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Thread: Target focus shooting

  1. #1

    Target focus shooting

    I have historically shot iron sights with a front sight focus. As you get older, your eyes donít shift focus as quickly between two distances like front sight and target, and where I used to be able to tell you how many serrations were on my Heinie front sight, I can no longer do that. A red dot allows me to keep a target focus and has been faster and more accurate than iron sights.

    Two days ago, I went from shooting my Glock with a DP Pro to a G45 with iron sights. Without realizing it, I started shooting it with a target focus, and was surprisingly fast and accurate. That included shooting eight inch steel out to 20 yards.

    Yesterday, after shooting the dot, I experimented with it it some more and continued to be impressed, with my times faster than my red dot times on a number of drills. Here is an example of such a drill.



    Later, I was able to shoot Bill drills at 15 yards in the 2.20 range with just one C, which I havenít been able to do with a dot. I have read that Ben Stoeger shoots target focused out to 25 yards.

    Have you messed around with target focused shooting to further distances and what have you experienced?
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  2. #2
    I have always done most of my shooting inside 7-8 yards with target focus but with age and eyesight changes I have leaned towards doing so at farther distances. When I took the World Class pistol skills course with Robert Vogel he said he uses target focus out to 20+ yards depending on the target/speed/accuracy needs. For me now I shoot any target the size of a shet of paper out to 10 yards target focus. Smaller targets and farther targets I move back to front sight focus even if I can't see it as clearly as a few years ago.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by octagon View Post
    I have always done most of my shooting inside 7-8 yards with target focus but with age and eyesight changes I have leaned towards doing so at farther distances. When I took the World Class pistol skills course with Robert Vogel he said he uses target focus out to 20+ yards depending on the target/speed/accuracy needs. For me now I shoot any target the size of a shet of paper out to 10 yards target focus. Smaller targets and farther targets I move back to front sight focus even if I can't see it as clearly as a few years ago.
    Do you switch between target focused and front sight focused shooting at a conscious or subconscious level?
    Likes pretty much everything in every caliber.

  4. #4
    Site Supporter cornstalker's Avatar
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    Following with extreme interest. My current path is in this direction due to being slightly farsighted. Just getting started though and have hit some setbacks with the optic. Never even thought of trying a target focus with irons.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by GJM View Post
    Do you switch between target focused and front sight focused shooting at a conscious or subconscious level?
    Mostly subconscious as I have to think back to it after shooting but when shooting slower it becomes conscious.

    This also changes some depending on sights, gun, target and lighting. On a gun that is new to me or different enough from my regular guns I do less target focus. On guns with sights that are small or less visible, targets that are similar to the sights and or background or in lower light levels I tend to shoot even more target focused.

  6. #6
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    Very interesting. Iíve heard that Ben really started working the target focus out to 25yds really heavy this year and specifically mentioned that a fiber optic front REALLY helps facilitate that. Heís essentially looking at the target, seeing the dot, and pressing the shot. Given that Iím not old yet, but not exactly getting any younger, I may need to start incorporating this technique. Hopefully by the time I actually NEED it, itíll be so second nature I wonít ever have to worry about it.


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  7. #7
    I learned a long time ago (while I still had great visual acuity) that I can be target focused to the degree the silhouette of my pistol's sights/slide appear smaller than my target. This continuum of sight focus vs target focus is obviously dependent on several factors, i.e. the distance and size of the target coupled with the shooter's natural or developed abilities.

    This approach to orienting the muzzle has served me pretty well since I haven't seen a front sight clearly (w/o special shooting glasses) in about 15 years.


    ETA: I teach this "continuum" approach to sight use in LE academy training, but I seldom teach anything but target focused shooting to folks I know will never pursue any other form of training or practice.

    ETA again: I don't use or teach either/or when it comes to sight use. It's simply a matter of "how much" you're target focused versus sight focused in order to achieve adequate muzzle orientation.
    Last edited by 41magfan; 11-02-2018 at 10:43 AM.
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  8. #8
    Site Supporter ubervic's Avatar
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    While this thread seems to turn conventional wisdom about iron-sight pistol shooting on its head, I'm hopeful that this technique holds merit for many and is not successful only for those with certain vision.

    I'm in my mid-fifties and struggle to attain a sharp focus on the front sight. Still, I've been pushing myself to train my focus on the front sight and only the front sight, as emphasis on sight alignment (followed closely by sight picture) has been the mantra for higher-level ion-sight shooting for many years. I've actually been thinking a lot about moving to RMR, as doing so would facilitate target focus and essentially render iron sights backup status only. Maybe that's not necessary.......?

    I'm going to experiment with the target focus this weekend and see what happens.

  9. #9
    Site Supporter David S.'s Avatar
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    Last edited by David S.; 11-02-2018 at 11:46 AM.

  10. #10
    Site Supporter NH Shooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GJM View Post
    Two days ago, I went from shooting my Glock with a DP Pro to a G45 with iron sights. Without realizing it, I started shooting it with a target focus, and was surprisingly fast and accurate. That included shooting eight inch steel out to 20 yards.
    I've been near-sighted and have worn corrective lenses since I was seven years old. As I've grown older, I've also needed correction for up-close work such as reading.

    Over the last five or so years (I'm now 64) these two vision issues have morphed in a good way for me - my distance vision has improved and without glasses the target is adequately clear, and the front sight even more so. When I bring the sights into my line of view, it takes a second but I can focus entirely on the target and still have a very useable sight picture, so I no longer have to force focus to the front sight. I'll take it!

    Now, if only some of the other age disorders I suffer from could be fixed...

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