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Thread: Sight Picture: A Discussion of the Pros and Cons of Various Holds

  1. #1
    Hammertime
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    Sight Picture: A Discussion of the Pros and Cons of Various Holds

    I did a search and had not seen a discussion of this per se.

    I am aware of three different sight pictures or holds when shooting, especially distances of 15 yards or greater.

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    1. Six O'clock hold, equal height, equal light, but holding a portion of the target above the front sight. In other words, tip of sight at the 6:00 position.
    2. Equal height, equal light, bisect the target with the top of the front sight expecting bullet impact at the top center of front sight.
    3. "Drive the Dot:" I assume this means equal height, equal light, but the Dot on the front sight is placed over the top of the desired impact point. I guess this could also be called a twelve O'Clock hold.

    I don't know what I don't know about the relative advantages or disadvantages of the various sight pictures. I assume they each had/have a purpose. I have always used the #2 sight picture as it made the most sense to me. I assume the #1 picture would come into its own as distances really increase and one wants to increase holdover without obscuring the target with the front sight. I have no idea how far away that would have to be. I also expect the #3 would be best for up close, faster shooting.

    I wondered if the more historically knowledgeable folks would care to weigh in on the pros and cons of each of the pictures. I would also like input on which the forum feels is best for defensive pistol use.

    In searching for an image to accompany this post, I found the above image in this blog post by ToddG. I found the reading helpful.
    http://pistol-training.com/archives/1361

  2. #2
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    At distance say 25 yards you are not (or should not) be focused on the target. Your attention and vision needs to be concentrating on sight alignment because angular deviation will blow your shot at 25 yards. You can still see a bull at 25 behind your sights but it is not going to be in perfect focus if you are concentrating on your sights. My feeling is that Sight Image #1 is the ideal picture for pure bullseye work. I think it is easier to put the bull on the post rather than try to perfectly bisect the bull or center the dot on the bull center. In the later two cases you are covering up a fuzzy target and the placement is more subjective.

    For defensive purposes I think the Sight Image #2 or #3 are more preferable and subject to personal likes and dislikes. A guy used to utilizing black on black sights is going to prefer tip of front sight. I fiber optic front sight guy may prefer Sight Image #3 but that guy may have a preference as to where in the notch he holds the dot. So in actuality it is very subjective.

    I have found that pistols configured with Sight Image #3 are the most true to Point of Aim equaling Point of Impact across typical pistol ranges and therefore don't require holdover compensation as distance changes.

  3. #3
    Say "No" to a Nanny State blues's Avatar
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    I prefer 2 and 3 but I'm not a bullseye shooter. Strictly defensive / tactical fwiw.
    Protect Your 2A Rights: NRA SAF GOA

  4. #4
    For #1, is there a rule about the size of the bullseye/circle? It seems to me that the efficacy of this sight picture entirely depends on the target, the distance, and the part of the target that is placed above the front sight. Any explanation would be appreciated.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnO View Post
    I have found that pistols configured with Sight Image #3 are the most true to Point of Aim equaling Point of Impact across typical pistol ranges and therefore don't require holdover compensation as distance changes.
    Isn't that just a matter of what distance it's zeroed at? Whether the sights are adjusted for a 15 yard (or any distance) zero with #2 or #3 your POI will be the same at various distances.

    I like #2 because I like being able to see the target rather than covering it whether as far away as possible or as small a target as possible.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Français View Post
    For #1, is there a rule about the size of the bullseye/circle? It seems to me that the efficacy of this sight picture entirely depends on the target, the distance, and the part of the target that is placed above the front sight. Any explanation would be appreciated.
    #1 works when you know the size of the target and distance to the target like in Bullseye shooting. If I'm 25 yards away from the target and know the bullseye is 4" above the bottom of the black then I adjust my sights so that POI is 4" above POA at 25 yards then hold at the bottom of the black.

    That only works on that size target at that distance. Change either one and the offset is different.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Lomshek View Post
    #1 works when you know the size of the target and distance to the target like in Bullseye shooting. If I'm 25 yards away from the target and know the bullseye is 4" above the bottom of the black then I adjust my sights so that POI is 4" above POA at 25 yards then hold at the bottom of the black.

    That only works on that size target at that distance. Change either one and the offset is different.
    Thank you. This confirms my impression that this sight setup is suboptimal for practical purposes.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Le Français View Post
    Thank you. This confirms my impression that this sight setup is suboptimal for practical purposes.
    Not necessarily... The 'black' on a TQ-7 (25 foot target) is about 1.5 inches, and the 'black' on a B-8 (25 yard target) is about 6.5 inches, and both provide the same sight picture. A 6 O'clock hold should have a POI just .75 inches above the POA at 25 feet, and 3.25 inches at 25 yards, I've not had any trouble with this shooting USPSA, and haven't really noticed any detriment compared to using a POA/POI setup.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by dsb View Post
    Not necessarily... The 'black' on a TQ-7 (25 foot target) is about 1.5 inches, and the 'black' on a B-8 (25 yard target) is about 6.5 inches, and both provide the same sight picture. A 6 O'clock hold should have a POI just .75 inches above the POA at 25 feet, and 3.25 inches at 25 yards, I've not had any trouble with this shooting USPSA, and haven't really noticed any detriment compared to using a POA/POI setup.
    I prefer #2 because that is what I have used the most, #3 would be my next choice at less than 25 yards. All sights will work, it just a matter of knowing POA/POI.

  10. #10
    Site Supporter Peally's Avatar
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    Pretty sure we're discussed this to death

    #1 is a bullseye method and is basically useless for much else (and as a result I wish it was removed from general sight picture discussions. Seriously, who the hell aims like that outside of super specific situations?)

    #2 is what everyone uses

    #3 is for HKs
    Semper Gumby, Always Flexible

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