View Full Version : Sight Speed Question
I've got a pretty stupid question to ask you all.
With the sights I currently run on my 1911 style pistol I can find it tough to focus on the front sight and it seems a little slow to pick up at times. I'm wondering if widening the notch in the rear sight or getting a slimmer front sight would aid in pick up and speed?
I haven't been shooting all too long (~8 years) and have been picking up the volume of shooting I do in the past few months so while I suspect this is the right idea I have no actual experience in the matter. If this is just an absurd idea and the answer is somewhere else I'd love to know it. I did recently put a little silver Sharpie on the front sight in order to make it stand out more for easier pick up in certain light conditions and while it helps it's less than perfect.
Not a stupid question at all. In fact, your intuition is leading you correctly.
Here are a couple of sites for your information:
Both offer rear sights with various notch widths, for the issues you have raised.
You are correct, if you are doing practical type shooting a wider rear notch will aid in being faster on your sights.
I started shooting USPSA recently and have been fortunate to have some very experienced, very skilled shooters help me and let me run some of thier gear.
Glock 34 with a Heinie rear sight with a fiber optic front was super quick and easy to shoot.
If you know anyone you shoot with who is running different setups ask them if you can try a few rounds and see what you like before you decide to buy
The ratio of front side width to rear sight notch width, relative to the distance between the two (sight radius), plays a major role in speed & accuracy.
The simple answer is that a narrower front post, wider rear notch, or both (wider light bars on either side of the front post) will generally aid in speed while compromising precision. For most practical shooting applications, typical factory handgun sights are too heavily weighted towards the precision end of the spectrum.
The less simple answer:
Shooting fast is just as much about vision as recoil management. Your ability to track your front sight and read what it's telling you from moment to moment determines how quickly you can make your next shot and how close that shot will be to your intended aiming point. Having a more aggressive front:rear ratio ("bigger light bars") gives you a larger window through which to see your front sight, relatively speaking. That larger window (1) means you'll have less precision which for many people saves them time they'd otherwise spend lining everything up perfectly, and (2) gives you a wider visible range within which your margin of error will exist. This, in turn, gives you a better ability both to judge whether a shot is on/off as well as understanding where the sights are when they're not where you want them to be.
As far as improving your front sight's visibility is concerned, I'd suggest you look at the JohnO DIY High Visibility Front Sight (http://pistol-training.com/articles/the-johno-diy-high-visibility-front-sight) treatment.
I find that a "U" notch rear also aids in faster target acquisition.
In my rather informal testing I get .05% +- bump in speed.
Todd is quite correct in saying that recoil management is a big factor in speed when multiple shots are required.
If you don't have the basics of grip and stance to manage the pistols recoil changing the sights will not matter.
I'd like to say thanks for all your replies.
I'll find and slap something bright on the front sight before I next go to the range which'll be tomorrow or the day after that.
I busted out the calipers and got .129something" on the front blade and rear notch.
Some more questions; why do manufacturers err on the side of precision vs. speed in what are supposed to be "fighting handguns," and getting someone to watch me shoot who isn't necessarily instructor level is there a way for them to diagnose how my recoil management with my grip is?
I know my support wrist isn't locking 100% forward as this is both uncomfortable and seems to greatly compromise the amount of grip that I can apply so I've been going with the greater grip not quite locked wrist in my shooting. FWIW I can usually follow the sight through the entire cycle from trigger press to being back on target, if I can't I know I'm pushing myself too fast. I find the difficulty to focus on the front sight frustrating at best when my eyes literally aren't locking on to it. I do wear corrective lenses as I'm near sighted and astigmatic in both eyes, but I wouldn't think that would cause much of an issue.
For what it's worth, I wear glasses for distance (mild prescription), and see very well up close (kind of the opposite of most guys my age). I shoot better without my glasses because with them it's much harder to focus on the front sight. Without them, the front sight is nice and clear and the target is a little blurry. That works better for me.
You need to factor in the specifics of your eyesight when considering sight setup. What works perfectly for a 20something with 20/20 or better vision isn't necessarily what will work best for a 40ish person with aging eyesight. There is no one size fits all solution for everyone.
The best thing you can do is go to pistol matches and ask some shooters if you can get their opinions on sight setup. Hopefully they'll let you check out what they have. Narrow it down to 2 or 3 setups and try to find shooters that will let you try them under live fire conditions. This will give you the best odds of getting the right for you the first time.
For my aging eyes it happens to be the Dawson fiber optic front and rear with a .100" wide front post. Lots of guys like the Warren/Sevigny sights with a F.O. front and plain black rear with a wide U notch. They just didn't work for me unfortunately.
Front posts in the .090-.110 range seem to be the most favored across the board. Most tritium fronts tend to be a little wider, but offerings from companies such as Heinie incorporate tritium in a narrower front post. Personally I think a .129" wide front post is too fat for speed or accuracy.
I've been getting to know the folks at the range I go to and with attending matches I should get to know even more people. I'll definitely start asking to look at their rigs (well, not the guy running the open gun) to see how they're set up and how their sights are.
See if I can't make some range dates to try out their sights :p
ETA: I believe the wrist locked grip just "clicked" with me. Going to try it out Thursday.
The simple answer is that a narrower front post, wider rear notch, or both (wider light bars on either side of the front post) will generally aid in speed .
Say, you have two set-ups, same slide length, 0.100 front/0.130 rear and 0.125 front/0.155 rear. Same amount of light around front post. Would it be safe to assume that first set is likely to be more precise, while second - faster?
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