Focus on the Front Sight? Maybe. Maybe Not.

I did some shooting over the Memorial Day weekend and came away shaking my head. The reason for the headshake was that, over the course of about six hours, I figured out that, at ranges up to about 15 feet, I didn’t need to use my sights AT ALL to score high-center-chest hits on a human-sized target. Not only was I accurate, I was pretty darn fast as well.

For years I have been the “focus-on-the-front-sight” guy. I was taught and trained and practiced in the art of pistol marksmanship. This is not to say I am a great pistol marksman. It is to say that I know the THEORY of accurate pistol shooting. Yes, I scored very well at the Gunsite 250 course. Yes, I hit the headshot in 1.5 seconds from the holster. But my trigger press is often suspect on the longer shots and I have been known to anticipate recoil every now and then.

But over the long weekend I found I was able to, from the high-ready position, lock out and deliver four combat-effective shots on target in just over a second. The high ready I am describing has your elbows at your sides, your forearms on your ribs and your gun held with both hands in the center of your chest, parallel to but below your line of sight.

Focus on the target. On the command, drive your arms forward with authority to lock out both elbows, lower your head a bit as you roll your shoulders forward as the gun comes into your line of sight and fire at the target with smooth trigger control.

You will hit the target.

You won’t have a single ragged hole, but you will put your rounds into the bad guy’s boiler room quickly and effectively.

Those of you who have seen me shoot know that I am badly cross-eye dominant. At first I was trying to turn my head to pick up the front sight with my left eye (the way I have been shooting for 25 years). But once I ignored the sights, my speed improved greatly and accuracy was not terribly degraded.

At ranges inside 15 feet, this unsighted fire works and is both quick and accurate.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not point shooting. This style of shooting combines the mechanical attributes of a good neutral shooting stance, a good grip and your natural ability to point directly at something to allow you to aim the pistol accurately (though not precisely) without the sights. It is the ultimate point-and-shoot interface for combat accuracy at your average room distances.

If you want to hit something smaller than an 8×10 photo, you still need to use the sights, but if you want to hit a fairly large target quickly at distances between 6 and 15 feet, unsighted fire will work. Just remember to lock out your elbows, get the gun into your line of sight and your head down a bit to achieve that good solid shooting position. Do that and your rounds will hit the target.

I’ll be exploring this more in the coming months and on my Into the Fray video blog, but for now, let us know what you think. Front sight every time? Or will rapid unsighted fire at close range work for you?