More on SD guns, sights (non-optical), aging eyes, and ammo

More on SD guns, sights (non-optical), aging eyes, and ammo

This is a discussion on More on SD guns, sights (non-optical), aging eyes, and ammo within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I'm getting older, so are you, but I've reached 'older' to the point it's becoming a nuisance. Eyes don't see as well, ears don't hear ...

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Thread: More on SD guns, sights (non-optical), aging eyes, and ammo

  1. #1
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    More on SD guns, sights (non-optical), aging eyes, and ammo

    I'm getting older, so are you, but I've reached 'older' to the point it's becoming a nuisance. Eyes don't see as well, ears don't hear as well, the mind doesn't remember as well...............hmmm, I forgot the rest.

    I've come to the conclusion that getting older isn't good for you and that senior discount is of little consolation. Hmmm, if I start paying full price will I start getting younger???

    My round count is 9400 for the year. For quite a bit of that, Iíve been evaluating a number of things that pertain to shooting - ammo, carry holsters, and especially off-hand marksmanship.

    Just so weíre all on the same page here, by marksmanship, I mean marksmanship Ė the ability to put rounds where you want them Ė not necessarily slow fire, although that is part of it, but not fast as you can pull the trigger either. Hereís an example. This is 25 shots, fired from 7 yds with a G17 RTF2, with a Ghost Rocket Connector, and with stock Glock sights Ė and are you sitting down Ė 115 gn Wolf ammo. The shots were fired very close to one round per second.



    As you can see, I had three bad rounds ; I could see them curve left right before they hit the target . So with that preface, lets begin with guns, sights, and sigh, older, well, everything, but especially eyes. I like my Kimber 1911s, Glocks, Sigs, Berettas, H&K, and M&Ps. I go through stages: I re-discover a feature I like on a gun and become enamored with that gun. Then, I guess I just get tired of it or see another feature(s) on another gun and off I go with that.

    All in all, I have to say, itís just hard to beat a Glock. My favorites are the G17 RTF2 and the G21 SF (.45 ACP). Thatís not to say thatís all you should carry Ė not saying that at all. But somehow, I shoot Glocks, both 9mm and .45 ACP better than any gun Iíve ever shot. And I have a lot of range time and thousands of rounds down range to prove it. But again, I need to be very clear here, just because I shoot Glocks well doesnít mean the next person will or that they wonít shoot a different brand better. I can only speak for me. And, that doesnít mean I wonít be carrying a 1911 next week.

    One thing that has come as a surprise to me is that I shoot Glocks better with stock Glock sights than with any other sight. Iíve tried Trijicon, Hienie, Wilson Combat, Novak, FO, and that new triangle looking thing that I forget who makes it (am I getting forgetful in my...). Anyway, almost a year ago, I decided to develop a standard drill to evaluate my off-hand marksmanship ability with a handgun.

    First, as you can see in the pic above, I use white targets with black lines Ė thereís a good and significant reason for this. I want to see how I do at my best and shooting at black targets with black sights just doesnít accomplish that goal. The black sights are far more distinct on white targets than they are on dark targets. Remember, this is not tactical training; this is evaluating me Ė my eyes, my sights, my sight picture, the gun.

    My eval drill is five shots at 3, 5, 7, 10, & 15 yards. This is not a random selection of ranges. At 3 yards you get a very sharp target, very distinct target features, the X for example, a very sharp sight picture, and the hits should be as tight as theyíre gonna get. Five yards is a bit more challenging, and of course 7 even more so, but I find typically I get tight groups out to seven yards. At ten yards, target clarity and the sight picture focal point (target features) are almost gone. My target isnít as Ďcrispí as it is at shorter ranges. Fifteen yards is anything but precise (for me). Target features are gone and what I find myself aiming for is the group from previous ranges. That brings us to aging eyes.

    My eyes will be 66 years old 22 Dec. On top of that, my eye doctor has me in soft contacts to see if I like the vision arrangement of my right eye being my distance eye, sounds counter productive to shooting doesnít it, and my left eye for up close. What this means is that I donít see the target very well with my left eye. In fact, I loose that 'both eyes open' advantage. Fortunately my shooting eye, my right eye, will nearly focus up to the front sight. Well, if I like the arrangement, the doc is gonna burn the prescription in with Lasek, thatís right Lasek, not Lasik, they are different procedures.

    In the mean timeÖÖ.soft contacts produce ever changing sight. Sometimes theyíre razor sharp, sometimes they, well, aren't. And, Iím expected to shoot under those conditions! So, I decided to experiment. I had a tech at the doctorís office remove my contacts. Iíve tried, I canít do it. I know, I know, everybody else in the world that wears them can, but I canít. Fortunately, Iím far sighted so I can go to the grocery store, BiLo is the best in my area for this, and buy reading glasses ($15) of the same type but different strengths to Ďroll my owní prescription.

    So I take off to the range to evaluate via my standardized drill. What I found was surprising. I shot better in glasses that did NOT allow me to get a sharp focus on the front sight!!! Iím trying to focus on the front sight - the rear is out of focus slightly, and the target is way out of focus. What I discovered was a trade off works best. Itís a compromise between target clarity and front sight clarity Ė that was what my contacts were already doing. Well I went home disappointed and sulked and whined a while. After about two days, I put my contacts back in and did several more evals. Hereís the last one, shot Saturday, 15-Oct. Shot with a G17 RTF2, stock sights, Ghost Rocket connector, 115 gn Wolf ammo, slightly blurred front sight. The drill was my now standard five shots each at 3, 5, 7, 10, & 15 yards on my now standard reverse B-27 target. Hereís what it looked like:



    The two shots out of the X ring were NOT at the 15 yard range! They occurred earlier because I got a little Ďbentí because my contact went Ďoffí. Still, only two shots out of the X ring, means that all five shots at 15 yds were inside the X ring. Thatís the best Iíve ever done with any gun, but Iíve come really close with the G21 SF.

    Considering, Iím nearly 66, I canít see, and Iím using Wolf ammo, Iím more than pleased with the eval shoot. I will say this: I used to expect to get every shot inside the ten ring in the eval test Ė now Iím thinking all in the X ring???

    I think the big surprise, and Iím not sure I can explain this fully, is the trade off between target clarity and the front sight clarity. I wonder if younger eyes simply see better over a longer range of focus and donít have the trade off issue. But, in discussing this with an eye doctor, he seems to think that even younger eyes canít have that longer range of focus.

    But the other issue is target and sight brightness. Since young eyes see nearly twice as well at night as older eyes, it is reasonable to think that that might apply at all lighting levels.

    Sooo, thatís my story and Iím sticking to it!
    I'm too young to be this old!
    Getting old isn't good for you!


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array Diddle's Avatar
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    Interesting post! I have to wear some form of correction at the range regardless. A couple years ago I ended up with a $300.00+ pair of no-line bifocals. Well that was money tossed to the wind. If I wear em, I look like a cat getting ready to pounce on something. What I did find was really cheap "readers" at the drug store with 1.5 diopters provided the best option. If I shoot in bright light I can get by with regular safety glasses. If however it is cloudy, I mut have some form of correction. Also, I seem to shoot better with plain old iron sights or 3-dot white sights. I had nightsights onstalled on my G26 but have never been in a situation where I was able to shoot it in the dark. I also had the same type sights installed on a SA SR40 but in green front / yellow rear. That wasa total mistake. Just holding the pistol in the dark and dry firing, the rear sight look blury or the front sight looks blury depending on what I am looking at. Apparently my eyes do not like mild color differences. I would have been better off, in a two color system, to use red/green or green/white. (Assuming that was an option.) One thing I did find I liked, for daylight, was the red/green fiber optic or light tube offerings. However they offer nothing in the dark.

    Lastly, I think for me the best option is three big white sights. Or just plain old iron sights.

    Thanks for the nice post!
    Diddle
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    Member Array CaptSmith's Avatar
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    Tangle ...whats the figure 8 and the beener for ?? 66 yrs really ?? LOL great shooting..just got cataract day/surg on the remaining eye, now have 18 yrs old eyes...

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    VIP Member Array varob's Avatar
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    With groups like that, I think it's a little early to start talking about "old eyes".
    Don't believe what you hear and only half of what you see!
    -Tony Soprano

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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptSmith View Post
    Tangle ...whats the figure 8 and the beener for ?? 66 yrs really ?? LOL great shooting..just got cataract day/surg on the remaining eye, now have 18 yrs old eyes...
    I will be right behind you. First, left next month then right the month after. Doc's prediction is 20/20 to 20/30 uncorrected.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptSmith View Post
    Tangle ...whats the figure 8 and the beener for ?? 66 yrs really ??
    Yes, really - I can't believe it!

    The target was curling, so I grabbed the two handiest things to weight it with, but they're really for this; I did this about 2 weeks ago. And yes, that is really me! I do this about three times a week:



    I did three 50' back to back climb and rappels this afternoon - on that very device.
    I'm too young to be this old!
    Getting old isn't good for you!

  7. #7
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    Well, OK, then, one more short one:

    I'm too young to be this old!
    Getting old isn't good for you!

  8. #8
    Member Array CaptSmith's Avatar
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    HA !! Cool ..did a couple of jobs in the 90's required REI decenders and 11mm line and 8's and ladders,and 3/4 nylon for O shucks, and grande stones, working sheetmetal on 27/12 pitch 150' up. Catch net for our drops, not us, just our tools and trim......See some new stuff in your vid's Tangle, thanks for share'n......

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    Interesting and thoughtful post. I went out today with a couple of friends and put about 500 ends downrange with the 1911 and g17.

    Funny thing is, I shot equally well with both today keeping them all in the black of an 8 inch bulleye at 25 yards. While I love the Colt, you are right in that it's truly hard to beat a Glock .
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Array FLSlim's Avatar
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    Good post...my mind tells me I'm still in my 30's but my eyes prove I've passed 60. To me the obvious lesson is one has to adapt shooting gear and style to the changes the years bring. My eyes just don't work with black on black sights in low light, so now my Ruger 22 has a red dot, the gov model has a FO front, and my defensive guns all have night sights on front except for a Glock 26 which still sports the std Glock sights. Aiming tends to be a little less precise and a little more instinctive compared to a few years back. From about 15 yds in, it isn't so bad; but move back to 25 and it takes a lot more effort. BTW, Tangle, good shooting and I like your eval drill.
    Chose a weapon that goes bang EVERY time!

  11. #11
    Ex Member Array Theodore's Avatar
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    Maybe can add for close-range, you can try add a red dot sight, while for long-rang, optical sight maybe better. So in your case, i think a red dot sight is best, anyway gun lasers for sale everywhere.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theodore View Post
    Maybe can add for close-range, you can try add a red dot sight, while for long-rang, optical sight maybe better. So in your case, i think a red dot sight is best, anyway gun lasers for sale everywhere.
    I was anticipating this coming up and that is in the works, Need some help on the ultimate gun project; .45 vs 9mm bun not what you think....

    I've done a lot, a lot of research into these mini-red dot reflex sights; and just FWIW they are NOT holographic sights. When you look carefully at these sights, you will quickly find there are two types of reviews and support for these types of sights: manufacturers, those that sell the sights, magazine authors, and reviews from essentially everyday people that have actually bought and used them.

    The reports from the from the, 'something to gain' group, as you might expect is nothing less than glowing, no downsides, shoot better, shoot faster, etc., etc. etc. When you read the reviews of those that have actually bought the sights, you get another impression. Just to be clear, I'm talking top grade RDS - Leupold, Trijicon, and Insight Technology. I think Burris has ceased manufacture of the Fastfire because several manufacturers dominate the market place.

    Many have had trouble zeroing them. Many speak of ragged dot problems, some speak of disappointing performance, some have reported complete failures on the initial units and again on the replacement units. Many report that zeroing is problematic. It seems the zeroing holds well, but it's not easy to get it zeroed.

    Others speak of too bright of a dot under all lighting conditions, and even the ones with purported ambient light adjustment say they can tell little if any difference of dot intensity with ambient light changes. Several have found it necessary to put masking tape over the light sensor to dim down the dot.

    Several have reported, as I too have found, it's not as easy to get the red dot in view as they thought it would be, and along with that, several have reported that if you lose the dot, you have to hunt for it. I know what they are talking about.

    The sights are what I consider outrageously expensive, $400 is a starting point unless you condider a J.P. Enterprize RDS that goes for $249. But this sight is the discontinued Optima 2000 sight and has been declared by one seller of high end sights as a piece of junk. That's not the impression I get from the reviews of the sight.

    But, all of that aside, going to a RDS is a larger commitment that one may realize. First, and most obvious, is the cost. You can literally buy a gun for the cost of one of these sights. Also, the sight is just the beginning. Several requre gunsmith installation because they don't come with a cross slot mount.

    Then there's the not so obvious is the commitment to the RDS. You put one on one gun, and you put the time in to get proficient with it, how do you do with a different gun with iron sights now? I suspect shooting skills degrade with the iron sights because we have a completely different sighting system that we're no longer accustomed to. I think once one truly commits to a RDS, there will/can be no going back to iron sights.

    What about a BUG? Is it gonna have a RDS too? If not that means we have to transition from a RDS to a smaller gun with iron sights - that just doesn't sound good to me.

    But, my situation is that I may not have any choice. I either commit fully to a RDS or due to aging eyes, struggle with iron sights. Right now, I'm content with my shooting ability with iron sights, but my later experiences with contacts, etc. kinda says, the day is coming....So, I can commit to the RDS now or wait until I have to. By going RDS now, I have the experience on the RDS kind of ahead of time.

    After much reading and research, my pick changed from the Leupold to the Insight Technology MRDS. This sight has the ambient light sensor pointing toward the threat (target), not straight up in the air which is obviously the wrong direction to measure ambient light. You want to sense the light at your threat, not the light above you.

    The IT MRDS costs $400 from Botach, without mounts. You can get a kit with adaptors for a number of popular guns for an additional $50 IIRC. Everytime I start to press the 'buy' button, I freeze up. That's a lot of money.
    I'm too young to be this old!
    Getting old isn't good for you!

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    I personally, from an observer standpoint, in looking at your groups, feel you are above average and have no need of electronic sights. One thing that you mentioned, and I completely agree with, is the factory sights on the Glock are great for my shooting. As a matter of fact, I now consider it a waste of time and money to change them.

    I actually get the feeling that you just kind of want to try something different just for the sake of a project, kind of a concept gun, more than you really "need" to do it because of your vision, and that makes it easier to justify the expense.

    Either way, it's a fun idea and one with it's merits.

    Back when I competed, I discovered that a change of sights would bring you back into the x ring when you got into a "shooting funk". My only explanation of this was the newer sights gave the eyes a newer picture to focus on and therefor better concentration. After 6 months you could switch back to the old ones and get the same results. But, this was shooting a couple thousand rounds a week.

    Back during the heyday of IPSC, when tricked out 1911s and red dot sights firing underpowered loads and carried in Hellwig holsters was the game, I found the same held true for switching out red dot sights dot size.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same....
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    I personally, from an observer standpoint, in looking at your groups, feel you are above average and have no need of electronic sights....
    Man - just when I had it all worked out, you stick some logic in there.

    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    ...One thing that you mentioned, and I completely agree with, is the factory sights on the Glock are great for my shooting. As a matter of fact, I now consider it a waste of time and money to change them...
    I agree 100%. I've tried them all and the ol stock, ball-in-a-box works best for me. I've noticed that time and time again.

    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    ...I actually get the feeling that you just kind of want to try something different just for the sake of a project, kind of a concept gun, more than you really "need" to do it because of your vision, and that makes it easier to justify the expense...
    DO YOU JUST HAVE TO TELL EVERYTHING!!!

    Well, seriously, I'm not as concerned so much about my eyes right now, but they are getting older. Of course, it may be that even as my eyes get older, my marksmanship may not diminish significantly from here on out.

    One thing about the RDSs, though, they do provide a better 'night sight'. Tritium is fair, better than nothing, but they dim continuously over time; contrary to what many think, they don't stay bright and then just die at the 10 year mark. I have some on several of my guns and they are now all but useless. However, from what I've read about RDSs, they are far from perfect as well in that they can be too bright in subdued lighting and over-power the target.

    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    ...Back when I competed, I discovered that a change of sights would bring you back into the x ring when you got into a "shooting funk". My only explanation of this was the newer sights gave the eyes a newer picture to focus on and therefor better concentration. After 6 months you could switch back to the old ones and get the same results. But, this was shooting a couple thousand rounds a week.
    Interesting you say that, I've heard that before. And the rationale was pretty much what you said - better, or renewed concentration and more confidence because we've 'improved' our gun.

    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    ...Back during the heyday of IPSC, when tricked out 1911s and red dot sights firing underpowered loads and carried in Hellwig holsters was the game, I found the same held true for switching out red dot sights dot size.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same....
    Yep!
    I'm too young to be this old!
    Getting old isn't good for you!

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