JCN Carry Test 3a: Point shooting versus Laser versus Dot

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by -JCN-, Oct 26, 2020.

  1. -JCN-

    -JCN-

    Messages:
    5,494
    Likes Received:
    19,879
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2017
    Went to the range today and did some testing after a nice discussion with @Dr_fast about potential scenarios that a laser might be useful.

    This is kind of an extension of:
    https://www.glocktalk.com/threads/jcn-carry-gun-test-part-3-lasers.1869076/#post-29795876

    But what I found today at the range was interesting and not quite what I expected.

    EDIT: VIDEOS UP

    Comparison of 7 yard draws: Point shooting vs. red dot on vs. strong shooting from the hip.


    To extend that line of testing, I did a retreat test as if someone was rapidly advancing. First two shots were strong hip point shooting with laser versus without. Follow up head shot was just for fun, freestyle.



    Hit a like if you appreciate the testing process. I like doing these tests, especially when the results aren't what I thought they'd be.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2020
  2. Vic Rattlehead

    Vic Rattlehead

    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    781
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2017
    I’d be interested in your finds. Several times a year I practice point shooting in earnest for an entire range session. It’s amazing how effective it is at short distances once you become familiar with your pistol/revolver and it’s inherent “point.”
     
    -JCN- likes this.

  3. Dr_fast

    Dr_fast

    Messages:
    1,144
    Likes Received:
    1,242
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2017
    Very interesting!
    Now you make me wanna try this!
     
    -JCN- likes this.
  4. pgg00

    pgg00

    Messages:
    19,445
    Likes Received:
    46,639
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Location:
    Fled the emerald triangle
    Same thing I've seen guys with lasers do. They tend to slow down to find the laser and end up "chasing the dot"
     
    Cambo, Dr_fast, fastbolt and 5 others like this.
  5. Vic Rattlehead

    Vic Rattlehead

    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    781
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2017
    Good tests. Would be interested to see how results shake out with just iron sights and/or no sights!
     
    -JCN- likes this.
  6. boilergonzo

    boilergonzo

    Messages:
    4,899
    Likes Received:
    4,092
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2004
    Location:
    Indiana
    Very interesting to see. Point shooting has always had merit, but perhaps technology slows our natural abilities (unaided) to the point that the anticipated gains don't materialize quite as we expect.

    One additional observation. Specifically in the first video, you appear to start out less accurate, then dial the accuracy in during subsequent presentations. That leads to two possible scenarios. First, perhaps it is an unavoidable reaction tuning and not easily retained (for example, if repeating the first four shots six days later, or the first two shots of a defensive situation when the gun hasn't been used for a couple days), OR, Second, perhaps if only doing one, some learning could take place, and one could dial in the first two shots via training and muscle memory. Regardless, in my one viewing of the video, it did seem the the first two experiments had a larger number of less accurate shots than the next presentations with the same scenario. Not unexpected at all. But it is a question of "how much can you train it away?".

    Another observation. This fast shooting seems to point to training easily trumping gadgets (not terribly surprising in and of itself, and you have trained enough that none of the situations are from a basic level...). How does this play out in a different scenario? Your daughter is at the bank with you, a gunman arrives, you are signing a document with a Notary, and the bad guy entering shoots but you are 37 feet away. This reduces the "point shoot" and pulls in more "gotta go fast, but there is a need to slow down a bit and aim because accuracy really matters" to the equation.

    Regardless, it is both fun to read and watch your experiments, as well as to try to create work for you! :cheers: :honkie:
     
    -JCN- and pgg00 like this.
  7. jr24

    jr24

    Messages:
    6,952
    Likes Received:
    10,145
    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    WI
    I actually have found, and this is probably a function of practice and time, that when point shooting close and fast I slow down with the dot as well.

    I guess it's just because I know the dot is coming I wait a beat and find it vs just going off my natural index and trusting my hands to find the spot I'm pointing at.
     
    -JCN- likes this.
  8. cowboy1964

    cowboy1964

    Messages:
    30,835
    Likes Received:
    17,773
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    I think lasers are better for HD guns where the gun is already out and at least pointing in the direction of the possible threat. It's hard to draw and shoot fast with them, for sure. In that case you really shouldn't even be looking for the dot if speed is of the essence.

    I think red dots are the best of all.
     
    -JCN- likes this.
  9. -JCN-

    -JCN-

    Messages:
    5,494
    Likes Received:
    19,879
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2017
    You are very observant! There definitely was “learning” going on for the point shoot and the red dot.

    My explanation from my real time thought process was that I don’t normally shoot Glocks (these days it’s CZs) so the grip angle difference led to a different “point” than I was expecting. So I made the compensation mid-string.

    For the laser, I could probably go faster with more training but it was clear that it wasn’t strongly superior of a technique.

    For the bad guy 37 feet away, here’s my answer: rapid draw and point indexing gets you in the ballpark quickly so you can refine and confirm with minimal adjustment.

    Here is a 50 foot example. 3 shots from a draw in total 1.68s all center mass on the 8” circle. It’s kind of like the bank scenario.



    At that speed I’m pretty sure that I’m center mass and was. Barely. But that’s good enough for that scenario.

    Now let’s say you had to take a head shot or HAD to stay within the 8” circle or else someone else gets hurt! Then you refine the sight picture a little more and it slows down a little.

    Same drill with “guaranteed” inside the circle. Picture of target at end of video.



    I would feel comfortable taking that shot at that speed.

    The carry drill I did the other day with scaled targets is also similar. The right side target is 2” so that scales to about 16 yards.




    Totally. That’s where I’m at with the laser. With the dot I’m faster than off index with that particular gun.

    With a gun that I’m more comfortable with, I’d expect the time to be the same with and without the dot on very close things.

    Also probably noteworthy that I took as much time as I needed to be reasonably sure I was on target (A/C zone). If I had just tried to go as fast as humanly possible without regard to accuracy the results would be different.
     
    Dr_fast, pgg00 and jr24 like this.
  10. boilergonzo

    boilergonzo

    Messages:
    4,899
    Likes Received:
    4,092
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2004
    Location:
    Indiana
    Your speed and accuracy at that range is well beyond what I can do. In your first 50' video, those are all real body hits. Barring body armor forcing head shots, you win with all three, and have many shots left over should you need them!

    Your quest for perfection is noble, and nobody can question the desire to improve, but you are splitting hairs at this point in terms of guns and setup (not a criticism... Larry Bird and others who honed their craft and became great was because they recognized the value of the width of a split hair...). I think you would even fare well with that funky Taurus Curve of yours!

    It is fair to have some learning/adapting happening during a point-shoot draw, and having a gun with a grip angle that is less familiar (like a Glock) can cause that, and you adapted. The laser didn't seem faster in that scenario (it seemed to be late or delay things, slowing innate reaction times, rather than delivering more speed and accuracy).

    If you did your 50' test with laser/iron/dot, it might be more meaningful in terms of accuracy, but for the speed you shot that exercise I am still skeptical the laser would have been aimed, perceived, and actually aided over what you are doing.

    Thanks for the information and demonstrations!
     
    Dr_fast, pgg00 and -JCN- like this.
  11. Fatboy2001

    Fatboy2001

    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    10,089
    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    Interesting! Thanks for experimenting and posting. I never got the laser deal - tried one on a friend's G21 (for me) complete waste of time.

    I watched the "G43x Romeo Zero" vid many times. The swing shot(s) is (are) very impressive. Has me thinking about a 43x with a dot. Perhaps "finding" the dot on a swing shot(s) is not as difficult as I thought vis a vis iron front.

    One last thought that has nothing at all to do with your efforts. Went to the range last Friday and was shooting with several acquaintances. Three IDPA target at various ranges, 5 to 15 yards. All these guys are skilled IDPA-USPSA shooters. I mentioned to them that Arizona does not provide "qualified immunity" in a self-defense shooting. Translation: if you miss and hit a bystander you are completely liable (civil). So, we did some "must hit" drills - if one missed the 8" (0-area) you hit Granny in the wheelchair. Slowed things down a bit. ;)

    JCN, thanks again for your efforts - always interesting. :flag:
     
  12. fastbolt

    fastbolt

    Messages:
    27,088
    Likes Received:
    29,923
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2002
    Location:
    CA Central Coast
    It becomes even more interesting (awkward) when both the laser wielder and the "threat" are in motion, too.

    At least the larger and brighter RD can be mentally (in your vision plane) "pasted" out front against the passing visuals (behind the RD, if things are in motion).
     
    Dr_fast, -JCN- and pgg00 like this.
  13. -JCN-

    -JCN-

    Messages:
    5,494
    Likes Received:
    19,879
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2017
    I think this is the issue I have with lasers. The laser dot looks different depending on what surface it's projected on and that takes active processing to say "is that or isn't that the laser."

    With the red dot, the dot always looks the same so it's less mental processing to trigger when dot is on target.

    Here is a video I did at 10 yards, just moving the laser dot on and off the target and onto dark colored backgrounds. @Dr_fast , this is part of the bandwidth suck. The laser appearance is very inconsistent and jumps depth depending on reflective surface which makes the eyes also try and accommodate for it. Imagine you have a target 10 yards away standing in an open field. With a red dot, you can track it anywhere if your arms are up.

    With a laser, you can't see it until you get to minute of man if there's nothing to reflect it back to you. That's one of the huge limitations of the technology.

    Red dots visuals are consistent and that for me leads to faster mental processing of visual input to trigger pull.



    For the reasons above, I wouldn't want to try and use a laser from that far away. Too difficult to see and process mentally quickly.

    This might sound weird, but I'm not trying to be perfect. I'm not even trying to be good.

    I'm just trying to be efficient. I enjoy dry fire and I enjoy solo range time to help de-stress and clear my head. I use performance benchmarks to help me push the efficiency.

    However "good" I get with the allotted time I have to practice is "good enough!" And there are plenty of USPSA competitors that routinely kick my butt.

    I think from the latest rounds of testing, I've settled on carrying the P365XL with a red dot. It's just a whiff longer than the P365 and shoots easier. With a higher riding holster, it feels the same comfort-wise as the P365 (keeping the end of the muzzle in the same position so it doesn't poke me in the leg).

    The higher riding holster also makes it easier to draw.

    Here were some sub-second concealed draws today starting from AIWB under a sweatshirt with the manual safety engaged.



    Had a pretty comfortable 0.87s concealed draw to center mass. The group was tight enough that it'd still hold up for longer distances.

    I don't have a goal to get faster times, but I do have a goal to be more efficient. That usually translates into faster times, though.

    I think the advantages (once training deficits are made up) are that you can track the dot coming onto target (unlike laser if there is no backdrop) and that view of the dot and target is in the same plane of focus AND the view is unobstructed by the slide of the gun (like irons).

    That's why I think theoretically and in practice (for me), red dots win over irons. You can actually see your whole target through the window instead of blotting it out with the irons and the slide. Maybe @pgg00 can comment on what his experience is training officers with this tech.
     
    Dr_fast, boilergonzo and pgg00 like this.
  14. pgg00

    pgg00

    Messages:
    19,445
    Likes Received:
    46,639
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Location:
    Fled the emerald triangle
    First thing we have to teach with red dots is target focus. We will tape over the front of the optic. If they are focused on the target the dot will be there. If they are focused on the sight all there will be is tape. Establishing a proper grip and draw are also important. You want it so everytime you bring the gun up it goes into your field of view making the dot visible. Helps eliminate scooping or sweeping with the gun before getting on target.

    We also do a lot of support side drills. Once they get the hang of that then the strong side and two hand comes fairly quickly.

    Transition with targets i like using steel plates. Gives instant feedback and allows them to move on to the next once getting that feed back. I tend to look at my next target and then bring the gun over. Some have tried to keep the dot in view while bringing it over but that can make you loose target focus.

    I can later run down a full Transition course that we do but we are talking over 500 rounds
     
    Fatboy2001, -JCN- and boilergonzo like this.
  15. Dr_fast

    Dr_fast

    Messages:
    1,144
    Likes Received:
    1,242
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2017
    That is a good point. I guess, in thinking about it, it’s probably the same thing as people who draw with a red dot and then don’t have the gun properly positioned so they can’t see the dot and I have to search for it. I’ve never thought about it before, because I practice with my laser so much.
    You have to practice to the point where you know where the laser is going to be because you’re instinctively pointing the proper direction right off the bat.
    Wow, I can’t believe I never thought of that before.
     
    fastbolt and pgg00 like this.
  16. Dr_fast

    Dr_fast

    Messages:
    1,144
    Likes Received:
    1,242
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2017
    Yes, I couldn’t even see the laser at all in that video. And that’s something I hadn’t thought about.
    This series you’re doing, and the dialogue we’re having, makes me think about a lot of things that I hadn’t considered.
    I only use my lasers in compromise light, indoors, or at night. I only do iron sights shooting in daylight. But I guess if I had a dot That would be another consistency issue always using it. And I am a huge person on consistency and always doing the same thing as much as possible.
     
    -JCN- likes this.
  17. fastbolt

    fastbolt

    Messages:
    27,088
    Likes Received:
    29,923
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2002
    Location:
    CA Central Coast

    I remember when laser sights were becoming all the fad. People were showing up with them at qual ranges, including cops and private citizens (CCW). You could always predict the laser shooters were going to be the last to fire their initial shots, as well as the last to finish (on the clock).

    They spent more time hunting for their red spot for each and every shot. And that was with stationary targets that were easy on the eyes (buff, black or grey), and stationary shooters. Any shooter movement seemed to throw everything into a cocked hat.

    Also, the effect of the arc of movement when it came to the downrange laser dot's painting a target seemed to catch a lot of folks off-guard.

    Even under otherwise "ideal" conditions it could chew up time.

    One of the guys (another instructor) brought a then-new S&W Bodyguard .38SPL snub to the range. He wanted to "adjust/sight" the laser for his wife, since it was going to be her gun. We were using our old outdoor range in the early afternoon, on a light grey/white silhouette target. It wasn't until we'd moved down the line of targets to where they were in tall tree shade that the eyes of any of the guys could easily find the red dot ... and it wasn't consistently "quick" to do. That was at 5yds, too, as I recall.

    Now, I've known other experienced shooters with senior eyes (think trifocals) who were aided by the use of a laser at very close range (3yds), but the benefit waned as the distance increased.

    I think the RDS is going to be a boon to many shooters, especially those with increasingly aging eyes.

    Like pgg00 basically inferred, though, understanding and utilizing the effects of occluded eye aiming (benefit of binocular vision) with a RDS is a handy skill to learn. It combines threat-focus with utilizing an aiming device.


    Here's an interesting article that explains the phenomena, and the 3rd pic in the article illustrates the benefit that may be gleaned.

    https://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/occluded-eye-aiming/#:~:text=Occluded eye aiming takes advantage of our natural,scope’s reticle onto the image of the target.

    You can also try this yourself, withOUT a gun, by looking across the room at something small, like a light switch. Find the light switch by "aiming" with your thumb with only your dominant eye ... then lift and cover the light switch so it's behind your thumb (thumb blocking your dominant eye seeing it) ... and then continuing to look at the light switch (not moving your strong thumb), open your other eye. Now that both eyes are open, you ought to "see" the light switch centered under the ghostly image of your dominant thumb. Amazing software, the brain.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
  18. fastbolt

    fastbolt

    Messages:
    27,088
    Likes Received:
    29,923
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2002
    Location:
    CA Central Coast
    Forgot to proofread, and left out an important part of a word ... adding the OUT to without. :oops:

    This is the sort of thing that can be illustrated without having to have a gun in the same room with you. :)
     
    Dr_fast, pgg00 and -JCN- like this.