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Quest About Front Sight Focus.


Reyn

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I've done a search but still need a little clarification. First off i dont compete would like to eventually though. Im a deputy Sheriff and have been an LEO for 6years. My quest is regarding sight focus. I have always shot for groups on my own. I've heard sight focus and thought thats what i was doing until i was looking on the bullseye website where they explained what you should be looking at. It's impossible to focus on both sights and targets at the same time. I BELIEVE i have been focusing on the target more and using the sights with my Periphial vision since they are right there with each other. For years i have done this. Im am no marksman by any means but i havent scored less than a 100 on qualifications in 6 years (which would be childs play for all of you). I have taken my last 9 targets and i average 3-4in groups at 25yds offhand for 8shot groups. This is with g20 and XTP factory. At 50 it jumps to about 11-12in groups (THAT FRONT SIGHT IS HUGE AT 50). Now close range defensive shooting is where im confused with both eyes open. Im right handed left eye dominant. Let say im shooting at a 3in target square with the letter A in it at 10 yds. I shouldnt be able to make out the letter A right? Because my focus should be on the front sight..right? I should just see a blurred target. The way ive been doing it was focus on the target pull the gun up and see the front post which is blurred but right in the middle of my target. I can tell its there.If i focus completely on the front sight in a defensive situation i cant tell what the aggressor is doing Even though i can see him if im focused on the front target i wouldnt be able to tell if he is pulling a weapon or just moving his hands out of his pockets. Im also anxious to try completely focusing on the front sight at 25yds and seeing if that improves my groups. Thanks, Jeff

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What we are after is a razor sharp focus on the front sight. You should be able to make out every detail of your front sight.

And, you want to train your visual focus such that you can switch the focus quickly. This is where quite a bit of (accurate) speed can come from.

Locate the target spot (the exact spot you want to hit) with your focus out on that spot. Then, as the gun comes on target, switch and pull your visual focus back to get that razor sharp focus on the front sight.

You want to see the front sight lift up out of the notch in recoil...for each and every shot you take. This is what we refer to as calling the shot. When you see the front sight lift in recoil, you will be able to read it's relative position with the rear sight and the target. You will then learn to know where the bullet will impact...well before it even gets to the target.

When you transition to the next target spot, your visual focus should go out to find the spot (your vision will be faster than the gun can get there in most cases where you have to move the gun more than a few degrees of swing). Then, as the gun comes on target, switch your vision back to get that razor sharp front sight focus again.

This might sound slow, but it's not. In fact, the process of bringing the vision back to the front sight will allow you to smoothly stop the gun on the target you are transitioning to.

So...the vision with standard sights is always moving.

For a reference, at 10y I do a dry-fire drill. The drill is two to the body and one to the head. When I transition to the head, my vision goes out to find the target spot on the head, then back to the front sight...all in the little bit of time it takes to move the gun from body to head. (This doesn't seem to happen in live fire, as the recoil of the gun already has the sights moving up.)

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Thanks for the help. Im gonna work on it til i get it right. BTW, ive been lurking here for a while but have never registered til yesterday. Lot of great info here and peope willing to help.

Something else that always gave me trouble, and folks please correct me if I'm wrong:

You're not actually acheiving a two-eye focus on the front sight when you pull it back from the target. Close your non-aiming eye, and experiment with the focus by holding up your thumb, with a target in the background. Even though there is no binocular vision to focus, the single eye also has different focuses at different distances. If you focus on your thumb, then the target in the distance becomes fuzzy, but it doesn't split in parallax like it would with two eyes open.

Now, with both eyes open, you look at the target and find your spot. You bring the gun up. As the image of the gun comes up, you see two of everything, because your eyes are currently focused out at the target. You then naturally will pick one of the images, depending on the dominant eye. Here's the tricky part: the binocular focus doesn't come back from the target. It does move back a bit, but what you're really doing is causing the parallax image you've chosen to perform the one-eye focus trick, while ignoring the other image. This way you have a single target in your vision, fuzzed out because your binocular focus moved back a bit. You've also got a crisp front sight in one image, due to single-eye focus on it, and a completely useless parallax image off to the side from your weak eye.

At least, I think this is what you're supposed to do. I've always been confused as hell, mainly because the vocabulary fails us when talking about this.

H.

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Something else that always gave me trouble, and folks please correct me if I'm wrong:

You're not actually acheiving a two-eye focus on the front sight when you pull it back from the target. Close your non-aiming eye, and experiment with the focus by holding up your thumb, with a target in the background. Even though there is no binocular vision to focus, the single eye also has different focuses at different distances. If you focus on your thumb, then the target in the distance becomes fuzzy, but it doesn't split in parallax like it would with two eyes open.

Now, with both eyes open, you look at the target and find your spot. You bring the gun up. As the image of the gun comes up, you see two of everything, because your eyes are currently focused out at the target. You then naturally will pick one of the images, depending on the dominant eye. Here's the tricky part: the binocular focus doesn't come back from the target. It does move back a bit, but what you're really doing is causing the parallax image you've chosen to perform the one-eye focus trick, while ignoring the other image. This way you have a single target in your vision, fuzzed out because your binocular focus moved back a bit. You've also got a crisp front sight in one image, due to single-eye focus on it, and a completely useless parallax image off to the side from your weak eye.H.

Whew-eee. Don't take that to the range with you or you'll never pull the trigger. ;)

Whether you shoot with one eye open or two, do this:

Look at the middle of the target. Then as your sights come into view peripherally, quickly bring your focus back and look right at the front sight until the shot breaks. Practice that over and over until the three steps become one activity.

be

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Whew-eee. Don't take that to the range with you or you'll never pull the trigger. ;)

Whether you shoot with one eye open or two, do this:

Look at the middle of the target. Then as your sights come into view peripherally, quickly bring your focus back and look right at the front sight until the shot breaks. Practice that over and over until the three steps become one activity.

be

Brian,

So you're actually doing a two-eye focus on the front sight? And the target is splitting away when you do so? Not to doubt you, but how can you call the shot, when if you have a two-eye focus on the front sight after aligning on the target, the target will split to either side of the sight? Or are you lining up on one of the split targets after changing your focus?

Or, and this makes more sense to me, you're finding the target, and before the sight arrives you're changing your focus and looking for the sight. At this point the target will split into two, and you finish your alignment on one or the other target.

H.

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I've just gone back to Brian's descriptions and searched through the forums re: this question. I seem to be shooting between types 2&3, in that I'm shooting through the sights, but pretty much focused on the targets. My brain is watching the front sight but my eyes don't have it in sharp focus.

However, accuracy-wise this works well for me, out to 20 yards or so. I can easily drop shots in the head box all day long (shooting quickly) at that range using this type of focus. I also shoot 88% or so with an air pistol on the olympic 10m target using this method. I think I might be handicapped by good vision in this, in that I can clearly center the front sight and make it out in detail, even with my two-eye focus out at 15 yards or so. I don't have a pistol here at work, but try this, and see if my results are unusual or not:

Take a DVD case in hand like a pistol, gripping the narrow end with your hand, and having the opening (right) part of the DVD oriented upwards. With my focus out at 25 yards on a small dot, I can still clearly make out the notch at the end where the DVD opens, and that's considerably narrower than a front sight. Is this something that most people can do?

If I focus on the front sight, the target splits, naturally. While I can see that it wouldn't be too hard to learn to shoot one target or the other, don't you get confused when there are several targets side-by-side, and the parallax image is overlapping between eyes?

H.

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Houngan, Ive read where it is impossible for the human eye to completely focus on two objects at once. Your description sounds like what i have been doing. I see both but at close range have been focusing more on the target. I have never been able to clearly see both at the same time. So far it has worked but im wondering how much better i can be if i can practice the other way. The dry firing practice has helped. It seems its just a matter of training the eyes. Im working it both ways, i figure it never hurts to have more tools on the belt.

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Houngan (and everybody else), I understand what you are saying, check this thread.

I made a graphic (in that thread's 14th post) trying to explain that. But since you're left eye dominant, it will be different for you...

EDIT: whoops!!! I remembered that thread when I read you talking here, but I failed to notice it was resurrected awhile ago and you posted there several times... sorry... You guys keep talking, I'll... ummm... I'll go stand in that corner over there... :P

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Houngan (and everybody else), I understand what you are saying, check this thread.

I made a graphic (in that thread's 14th post) trying to explain that. But since you're left eye dominant, it will be different for you...

EDIT: whoops!!! I remembered that thread when I read you talking here, but I failed to notice it was resurrected awhile ago and you posted there several times... sorry... You guys keep talking, I'll... ummm... I'll go stand in that corner over there... :P

After re-reading that thread, I think the problem is still in the vocabulary, and we're all doing nearly the same thing. Maybe I just over-explained it. :)

H.

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  • 1 month later...

i would like to thank you guys for adding this great information. i am new to this forum and new to competition shooting (hopefully to attend a match soon). however, i am not new to shooting in general, i have served this great country for 17 years now(currently deployed).

i dont know how to put it into words, but i have trained myself to "comabt shoot" with both eyes open through muscle memory. what i did was get good at fast target aquisition with aimed shots, then through aimed both eyes open shooting, where i let my dominant eye take over and focus the sights. after all this i have acquired the skill of just point and shoot, no aim. i dont really know how i did all of this and i cant really say how my groups are, but the bad guys go down and go down fast in front of my gun.

hopefully, i didnt sound like a know it all. i just wanted to share my experiences.

great forum by the way.

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i cant really say how my groups are, but the bad guys go down and go down fast in front of my gun.

Then all is well. Keep that up until you can get home safely.

hopefully, i didnt sound like a know it all. i just wanted to share my experiences.

You didn't. Thanks for sharing and thanks for your service.

Be safe.

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Seeing a crisp front sight is crucial to precision. At the same time you can overthink the process to where you're just making things harder than they need to be.

Give yourself a subtle trick, such as a pencil mark or file swipe on the front sight, so that you will *know* at the instant the gun fires if you really did see the sight. Then periodically ask yourself during your shooting if you indeed saw the "trick" or just saw a rectangle in space. Eventually it will all work out.

The one thing I've learned is that crisply seeing the front sight is a perishable skill. It certainly isn't something that I've been able to learn once and let go. I have to continually revisit the technique to ensure that I don't get lazy.

[/End C-Class Instruction]

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