The Old Dog Adage, Part 2

After I posted my blog (read about it here) last week, I received several emails, private messages and texts asking to clarify what I was talking about. Basically, align the sights and place the tritium on your intended strike point.

Follow the bouncing ball

Most everyone reading this should have a modicum of how to properly align their sights. You start by focusing on the top of both the front and rear sights. The top of each should be on the same plane. A big mistake we see is when folks align the top of the dot in the front sight post with the top of the rear sight. This will produce shots high and is easily correctable. I see this mistake all too often and most of the time the student has no idea or will profess until blue in the face they are using the top of the front sight post and not the dot. I will ask them to mount the pistol, align the sights then confirm they are looking at the top of the front sight. I can do this in a variety of ways, but the vast majority of times I see the front sight dip every so slightly that signals they actually weren’t looking at the top of the front sight post.

Precision, it’s not just a word

Ok, so now that we have a good understanding of the sight alignment we next need to talk about the intended bullet’s strike point, impact point or whatever you would like to call. The bottom line is it is the point you “wish” for the bullet to strike. With proper marksmanship skills you should be able to hit whatever you want within reason. The point is without having a specific strike point you typically don’t know you are actually aiming incorrectly. I

hate to sound so cliche, but “aim small, miss small”. We just finished our last rifle class of the year and a major point brought up in the debrief was our attention to the mechanical offset of a rifle. In order to do that you have to have a firm understanding of where you need to aim to hit a specific spot. In this case, it was a 2″ dot and surprisingly it took some students a little bit of practice to really understand the offset and how to hit this reduced strike point on command.

Modified sight picture

At this point we should all have a thorough understanding of sight alignment, now we are going to deviate a little bit from the norm. We will do so in this situation with the Trijicon HD night sights for instances precision is required such as shooting at distance or reduced targets. With the correct sight alignment, meaning the “top” of the front sight post is aligned with the “top” of the rear sight we can move forward. Once that is done as flawlessly as you can muster, place the center of the tritium vial in the center of the front sight on your strike point. This will elevate the top of the front sight post for sure. It does so pretty substantially. In the past I struggled trying to “aim” high or “hold” high to get good hits consistency. Now, I have a solid system and it works not just for me, but for other students shooting the same sights.

Hopefully this clarifies my last blog; align the sights as usual and then place the tritium dot on your strike point. Done…well hopefully.

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