Correcting Poor Sight Alignment


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Bobson
May 4, 2013, 10:29 PM
I've been messing with my EDC a whole lot this week - doing all the stuff I should have been doing constantly since the day I bought my gun. Practicing the four-count drawstroke as taught by the late Paul Gomez (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OZfgutNufU&list=UUnlR_KehwA1YfqrR9Mf9Rig), practicing drawing from a closed garment (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoLz-NIWbOg&list=UUnlR_KehwA1YfqrR9Mf9Rig) (again, as taught by Gomez), etc.

All these things have lead me to realizing something that could be a very serious potential problem, unless I address it properly. That's what this thread is all about. The issue is the Glock grip angle just doesn't work naturally for me. At the completion of the four-count drawstroke with my G19, I have the sight picture shown in the attached picture. I think we all know why that picture isn't ideal, so I'm not posting the picture of what it should look like.

There are three possible ways for me to correct this problem. The first way is to replace the G19 with something else (*cough CZ 75B cough*). I love my G19, I shoot it well, and I believe it's a well-designed combat pistol. I know I'd quickly regret getting rid of this little brick of a gun.

Option two, train my hands to automatically compensate for the unnatural angle (for my hands) that the G19 offers. This approach seems pretty iffy. I don't even know if it could be done. I've been shooting the G19 for a couple of years now, been through a professional training course with it, and the angle is still unnatural for me. So this option is out too.

Option three occurred to me while practicing my drawstroke. I vaguely recall hearing this offered as advice at some point, but I have no idea who said it or where I heard it. However, the more I think about it, the more practical it seems. The idea is simple. Instead of tilting the gun forward in my grip at count #4 to correct the sight alignment, simply bend at the knees and drop my torso until my eyes line up with the sights properly. This is to be done during the transition from count three to count four in the drawstroke.

Aside from correcting the sight alignment issue caused by the Glock grip angle, this approach also makes me a somewhat smaller target for an enemy shooter. It's not a huge difference in size, but it's something. I've also heard that this crouched position makes moving with a handgun a bit more smooth, and doesn't upset sight picture as much as normal walking.

Anyone do this? Pros/Cons? Is there something else I should consider?

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rcmodel
May 4, 2013, 10:37 PM
The issue is the Glock grip angle just doesn't work naturally for me. The Glock grip angle doesn't work for many of us.

That's why many of us shoot 1911's, Springfield XD's, and S&W revolvers that have for many years, fit almost everyone.

Your best recourse is to do that.

Or have an orthopedic surgeon break your wrest and reset it to the Glock grip angle. :D

rc

Bobson
May 4, 2013, 10:43 PM
Lol. Great response, I'll consider having my wrist broken. :D

Edit:

Ok, ok... I am considering a CZ 75B. The reason I'm hesitant is I'm pretty certain I'll miss the G19, and I can't afford to drop $500 on a gun right now. So any replacement would need to be an almost straight trade.

Ed Ames
May 4, 2013, 11:08 PM
There are a lot of guns that are glock-like in operation (e.g. no manual safety) but have other grip angles.

I have seen that same sight picture with Glocks. It's the reason I don't want a Glock. However, when other factors caused me to practice a bit with one, it didn't take very long to get used to. I (with an unloaded gun) drew and pointed with my eyes closed, then opened my eyes to check the sight picture. I practiced that until the picture was correct (not that I'm was aiming at anything in particular, but that the sight picture was right) whenever I opened my eyes. Last time I tried (after a long gap) it took a few draws to get the feel back but it did come back.

9mmepiphany
May 5, 2013, 01:00 AM
Option three occurred to me while practicing my drawstroke. I vaguely recall hearing this offered as advice at some point, but I have no idea who said it or where I heard it. However, the more I think about it, the more practical it seems. The idea is simple. Instead of tilting the gun forward in my grip at count #4 to correct the sight alignment, simply bend at the knees and drop my torso until my eyes line up with the sights properly. This is to be done during the transition from count three to count four in the drawstroke.

Anyone do this? Pros/Cons? Is there something else I should consider?
This would only work if you arms remain in place as you lowered your body. Unless you've found a way to detach your arms from your torso, I don't think this is going to work for you ;)

We bend our knees to allow our bodies to balance the extension of the arms without having to lean backwards

Aside from correcting the sight alignment issue caused by the Glock grip angle, this approach also makes me a somewhat smaller target for an enemy shooter. It's not a huge difference in size, but it's something. I've also heard that this crouched position makes moving with a handgun a bit more smooth, and doesn't upset sight picture as much as normal walking.
Bent knees allow the knees to absorb some of the shock of each footfall landing. The real secret to smoother walking while shooting is to not fall on the lead foot. In other words, to place the unweighted foot down before shifting your weight onto it...it is the same way you walk backwards.

Option two, train my hands to automatically compensate for the unnatural angle (for my hands) that the G19 offers. This approach seems pretty iffy. I don't even know if it could be done. I've been shooting the G19 for a couple of years now, been through a professional training course with it, and the angle is still unnatural for me. So this option is out too.
Don't be too quick to dismiss this option.

The correct technique is to see the sights during the pushout (between Count 3 and Count 4) and align them on the target before your arms reach full extension. If you are able to shoot the G19 well, you're obviously able to hold it correctly. The fact that it still seems unnatural to you is a mental imaging issue. You want to hold it like a hammer or a baseball bat by locking your wrist straight...there really isn't a reason to.

Your journey in learning guncraft is certainly interesting, however I'd like to offer some advice which will save you much time and money. I understand that you have had some professional training, but it seems you are still trying to learn fairly common techniques thought videos. While it is commendable to continue to further your knowledge base, doing it through reading or watching videos is a road fraught with peril. Individual instruction in fundamental techniques might be a better way to achieve your goal

Bobson
May 5, 2013, 01:49 AM
I appreciate the responses.

9mmepiphany, I hadn't thought of correcting the angle while transitioning from 3 to 4. Obviously, picking up the sight during this stage is critical in getting an accurate first shot off quickly, so that's clearly a gross oversight on my part. I appreciate you spelling that out. Despite my plan to hit the range this morning, it didn't pan out. However, I'm going tomorrow instead. In addition to working on trigger manipulation in parallel, I'll focus on that transition from count three to count four.

Your recommendation to pursue additional training coursework is appreciated and is not being ignored. I have been giving that a whole lot of thought as well, and I'll see what I can do. I know an old professor of mine runs a training academy here in Phoenix. He's also an ex-prosecutor and works legal issues into all of his SD shooting courses. I'll see about registering for a class as soon as I can.

I also live reasonably close to Gunsite - close enough that I could drive out for a course the same day - so that may be an option. I don't know much about it or what they actually offer, but I'll look into it.

Again, I appreciate the responses.

Inebriated
May 5, 2013, 02:13 AM
The correct technique is to see the sights during the pushout (between Count 3 and Count 4) and align them on the target before your arms reach full extension. If you are able to shoot the G19 well, you're obviously able to hold it correctly. The fact that it still seems unnatural to you is a mental imaging issue. You want to hold it like a hammer or a baseball bat by locking your wrist straight...there really isn't a reason to.
This is essentially what I wanted to say.

One thing you could do if you REALLY have to, is reduce the hump on the Glock, and give yourself a slightly straighter grip angle. Of course, you're better off just learning to do it correctly. :neener:

Bobson
May 5, 2013, 02:18 AM
I'll either learn to do it properly, or I'll end up replacing the Glock :p

Definitely not rushing into getting rid of it. I've sold two guns in my life, and regretted it both times. And I like my G19 more than either of those.

Bobson
May 5, 2013, 04:20 AM
I also live reasonably close to Gunsite - close enough that I could drive out for a course the same day - so that may be an option. I don't know much about it or what they actually offer, but I'll look into it.
So. I've been looking into Gunsite (http://www.gunsite.com/main/) and K-Force Vanguard (http://kforcevanguard.com/) (which is the other training academy I mentioned earlier). Typed "Gunsite" in youtube, and this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYVT0NQC6Zw&list=PLA0F0224E3C93263E) comes up.

Dave Miles (NSSF) interviews Charlie McNeese, the Gunsite Rangemaster. At the 3:10 mark, McNeese describes his dry-fire practice. He says he practices by pressing the trigger, holding the trigger to the rear, racking the slide (to reset the trigger), releasing the trigger until it resets ("let my finger out 'til it clicks" are his exact words), pressing the trigger again, etc.

This seems to describe the "trigger reset" method of trigger manipulation (the three methods of trigger manipulation are discussed here (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=715060)). Anyone know if this is the method that Gunsite instructors teach their students?

The reason I ask is it seems logical to practice dry-firing the same way you would shoot. If you shoot with the trigger-reset method, practice that method when dry firing. But if you shoot using the slack-out method, wouldn't it be wise to do the same thing when practicing dry firing? So you'd rack the slide, take up the slack, then press and hold the trigger, rack the slide, fully release the trigger, then take up the slack, etc.

BTW, I mean absolutely no disrespect toward McNeese or Gunsite by asking this. Just wondering if anyone knows if that's the method they teach. Like I said earlier, I don't know a whole lot about Gunsite, but I've heard their name often enough to have reason to believe it's a respected organization.

KTXdm9
May 5, 2013, 01:18 PM
I don't think it makes sense to conform to the gun. I'd rather buy something that points and shoots naturally for me. You'll have little trouble getting rid of the Glock. I'd find something else and sell the Glock. YMMV.

Inebriated
May 5, 2013, 03:19 PM
Bobson, that trigger reset method is almost universally taught for live fire.

It makes little sense to fire, let the slide move, then let all the way out, and come all the way back until you hit resistance. That's nearly twice the movement as just stopping your finger once the trigger resets, and then firing again. That'll translate to you shooting just that much quicker, but not sacrificing your other basics (trigger pull, sight alignment, sight picture, etc.)

Ankeny
May 5, 2013, 10:11 PM
That's nearly twice the movement as just stopping your finger once the trigger resets, and then firing again. That'll translate to you shooting just that much quicker, but not sacrificing your other basics (trigger pull, sight alignment, sight picture, etc.) For me, (and many others) stopping at the point of reset is slower than letting the trigger out past the exact point of reset.

As far as Glock ergonomics, I have done grip reductions on several Glocks and it helped me a bunch. Also, I see a lot of folks that really don't rotate their wrists as far forward as they should in the first place (pick me). As a general rule, if you open your support hand at extension and your fingers make a 45 degree angle with the floor, that is about right. If the gun still points too high, or if it is too difficult to rotate your wrists, you can make adjustments by rotating one or both elbows. If that still doesn't work, (or you just don't want to devote the time and effort), consider changing platforms.

9mmepiphany
May 5, 2013, 11:56 PM
It makes little sense to fire, let the slide move, then let all the way out, and come all the way back until you hit resistance. That's nearly twice the movement as just stopping your finger once the trigger resets, and then firing again.
There may be more movement, but it is much faster.

The only time shooters should be slowly letting the trigger out to the reset point is when they are learning where it is. After that, it is much faster to flick the finger forward and meet the trigger at, or just beyond, the reset point. Then there is just a short takeup to the point of resistance and the beginning of trigger prep

45_auto
May 6, 2013, 08:56 AM
The sight picture shown in the OP's first post is actually the perfect Flash Sight Picture as advocated by Gunsite during the three pistol classes I took there.

If the target is an attacker up close and the front sight is on center of mass, then pull the trigger - you're going to get hits. If your target is a 25 yard headshot, obviously you'll need little more sight refinement (drop the front sight into the notch).

Worst thing you can do is have a gun that points with the front sight aligned with or below the rear sight. When you're bringing the gun up fast and you can't see the front sight, then is it to the right or left of the rear notch and is it low or not?

It's much faster if the front sights are picked up above the rear sights on the draw stroke extension then aligned as necessary by dropping the front sight into the rear notch.

If you expect your gun to come up with the front sight perfectly centered in the rear sight, then you're going to be waving it around trying to figure out if it's left, right, or below the rear sight notch.

A synopsis on Cooper's FSP technique.

http://www.usacarry.com/flash-sight-picture-technique/

As you bring your firearm up to eye level to shoot with the target in view, you should immediately and very definitely shift your total focus from the target to the FRONT SIGHT of the gun… ONLY on the FRONT SIGHT. Proper FSP technique involves seeing the front sight very early in the draw stroke. You should be TOTALLY FOCUSING on the very TOP of the FRONT SIGHT and see all its nooks and crannies, scratches and serrations. When the front post is somewhere (anywhere) in between the rear sights– note you are NOT trying to precisely position the Front Sight vertically and horizontally in alignment with the Rear Sight– you press the trigger when the front sight meets the blurry target in the background.

RedAlert
May 6, 2013, 11:53 AM
People have modified their guns forever. I wonder if you were to apply some grip tape (several layers) in the area contacted by the web of your hand would help. It seems to me that would have the effect of pushing the front sight down.
I've not tried this yet it seems to me it would allow you to modify the grip angle in an inexpensive and non-permanent manner.

Also there is a relatively new product on the market called "SUGRU." It is moldable silicone rubber that hardens overnight. It can also be removed once hardened if desired. Check out their web site:

www.sugru.com

BCRider
May 7, 2013, 02:47 PM
It's all about muscle memory. Clearly you either don't practice enough with your Glock or you mix in your Glock practice time with other guns which you have shot for longer. Or you trained yourself on a 1911 grip angle but then subconciously insist on not wanting to alter that original training.

So now it's time to go back to square one. Hold the Glock out at your shooting pose and get the sights into place then look at your hands. Get a feel for the wrist angle and try to conciously achieve that angle. With the gun in your hand but hanging at your side loosely practice firming up your grip and bringing it up to a shooting position with your eyes closed. Then open them and see what the sight picture looks like. Fix it, connect with your wrist muscles to "feel" where the right postion is and do it again, and again, and again. Do it until you can open your eyes and see the correct or close enough sight picture 10 out of 10. Then do it again later that day. Repeat on an ongoing basis until you can do it 10 out of 10 right off the bat instead of having to go through corrective actions when your eyes open to look at the sights. Then keep on doing it until you can run this same drill two or three times a day and get 10 out of 10 over and over for a week. As it becomes a little easier switch to drawing from your holster and doing the same drill. With eyes closed draw and extend then look at where the gun is and what the sight picture is like.

And do all this at a few selected "targets" as well. Otherwise it's easy to not lift the gun up enough and see the wrong sight picture despite the fact that your wrist is actually at the right angle. Looking "down" on the gun and your grip will look just like that picture. And pick targets at a variety of heights. You want to train to achieve the right extension and angle with your eyes closed over a range of arm angles. Otherwise if a midget attacks you or you come across a poisonous snake in the woods the gun will come up aligned well over their head... :D

Liberally sprinkling in range time with live ammo isn't a bad way to help things along as well.

And once you've re-trained your muscle memory for the grip angle you can forget about shooting a 1911 angle style of gun. You'll find that it has the same problem but in the other direction with the front sight down low instead of high. It's all about commiting yourself to a long term commitment if you want to get good with that one platform.

This was originally suggested to me by a long time high placing IPSC shooter. In his case it was intended towards becoming aquainted with the high sight line of a red dot on a race gun. But it still applies to getting used to altering your automatic wrist angle to suit your Glock. The key to making this work is to commit yourself to training with and shooting the Glock and Glock only for quite some time. If you also enjoy 1911's or guns with 1911 angle grips then you need to make a decision. If you try to keep and use them all you'll simply never reach a point where you draw and point the Glock in a completely natural manner.

In my own case I gave up on that idea. I simply like using a mix of guns in my shooting sports far too much. And since it is ONLY a sport for me I'm willing to give up a little. I shoot a variety of revolvers and semi auto guns. So what I've trained myself to do is extend the gun up during the draw and presentation (the transition between points 3 and 4 using the Gomez notation from that video) with my front sight slighly high in all cases and to align it with the target and then as I begin to buid pressure on the trigger I raise the rear of the gun the last little bit to cradle the rear notch around the front sight.

I do it this way because if I train for using proper wrist alignment with my revolvers then switch to my CZ or 1911 the front sight is pointed at the toes of the target stand. If I worked with only my CZ or 1911 for wrist angle then my revolvers would be pointed initially up over the heads of the targets. But FOR ME AND MY SITUATION I've trained myself to start with a slightly muzzle high position at position 3 and do this slight extra bit with the sights during the movement to position 4.

Now this takes me a little longer. There is simply no doubt about that. But it does allow me to use one consistent and constant method over a wide variety of handguns.

But in your case if you are SERIOUS about wanting to have the most naturally accurate and fastest draw and presentation to the point of decision for SD work then you need to focus on the one platform and work with it to break your so called pre-trained "natural" wrist angle. You can do it but it needs time and realization that it takes some commitment to practice to develop that muscle memory until it's as ingrained as reaching out to catch something that was thrown at you by surprise or to reach down and snag that glass you swiped off the counter and noticed nothing but the noise as it grated over the edge of the counter. These are both examples of the many well practiced and now ingrained actions out hands can perform. Raising and holding a Glock in the correct attitude can be another. But it requires breaking the habits you instilled with other grip angle guns and letting the wrist angle for the Glock become your ingrained and well practiced angle.

Shawn Dodson
May 7, 2013, 04:52 PM
Unless you're shooting bullseyes then that's acceptable sight alignment to get good hits out to about 15 yards when shooting in self-defense.

Farther out you'll have time to fine align your sights (distance buys you time, and distance favors the trained marksman).

BCRider
May 7, 2013, 05:00 PM
If that picture is accurate I'm not so sure it is good enough at anything more than 3 to maybe 5 yards. I know that if I held my sights like he shows there in a IDPA or IPSC match I'd miss the -0 chest circle for sure even at 5 yards. And I'd be lucky if it turned into a head shot while supposedly aiming for the chest. Otherwise I think it would be right over. At 2 to 3 yards it would likely end up a neck or head shot if I put the front sight onto the center chest area with the rear buried that far low.

Have another look at the picture. The top edge of the rear sight is lined up with the ejection port. That's a LOT of muzzle rise!

In the end it's easy enough to prove out. Get a torso shaped target and try it as shown. In the meantime training to modify your "natural" hold isn't going to hurt.

Shawn Dodson
May 7, 2013, 05:11 PM
Try this exercise:

1) With your front sight perfectly centered and aligned in the rear sight notch shoot one round.
2) With your front sight "against" the right side of the rear sight notch shoot one round.
3) With your front sight "against" the left side of the rear sight notch shoot one round.
4) With your front sight centered and the muzzle depressed slightly so you can barely see the top of the front sight in the rear sight notch shoot one round.
5) With your front sight centered and the muzzle elevated slightly (as in the photo) so the front sight is just above the rear sight notch shoot one round.

This exercise allows you to see for yourself just how much your sights can be misaligned but still get good hits.

The closer the target the sloppier (less precise) your sight alignment can be.

Ankeny
May 7, 2013, 07:23 PM
This exercise allows you to see for yourself just how much your sights can be misaligned but still get good hits. Bingo. That's why it is important to have perfect sight picture, but not necessarily have perfect sight alignment.

Potatohead
May 8, 2013, 02:18 PM
9mmepiphany is a wise dude

okiewita40
May 9, 2013, 12:39 PM
Not sure if the OP is doing this or not but it is something that I had to learn. That is to bring the sights of the pistol up to your line of sight.

Coming from a hunting background I used to always tilt my head like I was trying to shoot a long gun. Took me about 5 years into law enforcement to break this habit. Once I did I shot a hand gun much better. I went from struggling with qualifying to getting perfect scores on the range.

I did not even have a problem when we switched from revolvers to semi - auto's. Have shot ruger's, S&W, and glocks. No problems with any of them.

Just took a good firearms instructor to point out what I was doing and made getting the proper sight picture so much easier.

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