While there is no doubt that the use of precision optics makes targeting much easier on any type of gun, there is a lot to be said about the skill and shooting ability that can be developed through the use of the old school iron sights.
There is a technique and a method that is essential with this type of sighting that takes practice, experience and an understanding of the process of hitting the target that just isn’t there with the new school optics.
The type of weapon you are using will also have an impact on how easy or how difficult these sights may be to try for the first time or to use after years of shooting with scopes.
To help you to get back to the basics of shooting with these very traditional types of sights, here are some tips and ideas you may want to consider the next time you are out on the target range.
Breathing and Stance
Many people assume that problems with hitting the center of the target or grouping shots is a factor of a problem with the sights. Sometimes people assume that the rear sight has to have a smaller aperture or that the sights are somehow not correctly aligned to provide an accurate shot or shots.
In reality, the biggest issue is typically the behavior of the shooter and not a problem with the gun. Often people will change their breathing patterns and hold their breath when they shoot, tightening up the shoulders and changing the position of the gun barrel in relation to their body.
Additionally, leaning forward or back, tightening the shoulders or holding the weapon too high or low can also create a tendency to shake or move slightly, throwing off sighting.
With iron sights, slow, controlled breathing and conscious relaxation of the muscles, particularly in the shoulders and the upper back and chest will allow consistent targeting.
With iron sights, the focus is on the front sight which should appear to sit in the center of the rear sight. The tops of both sights should form a straight line. Ideally, focus on the sights in their alignment and don’t focus on the target.
A very big problem when going from optics to the traditional sights is to focus on the target, which means your focus in not on the alignment and the correct positioning of the sight. This is a sure recipe for a missed shot, but one that can be easily corrected with just a change in focus.