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Old August 30, 2010, 11:58 AM   #1
chris in va
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Take off the rear sight?

An odd question, but when point shooting wouldn't it be more practical to just use a high visibility front sight and take off the rear one, like shotgunners do with trap and skeet?

It occurred to me after entering my first match that I wasn't using my sights much.
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Old August 30, 2010, 12:10 PM   #2
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It seems to me like more trouble than its worth. if you're not using it, and it's not in the way, why bother?
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Old August 30, 2010, 12:16 PM   #3
chris in va
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It is in the way though. Half the time I couldn't line up the front sight between the rear blades and missed my poppers.
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Old August 30, 2010, 12:29 PM   #4
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But when shooting a shotgun, the line between the shooter's eye and the front sight is (ideally) fixed, parallel to the barrel, right? So a rear sight isn't nearly as necessary. That's not true when shooting a pistol, though.

I don't see how removing the rear sight is going to help you hit better.

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Old August 30, 2010, 12:38 PM   #5
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In an IDPA match, . . . others of the same genre, . . . you are correct, . . .

My problem is that I don't want to train that way, . . . as then using my regular carry piece, with the rear sight, . . . if I get into a "situation", . . . I just may hesitate a half second to figure if what I am doing is right, . . . and that half second could get me hurt or worse.

Additionally, . . . at most SD ranges, . . . sights are not needed. BUT, . . . BUT, . . . if I have to put some lead on someone out at 20 or so yards, (you make up the scenario as to why), . . . I really do want my rear sight.


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Old August 30, 2010, 01:22 PM   #6
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As Clint Smith wrote in the January/February 2008, American Handgunner:

"It's alway argued that in a fight shooters will not look at their sights. I strongly agree -- if no one has ever taught them otherwise. To say that people don't, or won't, look at their sights is wrong. People have, they will in the future, and they'll hit too. The correct alignment of the sights is a learnable skill. Is a textbook perfect sight picture available in every fight? Of course not....In fairness, the sights are only part of the issue -- the jerked on trigger doesn't improve anything."

Even when one has been taught to look at the sights, how much has he actually practiced quickly seeing the adequate sight picture and acting reflexively, without conscious thought, on the rough sight picture? As another trainer, Bennie Cooley, once told me, "It's not that I shoot quicker than you do. It's that I see quicker."

With the proper training and practice, it's amazing how fast one can acquire a flash sight picture and hit accurately. Learning those techniques and developing proficiency in the use of those techniques also gives you the flexibility to deal with targets at pretty much any distance. Yes, most gun fights are close range affairs. But what do you do if you've focused all your training on engaging targets 5 to 7 yard away; and the one time you really need to use your gun, it's the one in a hundred case in which you must engage an armed threat 10 to 12 yards away and partially behind cover?

So I suggest keeping the rear sight, and learning and practicing using the sights quickly -- to the extent appropriate under the circumstances, at various distances. If you ever need your gun, you can't know ahead of time how it's going to happen and what you're going to need to be able to do to solve your problem.
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Old August 30, 2010, 01:35 PM   #7
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Many shotguns now come with a second bead. My Nova has one, my dad's BT-100 trap gun has one... Essentially, make snoman/figure eight (whichever you prefer) and touch the tip of the bird an let the lead fly.

I hear you on the rear sights issue. It takes some getting used too and a long time to master getting that sight picture. Some of my first target competitions wound up with me running out of time on a timed course of fire because I took too long lining up the sight and getting off a perfect trigger squeeze. An alternative to utterly removing the rear sight would be the XS speed dot, if you were interested. Definitely not a bullseye sight but it's faster.

I would prefer a more precise aiming system myself (and since I have already started to get used to attaining sight picture under duress) but to each his own.
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Old August 30, 2010, 01:43 PM   #8
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It is in the way though. Half the time I couldn't line up the front sight between the rear blades and missed my poppers.
Your rear-sight provides feedback on both vertical and horizontal alignment. If it's "in the way," that means your alignment is off. Removing the rear-sight isn't going to solve your problem, it's just going to eliminate the indication that there is a problem. To me this would be like having a knocking in your engine, but instead of fixing it, you just put in ear plugs so you don't hear the annoying noise.

If you are having problems with sight alignment, I would submit that your best "fix" is to spend more time working your drawstroke and doing some dry-fire so as to increase the consistency of your "line of presentation" (the path your weapon takes as you press out toward the target). When your presentation is smooth and consistent, the sights serve only as final confirmation that your index is correct.
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Old August 30, 2010, 01:49 PM   #9
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front sights

saw xs systems video ,that might pique your interest ,but haven't seen anybody using system yet,and was wondering if any one else had
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Old August 30, 2010, 01:50 PM   #10
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I'm late to the party, as per usual.
KenpoTex's answer is right on the money.
If your technique is good, the sights, both of them, will just automatically be there, right where they need to be.
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Old August 30, 2010, 02:58 PM   #11
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This is similiar to the use of a night sight only on the front. Seemed like a good idea[ recommended in a gun magazine] so I had a NS put on the front. I drove out into the woods at night to test out this theory. At 15' the shot was over a foot to the right. There was just enough light to make out the target, but not see the sights. Obviuosly the front wasn't in the rear notch. but beside it. I gave that idea up and had a rear night sight installed. Lesson Learned, Lyle

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Old August 30, 2010, 07:23 PM   #12
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...because you don't have a cheek weld on a pistol.
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Old August 31, 2010, 11:31 AM   #13
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Thanks for the suggestions guys, I'll just work on better techniques. Good point about the cheek weld thing too.
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Old September 1, 2010, 03:15 PM   #14
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I think it was a good question. Most of my handguns had fixed sights and the revolver sights were there to stay. Likewise, most of my "action" shooting was also with fixed sights and I was pretty satisfied with the results. I even tried to be "old fashioned" in style, even using older revolvers, and I never felt at all handicapped. But I sure didn't have the racer's edge, so to say.

If you read much about trick shooting from a speed standpoint, they will claim to have used the sights. No doubt they did and some turned in exceptional shooting. But it comes back to what "point shooting" really is and, what is acceptable accuracy. Read all you can about the subject and you will discover that different people have different ideas about it. But none ever suggest removing the rear sights. Basically you have to work out your own solutions to your own problems.

There have been a couple of novel ideas with regards to sights. Back when S&W Model 39s were a hot item, some enterprising people cut them down for concealment purposes. Along with other alterations, there was something that amounted to little more than a tapered groove added to serve as a sight. It doesn't seem to have caught on but it was an interesting notion. Someone else suggested various training aids like taping the sights or variations on that theme to help in building up skill in point shooting, or really, using a handgun without the sights. I don't know if it would help or not but it's an idea.

What sort of handgun are we talking about anyway?
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Old September 1, 2010, 04:06 PM   #15
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My carry piece has a simple channel sight. That's all I want or need in a carry piece - doesn't snag on clothing, and I've shot enough with it at close distances to know how it points. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm on the side of not seeing any real need for a rear sight on a defensive carry piece.
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Old September 1, 2010, 08:12 PM   #16
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Since we can't copy and paste any more, here is the link to what Gabe Suarez says abut the use of sights on a pistol:
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Old September 1, 2010, 08:34 PM   #17
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Red Dot

It seems to me that he is now more of less advocating red dot sights. At his suggestion, I put one on my Glock and they are great! Of course at my age, vision is a bit of a problem, and the dot really increases my hits by a huge percentage. I certainly recommend, especially for us older guys.
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Old September 1, 2010, 10:30 PM   #18
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Taking off the rear sight wouldn't help for point shooting because you don't use sights. That's the whole point (pardon the pun); it's fast and instinctive because you only look at the target. This is similar to shooting a slingshot or a recurve bow, or throwing a dart. It's fun to try this with pop cans on muddy ground. It might help to tape over the sights during practice so you don't look at them.

If you're using just the front sight, that's a different technique called flash sighting.
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Old September 2, 2010, 06:01 PM   #19
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It seems to me that he (Gabe) is now more of less advocating red dot sights.
Yes, but the principle is still the same: point shoot at very close range, or just use the window. The dot works for close-range precision or long distance.
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Old September 2, 2010, 11:13 PM   #20
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"Take off the rear sight?"

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