Proper Sighting


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DerbyDale
September 10, 2007, 07:37 PM
I have a very newbie and embarrassing question, so be gentle.

With a rifle I'm a pretty good shot out to 200yards. Everything is great.

With a pistol; I almost have to have the target taped to the front of the gun to hit it. I have watched the Todd Jarrett on pistol shooting video (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4584332856867071363&q)over and over trying to learn some tips, but I did notice something that may be my problem.

I grip the pistol right handed and use my left as the support hand. If I try to use both eyes to sight it up, it makes me go almost cross eyed. If I sight it in with the left eye only it looks good. But if I switch to the right eye, the gun now looks way off and I have to move it to get back on target.

My question:
With a right hand grip should I use the right eye only (left eye closed) to sight the pistol in, or what is the proper technique?

(sorry for the dumbness of this question) :o

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Gaiudo
September 10, 2007, 07:42 PM
If you are holding the gun right-handed, then use your right eye as well.

However, it would be best if you learned to keep both eyes open, focused strictly on the front sight, and then focus your mind in placing that crystal clear front sight on the blurry spot that is the bull's eye in the background.

Also, take a click-pen, hold it in our palm so the clicker touches your trigger finger, and work on isolating your trigger finger so that no other muscle moves in your hand. Trigger control and focusing on the front sight will get you a long ways in controlling your handgun groups.

markallen
September 10, 2007, 07:43 PM
Grip your pistol in your right hand, with both eyes open. Close first the right eye. leave you left eye open. are you looking down the barrel through your sights, or off to the side? now close your left eye, and open your right. whichever eye gave you the correct sights down the barrel, and not off to the side, is your dominate eye. this is the eye you should use to sight your handgun. some people can shoot with both eyes open, some can't. use whatever works for you. I had a friend that shot good with a rifle on right shoulder, using his right out for the scope, but at arms length with a pistol, had to switch eyes and use if left, which was his dominate eye, but was still right handed so he shot with his right. Good Luck.

kd7nqb
September 10, 2007, 07:45 PM
do a search on here for eye dominance and you will find several good ways to determine your dominant eye.

I actually am cross dominant, I shoot with my right hand in the dominant position and left eye open. also if you look at some of the NRA early shooter stuff they have really good tips.

And of course remember the four rules.

Vern Humphrey
September 10, 2007, 07:47 PM
Practice with both eyes at home. If the target seems to move away from the sights, your left eye may be your master eye. To test this, make a small hole in a piece of paper and hold it at arm's lenght and -- with both eyes open -- look at a distant spot. Keeping both eyes open and fixed on the spot, bring the paper back until it touches your nose. The hole will be over the master eye.

It is possible to train yourself to shoot with the non-master eye, but it is better to stick with Mother Nature. If using a two-handed hold, even if you are right-handed, you can easily use the left eye for aiming.

MAKster
September 10, 2007, 09:15 PM
I have the same problem. I think the reason it is blurry when you have both eyes open is because your dominant eye is barely dominant so the other eye is trying to be dominant. In this situation it is probably best to shoot with your weaker eye closed. If you are also cross-eye dominant, it would be easiest to hold the gun in the center of your body.

Hardtarget
September 10, 2007, 10:03 PM
Domanant eye and "shooting hand" problems are a pain but can be overcome. Keep working on it and remember that "perfect practice makes perfect" so read, practice, and get GOOD instruction if you can. GOOD LUCK!

I was told by a friend that shot Bullseye for many years that a .001 movement of the front sight equalled a 4" movement in bullet impact @ 25 yds. That convinced me that I would never shoot a "ten shot ratty hole" at 25 yards. Heck...I never did it at 10 yards! :D Never kept me from having a good time shooting my pistols.

Mark.

DerbyDale
September 10, 2007, 10:44 PM
Thanks for the info. I was not aware I had a dominate eye!

Looking around on the web I found this way of testing for which eye is dominate and it seemed to be an easy test for me.

http://www.recguns.com/Sources/VIIIA3.html (http://www.recguns.com/Sources/VIIIA3.html)

...To identify your dominant eye, hold your arms out straight in front of you, make a small opening with your hands, and look through that opening at a distant object. Then close your eyes one at a time without moving your hands, and see which eye is actually lined up with the opening - that is your dominant eye. About 10% of us do not have a dominant eye - they see two objects, or two openings. If you don't have a dominant eye, then you can use whichever eye you like - you will probably have to shoot with the other eye closed, which is not desirable, but that's life.

Turns out I'm left eye dominate. Even though I'm a southpaw, I use my right hand for things like using a mouse, drinking, and griping a pistol.

Holding a pistol in my left hand feels wrong... Should I force my self to shoot left handed, or what would be the best thing for me to do?

benEzra
September 10, 2007, 11:06 PM
IMHO, if you're cross-dominant (I am), it's OK to squint the dominant eye a bit to make yourself look through the other eye. Even close it entirely, if that's the only thing that works. Once you get the hang of shooting, you can work on sighting both-eyes-wide-open, if need be, but until you get the basics down, I'd say do what you have to do to to shoot well first.

Other than that, remembering to focus on the front sight rather than the target, and keeping the sights aligned and loading the trigger until it breaks, are even more important with handguns than rifles. Follow-through is important as well.

JKimball
September 11, 2007, 03:47 AM
Other than that, remembering to focus on the front sight rather than the target, and keeping the sights aligned and loading the trigger until it breaks, are even more important with handguns than rifles. Follow-through is important as well.

+1

Knowing that your left eye is dominant will be a big help, but pistol shooting does take more concentration than rifle shooting. It is so much easier to throw off your point of aim when you're pulling the trigger. I think that is the toughest thing for most of us. If you concentrate on doing what benEzra said, you should be really happy with the results. If you notice your accuracy start slipping, take the bullets out and dry practice for a little while. When that trigger breaks there should be no movement of the sight picture.

FWIW I'd say go ahead and grip it right handed if that is more comfortable, but close your right eye until you get good with your dominant eye only. To be honest, I always use one eye. But I'll have to admit I'm not quite as fast as Jarrett. :D

1911 guy
September 11, 2007, 12:37 PM
If you're shooting bullseye, go ahead and squint. Tunnel vision won't hurt you then. If you actually need to see where you're aiming, there are several ways to use both eyes and not fight your eye dominance.

If you shoot isosolece (sp? i'm tired), then either cant the pistol to the left a bit, putting more of the sight plane in front of your left eye or move your chin toward your right bicep, putting your left eye more in front of the sight plane.

If you shoot weaver, moving your chin toward your right bicep is the answer, as canting the pistol takes a lot of the stability out of the stance.

Navy joe
September 11, 2007, 03:45 PM
I'd stick with cross dominant shooting, use your right hand, left eye, adopt a squared up isosceles-ish stance like Jarret does in the video and have at it. Put a piece of scotch tape on your shooting glasses over your right eye to blur it up, your left eye will naturally take over, it is a lot easier than squinting or closing the right eye.

I know how you feel, I am left handed, shoot left handed, but some wise-acre taught me stick and ball sports right handed. A baseball bat or golf club left handed defy me.

DerbyDale
September 11, 2007, 07:00 PM
Thanks for the suggestions.

I'm considering adding a laser to my pistol is hopes that it will help me practice aiming. I think I could aim, then hit the laser for instant feedback if I'm on target or not. Hopefully this would allow me to practice without firing a shot, or even having the gun loaded. I might even get some snap caps so I can fry fire as well...

What to yall think? Would this work? Would it help or hurt my problem?

JKimball
September 11, 2007, 07:24 PM
I saw Jarrett do a shooting demo once and he talked about lasers being really helpful for dry practice. It is really easy to see the laser dot jumping around when the trigger breaks if you aren't keeping it steady. I've never used a laser and don't really want to spend the $$$ on one, but if that's not a big deal for you, may as well try it out.

I think snap caps are a good idea, because if you make it a rule to dry practice with snap caps, you will probably be less likely to have an ND. There have been a few stories on this board about people "dry" firing with live rounds accidentally. And you can practice clearing malfunctions, emergency reloads, etc. with snap caps.

Navy joe
September 12, 2007, 12:03 AM
Lasers can help with dryfire. It seems though I see an awful lot of people with lasers that shoot horribly. Apparently lasers don't cure flinches, jerks, etc. Two cheaper suggestions, dryfire at a small spot, like a lightswitch or a piece of tape on the wall. If the sights move, so would the bullet or laser. The other is to dryfire with a dime laying on the front sight. Keep the dime from falling off.

rangerruck
September 12, 2007, 12:18 AM
I am lucky in that, I am actually a pretty accurate shot, with almost no practice , with either a pistol or rifle, but I think it is more a function of my being lucky to have exceptioanl eyesite. However i do not like pistol shooting, I prefer rifle, and never shoot pistols. That being said, you might try this, shoot the pistol the same way you shoot a rifle; I do. That is to say , as I stand in front of a target, shooting leftie, i put my right foot forward, turn almost sideways, put my left elbow up. prop up my right elbow almost to my right side, then lay my pistol in my right support hand, just like you would with a rifle. I then lean my head over to the left, like I am laying my head across a buttstock, pull the pistol back towards my eye, as if pulling the buttstock into my shoulder, then i line up and fire.
So it ends up like I am fireing offhand unsupported, rifle.
it may look funny but it is effective. I remember a co-worker, who had just gotten a new xd 40, was at the range, and he asked me to fire his weapon, to see if the gun was 'on target' out of the box, he new i regularly shot at the range. So I took his xd, and even though i have never fired an xd, or even a 40 cal, at 10 yards, i popped 3 shots into the x ring, and told him, ' seems to me it is right on'. He just happened to be pushing his shots up and to the right, even though he was right handed.
I have since figured out, that even with rifle shooting, there is so many dif ways to shoot, hard grip, push grip, soft grip, no head on the stock, no pull into the shoulder, tight into the shoulder, free recoil, etc. it is really rediculous. So do two things, try as many diff ways to shoot as you possibly can, using as many diff tiny stance, grip, eye line, variants, as you canl
Go with what feels most comfortable, most natural, that is fast, reasonably accurate, and safe, with as much natural balance as possible
Anyway , that is my .02, i am sure there are more tactical, and correct ways to shoot. But my ' rifle style' with a pistol, works wonders for me.

MrBorland
September 12, 2007, 12:19 AM
I saw Jarrett do a shooting demo once and he talked about lasers being really helpful for dry practice. It is really easy to see the laser dot jumping around when the trigger breaks if you aren't keeping it steady.

I've never understood this, myself. I'm focusing on the front site, after all, so how would I see the laser dot jumping around when the trigger breaks? I briefly thought of using a laser during dry fire practice, but decided not to; afraid of picking up a bad habit, I guess (i.e. looking at the target rather than the front sight).

tacmedicp94
September 12, 2007, 12:25 AM
Snap caps are a good idea. Next time you do go to the range try loading the snap caps randomly into your mag. You can do this yourself but it is easier to hove someone else do it for you. As you fire at the target you will eventually cycle to the snap cap and have a dry fire. If you have any trigger push/pull or recoil anticipation you will see the barrel of your pistol move or dip. I try to dry fire my ccw at least 20 times a day to maintain muscle memory and trigger control.

JKimball
September 12, 2007, 12:54 AM
I've never understood this, myself. I'm focusing on the front site, after all, so how would I see the laser dot jumping around when the trigger breaks? I briefly thought of using a laser during dry fire practice, but decided not to; afraid of picking up a bad habit, I guess (i.e. looking at the target rather than the front sight).

I've never really used a laser, but I assume when you use a laser you are looking at the dot on the target instead of the front sight.

i am sure there are more tactical, and correct ways to shoot.
I think the drawback to the firing hand resting on the support hand technique is recoil control. You're not going to be ready for a follow up shot quite as fast.

KadicDeshi
September 12, 2007, 11:19 AM
About 10% of us do not have a dominant eye - they see two objects, or two openings. If you don't have a dominant eye, then you can use whichever eye you like - you will probably have to shoot with the other eye closed, which is not desirable, but that's life.

Well, holy crap! I just learned something about myself. I always wondered how you were supposed to determine your dominant eye when you could do it either way. And here I'd been trying to force myself to shoot with both eyes open and ignore that second set of rear sights and second target that I'd been seeing off to the sides...

Thanks for the link.

Barrett

texas bulldog
September 12, 2007, 12:24 PM
About 10% of us do not have a dominant eye - they see two objects, or two openings. If you don't have a dominant eye, then you can use whichever eye you like - you will probably have to shoot with the other eye closed, which is not desirable, but that's life.

Well, holy crap! I just learned something about myself. I always wondered how you were supposed to determine your dominant eye when you could do it either way. And here I'd been trying to force myself to shoot with both eyes open and ignore that second set of rear sights and second target that I'd been seeing off to the sides...

this has been my problem as well. i keep trying to shoot with both eyes open, which i can do only if i look at the target. but since everyone keeps saying to focus on the rear sight, i keep trying to do so. when i do, i get two sets of rear sights, which are so close to one another that they overlap and are extremely difficult to distinguish. and as you might guess, accuracy suffers. this being the case, i am left with these choices:

1. close one eye
2. keep both open and continue focusing on the target [while still "concentrating" on the front sight]
3. keep both eyes open and force myself to literally focus on the front sight, yeilding two overlapping rear sights and two targets [which is less of a problem than the two rear sights].

so, THR members, what say you in this situation? is two overlapping rear sights normal, or am i in the 10% who do not have a dominant eye?

JKimball
September 12, 2007, 03:15 PM
but since everyone keeps saying to focus on the rear sight, i keep trying to do so.

Bulldog,

I'd say if using both eyes is causing distractions, just close your support side eye. And I think you should try focusing on the front sight instead of the rear sight. I'm surprised people are telling you to focus on the rear sight. You should have a blurry rear sight, a blurry target, and a crystal clear front sight.

Vern Humphrey
September 12, 2007, 04:42 PM
but since everyone keeps saying to focus on the rear sight, i keep trying to do so
Focus on the front sight! The whole secret to pistol shooting is to focus on the front sight.

KadicDeshi
September 12, 2007, 05:37 PM
I'm pretty sure that texas bulldog meant that he focuses on the front sight. Focusing on the rear sight would not give a double image of the rear sight but focusing on the front sight will (for him and me, anyway, but apparently not others).

Notice in his list he says:

2. keep both open and continue focusing on the target [while still "concentrating" on the front sight].
3. keep both eyes open and force myself to literally focus on the front sight, yeilding two overlapping rear sights and two targets [which is less of a problem than the two rear sights].
Barrett

texas bulldog
September 13, 2007, 06:51 PM
sorry. i meant front sight when i wrote that. brain fart, i suppose.

when i focus on the front sight, there are two overlapping rear sights for me. i thought that was normal, but apparently it's only for us equal-dominance folks. that's why i always thought it was strange when people told me to focus on the front sight.

the downside here is that i get multiple images of whatever i'm not focusing on [one from each eye]. the upside is that the two images are each quite clear [except for when they overlap, which can be difficult]. so when you guys talk about seeing a "blurry bullseye" when you focus on the front sight, i don't have any blurriness. i have two separate but equally sharp images of the target. similarly, when focusing on the target [which seems to work well for me] i get two equally distinct sets of front and rear sights. but since the focus is further away, the two images are far enough apart to easily distinguish them. and frankly, i can use either set equally well [i.e. either eye], though i tend to use the set that appears on the left [right eye] most often, as it keeps my head turned in a more natural position. i can also keep my concentration on the semi-transparent front sight even though my literal focus is on the target. it's actually a sort of zen-like exercise...watching that which you are not actually looking at.

so...is what i'm describing normal, or do the rest of you see only one of everything [even if blurry] no matter where your focus is? an answer to that question would explain quite a lot for me, i think...

thanks!

KadicDeshi
September 13, 2007, 08:43 PM
What texas bulldog described is normal for me but I'm thinking we're in the same boat (no dominant eye). Anyone else care to chime in?

Also, TB, I've noticed that when using the target as the focus point I have difficulty in getting quick follow-up shots (compared to what others seem to be able to do). Have you run into this issue?

I've been wondering if having to adjust my point of focus to get the sights back in the general vicinity of each other and then shifting focus back to the target could be what's slowing me down. Could closing one eye and trying to focus on the front sight help speed up my follow-ups?

I don't suppose there's any eye doctors in the house who could help us out?

Barrett

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