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Hi, I'm Dan. I just completed my CCW class and really don't know much at all about guns. This forum seems very helpful, so I'm going to create a series of threads that, with your help, will educate me about my new life as a licensed gun carrying American.

Hi all,

OK, here's where the true "Barney the dinosaur" level of my gun knowledge starts to shine through.I read lots of threads and gun ads/articles that talk about adjustable sights and night sights and three dot and two dot and on and on. For me the basic question is: What is the proper way to sight/aim a pistol and fire? I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to shut one eye or anything so what do I do? How do I line up the sights? In a three-dot setup, I'm sure I place the front dot between the rear dots, but what will the gun hit? Will it hit exactly what is blocked by the front sight or should my target be right above the front sight dot? If someone could walk me through that, it would be great.

Thanks,

Dan
 

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As far as your sights go, there are two things to be concerned about:

1. Sight Alignment -- This is the alignment of your front sight to the rear sight. For a 3-dot sight system, the front sight dot needs to be centered between the rear sight dots. There should be an equal amount of space on either side of the front sight post/blade, and the top of the front sight should align with the top of the rear sight.

2. Sight picture -- This is your sight alignment in conjunction with your target. Depending on your sights and adjustment, for a 3-dot system, the front sight should be at 6:00 of your target. So, if you were aiming at a small round circle, the front sight should be at the bottom (6:00) of that circle. Other sighting systems or personal adjustments could change this.

Once you have your sight alignment and start to develop your sight picture, your focus should be entirely on the front sight. Your eye can't possibly keep three things in focus at once that are at three different distances (rear sight, front sight, target), so focus on the front sight.

-JT
 

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2. Sight picture -- This is your sight alignment in conjunction with your target. Depending on your sights and adjustment, for a 3-dot system, the front sight should be at 6:00 of your target. So, if you were aiming at a small round circle, the front sight should be at the bottom (6:00) of that circle. Other sighting systems or personal adjustments could change this.

-JT
This question got me. I had to learn by feel more than anything.

How small should that circle be to hit the center of it? Does the round go two inches above the point of aim? One inch? Three inches? At what distances do I need to shoot a little higher or a little lower?

I still don't know, I just estimate.
 

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Good point, flccnp. And if you through sight radius into the mix, it can get really confusing.

And then you have my SR9, which has a rear sight capable of elevation adjustment.

All this means you just have to go and put lots of rounds downrange to get accustomed to your own gun.

Crying shame, having to go to the range to shoot. ;)

-JT
 

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This question got me. I had to learn by feel more than anything.

How small should that circle be to hit the center of it? Does the round go two inches above the point of aim? One inch? Three inches? At what distances do I need to shoot a little higher or a little lower?

I still don't know, I just estimate.
It's going to depend on your gun/sights/ammo.

For instance....with my G23s that wear TFO sights (using WWB ammo), I put the front dot on my intended POI out to about 15 yards. Further than that, I'll use the 6 o'clock hold as mentioned previously.

With my Dawson FO-sighted G22, it's a 6 o'clock hold all the time.

Each of my Hi-Powers is a little different, still.

You just have to spend enough time at the range to get a feel for POA/POI at different distances with YOUR chosen weapon.
 

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What is the proper way to sight/aim a pistol and fire? I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to shut one eye or anything so what do I do? How do I line up the sights? In a three-dot setup, I'm sure I place the front dot between the rear dots, but what will the gun hit? Will it hit exactly what is blocked by the front sight or should my target be right above the front sight dot? If someone could walk me through that, it would be great.
Thanks,
Dan
There are two schools of thought on sight picture.

Some prefer the "Six O'Clock Hold", where you align all three dots on the bottom, or six o'clock position, of the "10 X" or "bullseye" ring.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.concealedhandguncarry.com/resources/SIGHTALIGNMENT3.png&imgrefurl=http://www.concealedhandguncarry.com/6.html&usg=__CJVHfaOCygTuB2vaS4JRGpvbGhU=&h=386&w=500&sz=59&hl=en&start=9&um=1&tbnid=6rDkR1wZJAZ36M:&tbnh=100&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Da%2Bthree%2Bdot%2Bsight%2Bpicture%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-US%26sa%3DX





Then there are others who profess the "Center Hold", where you allign all three dots across the center of the "10 X" or "Bullseye" of the target.


http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.craigcentral.com/images/sightpic.gif&imgrefurl=http://www.craigcentral.com/handguns.asp&usg=__isedIqhUBNE2cpvfWZJxxhH1dco=&h=414&w=404&sz=24&hl=en&start=100&um=1&tbnid=EYUCbi8KCns3mM:&tbnh=125&tbnw=122&prev=/images%3Fq%3Da%2Bthree%2Bdot%2Bsight%2Bpicture%26start%3D80%26ndsp%3D20%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-US%26sa%3DN



I would try both methods and see which gives you the best results and use that one.
 

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And, of course, a lot of guns have fixed sights. In that case, you just have to use proper sight alignment and then learn where the bullets go. My .38 snub likes center hold from 20 to (at least) 50 feet.
 

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TampaSsgt,

Thanks for the links. I am trying to teach my daughter about sight alignment right now. She understands the concept but is a visual creature and understands what I mean when I say line up the front and rear sights when I show her the illustrations. I drew them by hand and think she understands but will show her these in hopes that it makes it rock solid for her.
 

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TampaSsgt,

Thanks for the links. I am trying to teach my daughter about sight alignment right now. She understands the concept but is a visual creature and understands what I mean when I say line up the front and rear sights when I show her the illustrations. I drew them by hand and think she understands but will show her these in hopes that it makes it rock solid for her.
Red Dawg, my pleasure sir. :drinks

I'm the same way, If I can read about it AND see it, then things sometimes make a whole lot more sense that way.

Just tell your daughter that I said she should " listen to her Daddy ", and then I am sure she will do just fine. :D
 

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A useful trick for a new shooter is to go out there and don't use targets....

Just use blank paper. Only concentrate on that front sight being in focus and on the alingment of the sights to each other. Just line up generally at the center of the paper and DON'T look where your shots are going. Concentrate on the sights and a good smooth trigger squeeze.
DO NOT see where your shots are going and then adjust your aim point. Early on your can expect to be doing small things with your hand that are throwing your shots off.

The actual squeeze of the trigger is as important as good sight picture. All the sight alingment in the world goes out the window if you jerk the trigger or do some type of flinch. Dry fire a lot. Use snapcaps if your gun is not recomended to be dry fired. Another good trick is to mix a snap cap in with your bullets and or have someone else load them. That way it surprises you when it does not go 'bang' and you can see if you are flinching it.

There are a lot of tricks and tips to get rid of flinches and smooth out your trigger pull so if you start running into something like that come back and ask around. Above all keep your sight picture consistant, don't chace the bullets around the paper or compensate for other bad habits by moving your aim point. The ONLY aim point adjusting should be that '6oclock' or POI thing. Even then, pick one and use it, don't keep changing.
 

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What info do you all have on dominant eye issues? I've done some shooting (not a whole lot) and have always been right handed. For one reason or another I stumbled on the fact I'm left eye domanant. I'm not against learning to shoot leftie, but what issues will that pose? (for say a glock, ar-15 and pump shotgun 870/500)
 

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I'm a lefty, and it doesn't pose many issues for me. I've only fired a Glock once, and it was no big deal. A Glock has no safety, so that's not an issue. The mag release was a little awkward for a lefty, or so it seemed to me, but no big deal there.

In the army I learned real quick that the brass from an M16 flies just inches in front of a lefty's nose, but that's OK if you just leave it alone. Try one of those "left hand deflectors" and you were likely to have a piece of very hot brass land on your right hand. Not good.

I shoot revolvers mostly, and it's absolutely no issue for a lefty. You won't find many quality holsters that people decided they didn't want and are now being sold at a big discount.
 

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I just wish !

I just wish I could see the sights on any of my guns without my reading glasses ! Consequently I am trying to learn to point shoot for defensive purposes ! I just focus on the center of the threat align my weapon and shoot ! Kevin
 

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I am lefty... and have a left eye dominate issue. I also need glasses for up close. However, it seem that when I am extended I am just at the point of proper focus. What I call depth of field. The point where it seems to slip in and out of focus with slight movement.

For me I have learned to be more of a point shooter, like what Brownie teaches.

BTW no issue with flying brass from my G19.
 

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I am a rank newbie to guns and am finding this threat to be eminently useful! :dancingbanana

I had no idea how to refer to the "center hold" or "6 o'clock hold" and honestly, had not yet really had either one explained to me. I have been shooting a lot, maybe about 700 rounds since I started shopping for a gun (2 months?) and about 300 rounds since I got one.

I have been really fussing with this. I also have an airsoft pellet gun I've been doing target practice with at home. I find that either with my G22 or with my pellet gun, I am always, always futzing with the sight picture. Something just won't be right, and I'll have to start my NRA 6 fundamentals all over again. Basically, I can't seem to get the right sight picture together within the 3-beat hold of my breath before I pull the trigger. I always have to breathe, which moves me around, which means start over with the stance.

After reading the above, I will be practicing going forward with the "center hold" because I think that's the one that gets my pellets into the sweet spot I'm aiming at the most often. I have a gel/adhesive dart board target that I aim at, and generally speaking 1 out of 9 shots is more than 1/2" off my mark. I am right at the black lettering on the white squares of the outer ring. 8 out of 9 times I'm in the white, maybe 3 out of 9 times I'm hitting the black number on the white background, 1 out of 9 I am somewhere else on the target, mostly in the adjacent black territory. This is, of course, at an extremely foreshortened distance of maybe 6 feet. I can't shoot that well at 15 feet/5 yards! Not yet at least.

The thing that needs work is my speed -- I need to be able to pick up the weapon, aim, and shoot, and have that all happen pretty durn fast if I'm to expect a self-defense scenario/home invasion to go my way. I don't expect perfect marksmanship, I just hope to be able to hit somewhere in center mass without all the deliberate sight-picture related finagling.

I move the target around a lot, sometimes shooting 5 feet, sometimes shooting 15 feet. sometimes shooting from laying down, sitting, standing up. My ability in slow motion to hit the 8" diameter target is excellent. My ability to get a sight picture sucks patoot.

Now that I know what it should look like, I hope to get better and faster! And likely it will make a difference at the range, too.
 

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I'm a lefty, and it doesn't pose many issues for me. I've only fired a Glock once, and it was no big deal. A Glock has no safety, so that's not an issue. The mag release was a little awkward for a lefty, or so it seemed to me, but no big deal there.

In the army I learned real quick that the brass from an M16 flies just inches in front of a lefty's nose, but that's OK if you just leave it alone. Try one of those "left hand deflectors" and you were likely to have a piece of very hot brass land on your right hand. Not good.

I shoot revolvers mostly, and it's absolutely no issue for a lefty. You won't find many quality holsters that people decided they didn't want and are now being sold at a big discount.
Steve,
I know exactly what you mean about the brass deflector. Range safeties said I should use one. After having 3 rounds land in my BDU sleeve, the Drill SGT came up and went ballistic over the fact that I had it on the 16. I am right handed but the M16 felt more natural, sighted quicker shooting lefty. So rifles are left hand, pistols in my right. Just strange.:banghead
 

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I'd about forgotten this thread. Oddly enough, when I got my Glock 19 for Christmas, I was in a hurry for a good holster. I dropped a line to Dave at Little Bear and asked if he had a G19 holster for a lefty that was looking for a home. To my delight, he did, and at a great price. Sometimes things just work out.
 

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As for your question regarding how to "eye up" the sights, some people shoot (or, have the ability to shoot) with both eyes open. Some people are right handed but left eye dominant & vice versa. I grew up being right handed & right eye dominant but now, I seem to be becoming left eye dominant. I recently learned that eye dominance can change over the years which was news to me.

Really, there's no wrong way to "sight in" apparently but, once you figure out which one of these you are, stick with it and then just practice, practice, practice!

Good Luck Dan, you'll do fine!
 

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FWIW, I'm right hand dominant, but left eye. I've found that it's just better for me to shoot left handed, using my right hand to steady the gun. I've heard about tilting the head and other methods, but it just never "felt" natural too me.
 
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