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It should not work... but it does.

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Michael Tinker Pearce, Feb 2, 2020.

  1. Michael Tinker Pearce

    Michael Tinker Pearce Member

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    *dons flame-repellent suit.*

    Look, I know a bit about how sights work. Eye relief, sight radius, all that stuff. I know the theory and practice and that knowledge has served me well. In the future I will continue to use that knowledge, and experience tells me it will continue to work. But I have encountered a real-world situation where practice contradicts pretty much everything I know about how iron sights work on a handgun.

    I have a gun with sights that are, by any reasonable standard, very, very bad. The sight radius is extremely short- 2-1/4". Terrible. The rear sight is tiny and narrow, though in fairness the notch is relatively deep and well defined. Terrible. The front sight is too wide and completely fills the rear notch. Terrible. These sights are a perfect storm of awful. They are almost every single thing sights should not be and they should absolutely suck.

    The problem is they are easy to pick up and I produce tight well-centered groups. In a fit of madness I fired the gun at a twenty-five yard target. The result? a 3-1/4" group. This should absolutely not work. I know this. You know this. The results disagree. Most of my 25 yard groups since are a bit bigger- closer to 4-1/2"- but smaller groups still happen if I am really on my game. It should be blind luck for me to even hit the paper at that distance, but I can produce decent groups reasonably consistently.

    I was inclined to write this off as a fluke; some bizarre quirk of my imperfect vision and physiology. Then I let someone else shoot it. They produced well-centered and reasonably tight groups at seven yards. They commented on how easy it was to pick up the sights. Umm... OK.

    Now a half-dozen people have tried this stupid gun, and they all said the same thing- easy to pick up the sights. At seven yards every one of them shot well-centered groups that were as tight as they usually produce with their own guns. It doesn't make sense.

    One thing I have noticed- the front and rear sights are so close together that at arms length they are in the same focal plane; in other words both sights are in sharp focus, rather than the front sharp and the rear slightly fuzzy. I don't know how or if this affects things, but other than the damn sights working at all it's the only unusual factor.

    Look, I know this shouldn't work. I'm not selling anything here. I have nothing to gain. I don't want to overturn the conventional wisdom. I don't want to revolutionize the industry. I just want to figure out what the hell is going on, and why this works works when it shouldn't. Because it bugs me.

    I tried to discuss this in another venue, and everyone was keen to explain that it can't work, and lecture me about exactly why it can't work. Everyone was completely willing to ignore the fact that it actually does work. I'm hoping we can do better here. Any thoughts?
     
  2. film495

    film495 Member

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    don't know. I kind of prefer old style sights with touch of orange nail polish on the front sight. three dot sights are better, but I find them kind of obtrusive and distracting since I am not used to them.
     
  3. bearleft

    bearleft Member

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    I went with a narrow Dawson front sight on my M&P and don't shoot as accurately as
    i did with the stock set up, maybe there is something to this?
     
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  4. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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  5. rskent

    rskent Member

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    I always thought that wider front sights were supposed to be more accurate than thin front sights. And that thin front sights were supposed to be faster to align. My Bad.
     
  6. sparkyv

    sparkyv Member

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    Perhaps you've already idenified the reason:
     
  7. 481

    481 Member

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    And measurements, too, please.
     
  8. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Tinker

    sparkyv

    This was my first thought too. That having both sights on the same focal plane allows your eyes to more easily fix on the target.
     
  9. MistWolf

    MistWolf Member

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    This is why I tell people "Shoot the gun and find out for yourself". It doesn't matter that there are those who tell you "This cannot work" because, as you can see for yourself, it is working. It also shows that there's more to it than just sight radius.
     
  10. DairyVet

    DairyVet Member

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    in my (limited) experience some guns just tend to line up on-target easier than others, so you don’t have to work as hard for proper sight alignment.

    Perhaps this plus the same focal plane deal just happens to work...
     
  11. Boarhunter

    Boarhunter Member

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    If it works, Tinker, it works!

    BOARHUNTER
     
  12. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    MTP, sounds like that gun's sights are right in perfect range of your eyes short range focus. Very nice indeed.

    If I didn't have to tilt my head back to get handgun sights to focus in my progressive lenses . . . Oh well, I can still hit out to 15 yards with blurry sights. :D
     
  13. Pat Riot
    • Contributing Member

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    It definitely ain’t broke so I definitely wouldn’t “fix” it. ;)

    Details please. What gun? What sights?
     
  14. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    Enjoy those sights being in focus. Not to rain on your parade but it's not going to last.
     
  15. Michael Tinker Pearce

    Michael Tinker Pearce Member

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    OK, Pictures- A lot of you have seen this gun before.
    NRv4mEr.jpg 1yZx24C.jpg
    As previously mentioned the sight radius is 2-1/4". The rear sight is .14" wide, with the notch .042" wide with a half-round bottom approximately .022" deep. The front sight is .064" wide.
    Looking at it carefully against a lit background (the computer screen) there is a bare sliver of light on either side of the front sight at the top, which I had not realized. Unfortunately I haven't the skill or equipment to get a good photo of the sights in alignment.
     
  16. Hartkopf

    Hartkopf Member

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    I hate when people dismiss a learning opportunity and don’t appreciate what someone is sharing. Thanks for posting your observations!:thumbup:
     
  17. Hartkopf

    Hartkopf Member

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    Maybe it has something to do with the pads near the rear sights? Looking through or over the pads before looking through the little rear sights? I would love to shoot that gun and analyze the hell out of it!:)
     
  18. Obturation
    • Contributing Member

    Obturation Contributing Member

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    For me it takes longer to align a narrow front blade, trying to center it perfectly takes concentration . may be that the wider front sight is the correct size to perfectly fill the rear notch and a sliver of light on either side is easily noticed. I've had fixed sighted revolvers with perfectly aligned sights and some that were in gross approximate alignment, which generally works for a belly gun.
     
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  19. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    I figure - and ALWAYS have - that the *quality* of sights are in the results of the shooter.

    I would challenge anyone to come up with a lesser manufactured *sight* on a mass-produced handgun than that on my AMT .45 Backup. Makes and ASP *Guttersnipe* system look sniper-grade.

    Still, even though this is widely, continuously and vociferously derided as all but worthless, the pistol returns astounding groups in general and in particular due to the barrel length and *sight* trench.

    I've handed it to over a half-dozen nonbelievers and after coaching them away from their biases, they too stand shocked at how well it shoots AND how far.

    So, experts, chronic magazine readers, bad-shots and otherwise nay-sayers be damned.

    If it works for you, IT WORKS..... PERIOD!

    If it also works for others, each success shames the marginally informed and unwarrantedly loud, just a little bit more.

    Todd.
    IMG_1313.JPG
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2020
  20. WTBguns10kOK

    WTBguns10kOK Member

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    Different color on the front sight seems like it probly helps. Good thread, a reminder to keep options open and try various solutions.
     
  21. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    A good trigger and mechanical accuracy also help with groups. I would put sights third in importance.
     
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  22. Sovblocgunfan

    Sovblocgunfan Member

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    In addition to sights being in the same focal plane, it is also quite possible there is a symbiosis between hand and grip that offers a natural pointability, much like a well-fitted shotgun. Bespoke modifications would offer that.
     
  23. 94045

    94045 Member

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    It works. In my opinion that trumps theory.
     
  24. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Stop looking a gift horse in the mouth! The sights are in the same focal plane, and that does help, but take into consideration that you just might be a good shot. Targets you've posted in the past support this.

    Them custom grips don't hurt, either! ;)
     
  25. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Conjecture: the short sight radius is minimizing the apparent-ness of wobble. This is helping you to just "shoot the wobble," rather than trying to catch the perfect sight picture. Combine that with the no-pressure reduced expectations, and you're just getting out of your own way and shooting your hold.

    Is that right? I have no idea. It's just a conjecture.
     
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