Front Sight Focus

Your rounds will go exactly where the front sight is pointed, the trick is to point the front sight at what you want to hit.

Sounds pretty simple and some will accuse me of over-simplifying the concept, but in reality that is pretty much all you have to do. What I want to talk about is the focusing on the front sight component. There are a lot of different types of sights on the market. Some are built around precision, others around speed and others that try to combine the two.

Since I have been shooting my MRDS equipped pistols for over two years now I feel pretty good about saying they are the wave of the future. If you haven’t heard or seen them, make sure to check out the October issue of SWAT Magazine for a good article on pistol mounted MRDS. However, they are not without disadvantages and a big one is the cost. So, those who opt to stick with traditional iron sights can see some benefit to the newer and brighter front sights.

The big deal about these “brighter” front sights is they help to attract your eye or keep your eye focused on the front sight. We can still see some “sight chasing”, which is the act of looking down range at the target, then back to your front sight, back and forth as you try to perfect your sight picture. The result is a large group generally located at the center mass of the target. We see this a lot in our classes, folks are trying to be so precise they don’t realize they are doing it, you have to trust your ability to center your sight alignment over your intended target zone. It takes practice, but once you have mastered this your speed will reduce as you become way more efficient.

The brighter front sights typically reduce this issue by nature of the more brilliant sight reference, but they also produce an aiming error as an unintended consequence. Because the front sight is so bright the shooter is focused on the illuminated portion, not the actual tip of the front sight post. For a lot of the close range shooting scenarios it will not be that big of a deal, but we can see point of aim/point of impact issues surface as close as 10-yards. The real issue of this shift is more at the extended ranges such as the 25-yard line.

At these extended ranges the eye will focus on the brighter object, since the brightly colored sight is designed to attract the eye, it will win out against the duller black tip of the front sight. Folks will then try to adjust their point of aim to compensate for the shift in point of impact. Mainly because at 25-yards it is approximately 4-6 inches and they want to be able to hit what they are aiming. The problem becomes one of confidence in their equipment. Since they are struggling to find that correct point of aim they typically are all over the place. I often ask, what are you focused on and I get as a response; “the front sight.” I ask, the tip or the dot? First problem, the blank stare. Second problem, the dot. All of this is resolved when the shooter focuses on the front sight post tip when precision is required.

The final issue is being able to hit what you are aiming at regardless of the circumstances. So, know your gear.

2 thoughts on “Front Sight Focus

  1. RamZar says:

    During our recent CP2 class a key observation was how effective red dot sights are for pistols. Two of the three shooters who passed the class were using the Trijicon RMR sights. This was particularly advantageous since a lot of CP2 shooting involves diagnostics at 25 yards. However, another key advantage was when late in the day with darkness setting in the two RMR shooters had no issues at all placing rounds but everyone else struggled.

    With iron sights the Trijicon HD is another good way. Jeff is having Trijicon do a mod whereby the rear sight is square instead of u-shaped. I shot his pistol with such a rear sight and found it to be more accurate.

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