Front Sight Focus

I recently had Night Fision sights installed on my Springfield XD, which I use for home defense. I used to shoot with one eye closed, but recently began learning to shoot with both eyes open. I was having difficulty acquiring a good sight picture because of presbyopia (aging eyes), but started getting better with practice. I have a red dot sight on my EDC, a Springfield Hellcat, and practice co-witnessing the iron sights during my daily wall drills. In my difficulty using iron sights only on my XD, I noticed something peculiar about how I acquire my sight picture with my new night sights.

When I do wall drills with the XD, it’s extremely difficult to clearly see the sights. I have to squint one eye to acquire them. I read an article on the USCCA website by Grant Cunningham on shooting with old eyes. He said he tried focusing on the target and aligning blurry sights with great success. I tried that during dry fire using a laser cartridge with interesting results.

If I have an object on which to focus that is at least about 3 feet away, I can look at the target and quickly acquire a very clear sight picture as if I were looking through the sights at the target. The target will look a little blurry, but I can still see it and the sights clearly enough to place my front sight at a precise point I want to shoot. It’s as if I’m using one eye to focus on the target and the other to focus on the sights. I don’t know if maybe my brain learned to do this by co-witnessing the red dot and irons simultaneously on my Hellcat.

I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but it’s weird to me because I can get a very clear sight picture with an object on which to focus far away, but cannot do it with a wall up close when I do wall drills.

Anyone have thoughts or insights on this?

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I am left handed and right eye dominant. I struggle with the “both eyes open” thing. However, I recently watch one of the Warrior Poet videos where he is working with a novice shooter and had her turn her head (dominant eye forward) until the sight picture became clear. This has done WONDERS for me. I started off having to turn my head quite a bit, but it allowed me to keep both eyes open. As I have practiced this method I have begun training my non dominant eye to take a back seat, and not having to turn my head as far. It really was amazing to have that double vision thing happening, and as you turn your head it was like POW when the picture came clear.

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@Johnnyq60 we can try that!

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I have trained cross eye dominate shooters in that fashion. My right handed but left eye son learned to do it with any eye, any hand. Took a while though.

Before I got my eyes fixed, and realized what I had been doing for a few years… the sights were fuzzy but the target was clear, and I could shoot in competition very very well that way. Both eyes, one eye, did not matter. It was a slow progression. Once I got shooting glasses with a prescription, it was WOW there is a front sight there??? I actually had to learn to shoot a bit again. Now I can shoot both ways. In a sense, if you can’t see the front sights you are point shooting, and that does work well. HUGE debates on that one for sure. However, I have done enough to know that even if I do not have my glasses on, I can still shoot a rifle/shotgun/pistol at home defense ranges and be darn accurate.

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One of the biggest issues many shooters have is overthinking the whole sight issue. Your brain is an amazing thing and it will work with your muscles and line up everything for you if you just stop trying to take over. You need to recognize that it is impossible to have multiple planes in focus. Eyes don’t work that way.

The latest in modern defensive pistol craft is just focus on your target and introduce the sights on to it. When you see the front sight (sharp or blurry is Ok) where you need the shot to go just press your trigger and the bullet will go there. You’ll be surprised what happens if you just make it that simple.

Your only job is to master the basics. A good presentation and good grip, and of course the MOST important thing is trigger control. No one will ever shoot fast enough to make misses count and yanking on that trigger will lead to all sorts of misses. Dry fire practice makes for good shooters, period.

When practicing do not strive for speed. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. So practice slowly but CORRECTLY every move, specially your trigger work, and speed will just naturally develop.

This is one of my targets when I practice the basics. My brain just goes: target, front sight, trigger pull… and repeat over and over again.

Most importantly have fun practicing!

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My problem with a Front Sight Focus with both eyes open is that I then have two rear sights and two targets. I can’t differentiate between my two Sight Pictures. They are too close to each other. I literally cannot tell where I am going to shoot.

On the other hand, if I focus on my target, I have one target, and am able to tell which pistol is the true sight picture. I am sure there is something about this that makes it a worse method, but every time I try the “right” way, I am unable to safely pull the trigger. Luckily, I am right hand dominant and right eye dominant, so that is one less problem to work through.

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These front sight and/or target blur issues now have been eliminated thanks to the “red dot”. Just opinion but to my aging astigmatic eyes, having the dot on the same plane as the target is a blessing. Easy both eyes open acquisition. The latest generation of Dot sights are durable lightweight and most importantly dependable. They tick all the boxes for me.

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This is the same thing I do, just I’m left eye, right handed. What shooting stance do you prefer?(isosceles, Weaver, modified weaver)

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Thanks for the education, sir!

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I think I’m using the modified Weaver. I like it because it’s the same stance I end up in when I throw a right cross punch. It feels like a natural way to engage. I try to train shooting from a simple standing position, however, because that’s how I’ll probably be if I ever have to defend myself with my firearm. Really, I’m currently training to shoot accurately and consistently.

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First off let me clarify, lol…I am a fairly new shooter. I have shot with other people’s firearms several times, but just recently became a gun owner. I started off with the recommended “feet square, lean forward” and it feels “ok”, but I have found if I am even slightly off (standing to straight up, etc) I feel the recoil push more. I have gone to standing with my dominant hand side leg slightly back. It seems to automatically put me in a forward lean, and as @GuitarJoe said, it feels like a more natural “fighting stance” braced of other potential issues. So I would be left foot slightly back, right foot very slightly forward.

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Thats Modified Weaver. It’s what I prefer. I enjoy shooting magnum caliber handguns as well, and it does help with recoil mitigation.

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Happy to help in any small way I can!

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I did my best to apply what you told me. This is how I did with my first few mags using my XD with iron sights. Not bad, I think, but I have much to improve. Thanks again for your advice. I think it really helped.

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Hi Joe! That’s a darn good target! With a little tweaking you’ll be very happy with your results. Dry fire practice to fine tune and nail down trigger control will take care of tightening up the groups but you’re well into good SD accuracy! Great job!

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The only issue I find with that stance, and the reason I square off new shooters straight on to the target, is that it’s fine if you are shooting straight ahead or a threat shows up to your right and you have to do a fast target transition. But is a new threat shows to your left you now will probably have to reposition your whole body to address.

If you are square to the main threat you con now pivot form your waist and address threats on 180 degrees left and right, maybe even a little more if you are flexible, with nothing but a twist of your torso from the waist.

That does not make what you do bad, just there are more efficient ways to keep your options open.

BTW It should not be just “feet square and lean forward”. Your knees should be just slightly bent and your center of gravity should be just over the balls of your feet.

BTW here’s a picture of my daughter (all 105 lbs of her) shooting full power 41Mag loads under full recoil at 16. When your grip and stance arecorrect, that is about all the movement/recoil even a heavy magnum load should exert on upright body.

Shooting with Enzo

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Does anyone have a link to a good video I can watch online about shooting with both eyes open? I found out that the sights on my Sigg P3 65 were loose and eventually fell off and that may explain why my shots were all over the place depending on whether the rear sites were pushed to the left or the right. I am left eye dominant, which is my distance I, and shooting with both eyes is something that I should probably do to improve my accuracy. I would like to watch that turning the head video that was mentioned earlier in the thread

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Check out this video on front sight focus. It has a great tools to help you know when you’re properly focused on the front sight with both eyes open. It really helped me:

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@sam9,
Remember, learning to shoot with both eyes open is to teach you brain… not eyes. It comes with practice. One, two, three days, maybe week… but it eventually turn on like light switch. One moment you don’t know how to do this, next second you see clear through both eyes… (hard to explain this).

I used Chris Sajnog’s videos last year… but I see he changed YouTube available videos and those I used are no longer available for free.
However, you can listen this guy, he explains almost the same way:

This one was also very helpful (not entire video, just from 5:00 to 9:50

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I’ve watched the front sight focus video and then I found the warrior poet society video about the head turn. I can use the modified weaver or the triangle stance either one is good for me. I’m thinking in a gun battle I would want to have as much peripheral vision but either of those site training methods would be acceptable to me. I am thinking that the reason why I was way off on my shooting with the fact that my rear sights were broken On my new P365 and I sent it back today for warranty work. But if I was training my front sight only on the target then the rear sites should not have mattered I’m thinking. The good thing is my wife wants to go with me to the gun range this weekend and I just bought 200 rounds for us to split for an hour

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