Are Sights Really Necessary on a Concealed Carry Pistol?

You get the fight you get - we don’t get to pick our encounter where we have to deploy our cc firearm.

What scenario are you seeing, outside that range, that would still be considered "self defense"? Serious question, because I'm drawing a blank...

Tell that to Elisjsha Dicken.
Elisjsha Dicken came to mind as soon as I saw the thread title. What advantage does NOT having sights give? It seems stupid to me to not have sights on a gun. Yes, an accomplished shooter can shoot well without sights, but how much practice did it take him/her to get to that stage? Does the average concealed carrier do that much practice or training? As I understand it, most concealed carriers go through the class and call it "good" never really practicing again. So now they shouldn't have sights?

Yes, I believe ALL firearms should have some form of sights. If one trains enough to not need them, great, but it seems stupid to NOT have sights on a firearm.
The best gun money I've ever spent was to buy Tom Givens' book Concealed Carry Class.

Its $24 on Amazon.

Chapter 12 goes into much more detail about the range of distances and number of shots that citizen defenders are likely to need to train for. Worth your time.

One data point that emerged from the shootings involving Tom's students that might apply to this topic: the vast majority involved shooting with two hands with the gun at eye level (presumably using the sights). As a result, the hit ratio is running around 95%. IOW, 19 of each 20 shots taken hit the intended target.

Since only hits count, and using sights is a really good way to ensure hits, then for me, sights are, and will continue to be, pretty important on my carry guns.
Interesting, to say the least. And completely debunks my theory. I’ll have to head over to Amazon and score a copy. Thank you!
Understandable why folks these days say sights aren't necessary. They don't know how to use them. That's why they must have high capacity double stack mags in hopes a stray round may hit what they are pointing at.
A retired armorer in my apartment building made the claim that sights really aren't necessary for concealed carry pistols. He claimed that the sights just slow you down.

At 7 yards with my P365 without sights, my accuracy wasn't any worse than my P365XL with sights. I was surprised by just how easy it was to sight along the top of slide.
You can also train yourself to sight along the top of the sites, especially big white outline ones like Glocks. Then when further back you have the option to use the sights. If getting good at it, you can switch back and forth. However the the older i get, the more things i used to do.
As above, having sights is not any kind of handicap, and NOT having sights if things don't work out quite like you thought they would can get you killed.
Sights simply give you the ability to choose what's best at that moment.
There's no cost to having sights but very possible costs to not having them.

Whether to use sights can vary from expert to expert.
On one hand we have famed NYPD stakeout member and gun fighter Jim Cirrilo who was asked if he used the sights and he said "My front sight has 5 grooves" meaning he looked at them so intently he could count the grooves.

Contrasting with that is US Army Delta Force Operator Eric Haney who in his book describes the Delta anti-terrorist shooting method in which they have to concentrate on the target and actually can't look at the sights at clearing a room distances, which is contrary to most "experts".

It's better to have them and not need them then to need and not have.

Just two points on this, several years ago, while qualifying, the firearms instructor gathered us and said that too many people did not know how to hold their issue gun correctly. He then produced a GLOCK 19 which had the sights removed. He said we would each shoot the gun and see what happened. I volunteered to go first out of curiosity.
He had us shoot at 3 or 5 yards, and at a specific point on a silhouette targert. I fired at the point and my first shot struck right under it. The next 9 also clustered together. So I knew that without sights, at close range, I would not have a problem. It went downhill from there. Others were having a real problem, despite the short range. Of the officers shooting that day, I was probaly the only one who shot at least once a week. Many of them do not own a gun (we carry issue guns) and only shoot during a qualification. So having sights helped all of the others qualify, at least at short range.

The second thing is that back in 1910, FN introduced John BROWNING'S 4th model of pocket pistol, the 1910. This pistol had a grove in the top of the slide with a nib of a front sight just behind the muzzle. I found that for defensive use, it worked fine. Not the thing for 25 or 50 yard shots, maybe not even 15 yards, but at 10 or less, it worked fine and could not catch on anything.

In my opinion, any sight, even a guttersnipe is far better than no sight.

I shot a 2 & 1 drill a while back using my M&P9. I've shot this gun for several years. I fired 2 shots COM and one to CNS starting with the gun on the bench, magazine inserted, slide locked back with a time limit of 3 seconds and distance of 5 yards. I don't remember using the sights. I had two misses on CNS shots, the rest were in the target zone for both COM and CNS. So yes, you absolutely need sights on your carry gun. You can't develop the muscle memory required to shoot without sights if you don't practice quite a bit first with sights. There would also have been a lot more misses beyond 5 yards. This pistol can keep 10 shots in an 8" bullseye at 25 yards, which isn't impressive, but it shows the pistol is not the weak link in this chain.
See Point Shooting discussions (Quick Kill, Threat Focused, Point Shooting, Instinctive Shooting, etc.). Training to it is important in properly acquiring the skill.
Last edited:
If sights are really not necessary, they certainly can’t hurt, and last I checked they’re not doubling the price of the firearm. Nor do 95% of the sights on modern CCW guns represent a serious snag risk. I can’t imagine pulling the trigger without acquiring some kind of sight picture first, because that’s how I train. And at any kind of distance the sights are, simply put, going to be the difference in potentially hitting the target, and not.

I’ll stick with sights, thanks.

I have a WWII era “Duo” .25acp pistol which just has a groove milled in the top of the slide. It saves no time at all compared to lining up the sights, and in fact is more cumbersome. Maybe for a new shooter it would be easier though?
I focus on the front sight only and practice flash shooting with it. Similar to what you're doing but involving the front sight over the target.
With no gun fight experience to draw upon I have no idea if I would use the sights or just look down the barrel. In a life or death situation at close range I'm guessing I would rely on the barrel more than the sights. Fast and nasty and get a bullet in the attacker as quickly as possible but 100% speculation. I used to own a P365 XL and found the red dot to be kind of a hindrance rather than a help. I gave it to my daughter and she says it makes the gun hang up as she purse carries. I do know that I am quicker on targets when practicing with irons so that is what I will stick with as long as it's an SD gun. Plinkers are a different story. I am more accurate with a red dot and in no hurry so that is where they are used.
Has anyone put this the test? Complete shooting targets on the move that aren't all stationary with sights and without them in IDPA and in defensive training classes. See what your times and hits look like then. I'm willing to bet that there will be an appreciation for sights when it's all said and done....

If a threat is at bad breath distances and right on top of you, I agree that sights are not necessary. When a target is at a distance or even on the move in and out of cover, sight increases the chances of good hits. The problem is that some gun owners have one specific defensive scenario in their brains, and they REDUSE to acknowledge that things may not work out the way they imagined.
Last edited:
What scenario are you seeing, outside that range, that would still be considered "self defense"? Serious question, because I'm drawing a blank...
15 yards, the approximate distance between the front door to the back of the average strip mall store.

Or, were you planning to wait until the bad guys get within 5 to 7 yards?

Or, are you that confident you can reliably hit a man-sized target at that range without sights.
15 yards, the approximate distance between the front door to the back of the average strip mall store.

Or, were you planning to wait until the bad guys get within 5 to 7 yards?

Or, are you that confident you can reliably hit a man-sized target at that range without sights.
Can he hit a target without sights that's NOT standing still? I watch a lot of Active Self Defense's YouTube videos, other local news video, and live shootings caught on camera on the old A&E TV show The First 48. Criminals rarely stay in place in someone is shooting at them. They run for cover while shooting back or they shoot from behind cover when there's a gun fight.