Focus on the front sight?

Focus on the front sight?

This is a discussion on Focus on the front sight? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Everything I read and hear about shot placement emphasizes focusing on the front sight as one of the most important elements of accurate shooting. Since ...

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  1. #1
    New Member Array austin-tatious's Avatar
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    Focus on the front sight?

    Everything I read and hear about shot placement emphasizes focusing on the front sight as one of the most important elements of accurate shooting. Since I have been far-sighted for a while, I cannot get the front sight in focus (unless I tilt my head back to bring the bifocals into play!). The target, however, is crystal clear. So, what can I do about that? I know I'm not the only older guy out there. What do you other "focus-challenged geezers" recommend?


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array HK Dan's Avatar
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    Well, as a competition shooter I can tell you that it depends on the shot.

    At arms length and out to about 10 feet, forget the sights.
    From there to about 10 yards I focus on the target and 'flash' view the sights. They're a ghost image, roughly aligned.
    Past that I confirm sight alignment (quickly) and look at the target.
    Beyond THAT I confirm the target and look at the sights.
    For bullseye, I look at the sights and think about the trigger.

    I don't know if that helped or not, but those are the five levels of awareness that I use, courtesy of Brian Enos.

    HK Dan
    "What does Marcellus Wallace LOOK like?"

  3. #3
    New Member Array austin-tatious's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HK Dan View Post
    ...
    For bullseye, I look at the sights and think about the trigger.
    ...
    HK Dan
    "Look at the sights" means you try to bring them into focus (even though they stay fuzzy)?

  4. #4
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    If my old eyes were better - I would as in past keep focus on sights - primarily front sight. These days blur is the suitable word!

    When time allows the focus can quickly go from target to sights but should remain on sights finally - preferably front sight, sitting within the slightly blurred rear sight "U" or "V".

    As a refresher - check out my old thread on sights .. open sights 101 . Nothing new but just a run-down of essentials.
    Chris - P95
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    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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    New Member Array austin-tatious's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry View Post

    When time allows the focus can quickly go from target to sights but should remain on sights finally - preferably front sight, sitting within the slightly blurred rear sight "U" or "V".
    Since the target is sharp and clear but the front sight is blurry no matter what, my brain says focus on what is sharp. For me it is going to take a lot more practice, practice, practice to get my focus to stay on the blurry front and rear sights (for ranges beyond 10 yards).

    Thanks for the advice.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by austin-tatious View Post
    Since the target is sharp and clear but the front sight is blurry no matter what, my brain says focus on what is sharp. For me it is going to take a lot more practice, practice, practice to get my focus to stay on the blurry front and rear sights (for ranges beyond 10 yards).

    Thanks for the advice.
    For combat shooting, thats what you want. You wont be able to focus on both the sights and target.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  7. #7
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    I must reiterate the time factor - as sixto mentions, combat shooting does not usually give the luxury of time ....... so this is a special case.

    My mention above is per a situation where there is time - more deliberate as akin to bullseye. Whether we have time to use sights or not - knowing proper use is still IMO of value.

    The main point with sight alignment is error reduction. If sights aligned and gun ''wanders'' around a blurry target - the error is actually smaller than most would realize.

    If however within the short distance between front and rear sights there is horizontal and/or vertical error - the effective deviation relative to target is potentially huge. Thus when sighting is viable, a well maintained picture will achieve best accuracy potential.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    Senior Member Array HK Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by austin-tatious View Post
    "Look at the sights" means you try to bring them into focus (even though they stay fuzzy)?

    Yes, the sights are in focus and the target is blurry for bullseye shooting, but my mental focus is on the trigger. When the sights drift through the "A" zone, I increase pressure on the trigger. As they drift out, I stop. Eventually the gun will go off and the sights will be in the "A" zone.

    Yes, this is different than rifle shooting, but it works (for me). Again, I use different combinations of sight/target awareness for different shots depending on the difficulty of the shot. By far the most-used is type 2 (ghost image of the sights over a clear target) followed closely by Type 3 (shifting focus from front sight to target).

    It's critical to see the sights lift in recoil as you shoot. Not only will that allow you to correct grip pressure as you shoot (by watching which direction the gun recoils, you know which hand to tighten or loosen), it will also ensure that you aren't blinking as the gun goes off. ;)

    HK Dan
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  9. #9
    Member Array rmhz1979's Avatar
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    Did you ever think of trying a laser sight. They make them for about every gun out there. This should keep you from having to worry about your open sights at all.

  10. #10
    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmhz1979 View Post
    Did you ever think of trying a laser sight. They make them for about every gun out there. This should keep you from having to worry about your open sights at all.
    Not entirely, lasers break, the beam can be obscurred, batteries die, etc. etc.

    They should be a supplement to your sights, not a replacment.

    However as a supplement, they are nice to have.

    I was having front sight acquisition problems for a while and a good cure was using the XS Big Dot sights the larger sight was easier for my eyes to pick up. They're not match sights, but for a SD gun they are truely awesome.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    You will be more accurate if your focus is on the front sight. If you can focus on the target and hit it at reasonable ranges, that may be good enough for you. If you want to be really accurate, you have to have sharp focus on the front sight. (And do everything else besides the aiming well too)

    Austin

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Imho much of what is spoken of as being a " front sight focus " is truely a visual referance . Some no dobut see the front sight crisply and follow it thro recoil , back onto target . I am not one of the few , nor have i ever been , yet i preach sights , sights , and more sights . I want ( not necessairly need ) a visual lineup of my pistol and the target in order to feel confident in a shot . I do tend to focus on the front sight as it is a small ( smaller than the profile of the pistol visual cue to align. ) As ranges and times compress precise alignment goes out the window tho untill we reach " bad breath " or " phone booth " range where its all about a " press check and fire " . If like me you have old eyes , bifocals , and your shooting is not like it was ( or you suspect it would have been ) in your younger days , dont worry about it . If you want to shoot bullseye there are other forums to help , for this forum minute of felon is the rule tho lol .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
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  13. #13
    Member Array FIREARMZ's Avatar
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    When I am shooting I have in the past caught myself doing different things with he front sight. It also depends on the shooting situation, extremely close, close, intermediate range, long and extreme long ranges. The further I am away from the target the harder I look at the front sight.

    Extremely close range (0 to about one full step plus arm length)) retention shooting with no sights.
    Close range (beyond one full step and arms length to about 10 to 21 feet) it is a visual reference of the gun and a flash sight picture, all I need is the gun in my line of sight and a quick look at he sights.
    Intermediate range (21 feet out to about 30 or so feet) I look harder at the front sight but do not linger around there very long.
    Long range and extreme long range I do the same thing, it is a hard front sight focus and really concentrate on the trigger press. All of these distances are estimated and no hard facts, after shooting for a while you will get the instinctive feel of what you need to do as far as sights and distance. It may require a few zillion rounds but it will come.

    Further more I usually do not track the front sight, as I do not shoot much competition anymore I stay on my threat target. I need to know what the bad guy is doing at all times.

    In saying all of this trigger control is the most important aspect of shooting a handgun. After you have dome everything else, screw that trigger press up and it doesn't really matter where or how the sights were aligned.

    For guys and gals that have eye problems I suggest the XS Big Dot and have the rear sight opened up to about .150 or .155 if it can be done to your sights.
    Ken Forbus Owner of FIREARMZ
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  14. #14
    Member Array CCWINNC's Avatar
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    Laser is the answer. If you maintain your laser device as you do your weapon it will be there when you need it. This allows you to focus on the target not the sights.

    For self defense distances you should learn to point shoot. In a real situation the brains tendency is to focus on the threat not the sights.

    Having to refocus on the sights costs precious time you may not have. There is a reason many agencies use Laser aiming devices.
    CCWINNC

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  15. #15
    Member Array FIREARMZ's Avatar
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    The natural instinct in a gun fight is to run or hide, we train out of that, so we need to train to use our sights. While I agree that lasers are an effective tool, especially for law enforcement for shooting around shields and such, Police often draw their guns to hold someone and then the laser may be a intimidation, when it comes down to shooting they have their draw backs as well. They are subject to movement from vibration, recoil and drops, dust and other debris on the lens, batteries dieing, and short circuits. Some laser require the replacement of factory internal parts which may not be as reliable as the original parts, some also require you lose/change your firing grip in order to activate or deactivate them. Laser must be able to be turned on and off instantly without losing or changing the grip. I also think they should not be solely relied on.

    Point shooting within its actual context is a good thing but just like sights, it will not answer every call. If there is time and disance that allows it always use the sights.
    Ken Forbus Owner of FIREARMZ
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