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American Handgunner Sep/Oct 2010 - Page 106
THE Roy Huntington INSIDER Time TM sight sense? m uch ado is made of sight pictures. But I remain convinced many don’t actually know what’s being bandied-about. We chatted about trigger control (“Tangling With The Trigger,” Insider, May/June) and frankly, I’m convinced trigger control is more important than sight picture. Basically, what I (and many others say) is you can have a perfect sight picture and then mess it up with a miserable trigger pull. An adequate sight picture — of some kind — is usually enough to get you by if you press the trigger marvelously. But what is a sight picture? I think it’s many things. The classic perception is one where the front sight is in sharp focus, centered neatly between the rear’s up-rights, with the target at some degree of focus, depending upon your eye’s ability to sort all that out. And yes, if you have time, if you have the eyesight to handle it, it is a perfect sight picture. But what if you don’t have time — say a bad guy is aiming back? That’s a question causing many trainers to get into name-calling fights on Internet forums. During my own police career, I pointed my gun at bad guys countless times. Working in a big city, there were lots of bad guys, and situations warranting the pulling-out of guns. Keep in mind I had spent many years shooting PPC matches (aimed fire, lots of time, out to 50 yards), so I was very proficient at careful, aimed fire with a handgun. Yet, during my encounters, I noticed my sight picture changed according to the situation and environment. In those early days, we had very little decent training on our agency, so most (all?) of what I picked up I learned the hard way. It really wasn’t until the late 1980s that training became at least decent on-duty. sight sense? sight sense? Here’s a pretty good sight picture. Front sight is sharp, target is discernable and the rear is there to help index the front. Nice, if you have the time, but when the second hand is spinning, something faster is in order. Sometimes, I had the luxury of enough time to take careful aim when the gun came out. I once used a car bumper as a rest and took very, very, very careful aim at a miscreant, right between the eyes, at about 20 yards. He held a child hostage at knifepoint. No time for SWAT to respond. Other officers were What many (most?) of us do in an emergency. negotiating with him, but they The target becomes more in focus as we, um, knew I could take the shot if focus on it; and the sights blur slightly but are it went bad, so I was ready. still used to index the muzzle. Our brain wants There was no doubt in my to see the target and won’t usually allow mind I could hit him, and my things to get in the way. This method, usually with both eyes open to keep your depth sights were in sharp focus and perception alive, is still very accurate out to my trigger press was mostly surprising ranges. It’s not “instinct” shooting, done. He gave up. it’s still aiming, just not as precisely. Other times, when the second hand was running at warp speed, my sight picture changed dramatically. I recall Great, perfect, and I wish we could all often bringing the gun up to barely do that — but many of us can’t. below my eyes, so my “sight picInstinct? ture” was across the tops of them, or almost “through” them, with the threat I most definitely have never “instincclearly in focus and both eyes open. tively pointed” my gun at anyone. Your mind is a silly thing and often “Instinct” shooting is perhaps better won’t allow you anything but the called guess-shooting. You’re pointing best view of a threat. “I’m not going the gun in the general direction of the to allow you to block my vision with target, usually well below eye level, those sight-things,” it seems to say guessing it’s aligned well enough. in an emergency. Yet, in practice, I Yet, if you index on the target using found I could hit well out to surprising the sights, just above the sights or with distances. The need to see the threat, the slide, you’re actually aiming, with the speed necessary to respond to the varying degrees of speed and accuracy threat and my own skills allowed me — but it is aimed fire nonetheless. And this modified sight picture — and it many who say they shoot instinctively, worked fine. I know there are those are actually indexing on the gun at some who have been in shootings who say, the insider Continues on page 104 “I remember seeing my sights clearly.” WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER2010 insider 106