Handgun Misc All handguns that don't fit elsewhere!

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Old 11-02-2009, 09:38   #1
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How to aim/sight a handgun

I'm relatively new to this, so I want to start without developing bad habits. I've been told that you aim handguns with both eyes open and fixate on your target, then bring the sights in. I've also heard to close one eye and focus and aim with your dominant eye. I read the AR article last month about how to be a better handgun shooter, but it didn't mention at all how to take aim. Thought I could get some insight from some old timers.

BTW I sucked yesterday at a charity bowling pin shoot.
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Old 11-02-2009, 15:57   #2
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The first method you mentioned sounds like point shooting; the second, more traditional.

You'll find strong adherents of both, and many variations, combinations, and even alternatives.

The key is practice. Figure out what works better for you. It's never the same for any two people.

A good shooting class will do wonders, but some adhere to a particular method to the exclusion of others.

Practice drawing slowly to get on target, and over time you'll build speed with the muscle memory you've developed. Consider when you first started driving. Inserting and turning the key was probably slow and awkward, but over time, I'll bet you now do it flawlessly and hardly think about it.

Once you've developed some muscle memory, you can test it out for speed on the cheap. Get an airsoft/BB pistol with proportions and sights similar, if not identical, to your real one's, and practice at paper plates. It'll make your real shots a lot more effective without having to cut your teeth with more expensive real ammo.
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Old 11-04-2009, 04:25   #3
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It also depends on whether your dominant hand and dominant eye are on the same side of your body. Some shooters who are cross dominant will close one eye or turn their head slightly, while others can shoot with both eyes open with no problem. Also, what type of sights are on the pistol? Post and notch vs. 3 dot vs. 2 dot can affect how you are taking a sight picture. Good rule of thumb though is to center the front post in the rear, left to right and top to bottom, place the front sight where you want the round to impact, focus on the front sight, and squeeze the trigger.
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Old 11-04-2009, 10:18   #4
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Originally Posted by Joe Garibaldi View Post
The first method you mentioned sounds like point shooting; the second, more traditional.

You'll find strong adherents of both, and many variations, combinations, and even alternatives.

The key is practice. Figure out what works better for you. It's never the same for any two people.

A good shooting class will do wonders, but some adhere to a particular method to the exclusion of others.

Practice drawing slowly to get on target, and over time you'll build speed with the muscle memory you've developed. Consider when you first started driving. Inserting and turning the key was probably slow and awkward, but over time, I'll bet you now do it flawlessly and hardly think about it.

Once you've developed some muscle memory, you can test it out for speed on the cheap. Get an airsoft/BB pistol with proportions and sights similar, if not identical, to your real one's, and practice at paper plates. It'll make your real shots a lot more effective without having to cut your teeth with more expensive real ammo.
A FIRST steps NRA pistol class is very inexpensive and there could be one within driving distance of where you live. Check out the NRA site on classes. Other than that I am sure that there are some ranges around your area that might be holding handgun classes, usually well worth the money in the long run.
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Old 11-04-2009, 12:54   #5
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all good advice to you and another thing is there's lots of difference between a large bore magnum you would hunt with maybe vs your favorite pocket 'walk the dog' or 'go jogging' pistol. and of course your 'trail' gun that likely is a tack-driver .22LR revolver or semi-auto.
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:45   #6
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shooting

One other thing. there are two types of shooting bullseye and combat.
generally bullseye is a slower shooting game. but it will teach you eye abd trigger control.get to place your shots long befor you start this combat type
50 ft you want to keep them in the 8/9/10 ring at least.in the end you should be able to keep them in the black at 50 yds if not better.use a twenty two to start.
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Old 01-25-2010, 21:15   #7
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Definitely take an entry NRA shooting class.

Try different stances and grips, both or one eye open, and see what works for you. I have learned that what works great for me doesn't work so well for others that I teach, so I have to watch them and see what is best for each individual.

ISPC might not be "real" or even "realistic" situational shooting, but the comps do wonders for teaching you to control firearms while dealing with adrenaline, elevated heart rate, reloads, odd shooting positions, etc. Either IPSC Limited or IDPA can really help with your shooting.
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Old 01-25-2010, 23:12   #8
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above all PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.


if you are getting rounds to hit where you want them (or close enough) - then you are "doing it right"
keep working on it, classes can help - sure. but keep sending ammo down range and you'll be shooting better in no time. the only thing I believe a Newbie hand gunner absolutely needs with regard to formal classes is a good basic Safety course and an operator's instruction on the particular firearm they will be shooting. and always start out on something small bore and easy to handle... a .22 .25 .32 etc. after that - let em' learn it their own way
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:23   #9
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Thanks for all the tips. I'm actually getting pretty accurate at 10yds with my XD(M) 9mm. I'm thinking of getting a 1911 so I can get he .22 conversion kit and not spend so much on ammo.
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Old 01-26-2010, 17:31   #10
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Originally Posted by Mr. Snuffalupagus View Post
above all PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.


if you are getting rounds to hit where you want them (or close enough) - then you are "doing it right"
keep working on it, classes can help - sure. but keep sending ammo down range and you'll be shooting better in no time. the only thing I believe a Newbie hand gunner absolutely needs with regard to formal classes is a good basic Safety course and an operator's instruction on the particular firearm they will be shooting. and always start out on something small bore and easy to handle... a .22 .25 .32 etc. after that - let em' learn it their own way
I don't necessarily agree with that line of logic. If a person just wings it and learns their own way, they may never understand what is keeping them from getting better shot groups. There are people who aim to hit the target, and then there are people who aim to hit the bullseye. Just as there is a big difference between those that can qualify on their CHL certification, and then those that are actually competent with their firearm. I can honestly say I have no idea what the minimum score is for a CHL test in Texas, because I aim to max it. Anything less leaves room for improvement.
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Last edited by 45K20E4; 07-21-2010 at 17:56.
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:28   #11
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Originally Posted by 45K20E4 View Post
Anything less leaves room for improvement.
Unless everything's going through one hole there's ALWAYS room for improvement...
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Old 07-21-2010, 13:00   #12
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Whether bullseye or combat shooting, following "the basics" is necessary to consistently score good hits.
You asked specifically about sight alignment, but stance, grip, trigger squeeze and follow-through are also critical.
As far as sight alignment goes, the most important thing is to focus on the front sight. Depending on how young your eyes are, the rear sight will be slightly blurred and the target more blurred. The mistake many novice shooters make is to focus on the target, because that's what they are trying to hit. Doing that is a mistake. A very minor misalignment in front and rear sights will cause a large error on target, so your focus must remain on your front sight.
Think "Front Sight - Press" (the trigger). Those who focus on the front sight and maintain sight alignment as described by StreetMini above will always out-shoot those who allow their focus to drift to the target.

If you are cross-dominant (right-hand dominant, but left-eye dominant or vice-versa), you can change your stance a bit to use your dominant hand and eye. This allows keeping both eyes open. Alternatively, you can use your dominant hand and non-dominant eye by either closing your dominant eye or putting a piece of frosted scotch tape on the dominant eye lens of your shooting glasses.
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Old 08-27-2010, 10:19   #13
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I've been shooting handguns for over 30 yrs now and some valid points are being made here.

Training is key. Learn grip, stance, technique etc. A good entry level class should be your starting point. Once you master the basics, then you can begin to develop what works best for you i.e weaver or isoceles etc.

Beyond that it's practice practice practice.

In Navy Security Forces school one saying really stands out. Front sight, front sight, slack, pause, squeeze. Meaning-focus on the front sight specifically, take up the slack in the trigger, pause and squeeze the trigger-dont pull or jerk it. They used to drill this into us.
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Old 10-19-2010, 00:58   #14
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Originally Posted by sean665 View Post
I've been shooting handguns for over 30 yrs now and some valid points are being made here.

Training is key. Learn grip, stance, technique etc. A good entry level class should be your starting point. Once you master the basics, then you can begin to develop what works best for you i.e weaver or isoceles etc.

Beyond that it's practice practice practice.

In Navy Security Forces school one saying really stands out. Front sight, front sight, slack, pause, squeeze. Meaning-focus on the front sight specifically, take up the slack in the trigger, pause and squeeze the trigger-dont pull or jerk it. They used to drill this into us.
As was just pointed out by sean665, the front sight is very important when shooting iron sights on handguns AND rifles.

You do understand that proper sight alignment, is when your front sight is located in the center of the rear sight, equal space on both sides of the front sight in the rear sight, and the top of the front sight post is aligned with the top of the rear sight, both at the same time. While maintaining this alignment, the front sight should stay in sharp focus, while the rear sight is slightly blurry.

Proper sight picture just includes a target, which also is slightly blurry, the only thing in sharp focus is the front sight.

The first picture shows a "combat" sight picture, where the "point of impact" is the front sight. The other picture is of a "six 'o clock" bulls eye sight picture. Some pistols such as Sigs, come with the sights set up for a "combat" sight picture, some others come set up for the "bulls eye" style. If your pistol comes with adjustable sights, you can adjust them for whichever style you prefer.




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Old 10-20-2010, 22:28   #15
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I am left eye dominant - I suck at clays and duck hunting (yes, I know whatto do about it,s owe can skip that part). I am right handed. If I am right handed, shoot with my right hand, I sight with my right eye. If you are left handed, shot with your left hand, you sight with your left eye. Period.
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