I want to make sure I'm thinking about this the right way - RE: Front Sight Focus

I want to make sure I'm thinking about this the right way - RE: Front Sight Focus

This is a discussion on I want to make sure I'm thinking about this the right way - RE: Front Sight Focus within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Focusing on the front sight has been an issue for me ever since I started shooting. Like so many, my first instinct was to focus ...

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Thread: I want to make sure I'm thinking about this the right way - RE: Front Sight Focus

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    Question I want to make sure I'm thinking about this the right way - RE: Front Sight Focus

    Focusing on the front sight has been an issue for me ever since I started shooting. Like so many, my first instinct was to focus on the target and I had nobody to correct me, so I got into this bad habit. Even so, I've always been a "good enough shot" that I never devoted much time to learning to really focus on the front sight. But, now I've decided to correct this, and here's my issue.

    By focusing on the front sight with both eyes open, I see two targets, neither one of which is "right." When focused on the target, I see two guns, but I've learned to use the "left-hand" gun (seen by my dominant right eye), and ignore the other one. But that doesn't work with two targets, because the true target is roughly half-way between the two apparent targets. I did some experimenting today with my airsoft pistol, and couldn't hit jack aiming at either target. Aiming between them gave me better results, but I was still guessing to find the half-way point.

    Eventually, I developed a kind of work-around, but I don't know if this is just me making things up, or if this is how it's really supposed to work.

    I first focus on the target, then, without moving my eyes, change focus to the front sight. This way, I see one target, but it is fuzzy, and my front sight is crystal clear. I use the "left-hand gun" like I'm used to, put the front sight on the fuzzy single target, and fire. This worked OK, but I get the feeling I'm missing a crucial step. It is also not as fast because I have to switch focus from far to near to get the front sight clear without doubling up my target. Maybe this is just a practice issue, though.

    Who can enlighten me about this? I'm kinda teaching myself, with the help of the internets, and all I've been able to find is that the target should be blurry, and the front sight clear (which I knew). Nothing about shooting this way with both eyes open.
    "A well-educated electorate, being necessary to the continuance of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed."
    Is this hard to understand? Then why does it get unintelligible to some people when 5 little words are changed?


  2. #2
    Member Array Freakdaddy's Avatar
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    When's the last time you've seen an optometrist? It sounds like you could have a form of diplopia. When my dad first started me off on shooting with a rifle, I was shooting right handed as I'm right handed. I could not see the sight or target at all. He then, after much fustration on his part, had me shoot left handed. I was nailing it every time so we just thought I as an abnormality. I shoot long guns left handed and pistols right handed but using my left eye to aim. Years later an optometrist told me my right eye was a lazy eye. It would turn in slightly when I tried to focus on things but never to such a degree that people around me noticed it doing it. Whenever I tried to aim with my right eye, I would eventually lose the target/sight all together. I can shoot with both eyes open without any difficulty though.

    Try shooting while closing your non-dominant eye and see if that helps. Or even now at home, close one eye and aim like you would at the range and then reverse it with the other eye and see what the results are. If you have a lazy eye, the difference between the two will be significant. It's hard to explain but you'll see (pun intended) what I'm talking about. Make sure your guns unloaded though. Closing one eye may be the only way for you to overcome it as no corrective surgery will fix it that I'm aware of. That's why I've never had the Lasik surgery done as it would only correct my vision, not my lazy eye. At least my glasses gives my "good" eye some protection. If anything happened to that one, I'd be screwed. Here's some info on diplopia.
    Diplopia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    I'm due for an eye checkup, but I'm fairly certain I don't have diplopia. I can focus on any object I want from my nose out to infinity and get a single perfect image, but as I rotate my eyes to align them to a near object, far objects go out of alignment and result in 2 images of the far object and one of the near. Conversely, focusing on a far object gives the illusion of 2 near objects because the alignment of both eyes converges past the near object. I don't think this is a problem, it's just an artifact of binocular vision.
    "A well-educated electorate, being necessary to the continuance of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed."
    Is this hard to understand? Then why does it get unintelligible to some people when 5 little words are changed?

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob The Great View Post
    I'm due for an eye checkup, but I'm fairly certain I don't have diplopia. I can focus on any object I want from my nose out to infinity and get a single perfect image, but as I rotate my eyes to align them to a near object, far objects go out of alignment and result in 2 images of the far object and one of the near. Conversely, focusing on a far object gives the illusion of 2 near objects because the alignment of both eyes converges past the near object. I don't think this is a problem, it's just an artifact of binocular vision.
    Have you checked eye dominance? With both eyes open point at something far away. Keep your hand pointing and cover your left or right eye. When you cover your dominant eye, it'll appear you are pointing at something else/your hand moved. I have nearly equal dominance... only a slight nudge in favor of my right eye. I can shoot both eyes open, but I must squint my left eye.

    This exercise will also help you figure out if it's a real problem - even though with both eyes open you can't be sure where you are pointing - when you cover your non-dominant eye you should be pointing spot on at your target.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    I'm definitely right-eye dominant, which is handy since I shoot right-handed.

    So, what do other people see when they focus on the front sight? 1 gun, 2 targets? 2 guns, 1 target? 1 gun, 1 target? (somehow?)

    I had my gf do a couple of tests, and her eyes behave exactly the same way mine do. I can get either gun or target to converge into a single image, but not both. Which one do people use?
    "A well-educated electorate, being necessary to the continuance of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed."
    Is this hard to understand? Then why does it get unintelligible to some people when 5 little words are changed?

  6. #6
    Member Array Shotdown's Avatar
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    When I focus on the front sight, I see a huge dot and a blurry target behind it. I just want to keep that front sight where it needs to be. You already know where your target is, now keep the sights aligned.

    G19, G23, P2000 (9mm), LMT Defender 2000 (SOPMOD), Colt LE6920, Ruger 10/22

  7. #7
    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    Do you shoot with both eyes open?
    "A well-educated electorate, being necessary to the continuance of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed."
    Is this hard to understand? Then why does it get unintelligible to some people when 5 little words are changed?

  8. #8
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    I'm with ya here. When I look at the front sight, I see two targets. I'm left eye dominant but right handed. I was told by an instructor to turn my head to the right a bit, it helps.....

  9. #9
    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    well, at least I'm not alone.

    I just tried to head turning - didn't do much for me. Maybe if I were cross-dominant, it would help, but I have to turn my head so far to the left, I'm basically looking over my shoulder by the time the targets got anywhere close to lined up.

    Do you choose one target over the other, even with the head turning?
    "A well-educated electorate, being necessary to the continuance of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed."
    Is this hard to understand? Then why does it get unintelligible to some people when 5 little words are changed?

  10. #10
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    Self Defense Shooting and punching holes in paper are really two different animals.

    You are in all probability never going to have time to do (below) in an actual self-defense scenario.

    You'll need to clear leather and "hit it" fast and furious close in.
    Work hard on doing that.

    Also:
    With your particular vision related problem you're a perfect candidate for a laser sight system added to your self~defense firearm.
    Were I you I would absolutely invest in Crimson Trace or a LaserMax.
    That way you'll only need to look at the target and you will not need to look at your firearm at all in a deadly threat scenario.
    A laser sight system should work out great for you as you'll only have one red dot at the intended Point Of Impact to be concerned with.
    In your case a laser would be the fastest and best way to actually get bullets into the bad guy in a big hurry.

    "I first focus on the target, then, without moving my eyes, change focus to the front sight.
    This way, I see one target, but it is fuzzy, and my front sight is crystal clear.
    I use the "left-hand gun" like I'm used to, put the front sight on the fuzzy single target, and fire.
    This worked OK, but I get the feeling I'm missing a crucial step. It is also not as fast because I have to switch focus from far to near to get the front sight clear without doubling up my target.
    Maybe this is just a practice issue, though."
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

  11. #11
    Member Array Shotdown's Avatar
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    I shoot both eyes open and I'm cross dominant. I'm right handed and I noticed I focus with my left eye but I only see one target.

    G19, G23, P2000 (9mm), LMT Defender 2000 (SOPMOD), Colt LE6920, Ruger 10/22

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob The Great View Post
    I just tried to head turning - didn't do much for me.

    Do you choose one target over the other, even with the head turning?
    I'm lefty, right-eye dominant, generally mod/Weaver stance. It's a natural movement now, but I simply tilt the pistol over about ~8-10* to the right and then tick the head to the left. While both eyes are open, the dominant (right) eye zeros in on the front sight easily. With isosceles stance, I simply turn the head a bit left to allow the dominant eye to line up.

    As suggested above, though, when shooting quickly under a stressed situation, I find myself simply pointing at the target and shooting without really consciously adjusting the sighting.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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  13. #13
    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    My goal in this is to improve my point shooting. If I build in the muscle memory to raise my gun, automatically snap it into correct position, and bring my focus to it, I won't have to think about it if I ever have to do it for real. That's what point shooting is all about - reflexive action, but we have the opportunity to re-define the body's default actions through practice. I've done this many times in martial arts training, and it should work the same way with shooting.

    Ok, I finally found another thread on this. This is the same issue I'm having.

    Eyes, alternative sighting, defensive pistol [Archive] - THR

    I think this might be what's going on for me. I am definitely right-eye dominant, but maybe not by a great degree, which makes it difficult to ignore the information coming from my left eye.

    As for which target is "real", I think I figured that one out too. I was thinking about it this morning, and here's what I think is going on.



    Method 1 is the standard one-eyed sight picture. Align and focus on the front sight with the dominant eye: 1 target, 1 sight, line 'em up, and that's it. If a person truly has no dominant eye or wants to shoot with the non-dominant eye, this seems like the only option.

    Method 2 is what I think most people are doing. The dominant eye has the same sight picture and alignment as Method 1, and all information from the non-dominant eye is simply ignored, but the non-dominant eye is aligned with the front sight to aid in focusing on it. People learn to ignore the ghost target and let the dominant eye control what you actually "see" until the ghost target becomes essentially invisible. This method seems like it would be most suitable for people with a strongly dominant eye or who have trouble shifting their focus plane independantly of their eye alignment.

    Method 3 is what I think I was doing. Both eyes are still aligned on the front sight, but the sight itself is centered between the eyes. This produces 2 ghost images, one from each eye, and the true target becomes invisible! To hit the true target, one must aim in between the two ghosts, which is clearly a poor option for accuracy.

    Note that the change in gun alignment between Methods 2 and 3 is very slight. This is why I couldn't understand what was going on. I was unconsiously adjusting the gun and my head to a neutral position between my eyes where both eyes had equal dominance.

    Method 4 is my work-around. Both eyes are aligned with the target, even though my focus plane is still pulled back to the front sight. The sight is aligned with the dominant eye, which creates a ghost gun image seen by the non-dominant eye. I have already learned to ignore this ghost gun over the years of focusing on the target.

    This method is similar to the instinctive focus-on-the-target method of shooting, with the only difference being pulling the focus plane back to sharpen up the front sight. It seems like this might be more suitable for people like me, who (apparently) have only slight dominance in one eye, but it requires shifting the focus of your eyes without changing their alignment.

    The question is: What functional difference is there between Methods 2 and 4? Both seem like they accomplish the goal of front-sight shooting, which is to minimize the uncertainty in the position of front sight, on the basis that a small variation in front sight position translates to a large variation in impact zone, and could go un-noticed if the sight is fuzzy. The disadvantage I see with Method 4 is the time it takes to adjust the focus plane, but this seems like something that could be overcome with enough practice. But aligning both eyes with the target is very instinctive and probably easier to do pumped full of adrenalin.

    Does this make sense to anyone else? I think I could use the tape-over-the-glasses trick on my non-dominant eye to train myself using Method 2, but before I try to alter my eye dominance, I want to examine the feasability of Method 4 a bit, since it comes more naturally.
    "A well-educated electorate, being necessary to the continuance of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed."
    Is this hard to understand? Then why does it get unintelligible to some people when 5 little words are changed?

  14. #14
    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    Well, I killed that thread.

    I'm gonna do some more experimenting, but if anybody has any more feedback, let me know.
    "A well-educated electorate, being necessary to the continuance of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed."
    Is this hard to understand? Then why does it get unintelligible to some people when 5 little words are changed?

  15. #15
    New Member Array WickedOne's Avatar
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    Me Too

    I have essentialy the same problem. With both eyes open looking at the target I see two guns. If I focus on the front site I see two targets in the background. I shoot with one eye at the range because of this. When I practice SD situations the speed of the encounter doesn't give me the oportunity to get a great site picture and close one eye, therefore, I have learned that when focusing on the front site I need to aim at the target on the right.

    Glad you brought this up. I always assumed it was normal and everyone who shoots with both eyes open had this issue. Guess I learn something new everyday. I'm very interested in knowing the outcome of your research, keep us up-to-date.

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