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Sight Alignment: What It Is and How to Use Sight Picture for Better Shooting

Most gun owners are probably familiar with the term 'sight alignment' but may not know precisely what it means or how to make use of it effectively while shooting. In this blog post, we will discuss what it is and provide some tips on how to utilize it in order to improve your accuracy while firing. So, whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner just starting out, read on for some helpful information!

There are three main things you need to do to hit your target:

Align your sights.

Get the proper sight picture.

Keep your sights aligned on the target without moving them too much.

It sounds easy, but it's actually very difficult to do in real life. This is indeed true when you're under pressure or don't have a lot of time to shoot. Therefore, please get to know and practice the necessary skills as soon as possible so that by the time you need them, they are at the back of your hand.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

What is sight alignment?

In the most basic sense, sight alignment is simply lining up your gun's sights so that they make correct alignment with each other and with the target. This may seem like a pretty straightforward task, but it's actually quite essential to get right if you want to strike your target accurately. If you do it incorrectly, you will shoot in all the wrong directions.


Difference between sight alignment and sight picture 

There are two terms mentioned parallelly in terms of aiming: sight alignment and sight picture, and these two are often taught together. But many still hold misconceptions about the two, so it is critical to differentiate them clearly.

Sight alignment is the process of aligning your firearm's front and rear sights. Setting them up correctly is critical to striking your objective. Otherwise, your shooting is going to be out of the route. Meanwhile, the sight picture, which is the other half of the aiming equation, is things you can see when your sights are aligned and centered at your target.

To hit on the right spot you are aiming at, it is vital that you both align the sights correctly and aim right on the target that you intend to hit using sight picture. The main thing is to gain the synergy between your aiming spot (where you plan to hit) and your impact spot (where you hit in reality).


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Get proper sight alignment

Let's go through factors that need consideration to obtain proper sight alignment.


Lined up axises

There are two types of sight alignment (also called angular shift): horizontal and vertical. Each has its own goal, so it's important to know how to do both correctly.

1. Where to put your eyes

You, first and foremost, must have your gaze fixed on your firearm, not staring down the entire length of the weapon. If you are gazing through both the back and front sights, when you pull the trigger, your attention should be drawn to the front sight, not the target.

2. Horizontal Sight Alignment - Front Sight

This is when you line up the top of the front sight with the top of the rear sight. You want to ensure that they are even with each other and that nothing is blocking your view. This is the most ultimate type of sight alignment and is usually sufficient for close-range targets.

If your front sight is not aligned correctly with your target, your shot will go high or low. This is why it is important to take care when lining up your sights. The front sight should be level with the rear sight, and the top of the front sight should be in line with the center of the target. Once you have achieved proper sight alignment, you can be confident that your shot will hit its mark.

3. Vertical Sight Alignment

The front sight should be separated from the back sight by an equal amount of space on both sides of the notch. In other words, the top of the front sight is perpendicular and is centered between the two rear sights. Treat your back sight like a window through which you may observe your front sight. Do not look in your rearview sight, but look through it.

Also, one reminder when conducting proper vertical sight alignment is to focus your vision on the front sight. Lay your eyes only on the front sight, until the front sight looks sharp while the rear sights and the main target are hazy. That is when you know you get your focus zone right.

4. The typical mistakes in angular shift

If the front sight is too low, the shot will hit low on the target.

If the front sight is too high, the shot will hit high on the target.

If the front sight is skewed to the right, the shot will hit the target's right.

If the front sight is skewed to the left, the shot will hit to the left of the target.

To achieve proper sight alignment, remember that:

the front sight must in the center of the rear sights and aligned with the target, and the top of the front sight should be level with the top of the rear sight.

5. Mistake in parallel shift

Many of you concern a lot about the arc of ammo movement. However, the main effort should be to keep your sights aligned and the pistol held perfectly still if possible. Sight alignment is all about lining up the front and rear sights so that they appear to be in one continuous line. This may seem to be a minor thing, but it's actually crucial, more than the hold.

If the front and rear sights are not precisely aligned, then the bullet will not hit the target where you are aiming. That's the reason why it's crucial to focus on keeping your sights aligned when you are shooting. Of course, holding the pistol perfectly still is also desirable, but it's not always possible. Even the slightest movement can cause the bullet to veer off course. So, if you can't hold the pistol entirely still, just do your best to keep it as steady as possible. Remember, even a small movement can make a big difference when you're trying to hit a small target. Sight alignment is the most important factor in shooting accuracy, so make sure you take the time to get it right.


Focus point

As you may have noticed, everything in shooting comes down to focus. To hit your target, you must first focus on it. Then, you must maintain that focus while aligning your sights and taking the shot. This can be a challenge, but it's important to remember that focus is key.

There are two types of focus: mental and physical. Mental focus is the ability to clear your mind and concentrate on the task at hand. Physical focus is the ability to keep your eyes focused on the target. Both types of focus are important for shooting accuracy.

1. Mental Focus 

Mental focus is perhaps the most important type of focus for shooting accuracy. If your mind is not focused on the task at hand, then you will not be able to hit your target. To improve your mental focus, you must first learn to clear your mind. This can be a difficult task, but it's important to remember that shooting is a mental game. If you can't focus, then you can't shoot accurately.

Try these exercises:

• Find a quiet place, close your eyes, and take several deep breaths. Focus on the act of breathing and nothing else.

• Practice meditation or mindfulness techniques.

• Visualize yourself hitting the target. See the bullet leaving the barrel and hitting the bullseye in your mind's eye.

• Focus on one thing at a time. Break down the shooting process into small, manageable steps and focus on each step individually.

2. Physical focus on Target (The eye's focus point)

Your eyes are your primary tool in the shooting. This lining up of two objects, the front sight, and the rear notch, looks to be a simple thing. The issue is that keeping these two sights in exact alignment while simultaneously preserving a minimal outline of movement and pressing the trigger to make the hammer fall without compromising sight alignment is challenging.

The secret is to focus on the front sight and not the target. Maintaining a "front slight point of focus" while sighting and aiming the handgun is critical. During the brief time necessary to deliver the shot, the shooter must concentrate on preserving the proper connection between the front and rear sight, with the point of concentration on the front sight. If the attention is shifted forward and the target is in clear focus for a brief while, the shooter's ability to attain proper sight alignment is threatened. This is frequently the time when the handgun is discharged. Under these circumstances, a regulated and precise shot is impossible.

This point of focus should be on the top of the front sight, in the center of the rear sight aperture. If the point of focus is on the target, then the arm movement will appear magnified and make it difficult to hit the target.

The focus point is considered a simple concept, but it takes practice to master. With patience and massive practice, anyone can learn to shoot a gun with precision.


Concentration

Concentration is the key to shooting accuracy. When you're concentrating on the front sight, you're not thinking about anything else but sight alignment. This enables you to seize all of your attention on the task at hand, which helps align your sights and take the shot.

Concentration during a firearm, however, can be disrupted by anxiety. Consequently, pressure can cause problems with sight alignment. When you feel anxious, your body tenses up, and it becomes more difficult to hold the gun steady. As a result, your shots will be less accurate. In addition, anxiety can cause you to focus on the wrong things. For example, you may start to focus on the trigger instead of the front sight when you feel anxious about your shooting.

Always keep in mind that sight alignment is the number one thing on the shooter's mind, nothing else takes over. And the only and fastest way to do that is to practice shooting constantly with a consistent concentration on sight aligning. Get used to and be used to producing precise shots under heavy focus on sight alignment while applying trigger pressure with the most minor possible arc bullet movement.


Your dominant eye

1. Understanding it

The majority of people are aware of their dominant hand. It's the hand that writes, brushes teeth, and pulls the trigger. For most people, the dominant hand is also the more substantial hand. And it is often favored because it provides more excellent agility and control, giving a person the most significant degree of control and precision. The dominant hand is usually determined by which hand is used for complex tasks such as writing.

And the same is true for eyes. Just as you likely have a dominant hand that you use more often for writing or picking up objects, you also have a dominant eye. Your dominant eye is the one that provides central vision and is usually more potent than the other, while your non-dominant eye focuses on peripheral vision. However, some people are left-handed and have a dominant left eye. And some people are ambidextrous and have eyes of equal dominance.

This is an important acknowledgment to embrace because eye dominance is more imperative for accurate shooting than hand dominance. The dominant eye will be the leading distributor to line up with the gun, so it's important to use that eye when aiming, not the dominant hand. Otherwise, you will keep aiming at one side of the main target and keep missing the redpoint when aiming with the dominant hand and the non-dominant eye.

2. How to technically determine your dominant eye

One simple test to define your eye dominant side:

• Spread out your hands with straight pointing-up fingers and let the palms of your hand face away from your face.

• Bring two hands close to form a triangle with your thumbs and forefingers. Remember that all fingers are still spreading straight.

• Choose one thing that is far enough (across the room will do) to look through the triangle hand window and focus. Maintain the object in the middle of the triangle.

• Slowly move your hands closer to your face while looking at the object. When your hands touch your face, the fingers forming the window should be around the dominant eye. This is because your brain unintentionally functions on the dominant side of your eyes.

If you want to reassure yourself with another test, here it is:

• Keep both eyes open. Point to a distant object with your dominant hand outstretched.

• Transfer your focus point from the thing to your pointing finger.

• Still keep the focus on the finger, and close your eye one by one.

• With the dominant eye open: your finger should be covering the object. When the non-dominant eye is open: your finger is pointing at a space that seems to slightly side off the thing.

3. With eyes close or open?

There is a lot of debate amongst shooters about whether it is better to keep your eyes open or shut when aligning your sights. "The dominant eye should be kept open, as this will help with aim. The non-dominant eye can be kept open or shut, depending on the preference of the shooter", one said. Some other people find that keeping both eyes open helps them to line up the sights more accurately. Meanwhile, others find that keeping the non-dominant eye shut helps them to focus more on the target.

Distinct shooters have various advantages and disadvantages. Some people have a very strong dominant eye and a weak non-dominant eye when it comes to eye dominance. Some may not notice much of a variation in the power of each eye. It may be simpler for shooters with one especially strong eye to strike with both eyes wide open. However, if a shooter's dominance index is low, limiting the information from one eye may make it simpler to line sights and target. When shooters with nearly similar eye strength squint, shut, or cover their non-dominant eye, they tend to fire more accurately.

This assumes that the end aim is precise efficiency. Unfortunately, what they suppose is what they believe with successful experience from the shooting range, not real-life dynamic circumstances. Strategic and self-defense shooters require two eyes' input. When moving and attacking threatening targets, closing one eye impairs spatial awareness and drastically lowers peripheral vision, the two crucial advantages.

All in all, you should keep both eyes activated while shooting. Also, you had better practice doing that on the shooting ranges to master shooting skills with the right techniques.

Conclusion

Briefly saying, sight alignment is vital for accurate shooting. There are three main components to proper sight alignment: the sights must be lined up horizontally, vertically, and on the same plane as the target. In addition, your focus should be on the front sight, and you should maintain concentration throughout the shot process. Finally, it is important to understand your dominant eye in order to achieve proper sight alignment. With practice, you will consistently hit your targets with greater precision.

All in all, sight alignment is one of the most important skills you need to master as a shooter. By taking the time to understand sight alignment and how to achieve it, you will be well on your way to being a better marksman.

There are many different factors that go into achieving proper sight alignments, such as focus point, concentration, and eye dominance. Each of these factors can have a major impact on your ability to hit your target.

By understanding these concepts and how they work together, you will be able to make adjustments to your shooting technique as needed in order to improve your accuracy. With practice, you can hit your targets with greater precision consistently. So don't wait any longer. Get out there and start practicing today!

Thanks for reading! We hope you found this article helpful. Should you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. And be sure to check back soon for more great content Dinosaurized!


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2 Responses

Robert L Taylor
Robert L Taylor

May 24, 2022

thanks for the great tips on sites that helps have you ever shot using the “car system,” center axix relock it is a skeletal function like pointing your finger at a target I have been working on the technique & using the laser to confirm target accuracy there is potential for sure
Jim Franklin
Jim Franklin

May 24, 2022

Great information, sometimes it’s good to review the basic practices. Thank you

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