Help me out here: What's a sight picture supposed to look like?


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CmdrSlander
April 13, 2013, 03:38 AM
So, when I look at my handgun's sight with both eyes open I can never get the sights to look like this:
http://levelsights.com/Blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/proper-sight-alignment.jpg

Is this an idealization or can people really get that kind of picture with both eyes open sighting?

If I close my left eye as if I was using a scope or peep sight I can.

Is this normal? If not how can I correct it?

What is considered the proper way by the current crop of trainers and gun writers?

I ask only because I saw someone shooting very effectively with both eyes wide open, maybe that's how everyone but me does it, I really don't pay much attention to such things usually.

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Havok7416
April 13, 2013, 03:53 AM
Yes you typically close your non-dominant eye. This is usually on the same side as your dominate hand. There are ways to make the sights appear with both eyes open and I can do it myself, although I would have a great deal of trouble explaining it.

climbnjump
April 13, 2013, 04:10 AM
Perhaps it's just due to the colors, but your diagram appears to have the rear sight in focus and the front sight out of focus. That would be wrong. Close your non-dominant eye and focus on the front sight. With practice, you will be able to do that same thing with both eyes open.

9mmepiphany
April 13, 2013, 05:07 AM
You don't have to keep both eyes open, many people just don't understand the importance and for others, there isn't really a reason.

The only times it becomes a huge advantage is if you are shooting defensively or for serious competition...as it lets you shoot both faster and more accurately...but for just fun plinking, it doesn't make much difference.

What target shooters (bullseye) do is cover the lense of the safety glasses in front of the non-dominate eye and just leave the eye open behind the obscuring film...this reduces stress when aiming. In the old days, we'd use a solid eye shade, but even that affects your ability for finer focus.

Defensive shooters leave the non-dominate eye open to allow them to scan the scene.

It sounds like you are trying to use both eyes to establish the correct sight picture. You should only be using the dominate eye for that. just don't look through the non-dominate eye or use it look at the target and superimpose the aligned sights on your target

The Lone Haranguer
April 13, 2013, 09:13 AM
At least you only see one set of sights. :) I partially close one eye to get around this.

The human eye has trouble focusing on two or more objects of varying distances and will leave two out of three blurry, so your main focus should be on the front sight. In gunfighting, there are those who say you can't do that and you will subconsciously/automatically focus on your "target" instead, but I don't believe that if you train yourself.

F-111 John
April 13, 2013, 09:47 AM
What target shooters (bullseye) do is cover the lense of the safety glasses in front of the non-dominate eye and just leave the eye open behind the obscuring film...this reduces stress when aiming. In the old days, we'd use a solid eye shade, but even that affects your ability for finer focus.

I put a tiny square (1/4"x1/4") of Scotch tape in the upper center of my shooting glasses non-dominant eye. This allows for full peripheral vision, but gives one sight picture when focusing on the front sight when in a shooting stance for bullseye shooting.

For defensive shooting practice, I use non-obscured glasses, and practice shooting from low ready to center of mass at 7 yards, concentrating on putting the front sight on the target and squeezing. Not looking for accuracy here, just fast COM hits. When the front sight is on the target, the rear sight is close enough.

JVaughn
April 13, 2013, 09:50 AM
I'm with 9mm on this one. If you need to close your non-dominant eye, go ahead. In a self defense situation, you won't have time for sight picture anyhow. Have you ever done the eye dominance test? Some people are cross dominant, and that makes this harder.

Sam1911
April 13, 2013, 11:08 AM
I'd actually say that picture is printed a little backward. The sight picture should look a lot more like this:

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=182710&stc=1&d=1365862167

The front sight is the only thing in sharp focus. Rear sight is just a blur (the longer the sight radius, the less distinct the rear sight will be), target is indistinct.

ID-shooting
April 13, 2013, 11:28 AM
Here is how the Army taught me...

9mmepiphany
April 13, 2013, 12:00 PM
I'm with 9mm on this one. If you need to close your non-dominant eye, go ahead. In a self defense situation, you won't have time for sight picture anyhow.
Just to be clear, my reference to closing an eye,was to plinking and casual shooting.

I train to see my sights in a defensive situation, nothing in my training or experience has lead me to believe you won't see your sights when under pressure/stress.

However, you will default to your lowest level of training under stress. If you close and eye or believe you won't see your sights, you're placing yourself at a huge disadvantage

TimboKhan
April 13, 2013, 12:10 PM
I don't know if I am about to say something super dumb or not, but I don't really worry about sight picture, I just worry about the front sight. Lots of shooting has given me a general sense of where my bullets are going to go as soon as I bring my gun up, and I use the front sight to more precisely orient them to the target. Since I prefer a pretty big dot, I am obviously not worried about one-hole accuracy. I don't know if that makes sense, but thats what I do.

Sam1911
April 13, 2013, 12:28 PM
"Front Sight...PRESS" Repeat! :)

Mat, not doormat
April 13, 2013, 09:35 PM
If I try to shoot both eyes wide open, I see the sights doubled. I do keep both eyes open, but I sort of squint the non-dominant one, which fades it out enough that the other can focus on the sights in peace. Not really closing it, more like turning it down like a rheostat.

Inebriated
April 13, 2013, 10:08 PM
When I am shooting both eyes open (about 15 yards and in), I see my front sight, but I'm focused on the target. Years of practice allow me to quickly get my gun up and have the sights lined up pretty close. If range increases, I naturally close my left eye, and focus on my front sight only, with a blurry rear sight and target.
Short range: Blurry front and rear, clear target.
http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb201/Name890/ShortSight_zps19995241.jpg
Long range: Blurry target and rear, clear front sight.
http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb201/Name890/LongSight_zps6c6d39a4.jpg
I don't know if I am about to say something super dumb or not, but I don't really worry about sight picture, I just worry about the front sight. Lots of shooting has given me a general sense of where my bullets are going to go as soon as I bring my gun up, and I use the front sight to more precisely orient them to the target.

I do this as well. Having a black rear and a front that jumps out at you helps a lot in getting that front sight where you want it in a hurry.

GLI45
April 14, 2013, 11:21 AM
It seems that both eyes open is the rage, but like CmdrSlander I get multiple sights or targets swimming around in my vision. Some can do it and others, like me struggle with both eyes open. My son can do it naturally. I can if I go slow and concentrate (like most things since hitting 50:D)

Does it really matter? The point is to get the best sight picture possible in the shortest amount of time to allow you to be an accurate shooter whether it's one eye or both eyes. Maybe it makes a difference at the highest level, but I'm not Bob Vogel or Rob Leatham.

JRWhit
April 14, 2013, 12:11 PM
Something you can do on the couch;
Hold your finger vertically about 3-4 inches in front of your face. Focus on an object out past your finger. As you see two fingers out of focus one will usually be in better view than the other. This gives you an indication of your dominant eye. While sitting around, you can practice aiming with both eyes open by holding your finger out as described above, and covering an object with your finger in view of your dominant eye, while it remains in focus with the other eye, verifying by closing you non dominant eye to see the object covered.
As you practice this it will become more instinctual to do so.

Inebriated
April 14, 2013, 01:51 PM
It seems that both eyes open is the rage, but like CmdrSlander I get multiple sights or targets swimming around in my vision. Some can do it and others, like me struggle with both eyes open. My son can do it naturally. I can if I go slow and concentrate (like most things since hitting 50)
Takes practice, if it isn't natural. It wasn't for me, so I practiced at it. My method was a little different than JRWhit's. I bring up the gun with one eye closed, get my sight picture, then slowly open my other eye. This keeps the dominant eye focused, and trains you to see what you need to see. After a few weeks of that in dry and live fire, I just started squinting my left eye, instead of closing it. Then some while later, I noticed that I was shooting both eyes wide open.

There are other methods to learn, but that's what worked for me.

rfwobbly
April 14, 2013, 04:06 PM
Eyes and eyesight are a HUGE contributor to accuracy, especially with a pistol. The first rule is to determine your "dominant eye". The second is to determine if you are a '2 eyes open' shooter by simply shooting targets using both methods.

TestPilot
April 14, 2013, 08:30 PM
The sight picture CANNOT look like what you posted if both eys are open.

How shooters who prefer both eyes open method cope with that is to aim with the dominant eye, so that the image from the dominant eye will overpower the image from the non-dominant eye.

So, the image will be cluttered by two overlapping images, but one image will be stronger.

For more info, refer to the following docuents I have made:

Page 1~37

http://www.scribd.com/doc/90303706/Combat-Operations-With-Firearms-Volume-1-Chapter-1-Basic-Gunnery-Release-2012-04-20

Page 22~25 This one specifically deals with one eye and both eye methods.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/125453344/Combat-Operations-With-Firearms-Volume-1-Chapter-2-Combat-Gunnery-2013-02-14

radar1972
April 14, 2013, 10:32 PM
I was fortunate (??) enough to be born with 'lazy eye'. The fortunate part is my dominant eye is same side as my dominant hand. I shoot with both eyes open, but only see one sight picture.

MK75
April 14, 2013, 11:17 PM
However, you will default to your lowest level of training under stress. If you close and eye or believe you won't see your sights, you're placing yourself at a huge disadvantage

I would rather default to the level of training that lets me put 2 shots, center-mass, armpit level, regardless of the details. That's just me.

hAkron
April 14, 2013, 11:32 PM
If you want to learn to keep both eyes open, try turning your head slightly so your non dominant eye can't 'see' the sights at all. Once you get that down after a few days of practice, start turning your head back forward and learn which of the two sights is the one your good eye sees. At that close of a distance to your eyes, they have to cross slightly to focus, so the correct picture is usually the one on the opposite side of your dominant eye...try not to over think it, just find the correct one and after some practice your brain will learn to ignore the other one. Our brains are constantly bombarded with overwhelming amounts of stimulus. It has quite a remarkable way of filtering out extraneous input.

JoePfeiffer
April 15, 2013, 02:15 AM
I'm convinced that it depends on how dominant your dominant eye is. Mine are pretty close (which is odd since my left hand is, as my dad used to say about his, only good for holding the fork when I'm cutting my steak), and I simply cannot get a decent picture with both eyes open. I'd really like to find shooting glasses with a +1 diopter or so correction on the right lens only for less than an arm and a leg; as I get older seeing pistol sights is getting "challenging" and I suspect that's a solution that would both let me keep both eyes open and let me focus on sights and target simultaneously.

MrCleanOK
April 15, 2013, 04:09 AM
When I have some time later, I'll try to play with my camera to see if I can take some photos to illustrate what I'm trying to describe, but here are my thoughts on both-eyes shooting.

1. For plinking, hunting, etc., it's not critical. For competition, or lethal force, you really should train to be able to shoot with both eyes open.
2. Everyone's brain is wired a little differently, so it's easier for some than for others. I train for weapons manipulation with both hands. When I shoot pistols or rifles with my non-dominant hand, I shoot with my non-dominant eye too (for rifles that's mandatory). I am slower with my non-dominant eye, and I have to focus a little harder with a pistol, but I can still do it.

The "correct sight picture" photos or graphics only tell part of the story, because they really only pertain to the sight picture. In your entire field of view, you should see the "correct sight picture" image superimposed on the target with your dominant eye, and that is the image you should focus on (the front sight, specifically). Your non-dominant eye is going to be feeding your brain a picture of your gun as seen from the non-dominant side. You should be ignoring this one, but it's still there. I'm left handed, so I see my pistol from 6 o'clock with my dominant eye, and from 5:30 with my non-dominant eye.

Edit to Add:

With respect to seeing your sights in a lethal force encounter, I have only been in one gunfight in my life, and I was blessed that it took place at long range (military). I used the crap out of my sights, to good effect. After the event, I noticed that my fundamentals had taken over without thought, as they should have. You revert to your lowest level of proficiency under stress, so if you don't train to be proficient with your sights under the assumption that you won't use them anyway under stress, you are setting yourself up for failure.

HKGuns
April 15, 2013, 05:39 AM
I always close my non aiming eye, regardless of what is all the range now.

Flt Simulation
April 15, 2013, 01:33 PM
I had cataract surgery in both eyes. Because of this, my far vision in both eyes is perfect, but I now need reading glasses in order to focus on things close in (like reading a newspaper, using computer, etc).

For use poor unfortunate old guys that need reading glasses ... nothing really works for us when trying to shoot a pistol.

1. Since I have perfect far vision, if I remove my reading glasses, I can see the target perfectly, but then can't focus properly on the gun sights.

2. However, if I wear my reading glasses to shoot, I can now align the front and rear gun sights perfectly, but then the target is too blurry.

Makes for not very fun (or accurate) pistol shooting.

F-111 John
April 15, 2013, 04:14 PM
I have that 'problem' of good distance vision but poor close vision, but without the cataract surgery. My shooting glasses are +1.5 reading glasses. (Normal reading glasses would be +2.5.) My EDC glasses are progressive lenses. I have the scotch tape on the shooting glasses, and practice the point defensive shooting with the progressive glasses. With the progressive lenses, I have to tilt my head back slightly.

Try a pair of the weakest reading glasses you can find at the dime store.

I'm thinking of getting XS big dot sights on my G26.

Body Mass
April 15, 2013, 09:22 PM
I asked my eye DR. if wearing bright yellow range glasses would help my "depth of field" (the depth of focus). The answer was yes. The brighter the glasses the smaller your retina becomes, (like a camera lens shutting down so not to over expose). The smaller the retina, the longer the field of vision is in focus, or the "depth of field" is greater.

The brighter the range glasses the better for focus.....

TimboKhan
April 15, 2013, 09:32 PM
I was gonna try and take some pictures as well, but I didn't feel like it was a good idea to have my new wife stand in front of my pistol taking close pictures.

If someone can do that safely, that might prove useful as an instructional tool. If you can't do it safely, don't do it.

Creature
April 15, 2013, 09:38 PM
If a revolver is used, simply release the cylinder and snap a photo with it open.

Inebriated
April 16, 2013, 12:12 AM
If someone can do that safely, that might prove useful as an instructional tool. If you can't do it safely, don't do it.
Just remove your slide, and set it on a table? Then take the pic CLEARLY showing that your slide is not on the frame (I.E. sitting on the end of a table).

Shawn Dodson
April 16, 2013, 02:04 PM
I use the same techniques as Inebriated posted and depicted so well in his photos.

15 yards and closer I use the "target focus" technique. I look at the exact point on my target where I want my bullet to land and drive my front sight to that point. I "see" what I need to see to get quick good hits at this distance. In addition, sight alignment can be less precise than as required for longer distances.

At about 15 yards and beyond I use the traditional "front sight focus" technique.

StrutStopper
April 17, 2013, 12:41 AM
I am cross eye dominant. I shoot righty but have a left master eye. When target shooting, I keep my left eye closed. If I'm shooting a lot, that strains my eyes. I put a piece of cardboard inside my left lens and keep both eyes open and that helps. A piece of tape would probably be better but I haven't tried that. When I practice defensive shooting, I do keep both eyes open, but I have to cock my head a bit to get the right sight picture. I suppose I'm actually aiming with my left eye even though I'm shooting righty.

9mmepiphany
April 17, 2013, 01:21 AM
When I practice defensive shooting, I do keep both eyes open, but I have to cock my head a bit to get the right sight picture. I suppose I'm actually aiming with my left eye even though I'm shooting righty.
The easiest thing to do is just shift your gun over so it is in front of your dominate eye.

It doesn't take any longer as you do it as you bring the gun up

Flt Simulation
April 17, 2013, 05:39 AM
QUOTE: F-111 John ...

"I have that problem of good distance vision but poor close vision, but without the cataract surgery. My shooting glasses are +1.5 reading glasses. (Normal reading glasses would be +2.5.) My EDC glasses are progressive lenses. I have the scotch tape on the shooting glasses, and practice the point defensive shooting with the progressive glasses. With the progressive lenses, I have to tilt my head back slightly.

Try a pair of the weakest reading glasses you can find at the dime store".
_______________________________________


I will try some weaker reading glasses and see how that works .. thank's

BTW ... I used to work on the F-111A back in 1969-1971 at Nellis AFB, NV (430th TFS)

F-111 John
April 17, 2013, 10:22 AM
Mtn. Home AFB, ID 1978-1981.

Josh45
April 17, 2013, 01:48 PM
For me, I keep both eyes open.
I just learned it that way and it seems to work for me more. The front sight is what I keep in focus after aligning the rear sight with it.

As Sam1911 drawing shows, That is how I see my sights and target when shooting and works great for me.

srtolly
April 17, 2013, 02:36 PM
Lots of different opinions here so I'll add what method I use. I had to find a gun that pointed naturally for me (everyone is different) for me its a 1911 with an arched msh. Combat sights like I trained with in the Corps. At a USPSA event I was at someone commented on my shooting and sights, to which I replied "what sights".

Lots of practice over the years (more than I want to think about) has trained me to draw and point and shoot. I have a S&W sigma that also points well for me. Glocks don't work for me. Both eyes open and only really see the top of the slide and focus on the target. Bullseye shooting is one eye closed, slow fire only.

SigSour
April 26, 2013, 11:21 PM
Thank God for THR! I'm cross eye dominant, right handed and use my left eye and with both eyes open, by the time I finish tilting and turning my head to line my left eye with my right hand... let's just say I'd rather get sighted in faster. Looks like I'm not alone.

I have no problem shooting with one eye when using a bow/arrow because I almost have to. I think I will start practicing, 100 rounds one eye open, 50 rounds both eyes open (on different targets) and see how that works out.

s4s4u
April 27, 2013, 02:25 AM
I always shoot both eyes open, optics or irons. It just comes natural. If you are cross dominant I can see where you would have problems, so switch hands ;-)

Soldiernurse
April 28, 2013, 12:56 PM
Shoot right handed
Cross eye dominant
Stigmatism... for many years
In my 50's... vision quality decreases with age
= Must shoot w/R eye closed

Yes, w/R eye closed I lose some of my R side periphery. Nonetheless, tracking on only one bad guy is not an issue w/an eye closed.

CSG
April 28, 2013, 01:26 PM
Other than plinking and slow target fire, as we age, for some of us this all goes out the window. I'm a lefty shooter, left eye dominant. To see a distant target clearly, I need glasses. However, with glasses, the sites are a blur. I haven't gotten progressive or bifocal lenses because I find them disorienting in day to day usage. I've started to move towards a laser for defensive carry and optical red dot for pistol target. For rifle, it's a scope. I can still shoot OK over iron sights but I shoot as well as I ever did with the optical aids.

Remember that target shooting and defensive shooting are two completely different events as to how and what you do.

Infidel4life11
April 29, 2013, 03:42 AM
Inside of 25m both eyes open focused on front sight. Beyond 25m non-Dom is closed and I'm still focused on front sight but also paying attention to the whole sight picture making sure it's all lined up.

jon86
April 29, 2013, 09:14 AM
subbed to read later

mavracer
April 29, 2013, 01:27 PM
Try as I might to shoot with both eyes open, I have nearly co-dominate eyes so no matter which eye I put the sights in front of my brain says I see the target better out of the other one.

Soldiernurse
April 29, 2013, 04:55 PM
Try as I might to shoot with both eyes open, I have nearly co-dominate eyes so no matter which eye I put the sights in front of my brain says I see the target better out of the other one.
Your integrity is in question which such a sarcastic post.

:evil:

thorazine
April 30, 2013, 05:50 AM
I always close both eyes.. loud bangs scare me.

Soldiernurse
April 30, 2013, 09:33 AM
I always close both eyes.. loud bangs scare me.
Your most likely closing your eyes due to uncontrollable eye movement. Please consider seeing your MD for possible dosage adjustment. Such disorders must be kept under control, especially when firearms are involved.

:neener:

mavracer
April 30, 2013, 10:40 AM
Your integrity is in question which such a sarcastic post.
I have no idea where you're coming from. My post was genuine. If I have a sight picture with my right eye and my left eye is closed, when I open my left eye I loose the sights because my left eye becomes dominate. Same thing happens the other way.

Soldiernurse
April 30, 2013, 11:17 AM
I have no idea where you're coming from. My post was genuine. If I have a sight picture with my right eye and my left eye is closed, when I open my left eye I loose the sights because my left eye becomes dominate. Same thing happens the other way.
My apologies. I thought you were being sarcastic. I'm certainly not an Optician but how are you able to sight-in regards to sight-alignment. I have to wear my spectacles d/t stigmatism, as well as distance farther than +- 20
yards.

mavracer
April 30, 2013, 12:15 PM
I'm certainly not an Optician but how are you able to sight-in regards to sight-alignment.
If I want any kind of focus on sights I have to close one eye or obscure image in some way (IE tape on glasses).
I do however have the advantage of being able to shoot with either eye and shoot both longguns and handguns left handed with my left eye.

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