Basic marksmanship (Proper Sight Alignment Sight Picture)

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by GrandpaDave, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. GrandpaDave

    GrandpaDave Monkey++

    This is yet another copy/paste job from my own web site... from my back to basics days... hope you all enjoy

    Basic Marksmanship (Proper Sight Alignment Sight Picture)

    <table class="sites-layout-name-one-column sites-layout-hbox" cellSpacing="0" xmlns=""><tbody><tr><td class="sites-layout-tile sites-tile-name-content-1">Sometimes we long time shooters get so caught up in the latest toys we forget not everyone has been taught the basics and the first and most important thing you need to learn is how to properly sight in a weapon be it rifle or handgun. As my brothers in arms will attest the mantra for that become "Sight Alignment and Sight Picture"! for this lesson we're only going to discuss open iron sights... scopes and lasers fall in the cool toy category...

    As all high guru of combat shooting Col. Jeff Cooper wrote, "If there is one thing that is most vital about pistolcraft it is concentration on the front sight."

    Below is a picture of how you should line up your sights.

    Note that the front blade/post is lined up perfectly level and centered in the rear notch... it is with the sights aligned thus you can if need be make your adjustments to the sights...

    Below is another sample and shows what happens if your not Aligned

    Proper Sight picture is the part where people get in trouble... it's natural to want to look at the target but that is a huge mistake... one it distracts so you lose proper Alignment... the only place your eyes should on is that front sight! let everything else blur out (Watch That Front Sight) do that and you'll always hit what you shoot at... Long before you hit the range you should be practicing these two basic skills Slight Alignment and Sight picture should practice picking up that front sight as soon as your weapon comes to eye level... if this is all new to you then now is a good time to do a little dry firing... Dont worry about asking questions either we all went through these first steps

    Now I invite my fellow shooters to add to this thread... anyone want to try teaching the proper way to pull/squeeze the trigger? what about the right way top load a magazine or revolver? remember lets keep it basic and assume our student have never touched a firearm...

  2. Alpha Dog

    Alpha Dog survival of the breed

    As you line up you sights control your breathing let everything slow down. place the firs joint of your trigger finger (index finger) as doing so take a full breath and let it out as your finger lays on the trigger take a second breath and let only half of it out start to squeeze the trigger pulling it straight back not jerking it. If you put to much or not enough of your finger on the trigger it will be off to either side, jerking the trigger your shot will be high. I follow a 3second rule and now this is for rifle or shooting from cover where I have time to slow down. After I go through the set up to take the shot if I dont get that shot off in 3 seconds I start all over with my breathing and sight picture. Some dont agree with the 3 second count but it has always worked well for me. Your breathing and finger placement is key to you sight alignment. Also I do a step by step talking to myself in my head one find target, two control breathing three obtain good sight picture, Four take breath, Five position finger on trigger, Six take breath exhale half, Seven slowly pull trigger take up, eight eliminate target.
    Cephus and GrandpaDave like this.
  3. GrandpaDave

    GrandpaDave Monkey++

    Nine, Relax... your arms will tremor if your tense and you'll see the target dance in your sights
  4. Espada

    Espada Monkey+

    Re your "Proper sight alignment and picture"... when you see that, while at the same time contrating on A-dog's recommendations, remember that concentrating on holding the pistol absolutely still is NOT a PRIME requisite... strange, but true.

    If you're holding proper sight alignment and picture, you may swivel the pistol, from the shoulder, in a circle equal to the size of the target, and still hit the target. Think of the bullet's path as a beam of light - if picture/alignment are correct, a little movement will only affect a little displacement within the center of the target.

    So much effort is concentrated on absolute stillness, that other more important aspects of launching a bullet are over-ridden. A common exercise to teach this is to shoot at a blank piece of paper instead of a bullseye... concentrate on alignment and picture ONLY, and group size shrinks amazingly. As Grandpa says, concentrating on the target is a mistake.
    Alpha Dog likes this.
  5. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    This is a great post.

    Note, if you're shooting Heinie sights, you put the top O on what you want to hit.

    These sights are marketed as "rapid target acquisition" or "combat sights" and I have grown quite fond of them.

  6. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Gotta say that GPD's advice is the gold standard for post and notch sights. There are other techniques with other types of sights which are not exactly basic (say aperture and globe, or Patridge, or aperture and blade.) The only constant, no matter the sight, is consistency of front sight focus. I'll also add that no matter what sight picture an individual uses, gold standard or other, consistency is the key. You can line up your sights all wrong, but if so, doing it all wrong consistently will serve well.

    Good thread.
  7. Alpha Dog

    Alpha Dog survival of the breed

    Dont hold the firearm like you are riding a bull get a good firm grip you dont have to try and crush the grip. Proper grip works hand and hand with sight picture.

    This is the form I use


    This is another form


    This will get you killed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    All this is great for target shooting and when accompanied by a bunch of other shooters and utilizing cover and concealment.
    However, if caught flat footed, exposed with no cover close, and the threat is less than 30 feet away ......
    Yes I know, absolutely worst case scenerio. Who ever fires first, is probably going to be the last man standing.
    At this point you can pretty much throw all the other principals of marksmanship out the window, and if the front sight is in clear focus, and close to center of mass on a human torso as you pull the trigger, it doesn't matter much about all the rest, you should have a hit. Follow up shots are desired to ensure that the threat is removed. jmho
    Cephus and Alpha Dog like this.
  9. Alpha Dog

    Alpha Dog survival of the breed

    Agree thats when speed, shot placement and follow up meens life or death. The only thing that can prepare a person for that is practice,practice and more pratice. The proper fundamentals is important during practice and need to be set inplace from the beging. So it will become a reaction with repitition.
    tacmotusn and Cephus like this.
  10. CaboWabo5150

    CaboWabo5150 Hell's coming with me

    I still have my old "The Marine Marksman" course from Marine Corps Institute... Dated 22 July 1986... It's based around the M16A2... Been a while since I looked at it ( about 20 years ) but maybe I'll give it a look over again.. Brings back memories of sitting around a 55 gallon barrel painted white with black spots all over it... Good ole "snapping in"...
    Sapper John likes this.
  11. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    All pistols can be aimed; some pistols "fit" better so they point well.
    tacmotusn likes this.
  12. GrandpaDave

    GrandpaDave Monkey++

    Very true... but point shooting is a different technique... maybe you could do a how-too on that???? I'd be the first to give you a "Like"
  13. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Most people are pretty close when pointing with their index finger. When your index finger is on the trigger; the part of your index finger between the knuckle and first joint is doing the same pointing motion and it is parallel to the barrel. Point at something; then try pointing with a pistol and you'll see what I mean.

    That is the very short form.
    GrandpaDave likes this.
survivalmonkey SSL seal warrant canary