NPOA - Natural Point of Aim

Lisa

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Starting this thread as an off shoot of the "follow through" thread.

Natural Point of Aim is important to most competitive shooters.

Can someone please describe how to find your natural point of aim, the importance of it within competition and even defensive shooting.

Thanks. :)
 

arnisandyz

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Here's my 2 cents.

For me...its getting the body to index the gun to the target so everything is in natural alignment. Meaning your not hunched over or leaning back, your shoulders and arms are relaxed, your feet are orientated correctly, your grip is on, etc. Its teaching your body and mind to put the gun exactly where you want it to line up your shot. You look and its there.

For the type of shooting I do it a major benift! Imagine being a "Terminator robot" with a sighting system built into your eye. You look and the gun is there on target. For the close range stuff its target focus all the way, look and the gun will follow. For the long range targets your vision goes far to near. Focus on the far target, front sight comes in focus, break the shot, snap your focus to the next target and the gun tracks strait to where your looking, repeat.

For defensive shooting its the only way to shoot. You'll probably be dealing with a very close range and natural instinct tells us to stay threat focused. You won't be using the sights at this range. Its like pointing a finger or throwing a punch, from your martial arts practice you know where that punch will land, you don't need any sights on your arm.

I practice this primarily with dryfire drills. Pick a spot on the wall to focus on, close your eyes and bring the gun up to your line of sight then open your eyes, was it where you were looking at? Adjust and repeat. If your shooting a 1911 and everything is correct (your stance grip etc) and your pointing high, a flat mainspring housing might help (read Jeffs MSH thread) before modifying your grip. This is why its so important to find a gun that fits you and your body and there is no one right answer, you need to find your own. Start broad and general and try to narrow it down.
 

SFC JeffJ

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For defensive handgun, until recently I brought the pistol up to my NPOA. A while ago I changed it up. I now "punch" it towards the target. Brings it right on line, and I think it's a little better for retention as well.

As far as aimed fire with a rifle goes, I generally sway from left to right to achive a good sight picture.

For more combat oriented rifle shooting, for close quarters I tend to use the "gun to eyeballs" method. For longer range, or with a carbine or submachine gun, I'm more likely to use the target index method, at least to get a few rounds off quickly.

Jeff
 

AzQkr

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Unless bullseye/target type shooting with a pistol, I'm of the opinion NPOA will nautrally have to be and should be ignored with a threat focused methodology.

Those who use front sight press are more apt to use a form of NPOA in their stance/feet and body alignment.

In defensive types of quick reactive shooting, one will be hard pressed to get into any stance, and stance is not situationally dependant to make combat accuracy effective. Taking the time to get into some form of ISO, MOD ISO, Weaver, etc to engage under the potential for incoming or taking incoming can be bad for your future health. SD training should work toward getting the students to shoot from non conventional positions, or in other words, from the position they find themselves in when they react to a threat with their handgun. This would include one handed shooting and can cover a wide degree of arc without having to turn the lower or upper body to alignment of threat.

Stand and deliver types of techniques like EU/ED, Zippers, Hammers, QK Hip, etc do make use of positioning the upper body and indexing the weapon through positioning, so they may make use of a loose form of NPOA in theory.

If the threat is moving, you are moving or both are moving, there should be no conscious effort made to get an NPOA, nor should there be reason to try as NPOA is used for one who is stationary and on stationary targets of opportunity, even if momentarily. The above is relevant to threat focused shooting techniques and would not be as true for a shooter using any form of their sights.

Edited to add as an afterthought about the rifles----
Quick Kill rifle [ threat focused ] does train the student to be stance specific initially as the system was developed for shotgunners and ariels. Over time, the position of the feet, upper body can be different as long as the shooter understands and is confident in the use of the references between the gun and threat that make the technique repeatable and reliable. This is most important where the rifle would snap into the shoulder from any position and the upper body would turret to engage without being stance specific.

Brownie
 

arnisandyz

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Not sure I completely follow.

I always thought NPA isn't something that you "decide to do" or "ignore". Its not something that you can "conciously make an effort to do" nor something to"try". Its more of a trained attribute that through repitition, comes out when you need it, right? It is for the most part a subconcious action of aligning your weapon to the threat. If its approached from a rigid point of view I can see what your saying, someone might use it a prepatory for bullseye shooting and not use it much beyond that.

I agree with you that there is no time to get into a target shooting stance and adhere to the "loose NPA" you refer to. Similar to the dynamic action of knife fighting where a rooted stance will get you killed, it should be more thought of as body alignment and positioning that allow your other skills to happen.

I like to think of NPA as a reference point. It happens from the moment you touch your gun and direct it towards a threat, not just at the end of your extention. You have your textbook NPA of how to achieve it...but then, once you can repeat it, you should make it your own,experiment with achieving it from odd positions, it should be loose and fluid enough to be adaptable to what your doing. Sometime people get too hung up on terminology and fancy acronyms. Its benificial to learn your NPA but don't be a slave to it, make it a part of your shooting, if and when the time comes your just going to shoot how you know how to shoot, not perform X, Y, or Z methods of combat.
 

AzQkr

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I always thought NPA isn't something that you "decide to do" or "ignore".

Initially is has to be a conscious thought process to the shooter new to precision rifle. One has to remember, and often times be reminded to make sure he has his position set so the NPOA is used correctly. It becomes a trained attribute over time.

NPOA is really for precision work with rifles. As you suggest the loose use of NPOA can be extrapolated out where defensive skills are concerned to a point. I see that occurring mostly with front sight press advocates, or those who use some form of their sights.

I like to think of NPA as a reference point. It happens from the moment you touch your gun and direct it towards a threat, not just at the end of your extention.

The competition shooters adhere to this pretty much. Most of the masters in the sports have refined NPOA's over tens of thousands of rds and years on the weapons. They shoot with the same upper body reference/index at all times.

In SD scenarios and in normal ranges they occur, one should be able to shoot to their 2 to 5 O'clock or their 11-9 O'clock [ one or two handed depending on which side they shoot from ] without having to wait to turn the lower body to face the threat when the time is short.

In those types of shooting, there would not be any real or loose NPOA used at all.

Its benificial to learn your NPA but don't be a slave to it, make it a part of your shooting, if and when the time comes your just going to shoot how you know how to shoot, not perform X, Y, or Z methods of combat.

Could not have said it better myself sir.

Brownie
 
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Lisa

Lisa

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AzQkr said:
Initially is has to be a conscious thought process to the shooter new to precision rifle. One has to remember, and often times be reminded to make sure he has his position set so the NPOA is used correctly. It becomes a trained attribute over time.

NPOA is really for precision work with rifles. As you suggest the loose use of NPOA can be extrapolated out where defensive skills are concerned to a point. I see that occurring mostly with front sight press advocates, or those who use some form of their sights.

Brownie

So, let me take a crack at this and see if I am following you. Bare in mind I do no defensive shooting of any kind but really am enjoying the conversation. :)

Natural point of aim in defensive shooting will become a subconcious action to a seasoned riflean/handgunner. NPOA will not have to be consciously set every time before the trigger is pulled. Simply put you conscious mind will know when the stance and alignment is right for the shot. The need for quick thinking trains your body to be ready for a good shot.

Am I close?

This is somewhat different of what I need to do for my competitions. Because in my "sport" we are in a static position from 1 to 1 1/2 hours, I need to set my NPOA up and have it aligned while taking "sighter" shots. I need to be consciously aware and remember that as my body relaxes and perhaps even gets tired during the competition, this may need to be adjusted during the competition.

What I have learned is that the longer I practice and the more I compete, the easier it is for me to find my NPOA before a competition starts. I can now set up on the line, place my feet and body and almost be in perfect NPOA the first time I pick up my rifle. If I am not it is usually do to being nervous or not stretching and warming up enough before hand.

Thanks for the great conversation gentlemen. :)
 

AzQkr

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Natural point of aim in defensive shooting will become a subconcious action to a seasoned riflean/handgunner. NPOA will not have to be consciously set every time before the trigger is pulled. Simply put you conscious mind will know when the stance and alignment is right for the shot. The need for quick thinking trains your body to be ready for a good shot.

Am I close?

Right on the money Lisa. In IPSC and IDPA to a lesser degree, the master class shooters can and do bring the gun onto their intended target through stance and upper body positioning automatically through repetitions of tens of thousands of rds doing the same thing.

This subject of NPOA, where defensive shooting is concerned, had me also thinking on this as to relevance, as I have never seen NPOA actually mentioned with pistols other than bullseye shooting.

Most NPOA concerns precision shooting.

What I have learned is that the longer I practice and the more I compete, the easier it is for me to find my NPOA before a competition starts

I'm sure this also relates to the competition shooters to a degree with pistols as well.

Brownie
 
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Lisa

Lisa

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Finding your Natural Point of Aim is an important shooting skill. It will help decrease the affects of any body movement on your firing point. It enables you to not have to muscle through your shots by finding the "natural" place your body wants to be.

Using NPA along with a good stance, sight picture and trigger control ensures that the body will become less fatigued.

Over time, one learns to assume the correct position quickly. It becomes second nature to them.

Who hear has done so? Who can immediately deploy their firearm and settle immediately into a NPA? If so, got any tips for those who are newer to the concept?
 

SFC JeffJ

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It takes time to find it, but once you do, your shooting level increases like you wouldn't believe. I really found dry fire practice helps a lot. Both with pistols and rifles. Just practice deploying your weapon from the ready stance to your POA. Do that enough and you'll eventually find it.

Jeff
 

Drac

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Had a retired "Ranger" teach me this...It took awhile but well worth the effort..
 
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Lisa

Lisa

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I have also taught myself to check my NPA during competitions. As I relax in position, I find that my NPA may change a little. Usually every 10 shot string, I recheck myself. Stretching and warmups help a lot with this in competition as well.
 

LawDog

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A semi automatic pistol and a pistol grip rifle have the best natural points of aim. Your trigger finger and the barrel of the firearm are parallel to each other. If you can point at an object with your index finger you will also be pointing the barrel at it.
:ultracool
 

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