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Old February 9, 2012, 01:17 PM   #1
DarthNul
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Join Date: December 21, 2010
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sight adjusting tool, or adjustable sights, or both?

I've got a few pistols with "drift adjustable" rear sights: SA-XD, Sig P226, FN-P45, and a FEG PA-63. They could all use a little adjusting.

I'm hesitant to whack them with a drift for fear of not be able to tell if they moved at all, or whether they moved too far. I know I can get sight adjusting tools specifically for Sigs or XDs but I don't want to spend that much for a tool that will only work on one gun.

Does anybody have a recommendation for a sight adjusting tool that'll work with two or more of these particular guns?

I may end up replacing the rear sight of the Sig with something adjustable since I expect more accuracy from that, and I don't like the idea of filing down the front sight to raise the POI. So I guess I'm also looking for recommendations for adjustable, durable and low-snag rear sights that. If I can't find a good aftermarket option, I'll probably look for Sig adjustable combat night sights, but I expect they'll be radically overpriced.
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Old February 10, 2012, 11:56 PM   #2
DarthNul
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Nevermind...

Looks like the P500 Universal sight tool will fill the bill. Now I just have to find somebody who has one in stock.
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Old February 11, 2012, 12:25 AM   #3
JohnKSa
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I have the P500 and, while it will work on nearly any pistol if used carefully, you really need to take your time getting everything properly set up and lined up or you will damage the slide or the sight.

It's "universality" means that there are a lot of adjustable parameters on the tool and they all need to be properly set if you want it to work without causing damage.

I'm curious about your pistols. Do you have rough estimates of how far are they shooting from point of aim at 25 yards?
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Old February 11, 2012, 12:01 PM   #4
DarthNul
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I have groups from all the guns from 25 feet (not yards) which I feel is a more likely distance for a self-defense situation. I'll shoot my target guns at 25 yards but they all have adjustable sights.

At 25' the FEG is always about 2.5" left and a 1" to 3" low depending on the load that I'm using. The rest of the guns are all about 2" to the right +-1/2", and all but one is also 2'-3" low. I found a formula for determining how far to move the sights based on distance from the target, sight radius, etc. I plan to make a rig so I can get my calipers in there and measure the shift.

I've been delaying the adjustments until I find my ideal loads because I can't "un-file" the front sights.

I don't mind spending time setting up the tool. I LIKE spending time working on the guns. It's time NOT spent rotting my brain in front of the tube...
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Old February 11, 2012, 03:25 PM   #5
JohnKSa
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Some of those numbers are fairly significant deflections for only 8 yards. What size groups are you getting at that range?
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Old February 11, 2012, 04:25 PM   #6
DarthNul
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Groups on the FEG are pretty loose. I'm still trying to dial in a good load but it's a small cheap gun and expectations are low.

I generally do 5-shot groups offhand when I'm load testing and throw out the worst shot. Groups with the better guns range from 1/2" to 1" with a well developed load. They'll get only slightly better shooting supported, although with support, throwing out the worst shot becomes irrelevant.

The variation between the "good gun" groups probably has more to do with how good or bad of a day I'm having. I'd like to test shoot with support more often but at my "home" range it's hard when there are other people on the line as the "support" tends to move whenever somebody else is shooting something heavier than a .22.

The sights are just the way they came from the factory except for the FEG. I've done some significant filing on the rear sight of that one just to open it up some, and to square off the bottom of the notch.
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Old February 11, 2012, 07:33 PM   #7
JohnKSa
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Your groups sound decent. All I can say is that sounds like really bad luck. I've owned a lot of fixed sight pistols and with only a couple of exceptions they've all been within a few inches of point of aim at 25 YARDS.
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Old February 16, 2012, 05:38 PM   #8
frumious
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I bought a nice universal sight drifter from Midway and have used it maybe once. But I have TRIED to use it more times than that. My trouble is that some guns don't have "slab sides" like a 1911 so the part that holds the slide still while the sight pusher works, doesn't hold the slide still.

So I went back to using a punch. I actually have a steel "punch" that is not really a punch but is used to sink nails deeper into wood than you can with a hammer alone. It is about 5 inches long. I originally was trying to drift with about a 12" brass rod I have lying around...that didn't work at all. Shorter is better when it comes to punches (at least for me).

Also I think the sharp rap of using a punch works better for moving a tight sight than the gradual "sneaking up" of pressure imparted by a pusher. There were two pistols I had where I started to deform the sight and it would not move. (And I was pushing the sight at a point as near to the slide as I could get without scratching the slide.) But then it drifted with the punch just fine.

I hear what you are saying about "did it move after I whacked it?" For that I use a sharpie and put a witness mark right on the top of the slide, centered behind the sight I am drifting. If you don't like marking on your guns then use a piece of white electrical tape.

But the best thing I ever did is sell all my guns with fixed rear sights and buy guns with adjustable rear sights. Not the cheapest solution, but I was a much happier camper after that. The one time I tried to add an adjustable rear sight to a pistol that originally came with a fixed rear I was disappointed. I could not lower the sight far enough to make a difference. I think the back edge of the top of the slide has to be relieved to accept an adjustable sight before many of them can make much of a difference in the "move the group down" department.

-cls

Last edited by frumious; February 16, 2012 at 05:49 PM.
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