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Focusing on the Front Sight

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Focusing on the Front Sight Empty Focusing on the Front Sight

Post by mikemyers on Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:40 pm

Now that I'm shooting a gun with steel sights again, I got to wondering if I am doing things correctly.  Instead of thinking of "nothing", or "monitoring", 99.9% of my thinking was "FRONT SIGHT".  Results were better than I expected, but nothing to brag about.

I did some searching when I got home, and found this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lMYzJpD4n8

By the time the video finished, I was pretty convinced that while I'm "looking at" the front sight, I'm not "focusing" on it.  So, I took a stick-on label, and cut out a tiny square of white, which I stuck to the front sight of my gun.  I figured if this worked better, I would find a way to make something smaller, brighter, but large enough to see and focus on (watch the above video to see what I mean).

Focusing on the Front Sight Img_7410

Trying it out in my room, it seemed to work perfectly.  I could focus on the edges, and I became oblivious to everything else.  So far, so good.

Then I tried dry-firing, but with no light shining on the front sight, it mostly appeared black.  From what I learned, I'm pretty sure I was actually focusing on it, not just looking at it.


This brings me to my question.  At my range, the targets are outdoors in the sunlight, and we shoot inside a structure with a roof.  I don't think there's going to be any way to see my tape, or a small dot of white paint, or a scratch.  Anybody have an idea what I can do to the rear surface of my front sight, that will show up well enough to focus on?  Brian suggests a scratch, but I doubt I will see it well enough to focus on it.  Apparently that's the point - I need something big enough to see, and to be able to focus on it.  A scratch outdoors would work fine, but not too well for how I'm shooting.
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Post by TexasShooter on Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:05 pm

At a Zins-Moody clinic my brand new Springfield RO was customized by Andy Moody. He whipped out a big ol' pocketknife and scratched the snot out of my front sight so I'd have something to focus on. It works...

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Post by dapduh2 on Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:37 pm

TexasShooter wrote:At a Zins-Moody clinic my brand new Springfield RO was customized by Andy Moody. He whipped out a big ol' pocketknife and scratched the snot out of my front sight so I'd have something to focus on. It works...
Had something similar happen to me. Zins did the same to me when I asked for advice. When I sold that pistol to fund new projects I put “Zins modified front sight” in the description lol
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Post by mikemyers on Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:40 pm

Either of you have a photo of what he did?
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Post by dapduh2 on Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:45 pm

Literally just took a pocket knife out and made a quick pull of the knife up the serrations. He told me if I can see the scratch then I’m focusing on the front sight properly.
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Post by mikemyers on Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:35 pm

One thing leads to another.  Looking around for a photo of a scratched front sight, I found this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPtTs42sVAM&t=1148s

Chris Sajnog starts out with what was posted up above, and elaborates on it.  Following the video, everything makes sense to me - it's all logical.  Then towards the end, we're at Sight Alignment, when he explains that a 6 o'clock hold is not as good as a center-hold, and then he demonstrates why.  What he shows, matches what I saw two days ago at the range, trying to shoot with steel sights.  What he recommends, seems as logical a making the scratch on the front sight, and focusing on it.

Just reading what I'm writing here isn't enough - to understand what I'm trying to explain, you need to watch the video.  Then make up your own mind.  I'm not going to try to convince anyone of anything, but expect to follow his advice and see where it gets me.
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Focusing on the Front Sight Empty Re: Focusing on the Front Sight

Post by mikemyers on Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:30 am

........which I was thinking about for much of last night.  If this was true, and this way of shooting really was better, the Bullseye World would already be doing it.  Most everyone seems to recommend the sub-6-o'clock hold.....

........I don't understand this, but maybe I should just stick with what the Bullseye shooters do.  Maybe there are other things that Chris hadn't considered.  

........Years ago, I was shooting center-hold, and after a discussion here, it was strongly suggested that I change to sub-6-o'clock.  My targets immediately improved.  Maybe black sights on a black target is something to avoid.
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Focusing on the Front Sight Empty Re: Focusing on the Front Sight

Post by Mike38 on Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:11 am

That is what's called a "Gip". The “Gip” is a scratch, a serration, a defect or a peculiarity on the front sight. By looking at the Gip, the shooter’s eye is forced to make a pursuit movement to clearly define the level of intensity of focus and concentration. This fixation also becomes the doorway to entering a “trance state” or, as many professional athletes call it, the “Zone".


 https://www.insightfirearmstraining.com/2010/06/16/971/

I dipped a tooth pick point into white nail polish and put a white spot on my front sights. If I'm not "seeing" the white spot, I'm not focusing. If I'm focusing good enough, and can tell that the white spot is not round, or in the case of one of my pistols the white spot has a tiny tail sticking out at 4 o'clock, I know I'm focusing.
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Post by mikemyers on Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:19 pm

Well, I don't have any white nail polish, but I did have a small bottle of typewriter correction fluid. That seems to have worked.  Sort of.  When I hold the gun up and look at something dark, I see the white "dot", but not the rear sights.  When I look out the window, I see black sights in front of a very bright background.  I'll give it a try Monday, if not sooner.  

Thanks for posting - that was an interesting article to read.
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Focusing on the Front Sight Empty Re: Focusing on the Front Sight

Post by orpheoet on Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:36 pm

It is REALLY hard to take a good pic of the front sight!! The crease that goes through the serations down the middle of the sight shows up as a scratch when the sights are aligned especially in sunlight. Courtesy of a local High Master.
Focusing on the Front Sight Front_10
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Focusing on the Front Sight Empty Re: Focusing on the Front Sight

Post by mikemyers on Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:58 pm

Thanks for posting - but that looks like it would be SO DIFFICULT to see at all, let alone focus on.  Maybe you have better lighting than I do.

I need to get some white nail polish.  I'll wait until after tomorrow, and see how things are working.


By the way, I think you did a very good job with the photo!!!  It's not what I expected to see, but the photo shows the scratch so clearly.  I was imagining seeing a metal colored scratch on a black surface.
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Post by orpheoet on Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:59 pm

mikemyers wrote:Thanks for posting - but that looks like it would be SO DIFFICULT to see at all, let alone focus on.  Maybe you have better lighting than I do.

I need to get some white nail polish.  I'll wait until after tomorrow, and see how things are working.


By the way, I think you did a very good job with the photo!!!  It's not what I expected to see, but the photo shows the scratch so clearly.  I was imagining seeing a metal colored scratch on a black surface.
It is a thin line of bare metal when the sights are aligned.
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Focusing on the Front Sight Empty Re: Focusing on the Front Sight

Post by Jack H on Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:04 pm

Lighting makes a world of difference.  Shooting from shade into sunlight is bad compared to enough light and good eye to actually see the grain in the front sight surface.
Anyone still remember the mirror things we used to see behind the front sight?  I forget what they were called.
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Focusing on the Front Sight Empty Re: Focusing on the Front Sight

Post by mikemyers on Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:11 pm

Jack H wrote:Lighting makes a world of difference.  Shooting from shade into sunlight is bad compared to enough light and good eye to actually see the grain in the front sight surface.
Anyone still remember the mirror things we used to see behind the front sight?  I forget what they were called.
??????????

I certainly agree with the first thing you wrote, and I have no idea what the "mirror things" were or are.....
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Focusing on the Front Sight Empty Re: Focusing on the Front Sight

Post by Sa-tevp on Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:23 pm

Jack H wrote:Lighting makes a world of difference.  Shooting from shade into sunlight is bad compared to enough light and good eye to actually see the grain in the front sight surface.
Anyone still remember the mirror things we used to see behind the front sight?  I forget what they were called.

Well, I've read of two types.

The Ruess mirror sight mentioned in a mid to late 1960's Gun Digest and also described here: http://www.targettalk.org/viewtopic.php?p=76048&sid=6b7250736a27a844913552f92ca6811e#p76048

King mirror sight is more likely what you are thinking of:

Focusing on the Front Sight JQElRM__Vo_p51_UIDCn6l-8tuMl7MiOlG0eTxosEkj3XzCsSnLL0r104AM902meq72kcy8lci8OXgb8r6UpzAV75n_rgkU

(from http://www.hallowellco.com/king_sights.htm)

https://www.levergunscommunity.org/viewtopic.php?t=10882

http://smith-wessonforum.com/s-w-hand-ejectors-1896-1961/199788-info-kings-reflector-sights-please-my-pics-added.html

http://www.histandard.info/King/KingCatalogs/cat19/Kingcat19D08-09P200R_1024_768.html from 
       http://www.histandard.info/King/KingCatalogs/cat19/index_1024_768.html


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Focusing on the Front Sight Empty Re: Focusing on the Front Sight

Post by john bickar on Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:36 pm

Erich Buljung taught us that a scratch, dot, whatever on the front sight was a crutch.

"Soon enough, you'll ignore that scratch just like you were ignoring the front sight before it was there."

I've long been a "mental focus on trigger squeeze" person, which puts me in the minority, so I never paid much mind to that.

But I do think the concept holds water, if you're the type that finds success by having mental and visual focus on the front sight.
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Focusing on the Front Sight Empty Re: Focusing on the Front Sight

Post by mikemyers on Wed Feb 19, 2020 7:42 pm

Status report.

The tiny white dot I put on the rear of my front sight works great indoors, but when I'm at the range, everything is washed out because of all the bright sunlight all around the sight.  Maybe I need tinted glasses, among other things.  

There is no way I would see a scratch, let along my small white dot.

Apparently my steel sights have the same problem others have had with standard Victor sights - the front sight isn't tall enough.  If I adjust the rear sight all the way down, to the end of its travel, the gun can be centered on the bull when I'm doing 6 o'clock hold, or sub-6....   

On the Browning I tried, it had one of those plastic tubes that go through a front sight, and collect light.  It was crystal clear when I tried shooting with it.  I cold easily focus on it.  Here's a photo.  It glowed, even in daylight.

Focusing on the Front Sight Screen77

This got me to thinking, I could maybe replace the front sight on the victor with one that has this plastic fitting going through it, or better yet, if I could buy some of that light gathering material, I could simply glue it to the top of my front sight.  Problem solved, and easy to do.

If this makes sense to you guys, any idea where I can buy the material?

Without making any changes, I'm already getting better at focusing on my front sight; when that works, my shooting improves.  But if I relax, and let my attention wander to the target, that accuracy is gone.

I know it's a "crutch", but sometimes a crutch is good for you, until you outgrow it.   :-)
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Focusing on the Front Sight Empty Re: Focusing on the Front Sight

Post by Ed Hall on Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:08 pm

It's called fiber optic and you can get various sizes at an archery shop.  I modified a set of front and rear sights for my 208s to use in International Rapid Fire with pretty good results.  Be careful which guns you use it with, though.  I haven't kept up with the CMP rules lately (shame on me), but last I knew, the fiber optic sights were legal for .22 EIC, but not for Service Pistol.


Last edited by Ed Hall on Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:09 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : grammar...)

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Focusing on the Front Sight Empty Re: Focusing on the Front Sight

Post by mikemyers on Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:31 pm

Thank you, Ed.  I'm debating whether it's a good idea to do any of that stuff....   Steel sights have been around like forever, and one way or another the better shooters figured things out.  I guess I'm going to keep struggling, but I'm glad I learned the difference between "looking" and "focusing".  It's a whole new world.

Hmm, how did you learn?
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Post by Ed Hall on Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:21 am

mikemyers wrote:. . .
Hmm, how did you learn?
Immersion with a lot of better shooters.  Some of them are even in the Pistol Shooter's Treasury. . .

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Post by Allgoodhits on Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:11 pm

If all else fails, camp out on the front sight, while working the trigger.
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