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Kimber Sight Question

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by mountaindrew, Jan 4, 2021.

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  1. mountaindrew

    mountaindrew Member

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    I just purchased my first 1911, a used Kimber Custom LW. I have a few questions, that may be old info to some, or my gun may have a problem.
    The first is that the gun was pretty consistently hitting high, about 6-7 inches at 25 yard.
    The sight picture is weird. The red dot in the front sight is MUCH smaller that the white dots in the rear sight, so if i line the top of the sights up I get 3 dots like this 0o0 only upside down, with the center dot high. That's when it seems to shoot high. With the dots lined up center to center, the tops of the sights look weird, like --_-- but then it shoots a little more center. However, that is very difficult to be consistent.
    What am I not getting?
     
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  2. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    I don't think there's anything you're "not getting". It seems you have two DIY options:
    1) Find out what sight picture works for you and use that consistently with that gun.
    2) Buy a higher front sight and change it out, if you can.
    If those options are non-starters then about all you can do is to contact Kimber and see if they'll do something for you.
     
  3. Rod47

    Rod47 Member

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    Try a lighter bullet.
     
  4. mountaindrew

    mountaindrew Member

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    I guess what i meant by missing something, is, is this sight picture a 1911 thing and there is shooting technique i just don't know, or is this a design flaw that I need to correct?
     
  5. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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  6. Drail

    Drail Member

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    3 dot sights are worthless for accuracy. They are for rapid combat shooting and only give you a fraction of the info you need to hit a bullseye. A large number of factory 3 dot sights are made with the dots completely out of alignment with the top of the front sight and the top of the rear. I have seen a lot of them where when the dots are lined up perfectly they are not looking where the bore is looking and you cannot move the dots where they need to go. Different sized dots are just stupid. I would replace them with plain black target sights - or you could black them out with paint. 3 dot sights were a huge trend back in the 80s and are not really useful except for speed shooting steel. Lining up the top edge of the front with the top edge of the rear works much better. I shot competition for years and NOBODY used 3 dot sights. We all used plain black sights.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
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  7. mountaindrew

    mountaindrew Member

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    So Drail, if that be the case, then the sights are either regulated wrong (pretty far off for factory sights) or perhaps set for a "6oclock hold", a concept that doesn't seem logical on a defensive firearm with high visibility sights.

    And PO2Hammer, they are the factory red fiber optic sights offered on the budget oriented LW model.
     
  8. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    You mean mil-spec 1911? No. Lots of 1911 variants out there, though, many of them Kimbers. ;)
     
  9. JJFitch

    JJFitch Member

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    Lighter bullets will print higher, heavier bullets will print lower due to barrel rise and barrel time.

    As "Drail" mentioned three dot sights are not for precision they give the combat shooter a reference for that "flash sight picture" . I have found that three dot sights are generally regulated for the front sight dot to be "POA/POI" at 15 yards. Which pretty much matches your POA/POI.

    Cut some black target tape and cover the dots and see if a traditional Patridge style sight picture will give you POA/POI at 15 yards. In other words the point of impact should be just above the front sight.

    Then remove the tape and center the front dot with the tops of the sights lined up on the POI. This should give you a reference for what you might want to do next!

    Smiles,
     
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  10. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    Usually we have threads from new HK or SIG owners who find their guns shoot low, because they are used to using a 6 o'clock hold and they think covering the target with the sights is not logical.

    However, as mentioned above, if you have a fiber optic front, and two white dots in the rear, chances are good the previous owner changed out the factory sights and didn't do a good job calculating the proper front sight height. It's also possible that's the reason he sold it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
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  11. mountaindrew

    mountaindrew Member

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    Well I understand the 6 o'clock hold for bullseye shooting where the target is a set distance and a calibrated diameter, but if I don't know if my shot will be at 25 or 2 yards, and/or may be an odd shape without perfectly sized black circles printed in the middle, I'm not sure how one would calculate the poa, hold-under.

    The sights are most definitely stock, and identical to the sights currently advertised on Kimber's website. custom_lw_532x495_2.png
     
  12. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    https://www.kimberamerica.com/custom-lw-nightstar-1
    It looks like you're correct about the factory sights. That's what I get for not paying attention to Kimber's offerings for several years. Sorry about the confusion.

    I do stand by my comment about threads from new HK and SIG owners and their guns shooting low, there are a lot of them. Your complaint (it really depends on what folks are used to) while legitimate, is far less common than the other.

    Trying to explain "drive the dot" is so common, I don't even have to look hard for this link to explain the three sight pictures

    https://pistol-training.com/archives/1361

    Somebody will have a sight combination for you to get your Kimber to "drive the dot" if that's what you want. Kimber uses Meprolight sights and are probably a proprietary dovetail. However, there are a lot of Kimber's with this dovetail, and it's probable somebody has the sights you want.

    A good place to start is Dawson Precision. https://dawsonprecision.com

    They have a sight calculator that you can use to figure out how much you need to raise or lower your sight (typically the front sight) to get the point of impact you want.

    https://dawsonprecision.com/sight-calculator/
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
  13. mountaindrew

    mountaindrew Member

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    Thanks for the link JTQ. I've been shooting pistols a long time, but almost all within the "combat tupperware" category with three dots or Glock "dot in a box."
     
  14. JDR

    JDR Member

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    I wouldn’t quite say the 3 dot sights are useless for accuracy, my HK’s have the stock 3 dot sights and these are darned accurate when I’m doing my part. But more and more of my guns have the F.O. front & Blind Battlesight rear sights, that seems to be what works for me. We are all different ages here with different visual acuity and us older folks can really benefit from having high contrasting front sights compared to the rear sights.
     
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  15. Drail

    Drail Member

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    The main problem with 3 dot sights is most of the factories couldn't care less if the dots do not align with what the top/center of the sight blades are actually aiming at. For targets closer in than 10 yards I do not even look at the sights so dots are worthless to me. A small target at 20 yards needs more careful alignment (if you have the time). Plain black sights can be filed and drifted for proper alignment with actual point of impact - dots cannot.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021
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  16. Demi-human

    Demi-human Member

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    I usually acetone the dots out of the sights.
    Not always by mistake either...:D
     
  17. mountaindrew

    mountaindrew Member

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    Ok, so i know vertical adjustment is usually done on the front sight, but if the gun continues to hit high (I will try different sighting techniques first) then what about blacking out the dots on the rear sight and filing the top down to lower the point of impact? Is that something that is done?
     
  18. Drail

    Drail Member

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    While that could be done it may not give much of an improvement. I would still advise you to black out the front and rear and adjust them to actual point of impact. The dot on the front could be left colored for fast pickup on a 2 legged threat but it's still not going to be as precise as perfectly aligned plain black sights for target work. You kind of have to compromise depending on what you want to do.
     
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  19. mountaindrew

    mountaindrew Member

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    Drail, you may be right. I went to the range again this morning and tried again on paper at 25 yd. If I ignore the dots completely and align the sights across the top, I get a point of impact directly at the top edge of the front sight. I can work with that! It grouped nicely (about 4-5 inches, which is good for me) and right on center, repeatably, once I figured that out. I will definitely remove the rear white dots and leave the front for now. The three dots were throwing me off because I was trying to shoot it like I do others, like my CZ.

    Thanks for everyone's help!
     
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  20. Driftertank

    Driftertank Member

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    This is the opposite of my experience. On quite a few pistols, i have found a tendency for POI to come up with heavier bullets, all else being equal. My wife's SP2022 in .40 prints 3-4" low at 10yd with 165s, level with 180s. My Kimber TLE hits 2-3" low with Golden Sabre 185+P, directly to POA with Ranger-T 230+P. My theory is more inertia at the start of firing and slower acceleration curve means the bullet leaves later in the recoil cycle.

    An exception in my collection seems to be my FNX-45. It seems to send most everything to the same spot, but some things group better than others. FNH made a bit of a thing of the FNX having a longer lockup distance than most pistols, about .7" of slide travel before the barrel cams down. Maybe there's something to that.

    Wish i had access to a Phantom camera to see exactly what goes on in the firing and recoil cycle...
     
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