shot instantly or maybe after revarification of the sightpicture on target if needed.

Continue with the last step as often as necessary...

Do it on the move and fast!

09-10-2010, 06:28 AM
There is a difference between what you do and what you think you do. You are describing what you think you do and I was describing how to learn to do it. The aim in either case is to have what seems to be one fluid motion, but since the topic was aquiring the dot quickly I thought we could miss out the steps of getting hold of the pistol and clearing the garment since they remain the same for point shooting, iron sights or red dots.

You go on to say, "Secondly bring the gun up into the sightline between your eyes and the target." Well yes, that is a description of what you do and what you think you do but it does not tell you how to do it. We both agree that it should be done with as smooth a motion as possible but what is it that stops you bringing it up and to a stop and then discovering that it is two inches to the left and one inch above your sightline and pointing to the right of sightline? If that happens the smooth motion stops being smooth as you twitch around making corrections. What you need is something that lets you feedback and correct those errors before it gets there and I think that is what I described.

What you are describing without actually describing is bringing the pistol up to sight line still close in to the face and then pushing forwards. This gives you time to align the pistol as it goes forward. It provides a section of the process which allows feedback to take place, but the feedback you are describing is not too bad for iron sights but distinctly bad for a red dot. You are saying that the pistol should be canted up a little so that you can see the front sight and, in fact, this method allows you to bring the front sight down into the rear sight as you extend. This works for two reasons. The upward cant you need for iron sights is small and so it is easy to adjust from it to sight alignment. Secondly, if you are using iron sights you need to maintain that focus on the sights as you fire and so you don't have to switch focus.

That is a desription of how iron sights can be used but the topic is a step by step procedure for accessing red dots. Further on you say, "Never saw my sights under pressure." so it seems rather moot.

You then jump from iron sighs procedure to fed dots as though it is simple. Many posts on WT make it clear that it is not at all simple.

You immediately go on to say that with the red dot we don't need to cant the pistol to keep track of the front sight because we are using the red dot, which, by implication, is in the same focal plane as the target. I am afraid this entirely misses the inherent difficulty. If the screen was, say three inches by three inches it would be relatively easy to follow the red dot as you guide it onto the target - the feed back phase again. Unfortunately, the screen is much smaller than that and a small angular error will mean that you cannot see the red dot at all as you push forwards. If you do that you will then spend some time hunting around for the dot without knowing where it is unless you have some auxilliary system of feedback to get it within the screen area.

With point shooting the positions we can shoot from vary in the amount of visual feedback that is available to us. In general, our accuracy improves as we have better visual confirmation of aim and the method that uses that to a maximum effect is known as sighting over the slide. There, the slide top is some two to four inches below the sight line and with the Glock in particular, the flat rectangular slide top gives us perspective lines to the target and the support eye picks up the side view of the slide to give us elevation feedback. But using a red dot means that the top of the slide is less than half an inch below sightline and the top of the slide is mainly obstructed by the red dot screen and frame.

This means that the red dot actually reduces our point shooting repetoire and removes one of the best sources of feedback as we come to aim. What is left is mainly the view of the "support" eye along the side of the frame which, blessed be Gaston, is also rectangular. To actually look at it we would need to switch eye dominance as we come to aim and then switch back to normal to look through the screen. I can do this in practice but it is not quick and it is likely to be visually confusing. I suspect that many could not do it at all. Because of this I actually said that the early red dot user should sight, look at the way the gun appears, move it a little away and try to return to the same appearance in order to learn the visual cues that align the sight well enough before he looks at the sight. I believe the subconscious will pick up the information from the support eye but that if you try to use the image from that eye in a conscious way it will do far more harm than good, so I left it out.

As you say, it is a complicated approach, but it is a complicated process. If we want to use a red dot with optimal effectiveness we have two possible routes. We can do lots of repetitions and leave it to our subconscious to sort it out. The danger with this is that we get into bad habits which stop us from making further process. The alternative is to understand what we actuall need to do, step by step, and specifically train those steps. If we know what we are doing we can correct our progress. We will still need lots of repetitions but probably not as many and the end result should be better.

Both of these approaches have established histories. The first approach is "just do it" and the second approach is the equivalent of getting good training with a good coach. Since we are all on Warrior Talk we should believe in the latter rather than the former approach but red dots are still a little to new for good coaching to have developed.

With some things it is important not to over think it but that only works if someone has done the thinking first. In SI, a lot of that thinking has been done by Gabe. If we think back to the caveman making stone tools, each tool maker did not just do it. Skills and techniques were developed and built up over generations and taught to the next generation. Coaching and passing on skill goes a long way back into human and near human history.


Jack Rumbaugh
09-10-2010, 07:00 AM
Having just received my RMRed Glock 19 slide, I have had a little (very little) time to practice with it. I found the first draws had me hunting for the dot. I ignored the dot and went for sights and the dot appeared just as Gabe said. I can see I'll need to practice a great deal to learn to pick up the dot easier but it is very doable. I'm sure once the dot is properly sighted in, things will be a little easier.

09-11-2010, 09:16 AM
Took a while, but thoughtful response from English, exactly what I had hoped for. Thanks, guy.

09-11-2010, 10:48 PM

You are right. I do shoot my RMR equipped Glock 17 just like my ironsight equipped Glocks.

The way of picking up the red is the same as for picking up the iron sights.

Why am I doing that? Because I want to keep things simple.

If things go fast and are close enough for pointshooting I pointshoot. If I need to take a more precise shot I have to force myself to focus on the front sight during the process. But they will be there in every case. Blured or sharp depends on the desired precision.

Now back to the red dot. Since this method I described (rather inaccurate as you suggested) alignes the sights everytime, besides compressed or other unusual position which have there place too, it will also align the red dot on target. You will not need to focus on the sight because in the end of the alignment process where you would pointshoot with the shape of whatever there might be on target (slide or even blurred sights) there is a crisp red dot on the target.

In simple words: I use the same process of aligning my weapon with the threat with all types of shooting meaning pointshooting, ironsighted shooting and red dot shooting.

In my opinion things get to complicated if you practice a different methods depending on you sightingmethod.

This does not mean that I fully extend my weapon everytime. Pointshooting knows a lot of stances and that is not changed by a red dot sight or ironsight.

Keep it simple.

09-11-2010, 10:52 PM
If you find any mistakes in my typing you may keep them. I typed it on my mobile...