Sighting-In a Pistol

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by pokute, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

    At the range yesterday I saw a sad sight (pun). A clearly talented shooter was trying to sight-in a new pistol, and I watched as he clicked the sight further and further to the right. He finally started hitting steel when the sight was hanging about 1/8th inch off on the right.

    How could this happen? How can it be avoided?

    Well, first off, I want to get the Ransom Rest out of the picture. The Ransom Rest is NOT for sighting in. It CAN be used for rough sight adjustment, but that's not it's purpose. It's purpose is for testing hardware. It's got nothing to do with the shooter. Somebody who has one WILL be happy to take your money to jig your gun up and fire some test rounds, but you're not getting anything useful.

    Next, let's kill off the experienced pistol shooter. This is the guy who dumps several hundred pounds of lead downrange each year, and makes "impossible" shots all day long. He can sight a pistol in by taking 20 or so particularly careful shots, and then twirling a screwdriver twice.

    Now we're left with the average Joes and Janes who get all flustered when the time comes to spin the dial, because they know that the next time they get to the range, the settings that worked dandy the last time will be totally useless. Must be something wrong with those damn sights!

    No, alas Joe and Jane, the fault lies not in the sights, but in yourselves.

    It seems that humans were not designed to stand up on their hind legs and shoot a pistol. All sorts of things work against it. A pistol must be held rock-steady when shooting, and with the same grip every time. The trigger must be pressed smoothly, not pushed or pulled with a jerk to the left or right. And the shot must be followed through by smoothly absorbing the recoil motion of the gun - Without pushing the gun forward and downward to fight the recoil, or pulling the gun upward like in the movies.

    Now, all the faults that occur at the time of ignition are over and done with in a fraction of a second. And at the same time, the gun is bucking, snorting fire, and maybe even twisting to the right or left. Doesn't give you much of a chance to evaluate your own part in the show.

    If you are really lucky, you can find an expert pistol shot to coach you. In 15 minutes he'll have you on target and having a blast (pun).

    Unfortunately, most folks don't have that luxury. And they might be embarrassed to drop in on the local bullseye club and ask for help.

    There are a couple of things you shy folks can do (notice that we stopped talking about sight adjustment - that's intentional). Or maybe I should say that there are a couple of things you MUST do.

    NUMBER ONE - Print or draw yourself a few targets like the one below and shoot at it. It's magic. It's never wrong. Don't fight with that target because you will always lose. It knows more about you than your mother. Now, do your damnedest to make mama... I mean the target, happy. Don't start trying to adjust your sights until you are getting consistent, tight groups when you aim at the center of that target. It doesn't matter if the group is 2 feet left and 3 feet down - Draw a bigger target!

    NUMBER TWO - Make a little dot on a post-it with a black marker pen. Practice dry firing at that dot from 10 feet away for 15 minutes every day. Pay close attention to the front sight wandering all over the place, and keep dry-firing until that front sight stays right on the dot when you pull the trigger.

    Now repeat NUMBER ONE. WAIT, STOP! That first shot you fired was exactly like the last shot you fired when you were dry firing! Go ahead and make a trial adjustment of your sights.

    Now do as it says on the shampoo bottle - Lather, rinse, repeat!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
  2. gumpy

    gumpy Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    Thanks!! I can use this. And my mama wouldn't know me if she saw me! I know someone else who can use it also. As far as I know, everyone I know is an expert pistol shot, and I guarantee that they haven't seen this. We're all just a bunch of rednecks!!! Lol

  3. Deerspy

    Deerspy Member

    if you are left handed you can flip it (from right to left) over and shoot at it, I have use this same target and it helps but dry fire helps the most just my two cent.;)
  4. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

    Or you can just go back to the planet that all you left-handed people are from. Thanks to you, we're stuck with those ridiculous ambi safeties and left handed holsters that need to be returned.