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

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by CmdrSlander, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. CmdrSlander

    CmdrSlander Well-Known Member

    So, when I look at my handgun's sight with both eyes open I can never get the sights to look like this:

    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.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  2. Havok7416

    Havok7416 Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. climbnjump

    climbnjump Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    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
  5. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    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.
  6. F-111 John

    F-111 John Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. JVaughn

    JVaughn Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    I'd actually say that picture is printed a little backward. The sight picture should look a lot more like this:


    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.

    Attached Files:

  9. ID-shooting

    ID-shooting Well-Known Member

    Here is how the Army taught me...

    Attached Files:

  10. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    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
  11. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

    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.
  12. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    "Front Sight...PRESS" Repeat! :)

    BADUNAME2 Well-Known Member

    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.
  14. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    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.
    Long range: Blurry target and rear, clear front sight.
    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.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  15. GLI45

    GLI45 Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. JRWhit

    JRWhit Well-Known Member

    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.
  17. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Well-Known Member

    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.
  19. TestPilot

    TestPilot Well-Known Member

    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


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

  20. radar1972

    radar1972 Well-Known Member

    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.

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