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Sight Alignment and Sight Picture

Posted 11-22-2011 at 15:22 by .308Ghillies

There is plenty of discussion about proper aiming technique. Just Google it sometime. Whether you press, squeeze, or pull the trigger; whether you breathe or hold it; the simple fact is that where the gun is pointed when the bullet exits the barrel is where you hit. Being accurate when people are trying to kill you involves one simple thing: make sure itís pointed at the bad guy.

Of course, there are ways to increase your efficiency when doing this, and really, thatís what all the discussion is about. Amidst all the rhetoric itís easy to drift away from the basic building blocks. Sometimes high-end terminology and labels create a chasm that keeps a person on a plateau of ability without being able to see a way forward. Itís said time and time again, if you might find yourself in situations where your survival is challenged, Keep It Simple Stupid.

Two such simple fundamentals are really one skill in two aspects. Imagine your Sight Picture was actually something you could boil down to itís simplest elements, frame, and then put on display at the Museum of Modern Art. It would have three things: rear sight, front sight, and target. Put them in a row, and now you have Sight Alignment, perfect for hitting what you want when you shoot.

The exact manner in which the sights need to be lined up is going to depend on your chosen weapon system. Pistols are different from rifles. Red dots, scopes, and iron (open) sights, are all aimed and used differently. But for example, proper alignment with a Glock involves centering the front sight in the ďUĒ notch of the rear sight. Regardless of whether there is visual aid markings, like white lines or dots, the aspect to note is whether the top of the sights are level with each other.

Bisect your target. If you are aiming at a bulls-eye circle, the top of the sights should be cutting it in half. The gun will block out the bottom half of your target. If the sights become unaligned, the rounds will impact off-center, in the direction of error. For example, if the front sight breaks the upper plane of the rear sight, you will strike high, but center. If the front sight is level with the rear sight, but is off-balance left or right, then the rounds will impact right or left.

Ultimately, itís easy to forget that the sights of any weapon are always aligned (assuming a proper zero). The only things that can mess it up is where your eye is and where the target is. There are an infinite number of ways to be sure the gun is pointed at the target. In order to win a gunfight, you have to be better and faster with your chosen method than the other guy is with his.

-Marshall Bowen
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