Low light with iron sights.

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Low light with iron sights.

Post by Mike38 on 3/19/2018, 6:09 pm

Are there any tips or tricks to help an iron sight shooter competing in "less than ideal" lighting conditions? The results of my last two indoor matches were pathetic to say the least. I could not, no matter what I tried, get good clear / crisp view of the front sight. From what I could tell, the lighting directly above the shooters station was lower than should be, and the lighting at the targets was way too bright. I'm not sure if this affected other iron sight shooters at the match, didn't ask. I doubt it would affect a dot sight shooters at all. As soon as I got home from the match I sat down in my gun room to try and figure it all out. I grabbed a pistol and my shooting glasses to see if anything was better, or the same. Dry fired about 20 times. Good crisp sight picture. I even turned the lights off in the room, good crisp sight picture. This leads me to believe the lighting at this range is too bright at the target. Also, the target backers were alternating, white or yellow. Last month I shot at a white target backer, this month a yellow, the yellow had worse results. It almost seems like the target backers were glowing, for lack of a better term, and really messed up my focus on the front sight. Normally, target backers are that flat beige or tan that corrugated cardboard is normally colored. I don't seem to have a problem with that background. So, anything I can do besides going to a red dot, or never shooting at this location? I really like this place, very friendly bunch of people and well ran matches. Thanks.
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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by 243winxb on 3/19/2018, 8:03 pm

The black bullseye washes out on  very bright  targets for me.  Even outdoors i prefer a cloudy day , over bright sun.  The location of the group changes vertically, cloudy vs sun.  

Some sight black on the front sight may help to focus on sight alignment more.  Shooting or sun glasses may help.   A  very bright, well lit target  draws my focus  to the target. Not a good thing.

Wear a hat to block the over head lighting.  Side blinders.  Blinder  over non sighting eye. 
https://www.championshooters.com


Last edited by 243winxb on 3/19/2018, 8:38 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added hat)
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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by Mike38 on 3/19/2018, 9:09 pm

The black bullseye washes out on very bright  targets for me......A  very bright, well lit target  draws my focus  to the target

Yep, I noticed those myself. I've given colored lenses a thought, but not sure what color to choose. Another thought is having a consultation with my eye doctor to see what he may think.  Hoping for a simple and quick fix, if there is such a thing.
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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by Chris Miceli on 3/19/2018, 9:18 pm

Only the coolest shooters use rose tinted
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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by Gary Wells on 3/19/2018, 9:23 pm

I gave  up and had Jon Eulette scope my SA CS TGO1 and I don't even shoot matches

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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by knightimac on 3/19/2018, 10:53 pm

I'll never forget shooting a sectional years ago with iron sights.  I did rather poorly due to lighting conditions inside the location.  Bright light on target, little light on the shooters end.

I emailed NRA rules to see if headlamp was acceptable during match.  They answered yes as long as RO and fellow shooters did not object.  I never tried it since I've gone over to the dark side (dot).
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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by Mike38 on 3/20/2018, 7:37 am

knightimac wrote:.....I've gone over to the dark side (dot).

I wish I could shoot a dot sight. My brain doesn't work normally (those that know me can vouch for that) and while I know to ignore the dancing dot, my brain tells me to fight it, and we all know what happens when you fight the dancing dot, it gets worse.

I can see the front sight great at the indoor range I'm a member of, so I know it's possible. Stick with outdoor until I figure this all out.
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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by Chris Miceli on 3/20/2018, 7:59 am

Mike38 wrote:
knightimac wrote:.....I've gone over to the dark side (dot).

I wish I could shoot a dot sight. My brain doesn't work normally (those that know me can vouch for that) and while I know to ignore the dancing dot, my brain tells me to fight it, and we all know what happens when you fight the dancing dot, it gets worse.

I can see the front sight great at the indoor range I'm a member of, so I know it's possible. Stick with outdoor until I figure this all out.
2moa or 4moa? have you played with brightness setting of the dot?
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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by davekp on 3/20/2018, 8:04 am

Are you shooting 6 o'clock, or center mass? Can make a big difference.

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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by xmastershooter on 3/20/2018, 11:06 am

Some interesting observations discussed.  I think I can lead some of these shooters into the right direction.  I did some research on pupil size many years ago and found that a 3mm pupil provided the best vision, although it can range from 2mm to 4 mm. 

With poorer lighting, the pupil size would be larger, allowing more aberrations within the eye to manifest.  Assuming that one has the best shooting Rx on and the sight picture remains less than perfect, try an aperture.

A more complete explanation can be found here:
http://www.starreloaders.com/edhall/nwongmain/ipupil.htm

A good source for tint usage may be found at Decot's site:
http://www.sportglasses.com/content/General_Info_Recommendations.htm

Many of my air pistol shooting patients prefer the yellow tint.  After my shooter's exam, I can show different tint samples for the shooters to see their sight picture.  I've also loaned tint samples so that shooters can try them at their range.

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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by mspingeld on 3/20/2018, 11:41 am

@xmastershooter, I find that safety glasses with a +0.5 correction (on top of my -1.5 contact lenses) allow me to see the front sight clearly but, the target is EXTREMELY blurry. Would an iris/aperture help? Perhaps a slightly weaker iron sight correction as a compromise?

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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by xmastershooter on 3/20/2018, 12:21 pm

Mike, I assume that without the +0.50 correction, the front sight would not be clear.  The iris/aperture would resolve the target blur.  Reducing the correction to +0.25 would also help, but this may take away the front sight sharpness.

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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by mspingeld on 3/20/2018, 1:05 pm

Thanks. I guess it’s all compromise. Time for a more thorough eye exam.

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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by Mike38 on 3/20/2018, 6:20 pm

2moa or 4moa? have you played with brightness setting of the dot?

I currently don't even have a dot sight to try. When I did try one I believe it was 4moa. I do really want to stay with iron sights if at all possible. A very smart man once said "I have a dream....". Well, I have a dream also. I want to make distinguished before I die. At the very least, get a few points towards it. It's good to set goals, even if those goals are near impossible to reach. Therefore, the iron sights. My best NMC score to date is 261. I need to add 20+ points to that before those points are reachable. I've got a ways to go don't I?

Are you shooting 6 o'clock, or center mass? Can make a big difference.

6 o'clock.
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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by Mike38 on 3/20/2018, 7:31 pm

I'm going to add a couple things, then tell of a little experiment I just did. I wear bi-focals. I have no idea what the "correction factor" is on the upper half of the right lens, but need to find out. Over my glasses, I wear a clip on flip up reader with +1.0. The left lens (non aiming eye) has matte scotch tape on it. I shoot with both eyes open. In normal lighting and outdoors, this combination gives me very good focus on the front sight. I also have a GIP on the front sight (a small dot of white paint) which I found helps with focus.

The range I'm a member of has very good lighting above the shooters stall. So-so lighting midrange (5 to 20 yards) and good lighting at 25 yards. This combination works well for me.

To recap, The range I shot at the last two matches has what I would consider poor lighting above the shooter stalls, and what I would consider way to bright at the 50 foot line of targets. Please note I am not criticizing this range. I'm sure it works for a majority of the people. Just doesn't work for me.

Here's the experiment I just did. Stood in my hallway with the light off. Glasses and clip on readers in place. All lights on in bathroom at end of hallway. Raised pistol. Couldn't focus on that front sight, very similar to what happened Sunday at the match. I then put on an old Merit optical attachment that I remembered I bought 20 years ago. Same glasses, same poor lighting, but this time the fuzzy front sight was crisp and distinct. But, the GIP was gone, well it was there, but not visible.

Am I on to something? I'm tempted to try and repeat this experiment while training this Saturday, to see what happens. If things go as I suspect, I should wear the Merit for indoor shooting and overcast outdoor. Regular outdoor or well lit indoor leave the Merit in the pistol box. Agree? Or, make an appointment and let the eye doctor tell me what I should do. My eye doctor is not anti gun, he hunts, but he told me he has no clue when it comes to competitive pistol shooting.

Thanks!
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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by mikemyers on 3/20/2018, 7:52 pm

I don't really understand how this concept works - is this video what you are all talking about?  If not, is there something better to watch?

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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by joem5636 on 3/21/2018, 8:19 am

Try center-of-mass holds. Far less variation with lighting.

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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by mspingeld on 3/21/2018, 9:06 am

Tried a friend's iris last night. That was amazing. Everything was sharp! What an eye opener! (Yuk Yuk)

Ordered an iris online last night. Internet + credit card = Danger

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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by Mike38 on 3/24/2018, 4:57 pm

Trained this morning used a "home made" iris out of black electrical tape with a .125 hole punched in it. Made a world of difference. I even tried shooting with the light off that's directly above the shooter stall and could still see the front sight. I guess Bullseye is not like riding a bicycle? You never forget how to ride a bicycle, but I sure have forgotten all the little "tips and tricks" of Bullseye shooting since I gave up the sport from 15+ years ago. Now back to working on trigger finger placement. Thanks to all that replied!
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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by IT1 Wes on 5/24/2018, 12:54 pm

A while ago I tried to brighten up my front sight without buying tritium equipment. I researched an article about using fluorescent paint. I tried it on my air pistol. So messy and needed several coats. Still not right. Recently I found fluorescent colored gaffer's tape on Amazon. The stuff is durable. Can't tear it. Must cut it, and it sticks well. It took about fifteen minutes to do the front sight in bright reddish and the rear sight in green. My groupings improved. Better to focus on than one dot up front and two dots in the rear. I might try it on my Colt if it works out.

5-Pack SUPER BRIGHT UV Blacklight Reactive Fluorescent / Neon Gaffer Tape Matte Finish
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01CW3LH6I/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
.5 in x 18 ft (SMALL) $12.99



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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by IT1 Wes on 5/24/2018, 12:56 pm

A while ago I tried to brighten up my front sight without buying tritium equipment. I researched an article about using fluorescent paint. I tried it on my air pistol. So messy and needed several coats. Still not right. Recently I found fluorescent colored gaffer's tape on Amazon. The stuff is durable. Can't tear it. Must cut it, and it sticks well. It took about fifteen minutes to do the front sight in bright reddish and the rear sight in green. My groupings improved. Better to focus on than one dot up front and two dots in the rear. I might try it on my Colt if it works out.

5-Pack SUPER BRIGHT UV Blacklight Reactive Fluorescent / Neon Gaffer Tape Matte Finish
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01CW3LH6I/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
.5 in x 18 ft (SMALL) $12.99



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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by CR10X on 5/25/2018, 6:28 am

Don't even think about using red or basically any color of sights in low light. And I'm talking 25 to 50 yards here, not some reduced distance, point and shoot type target shooting.  

At least for me the red or any color simply blends even further into a fuzzy grey mess.  And white dots, just make it more fuzzy and distract from the visual recognition of proper sight alignment for target shooting.  You still really need a distinct, clear and crisp front sight and enough definition of the rear sight to determine the best sight alignment possible in order to make open sights work.  Doesn't matter what the area of aim is, there are screws on the gun to move the impact to the center of the target. So find the biggest, brightest white / grey spot downrange and put the blackest front sight and rear sight combination on that area. 

About the only solution I have found for eyes and sights in low light (if you can't use a dot) is a sub-six hold, lots of experimentation with a variable iris and lenses.  And as Dewey asked for in another topic, a variable width rear sight is high desirable or interchangeable rear sight blades (and found on a lot of high end AP pistols, free pistols, etc.)

Personally, I'm toying with the idea of fitting a Thompson Contender Silhouette rear sight to a 1911 slide. It has a nice vertical adjustment screw and a rear sight blade with 4 different notch widths.  (Dewey, you might want to take a look at it.)

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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by IT1 Wes on 5/25/2018, 8:27 am

Sub 6 – The sub 6 is just like the 6 O’clock hold, only there is a small line of white between the front sight and the aiming black. Many shooters have a problem determining the exact 6 O’clock position with their front sight, but by using a sub 6 or line of white they may be able to better estimate their hold.


Did anyone try these newfangled sights? I'm going to try one for 20 days from Amazon. Gen 1 is about $100. Gen 2 Tritium is about $200.


SeeAll The Original Open Sight | Gen-1 Gun Sights | Tactical Iron Sight Replacement

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M6TVOX4/?coliid=I2JSXKCTJLTS24&colid=39LU4F8G3ARUH&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it





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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by chopper on 5/25/2018, 12:21 pm

CR, I like the idea of getting another rear sight for the width of the notch. My model 14-4 is so narrow that it's like one continuous black with no space between the sides. So far the height is okay with 158 gr, I haven't tried 148 gr yet, but that side space is tight for me. I might have to check out Brownells and see what they have. As bad as I am precision filing I better get a couple.
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Re: Low light with iron sights.

Post by IT1 Wes on 5/25/2018, 1:42 pm

mspingeld wrote:Tried a friend's iris last night. That was amazing. Everything was sharp! What an eye opener! (Yuk Yuk)

Ordered an iris online last night. Internet + credit card = Danger

Please post a link to that iris website. A search only yielded http://www.edinkillie.co.uk/ecatalog/centra-pistol-iris-p-167.html for 56.66 pounds in the UK. That's $75.45 US.



Last edited by IT1 Wes on 5/25/2018, 1:50 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : To correct price.)
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Re: Low light with iron sights.

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