Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Prepper's Armory: Using Iron Sights

Continuing from my previous post, the quality of any sighting system is of little benefit if it isn't applied correctly. The two elements of using iron sights properly are referred to as Sight Alignment and Sight Picture.

Sight Alignment
When your front and rear sight elements are in proper orientation to one another, you have Sight Alignment. With proper sight alignment, aiming is easier, but if sight alignment is not correct and not consistent, then everything is harder.

When using Patridge sights, the top of the front sight blade (or post) should be level with the top of rear sight block, and it should be centered in the rear sight notch. If the front sight protrudes above the rear sight, your bullets will hit higher than you intended; if there is a gap between the top of the front sight and the top of the rear sight, your bullets will hit lower. Similarly, if the front sight is held to one side or the other in the rear sight notch, hits will be to one side or the other on the target. It's also very difficult to hold the sights out of alignment consistently, meaning that your point of impact will wander. 

Tang-mounted or Receiver sights should have the top of the front sight blade (or middle of the crosshairs) centered in the field of view. Tang sights have different sized apertures for different ranges and light conditions.

Image courtesy of the TN Handgun Carry Course

Sight Picture
Looking through properly aligned sights at a target involves dealing with three elements at different distances. Unfortunately, we have a problem in that our eyes can only focus on one element at a time. 
  • If we focus on the target, the rear sight is practically useless
  • If we focus on the rear sight, the target is effectively a blob.
  • Therefore, the general recommendation is to focus on the front sight. The rear sight and target will be slightly out of focus, but will still  be manageable.

Image courtesy of the TN Handgun Carry Course

Proper understanding and use of sights is an essential part of accuracy. As Colonel Townsend Whelen said, "Only accurate rifles are interesting."

In a future post I'll discuss the difference a Red Dot sight can make.

Good luck, and safe shooting.

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