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Sighting in a handgun...what does...?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by SilentStalker, Jan 4, 2006.

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  1. SilentStalker

    SilentStalker Member

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    What exactly are people referring to when they talk about sighting in a handgun? How exactly do you go about that?? I am new to this stuff so the more info. the better. Thanks.

    Justin
     
  2. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

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    Basically making sure that when you align the sights on a target and fire the pistol that the bullet will go where the sights were aimed.

    Where you aim and where the bullet hits can vary depending on a few factors, such as the weight of the bullet, which is measured in grains.

    If the bullet doesn't strike where you have aimed, then you adjust the sights and try again. Repeat as needed.
     
  3. f4t9r

    f4t9r Member

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    Really simple : Look through the sights at your target and fire the gun if it does not hit what you are aiming at , you make adjustments to the sights
    (move left or right , up or down) until you hit what you are aiming at.
    Your manual will cover this.

    Just a way to hit your target. Thats the way I can think of explaining it someone will do better
     
  4. Wllm. Legrand

    Wllm. Legrand member

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    One might add that if the sights are fixed, you get a handle on where it's hitting for the load your shooting. Make adjusts in your point of aim accordingly.
     
  5. GoBrush

    GoBrush Member

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    SilentStalker:

    The other thing to do before messing with your sights is have someone that really knows how to shoot (has shot for many many years with experience with many types of guns) shoot your gun. So many different things can effect your results on the target and you want to eliminate the shooter. I have a close bunch of friends and we are all very experienced shooters. If any of us are having a bad day at the range the first thing we do is have one of the other guys shoot our gun to make sure we are not doing anything wrong. Remember handguns have short barrels and there is very little room for error with sight alignment, pushing or pulling your shot, grip, and trigger control.;)
     
  6. BothellBob

    BothellBob Member

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    Not all handguns have adjustable sights. If the sights are adjustable, it is usually the rear sight that is adjusted. This might be accomplished with screws that move the rear sight up/down or right/left. Many older (and a few newer) revolvers do not have adjustable sights. The same is true of semi-automatics. Sometimes the rear sight is dovetailed into the frame and is adjusted for windage (left/right) with a drift punch. Adjusting elevation (up/down) for that arrangement requires filing the rear or front sight (not to be undertaken by the inexperienced).
    Bullets do not travel at relativistic speeds and you can not repeal the law of gravity: time and distance to the target will affect point of impact and the math is straightforward (true, calculating the affect of air resistance is tricky, but the math is simple). Speed of bullet will affect time to target, and gravity works over time.
    If you are sighting in a target pistol (for target shooting) then: where you aim and where you expect the bullet to strike the target are usually not the same place. If you are sighting in for plinking, then you should pick some reasonable distance (like 25 yards). For self defense sights are usually not that critical because you are very unlikely to engage a target with a pistol at distances where your plinking (or target) setting would not be close enough.
    -BothellBob
     
  7. SilentStalker

    SilentStalker Member

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    I appreciate all of the info. guys it has been very helpful. Keep it coming.
     
  8. Billll

    Billll Member

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    Before you start adjusting things, try this:
    With an EMPTY gun, take your stance, and dry fire it. Don't look at the target, look at the gun, and notice which way and how far the gun moves as you do a very slow trigger pull. If you see more than the slightest movement, change your grip, pull with a slightly different part of your finger, notice which hand muscles are bunching up as you pull, etc, etc.
    Now try to find a grip that doesn't move the gun as you pull the trigger, and train yourself to use it automatically.

    THEN, adjust the sights.
     
  9. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Rules for adjusting sights.

    To RAISE the point of impact, DECREASE the height of the front sight.
    To LOWER the point of impact, INCREASE the height of the front sight.
    To move the point of impact LEFT, move the front sight to the RIGHT.
    To move the point of impact RIGHT, move the front sight to the LEFT.

    OR

    To RAISE the point of impact, INCREASE the height of the rear sight.
    To LOWER the point of impact, DECREASE the height of the rear sight.
    To move the point of impact LEFT, move the rear sight to the LEFT.
    To move the point of impact RIGHT, move the rear sight to the RIGHT.

    Some firearms may require a combination of the above. For example, the rear sight may allow adjustment ONLY to the left and right while the front sight ONLY allows elevation adjustments.

    Never adjust the sights unless you are SURE that they need adjusting. That means that you need some level of confidence that the bullets aren't hitting where you're aiming, and that it's not your fault. This is one of the hardest things about sighting in--especially for newbies.

    Never adjust the sights based on a single shot. You should shoot several shots and then adjust the sights based on the rough center of the group.

    Make sure that you know which direction you are adjusting your sights. Some sights have screw adjustments that are not marked. Before twisting on the adjustment screw, you need to understand what's supposed to happen. Sometimes the adjustments are marked with a convention that is not common in the U.S. I have one European match airpistol on which the sight adjustments are marked backwards to the way I am used to thinking.

    Be VERY careful about making permanent changes to the sights (like filing the front sight to decrease its height). Different types of ammunition will shoot to a different points of aim. Before you decide to make permanent changes, decide on a type of ammunition that will satisfy your needs in that firearm. Even then, you should make only make a very small change and then test the firearm again to make sure you don't go too far.

    Remember that sighting in a firearm can only be done at ONE distance. If you adjust the sights perfectly at a particular distance, it will shoot above or below the point of aim at other distances. It's not usually a large difference for relatively close ranges (as with handguns), but it's worth remembering.

    If you're drifting sights (moving a dovetailed sight using a punch or a press) you should mark the position of the sight before you start the drifting process so you can tell if and how much you have moved it.

    Ok, someone else can take it from there... ;)
     
  10. Wllm. Legrand

    Wllm. Legrand member

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    Er, actually your reasoning is not quite sound here. Though it may seem as if those factors that you mentioned are primary, they are secondary to recoil effect and the time the bullet spends in the barrel. In other words, it ain't a cannon. Time and distance to target (independent of time in barrel) little to do with the point of impact...such factors are negligible. It's like the people who say that the heavier a bullet is, the more it will drop, as in that is the reason it may hit lower that a lighter bullet, other things being equal. Nonsense. The weight of the bullet and the bullet "falling" having almost nothing to do with this equation. The gravity issue is incidental at handgun ranges.

    This may seem counter-intuitive to those who hold faith in the "simplicity" of Newtonian mechanics, but it's the truth. It's a Newtonian mechanic issue, but those factors that seem important are incidental, and those that seem incidental are determinant.
     
  11. trickyasafox

    trickyasafox Member

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    dont forget your shooting wheel

    [​IMG]


    imho this is pretty important too when sighting in
     
  12. SilentStalker

    SilentStalker Member

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    What exactly is meant by the term "thumbing" on the wheel above?
     
  13. trickyasafox

    trickyasafox Member

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    over compensating with your thumb. some people squeeze the whole gun harder as they shoot, thumbing is wehre your thumb pushes more then the rest of your hand, kinda torquing the pistol. or at least thats what i intrepret it as?
     
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