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Old September 7, 2004, 12:05 PM   #1
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Question re "standard" 6-O'clock sight picture hold with iron sights

This relates to both longguns and pistols, although my specific question is more applicable to precision rifle shooting with iron sights.

I use the 6-O'clock hold, as do many. I think we could even say that the 6 o'clock sight picture is "standard" one. But the definition of the generic 6 o'clock hold is still inadequate when we have a LARGE bullseye dot to aim at, and thus the 6-o'clock hold can be held in varying places with a large bullseye. I think that what I'm saying will become clear with my specific question. I'm putting everything in terms of MOAs rather than absolute sizes in inches, so that it's standardized for discussing this regardless of the range at which we're shooting. A bullseye of a certain MOA, by definition, LOOKS the same size in the sight picture at any given range, as a bullseye of the same MOA at any other given range (even though it's a different actual size). Now, for the specific question, take as a given a LARGISH "bullseye dot" of around 5 MOA.

If you want your bullets to impact dead center of the bullseye (as well all of course do), then do you adjust your sights to so impact, to where, after lining up your sights on your gun, "flush" at the top, you then hold the very very top of your gun's iron sights:

A) At the six o'clock position of the ENTIRE bullseye dot, which in this case means 2.5 MOAs below the dead center of the bullseye,


B) At the six o'clock of the DEAD CENTER of large bullseye dot (zero MOAs below the bullseye center)


The answer to the question does not matter if you have a smallish bullseye dot, say 0.5 to 2 MOA.

But, if you get up to a large aiming dot of 3, 4, 5, 6, or more MOA, as seen at the distance at which you're shooting, then all of a sudden it can make a difference in the point of impact, IF you have a very accurate rifle, and IF you have quality sights, and IF you have good eyes and good skills.

I've taking to aiming at position "B", which makes sense to keep it dead center. I try to imagine the teeny, tiny 6 o'clock of the dead center of the bullseye, if there is such a thing. Otherwise, I'm impacting low with a large dot.

Please answer with "A" or "B" before your explanation.
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Old September 7, 2004, 02:16 PM   #2
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If you are target shooting with standard bullseyes you can hold to the bottom of the black. If the gun is being used for other things like hunting or defense that won't work. Then I sight in for 6 o'clock on a 1" circle at 25yds for a pistol, or on a 3-4" circle at 100yds.
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Old September 7, 2004, 04:08 PM   #3
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We've got a problem of definitions or semantics here.

Your position "B" is not a 6 o'clock hold, it is a center hold. Some bunch of guys called the USMC do that a lot.

Six o'clock is with the top of the front post sight tangent to the black aiming area of the bullseye no matter what its diameter or how many scoring rings it includes. Some people say they see a narrow band of white under the black at the top edge of their post but that is just a minor variation suited to their eyesight and technique. This is not a problem because bullseye target sizes and ranges are standardized, you get your sight settings and shoot with them.

If you are shooting irregularly shaped and spaced targets, as at 3-gun, use the center hold.

I think a true 6 o'clock hold is more commonly used than a center hold for shooting at a bullseye with a post front sight, like a pistol or service rifle.

The rest of us avoid the issue by using a globe front sight with circular insert so we see concentric circles, bullseye, front sight, rear sight.

Well, there is one other sight picture, sort of. A PPC shooter will, at least for the 50 yard line, adjust his sights to take what looks like a 6 o'clock hold on the worthless head of the B27 humanoid target but drop his wadcutters into the ten ring.
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Old September 7, 2004, 09:21 PM   #4
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I think Jim Watson hit it squarely. Thanks...good post.
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Old September 7, 2004, 09:49 PM   #5
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A PPC shooter will, at least for the 50 yard line, adjust his sights to take what looks like a 6 o'clock hold on the worthless head of the B27 humanoid target but drop his wadcutters into the ten ring.
Dang .. and here was me thinkin I had a monopoly on this technique! Mind you ... ten ring was not always impacted!
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Old September 8, 2004, 08:06 AM   #6
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The biggest thing is consistency, whether you do the classic 6 o'clock hold or the center hold, do it the SAME EVERY TIME. I have had plenty of guys say their gun is inaccurate and once they learn to hold the same sight picture every time they find the gun magically improves.

I would bet $100 a lot of unnecessary "accurization" is performed for these types of guys who need to learn consistent shooting technique.
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Old February 16, 2015, 11:09 AM   #7
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I realize that this thread is extremely old but it's still up so people may find it when searching for information on the subject. In fact, I did just now.

The original question is a bit confusing and unclear, IMO.

Here's my take:

If you use a 6 O'Clock hold, the bulls-eye dot must remain the same at any given distance or you will have to re-sight for different sized bulls-eyes.

Here's an example: Say you have a target with a two inch bulls-eye dot and you use it at 25 yards. If you use a 6 O'Clock hold, your point point of aim (POA) will be 1" below dead center of the bulls-eye dot. In other words, the bottom of the bulls-eye dot will be placed on top of the site when aiming. A two inch bulls-eye at 25 yards has a diameter that equates to 8 MOA. That same target at 100 yards has a bulls-eye diameter of 2 MOA.

The bottom line is that you either have to use targets with the same bulls-eye diameter always when shooting at any given distance or make sight adjustments for varying sizes.

Let's say you used that same 2" bulls-eye target at 100 yards using a 6 O'Clock aim and you zeroed in the point of impact (POI) to hit dead center in the bulls-eye at that range. If you then switched to a target with, say, a 4" bulls-eye, your POI would then be 1" below dead center. If you used a target with an 8" bulls-eye dot, your POI would now be 3" below dead center and so on.

So.... You either have to use targets with the same size bulls-eye at each range all the time or have different sight settings for different bull-eye dot sizes.

It's unfortunate, IMO, that various targeting instructions never mention this. I've seen shooters who can't understand why they are not hitting dead center when they switch to targets with different size bulls-eye dots at a given distance. It should be obvious but, for some reason, this confuses some shooters.

Personally, I prefer to sight in at dead center or battle zero. In other words, my POA is also my POI. After all, real-world targets (hunting or self-defense) don't walk around with bulls-eye dots sized to what you have zeroed in on at a given distance. However, I do see the advantage of a 6 O'Clock hold for target shooters as long as they understand that they can't switch to targets with a difference size bulls-eye dot at any given range without re-sighting if they use a standard 6 O'Clock. I I prefer to just avoid the confusion altogether and sight so my POA is also my POI. Then it doesn't make any difference what size the bulls-eye dot is at any distance. I don't find it difficult at all to cut the bulls-eye in half when I aim. With scopes, red dot sights, etc., there is no reason at all to use a 6 O'Clock hold that I know of. The only advantage of the 6 O'Clock hold that I can think of is when shooting with iron sights and, even then, it's not a big advantage, IMO. Again, I rather shoot dead center and forget all this dot size stuff.

Darn! I realize that I may have made this even more confusing than it was previously.
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Old February 16, 2015, 11:15 AM   #8
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This thread is over 10 years old.
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