Competitive shooter Rob Leatham leads off the discussion of aiming a handgun vs sighting. If the shooter is very close, it’s an easy shot. He’s not going to aim. He’s going to point the gun and pull the trigger as fast as possible, check where the hits are, and move on.
Defensive shooting instructor Rob Pincus agrees with this and that it applies to all realms of shooting, from handgun training to competition to self-defense.
Aiming a Handgun
What if the target is farther out? They use the example of a target eight yards out. Rob L draws the gun. When the gun stops moving, he sees everything he needs to and he takes the shot. Looking at a smaller target that is even farther away, Rob L visually verifies his sight alignment before taking the difficult shot.
Rob P then takes the same shots. At the closer target, he doesn’t look at the gun. He drives the gun out using kinesthetic alignment and presses the trigger. Looking at the smaller target, Rob P does not focus on the front sight, which is a large bright fiber-optic sight, but he is aware that it is there.
If Rob P has to hit a smaller area on the small target, he focuses on the front sight, and consciously looks at the front sight and gets sight alignment and sight picture because the target area is so small.
How Do They Teach These Concepts?
Rob L tells students that if aiming a handgun is not required to make the shot, don’t aim. Just drive out and take the shot. If they need to aim a little bit, aim a little bit. If they need to aim a lot and focus on the front sight because the shot is so hard, they should ask themselves if they should even take the shot. This is important to remember from a responsibility standpoint. (Though in competition, shooters always have to take the shot, regardless of how difficult it is.)
If taking that difficult shot, Rob L stresses that the shooter needs to see a sight picture: the front and the rear and the back. Rob L never focuses strictly on seeing the front sight clearly.
Make sure to watch the beginning of this discussion in Part 1: Does Barrel Length Matter?