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Picture of islandboi876
posted
Good day all, it has been a mighty long time since I have posted. How are you all doing? Please stay safe. I have noticed something of late when acquiring my sights and want your views so as to stay on the best practice. Whenever I dry fire or in a defensive encounter I tend to keep my eyes on the target and bring my sights up into my field of view then focus on the front sight. However, I noticed that while at the range I tend to search for the sights, focus on the front sights then align them to the target.

I seem to be faster with the former and more accurate with the later. I want to ensure I'm not developing bad training habits. What are your thoughts.


Hi my name is Islandboi876 and I'm a gun nut.
 
Posts: 207 | Location: Portmore, Jamaica | Registered: April 16, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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If the “train like you’ll fight” mantra is the least bit valid, the question I always ask and then the answer I always come up with is if someone is trying to kill us, where will we be looking? Some highly conditioned shooters claim that their attention was focused on the front sight when they were involved in a defensive shooting, but even if that’s true for some individuals, how likely is it for the rest of us? I believe that our evolutionary-driven instincts will have us looking at the threat. I also believe that’s the basis for development of so-called “tunnel vision” that’s commonly reported in such incidents: We focus on the target at the beginning and remain focused on it to the exclusion of our surroundings.

And then there’s the tactical question of where we should be looking: should it be at the threat, i.e., what our opponent is doing with his weapon and where he might be moving, or at that tiny piece of metal attached to the front of our gun?

Sometimes, too, shooting at close distances means that I’m not seeing the sight at all; the most I’m aware of is the approximate location of the gun with respect to the target.

Precision shooting at bull’s-eye targets with iron sights was the basis for the “front sight” mantra that many of us were taught for decades. I believe, however, it’s long past time to recognize that defensive shooting with handguns is different and in a life or death situation we’re not going to be standing bladed to the target, one hand in a pocket, and focusing on that 6:00 o’clock hold with a highly-tuned 1911 and minimum power loads.

As for speed, the competitors remind us that we can’t miss fast enough to win, but as I tell my students, we can shoot slowly enough to lose.

The consequence of all that is I believe in focusing on the target and bringing our gun and sight into our field of view with our peripheral vision and moving it to the target. At some point in the process we may have to focus on the sights to achieve an accurate shot, but I will do that after they have entered my field of vision while watching the target.




“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
— Thomas Paine
 
Posts: 43594 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of islandboi876
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Thank you good Sir, always top class and straight forward information. I really appreciate it.


Hi my name is Islandboi876 and I'm a gun nut.
 
Posts: 207 | Location: Portmore, Jamaica | Registered: April 16, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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You’re welcome.

Based on your initial post I believe you understood what I was saying, but lest someone else read my comments and not follow what I was getting at, a bit more explanation in an attempt to ensure it’s clear. (I’m actually surprised that no one has come in yet and claimed, “Sigfreund says we don’t have to use our sights. That’s just crazy!”)

I’m not suggesting that we never focus on the sight(s) when engaging a target. Although that’s not always necessary as the “front sight, front sight, front sight,” admonition might lead us to believe, my point is about the priority of attention we assign to either the sight or the target.

In my experience my point is most obvious when using an illuminated dot reticle sight on a patrol rifle intended for fast target acquisition at relatively close distances (e.g., to 25 yards or so). When the shooter mounts the rifle to his shoulder and brings it up to aim at a target, there is often a tendency to search for the illuminated red dot as the first thing when they can look through the sight. Then they shift focus (to a degree) and look for the target. Then it’s back to trying to position the reticle on the desired point of impact. That back and forth is slower and it can distract us from seeing what our target is doing, such as moving, putting his hands up, turning to flee, producing a police badge, etc.

What I recommend and practice is keeping our eyes focused on the target to monitor where it’s located and what the status of the threat is, and use our peripheral vision view of the dot reticle to move it to where we want to hit if we shoot. Depending on the distance to the target and its size (e.g., trying for a head shot at 25 yards), we may have to refine our focus on the reticle and target, but we shouldn’t be hunting for the reticle as the first part of the process as we bring the gun up.

All that is less obvious with an iron-sighted handgun, but I believe the principles are the same: Focus on the target as we would in a real situation, bring the gun up into our field of view, and use our peripheral view of the gun to move it to where we can engage the target. Even if that requires precise sight alignment rather than just gross pointing of the gun, then we make the necessary adjustments.

One of the reasons why finding the sights and then looking for the target generally works is because 99% or more of our practice and training is with targets that pose no threat to us and because we know exactly where they (and we) are. If, however, our training involves sudden exposure to shoot/no-shoot targets positioned at random in a room we enter without knowing what we will encounter, then the need to locate a target, identify a threat, and then bring the gun to the target from something other than a fixed position is more likely. That’s even more obvious if we’re engaged in “force on force” training with live adversaries.




“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
— Thomas Paine
 
Posts: 43594 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of mikeyspizza
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Someone should ask Jack Wilson, the guy who put a head shot on the church shooter in Texas in 2019.
 
Posts: 3487 | Location: North Carolina | Registered: August 16, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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