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Irons vs Dot For Accuracy

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Irons vs Dot For Accuracy Empty Irons vs Dot For Accuracy

Post by Soupy44 9/25/2021, 6:39 pm

Assuming a shooter has good vision to see both well, which has the higher ceiling, irons or dot?

Discuss!

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Irons vs Dot For Accuracy Empty Re: Irons vs Dot For Accuracy

Post by CO1Mtn 9/25/2021, 6:49 pm

Someone handed me a rimfire pistol with a red dot sight, and my score shot up 50 points above what is  typical for me for that 900.

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Post by chiz1180 9/25/2021, 6:55 pm

Depends on who is shooting. In the last three NMC I shot the avg was more less same (3pt difference). Some people shoot dots well and really struggle with irons, on the other hand some of the best shooters are indistinguishable with either.
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Post by james r chapman 9/25/2021, 7:22 pm

historically, irons have dominated the record books.
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Post by Jon Eulette 9/25/2021, 7:45 pm

Jim Lenardson broke 2670 four times with irons!
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Post by TexasShooter 9/25/2021, 8:28 pm

I don't pretend to know as much as the folks that have already responded, but I'll throw an opinion out there anyway. Take it for what it's worth. I think the answer "depends on who is shooting" makes a lot of sense.

Most days my hold isn't all that steady (ok, truth is my hold sucks and my trigger press isn't much better but I have fun anyway). When that red dot starts jumping around I start chasing it...making it jump around even more. And then my trigger press turns into a trigger yank when I try to grab the black as it flies by. I know trying to grab that black is never gonna work...but my finger yanks the trigger anyway. 

I know I wiggle just as much with irons but it's not as obvious so I don't chase it, and score better. So, yeah..."depends on who is shooting" is probably a pretty good answer.

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Post by zanemoseley 9/25/2021, 11:45 pm

No competition for me, red dot is king. The records speak for themselves but think irons are an art that must be mastered.

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Post by Ed Hall 9/26/2021, 8:37 am

I don't think there is a true general answer.  The precision, measured in MOA, can be varied by adjustments within each system, e.g. sight radius for irons and parabolic radius for dots.  The real difference is the individual shooter's incorporation of whatever system they use.  Even in the visibility arena, lenses can be tailored to meet almost any system's needs.

As to records, iron sights were around a lot longer, so many might see that as a reason for the imbalance.  But, I think it's really something else.  Records are peaks, so they are naturally occurring when an average is hovering near that peak.  In the early days of all those records, think of how many shooters were spending their entire lives immersed in everything having to do with their shooting.  Now, think of how many shooters are truly immersed to that level.  I was at two matches in one weekend where Brian Zins set/tied three National Records and nearly captured a fourth using dots.  During that time frame he was working on all the aspects of shooting his best.  How many of today's shooters are putting a really strong effort into their shooting?

Now to a favorite topic.  The only thing that moved me from Master to High Master was a change of attitude, through mental training and study.  The mental aspect is more important to help a shooter progress than most realize.  There is a big difference between going to the range to see how well you can do, and going to the range to perform at your best.  There is a big difference in "hoping" this shot makes the 10 and knowing that if you perform your process, it "will" be a 10.

I fear I have strayed. . . but, I'll refrain from deleting the last couple of paragraphs. . .

I'll finish back on irons and dots, though:

I think the important part of both systems is in "seeing" what is happening at the gun.  What's happening there is what matters.  For many years, I've been referring to the sighting systems as "trigger purity indicators."  Whichever one of the systems allows you to realize what is happening at the gun, should give you the best results.  However, you should look for perfection, rather than errors in whatever system you choose. Seek what you desire.

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Post by Jack H 9/26/2021, 5:50 pm

Ed's last paragraph above speaks volumes to me.  Especially "what is happening at the gun".  Irons tell me a lot more of that than the dot.  I learned on Irons 30 years before even hearing about dot sights.  Wobble was only about the front sight moving in the rear notch.  At the gun.
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Irons vs Dot For Accuracy Empty Re: Irons vs Dot For Accuracy

Post by Soupy44 9/26/2021, 9:24 pm

Thanks for all the replies. I've been shooting mostly irons since the end of 2019. Made me wonder if as practice time approaches infinity if dot or irons would reign supreme. 

Don't suppose it's possible to design a dot which projects two rings, one bigger one associated with the back of the sight and another smaller one associated with the front. Aperture sights for pistol!

I have pretty good vision right now, so no real difference visually for me. The dot at this point results in higher scores, but I'm pretty sure that's because it's covering up some alignment faults when I shoot it. 

I got to expert with dots but noticed things happening I couldn't put my finger on. Combine that with wanting to get my badges and I've been shooting irons ever since. 

Maybe this will resonate with some other folks and be helpful!

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Post by john bickar 9/26/2021, 11:57 pm

Accuracy, or performance?

Both have the same ceiling: 2700-270X.
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Post by CR10X 9/27/2021, 5:43 am

+ 1 on Ed's statement.  But I will slightly modify Ed's comment.

"Whichever one of the systems allows you to realize what is happening at the gun" may not produce better shots immediately. But it will be the one to use to show the shooter what needs to happen (or not happen) to ensure a more consistent shot.  

Learning how to see that and use that information is up to the shooter.

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Post by Ed Hall 9/27/2021, 8:39 am

Soupy44 wrote:Thanks for all the replies. I've been shooting mostly irons since the end of 2019. Made me wonder if as practice time approaches infinity if dot or irons would reign supreme. 

Don't suppose it's possible to design a dot which projects two rings, one bigger one associated with the back of the sight and another smaller one associated with the front. Aperture sights for pistol!

I have pretty good vision right now, so no real difference visually for me. The dot at this point results in higher scores, but I'm pretty sure that's because it's covering up some alignment faults when I shoot it. 

I got to expert with dots but noticed things happening I couldn't put my finger on. Combine that with wanting to get my badges and I've been shooting irons ever since. 

Maybe this will resonate with some other folks and be helpful!
Each has value, but if you're going to be competing with irons, you should place more emphasis there.

I'm sure the right amount of money could develop one.

Vision has a great deal to do with it, but concentration is an important aspect.  Can you see the texture of the back surface of the front sight in all shooting illuminations?  Have you reduced all the glare/edge refraction to a minimum?  Can you place your focus on a single point and "see" the entire relationship of front to rear?  There are more factors than vision involved in the sighting systems.  One is mental focus.  The dot may draw your attention away from the target easier than irons.  Another is belief.  Try some "affirmation statements" like, "I shoot iron sights as well as dots."  Add some subliminal images of perfect sight alignment to the areas you frequent in your home.  Don't place them so they stand out, just so you notice them in your periphery from time to time.

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Post by Soupy44 9/27/2021, 9:04 am

Thanks Ed! My big discoveries of late are:

- My problems shooting revolver are gun or ammo related, not me (unrelated, I know, but important for my confidence)

- I found a new level of concentration on my front sight

- My sights have started to lock in with each other leaving only my wobble as a variable. It's really easy to shoot well when this happens!

I can see my front sight serrations so long as the targets aren't crazy bright. I would love to hear more about ways to reduce glare as that would have been very applicable this past Saturday. Those targets were bright!

My sights are back lit at home for dry fire practice making the serrations very obvious.

I do have the belief that I shoot irons better than dot. I put the dot on my 22 for sectionals in January and immediately regretted it. Shot 25 points lower as a result.

The pathway I'm taking right now is about knowledge and discovery (man that sounds cheesy). I really only turn things on during leg matches. Other than that I'm just looking at groups, sights, and feeling the trigger to understand those relationships.

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Post by Ed Hall 9/27/2021, 9:17 am

Soupy44 wrote:. . .
I can see my front sight serrations so long as the targets aren't crazy bright. I would love to hear more about ways to reduce glare as that would have been very applicable this past Saturday. Those targets were bright!
. . .

You might experiment with some different lens tints and/or polarization, for the contrast issue.  Another thing you might consider is an adjustable iris.

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Post by bruce martindale 9/27/2021, 9:52 am

I think records stand because of iron sights, and a bit of luck. Eds comments are golden.

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Post by Axehandle 9/29/2021, 6:03 am

First broke 2600 with iron sights at 2606 in 1984.  After the change to red dots my 2700 personal best increased  by only 18 points to 2624 in 1986.  Averaged 2615 in '87.  What I found was that I was not physically and mentally exhausted at the end of an all day red dot 2700.  
FWIW anyone else hear that Hershel Andersons' record would have been better than 2680 had he not choked on the last rapid fire target?

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Post by Gary Collette 9/29/2021, 8:11 am

One aspect of the DOT VS IRONS debate is the ease of seeing the sight picture for the average shooter.
Seeing the sight picture is one aspect of the shot process that must be mastered to progress into the higher classifications.
The records that were set and stand with irons were not set by average shooters.
So, two differing positions as to degree of difficulty are present.
One is for the best of the best and the other is for the rest of us.
I feel this is close to the effect of shooting a high quality Euro pistol and a 1911 conversion or other more reasonable priced pistol.
In MOST cases a Euro pistol is not much more accurate that the others but is easier to manipulate to achieve a correctly completed shot.
I feel the same as to ammo. If the high cost ammo will shoot a group 1/4 inch smaller at 50 or even 25 yards it is of no value to ME the way I see it.
I do not shoot anywhere near being able to realize this advantage.
I myself feel my days of being able to see sights well enough to shoot the scores that I am able to shoot with a dot are behind me.
These are my opinions.

G
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Post by Allgoodhits 10/2/2021, 6:37 pm

I will only add. Have you seen the size of the scorings in Free Pistol target fired at 50 meters? FP must use irons, therefore they must learn how to shoot with irons.
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Post by Merick 10/3/2021, 12:08 am

Red dots have a fast learning curve but also are distracting for lack of a better term.  You see all your wobble, it's hard to visuall and mentally focus on the dot itself, so you wind up looking at the target and the dot and the motion to some degree.  

Meanwhile with irons there is one thing to focus on, which is hard to pick up and even harder to master, but I think also contributes to diciplined concentration overall.  

Anyhow that is my guess, could be other reasons entirely.  But the records show the rocky path goes higher up the mountain.

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Post by Gary Collette 10/7/2021, 11:18 am

Merick,
I have to disagree about having one thing to focus on with with ANY sight 
but really with irons you have the following.
1. keeping the front sight centered in the rear sight
2. keeping the front sight at the correct elevation within the rear sight
3. positioning the sight picture correctly on the target ( 6 O'clock hold Ect.)

 Now the dot
1. focus on the target through the sight
2. place the dot within the sight where you want the hole to go cheers
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Post by WesG 10/7/2021, 1:42 pm

Gary Collette wrote: Now the dot
1. focus on the target through the sight
2. place the dot within the sight where you want the hole to go

3. Manipulate the trigger in a manner that DOES allow the hole to go where you wanted it.

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Post by Soupy44 10/7/2021, 1:47 pm

Gary, 

I'd offer a counter to your point that both agrees and disagrees. I'm not that great at BE, but shooting irons the last two years has shown me that my active focus on the front sight and alignment has come together in good strings where the sights simply align. As one would guess, good scores are easy when that happens. 

I could see sight alignment becoming somewhat automatic enough to allow more focus on hold and aim.

Curious if someone here has reached a level along those lines

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Post by john bickar 10/7/2021, 2:41 pm

Soupy44 wrote:I could see sight alignment becoming somewhat automatic enough to allow more focus on hold and aim.

Curious if someone here has reached a level along those lines

Me. I shot a lot of iron sights, both bullseye and International. Made HM (I think as high as 2638 or 2639) with irons in bullseye.

When shooting irons, I've always handed sight alignment and sight picture over to my subconscious, and let my conscious brain work on a smooth, uninterrupted, aggressive trigger squeeze.

So not quite your "sight alignment becoming somewhat automatic enough to allow more focus on hold and aim," but definitely let sight alignment and sight picture become automatic enough to allow me to focus on trigger control.
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Post by WesG 10/7/2021, 3:53 pm

Gary Collette wrote:Merick,
with irons you have the following.
1. keeping the front sight centered in the rear sight
2. keeping the front sight at the correct elevation within the rear sight

My 2 cents ...

I've been working on this from a different angle, in that I think this is backwards from a psychological pov.

We're supposed to focus on the front sight, so I've been trying to  consciously think of it in terms of aligning the rear sight with the front, in the hopes it helps me to maintain my focus on the front sight instead of shifting it back and forth, or worse, just back. 

On a (rare) good day I've been surprised (shocked actually) by how well I've shot with irons. Camping with some friends recently, I was running mag after mag thru my SA-A1 at 25 yards. During a reload, one who'd been watching said 'dude, I would not want to get in a gunfight with you'.

"Umm, yeah. I'm not exactly sure how this is happening, but I hope I can somehow make it continue."

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