How do I sight in my pistol?

This is a discussion on How do I sight in my pistol? within the Reference & "How To" Forum forums, part of the Related Topics category; I have a Sig P220 that I recently had a gunsmith install night sights on. I asked him how he knew they were aligned properly, ...

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 24
Like Tree13Likes

Thread: How do I sight in my pistol?

  1. #1
    Member Array CCIE33560's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    313

    Question How do I sight in my pistol?

    I have a Sig P220 that I recently had a gunsmith install night sights on. I asked him how he knew they were aligned properly, and he told me that sighting them in was my responsibility and that he could not possibly do this for me. I this true? Sig seems to do a good job of it at the factory. Now my pistol doesn't shoot as accurately as it used to. I don't have a sight tool or brass punches, so do I have to buy one or the other to fix my sights? Or should I find myself a new gunsmith? Do those laser bore sighting cartridges work well? Thanks!

  2. Remove Ads

  3. #2
    Moderator
    Array gasmitty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Gilbert, AZ
    Posts
    10,408
    Absolutely true.

    The short sight radius and the absence of a firm indexing on your body such as a long gun has with its shoulder mount makes sighting in a handgun a highly personal thing.

    You state your gun doesn't shoot as accurately as it used to. "Accuracy" and "precision" are both applicable terms here. Your gun (and you) can be precise but not accurate, or accurate but not precise. Here's some good info: NOAA 200th: Surveying - Accuracy Versus Precision

    So the question is - did your groups increase in size, or did the center of the groups move?

    if the former, then perhaps the night sights don't provide as crisp a sight picture as the original sights did. If the latter, then usually the sights can be drifted left or right in their dovetails to adjust for windage, but height adjustments may require a different height of the front blade or rear notch, or both.
    vilecanards likes this.
    Smitty
    NRA Endowment Member

  4. #3
    Member Array CCIE33560's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    313
    Thanks gasmitty. Hey moved to the left, so I am thinking I need to move my rear sight to the left as well? Would you suggest getting a tool for this, so I could possibly make e adjustments at the range?

  5. #4
    Member Array ZOMBIEvs42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    477
    Pistol sights more often than not require a tool to move them, a ransom rest would be the only definitive way to see if they are off, but any competant shooter could tell, talk with your gunsmith, tell him your point of aim/point of impact isnt what it used to be and ask him to tweek it, because after all he is a gunsmith and if your not happy with his workmanship tell him so.
    weekend pre-apocolypse nomadic warrior, leather duster and all.

  6. #5
    VIP Member
    Array Echo_Four's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Land of the mostly free
    Posts
    2,830
    We all grasp guns differently and shoot them differently resulting in different zeros. That's why an AR zeroed for me isn't likely to work well for you. Pistols are the same, just on a different scale. At the factory they line everything up in the middle and people usually just go with it. I know I shoot a couple inches right at 25 yards with my Glock 17. I could adjust the sight but don't go through the trouble of doing so- I just aim accordingly.

    If it bothers you a simply brass punch isn't expensive. Drift the sight slightly and test fire. Adjust as necessary. Just make sure to locktite the thing down when you're done.
    "The only people I like besides my wife and children are Marines."
    - Lt. Col. Oliver North

  7. #6
    VIP Member
    Array Mike1956's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Marion County, Ohio
    Posts
    10,458
    Quote Originally Posted by CCIE33560 View Post
    Thanks gasmitty. Hey moved to the left, so I am thinking I need to move my rear sight to the left as well? Would you suggest getting a tool for this, so I could possibly make e adjustments at the range?
    Move the rear sight the same direction you wish to move the strike of the bullet.
    "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."
    Tuco

  8. #7
    Moderator
    Array gasmitty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Gilbert, AZ
    Posts
    10,408
    Yep, Mike's got it right. (And just to add to the confusion, the OPPOSITE is true of you move the FRONT sight.)

    If you're decent at geometry, you can figure out how much you need to move the rear sight to achieve the change in point of impact that you need.

    Example: Say your groups moved to the left by two inches at 10 yards. First, measure your gun's sight radius. My 220 has a 6 inch sight radius, so we can use that for illustration. Mathematically, you're comparing 2 inches at 10 yards to an unknown sight movement at 6 inches. To keep dimensions uniform, convert 10 yards to inches: 10 yds x 36 in/yd = 360 inches.
    Tough to do this without using math symbols, but the equation boils down to X is to 6 inches as 2 inches is to 360 inches, where X is the amount you need to move your rear sight. Do the math, it works out to 0.033 inches - that's the amount your rear sight needs to move to get back on target. Your gunsmith will mark where your sight is now and then use a drift or sight pusher to achieve that travel.

    I'd shoot several groups at a known distance to confirm the dimensions before you tug on the gunsmith's sleeve.
    Smitty
    NRA Endowment Member

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array maxwell97's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    3,296
    I'm not sure about your Sig, but some guns have a rear sight secured by a set-screw, while some are simply press-fit. If the sight is secured by a screw, loosen that, or else the sight could be damaged if hit with a punch.

    To get close, here's a way to estimate how far to move it. Take the distance your shots are off center, and divide by the distance you were shooting at. (Use inches for both.) Then multiply the result by the distance between the front and rear sight. The final number is approximately how far you should move the rear sight.

    For example, let's say your group is centered two inches left when shooting from 10 yards. 10 yards is 360 inches. 2/360 = .00556. Then let's say the distance between your sights is five inches. 5 * 0.00556 = 0.0278 inch. Round that to 0.03 inch, or in fractions, 1/32". That's about how far you want to move the rear sight. Since you want the group to move to the right, you'd move the rear sight that far to the right.

    Note that I said "about." Such adjustments should be tested at the range, but this might save you some time when you get there.
    gasmitty likes this.
    "Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of the way... The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way."

  10. #9
    VIP Member Array maxwell97's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    3,296
    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    Yep, Mike's got it right. (And just to add to the confusion, the OPPOSITE is true of you move the FRONT sight.)

    If you're decent at geometry, you can figure out how much you need to move the rear sight to achieve the change in point of impact that you need.

    Example: Say your groups moved to the left by two inches at 10 yards. First, measure your gun's sight radius. My 220 has a 6 inch sight radius, so we can use that for illustration. Mathematically, you're comparing 2 inches at 10 yards to an unknown sight movement at 6 inches. To keep dimensions uniform, convert 10 yards to inches: 10 yds x 36 in/yd = 360 inches.
    Tough to do this without using math symbols, but the equation boils down to X is to 6 inches as 2 inches is to 360 inches, where X is the amount you need to move your rear sight. Do the math, it works out to 0.033 inches - that's the amount your rear sight needs to move to get back on target. Your gunsmith will mark where your sight is now and then use a drift or sight pusher to achieve that travel.

    I'd shoot several groups at a known distance to confirm the dimensions before you tug on the gunsmith's sleeve.
    Dang it, smitty!
    gasmitty likes this.
    "Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of the way... The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way."

  11. #10
    VIP Member
    Array Echo_Four's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Land of the mostly free
    Posts
    2,830
    Great minds and all that.
    "The only people I like besides my wife and children are Marines."
    - Lt. Col. Oliver North

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array maxwell97's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    3,296
    Quote Originally Posted by Echo_Four View Post
    Great minds and all that.
    Heh, maybe. I'm just wondering why we both came up with two inches at 10 yards. Maybe Defensive Carry is some kind of telepathic conduit or something...
    "Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of the way... The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way."

  13. #12
    Moderator
    Array gasmitty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Gilbert, AZ
    Posts
    10,408
    More'n likely, the same brand of Scotch. Or gunpowder.
    maxwell97 likes this.
    Smitty
    NRA Endowment Member

  14. #13
    New Member Array TheDoctor79's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    7
    I'm having a similar problem with my new 1911. It shoots low and left by about 3 inches at 7 yards. The sights are Novak style with what looks like a tiny hex bolt in the top of the rear sight. Does anyone know how I can sight this in myself, or do I need to just fork over the money to have a gunsmith do it?

  15. #14
    Distinguished Member Array BlackStallion29's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    NE Ohio
    Posts
    1,652
    I replaced the rear sight on my SD40VE myself. Shot placement is a little better, but still low and left of center by 3-4 inches at 10 yards. I put blame on a heavy trigger pull than anything. JMO of course.
    "Everybody gets knocked down in life. How you choose to get back up is up to you!"
    *NRA* *BFA*
    *GOA* *SAF*
    *NAGR*

  16. #15
    Distinguished Member Array Wunderneun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Lisl von Schlaf
    Posts
    1,384
    Quote Originally Posted by TheDoctor79 View Post
    I'm having a similar problem with my new 1911. It shoots low and left by about 3 inches at 7 yards. The sights are Novak style with what looks like a tiny hex bolt in the top of the rear sight. Does anyone know how I can sight this in myself, or do I need to just fork over the money to have a gunsmith do it?
    You will need a shorter front sight to bring up the rounds. Or a taller rear sight, but replacing the front sight is more common. Some sights can be filed as well. Many replaceable front sights are marked or stamped with a number. I think the number is arbitrary and is just for a reference to distinguish one sight from another.
    Peace Through Strength, Victory Through Devastation
    Devastation to your doorstep in 30 Minutes or Less. Minuteman III--- SAC WILL BE BACK!http://www.defensivecarry.com/forum/signaturepics/sigpic80391_2.gif

    I like all kinds of foreign guns. Walther, SIG-Sauer, and H&K.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Search tags for this page

how do i sight in a pistol

,

how should i line up the sights on a sd40ve

,
i had night sights installed i don't think they are aligned
,
i sight pistol
,

if i move my rear sight on my pistol 1/32 of an inch how much does that change the point of impact?

,
if i want to bring the strike of my round 2 the right which way do i remove the rear sight on my pistol
,

rear sight how far to move

,

sd40ve how to adjust the rear sight

,

sd40ve shoots low left

,
shooting left 2 inches how far to move rear sight to the right
,
should you bring your pistol to gunsmith to get sighted
,

why do i have to move my pistol sights far right?

Click on a term to search for related topics.