New Gun Owners,
Let’s talk about aiming down your sights and the different types of sight picture. If you look at your gun, you have two sights on the slide. There is the front sight (the one stud at the end of the slide) and the rear sights (two studs at the back of the slide).
When using these sights to aim, you want to look down the slide of your gun and place the front sight in-between the two rear sights. The positioning is very important when aiming. The slightest misalignment of your sights will translate to a much greater distance on the target, especially when you get further away from your target. Ideally, you want to have an equal amount of space on either side of your front sight when aiming. You also want the top of your front sight to be level with the top of the rear sights (Example of ideal sight alignment pictured below).
After you have proper sight alignment, you will want to know where to place your sights in relation to your target. If you want to hit the middle of a bullseye, the top of the sights must be placed directly under the middle of the exact center. With a properly sighted gun, the round should hit directly at the top of where the sights are.
Now let’s talk about the different types of sight pictures, their differences, and their applications.
Focal sight picture is for longer range, or if you are trying to make a very precise shot. The range that you would typically use focal aiming is roughly anything over 15 yards. To use focal aiming, you are going to focus your vision on the sights of your gun and place the sights on the target where you want to hit. When focusing on the sights, your sights should be clear and the target in the background blurry (pictured below).
Using peripheral aiming is going to be for closer to mid-range shooting. Although people use peripheral aiming on a spectrum of distances, it is roughly anything 5-15 yards away from your target. For peripheral aiming, you are going to focus on your target and bring your sights up into your vision and on target. You should see that your sights are on target in your peripheral vision. You should see your target clearly and your sights blurry (pictured below).
You would use this method of aiming when your shots don’t need to be perfectly placed, or you don’t have the time to focus on your front sights.
Whether you are shooting in competition or for a possible self defense situation, peripheral sight picture is ideal for close to mid-range because you can keep your eyes focused on the target or threat and be able to put rounds on target quicker.
Kinesthetic aiming (commonly known as point shooting) has a very specific and limited application, however, it should be learned and trained if you plan on carrying your firearm for self-defense.
Without diving too much into the science behind kinesthetic aiming, it can be summarized as your brain’s awareness of the position and movement of your body through sensory organs (known as proprioceptors) in the muscles and joints.
How this relates to shooting guns is instead of using your firearm to know where you are aiming, you will use your body’s natural ability of knowing where its parts are in time and space. The most commonly trained way of shooting using kinesthetic aiming is drawing from the holster and rocking the gun so that you are aiming towards your target and using your body to aim (as shown in the video below).
Where this type of aiming would be applicable is in a high stress, rapidly developing situation where you need to address a threat right away. The distance that this aiming technique could be effectively used is roughly up to 3yrds.
This is an aiming technique that would apply to a self-defense situation where the threat is in close proximity. Although this is not a sight picture you would typically use when at the range getting in some target practice, it should at least trained periodically to stay proficient and be prepared.
Train often, be prepared.