If you had a good shooting coach early in your life, you will remember those most important of words: Focus on the front sight.
When shooting, the front sight should be in clear focus, and the target should be slightly blurry.
Well, getting older is not for sissies. Long about age 45 (does anyone else even remember 45?), most people begin to see the symptoms of presbyopia. The hardening of the lens tissue in the eye causes presbyopia, and symptoms include the inability to focus on things close to your eyes and read small print. You may be caught trying to hold things farther away from your face so you can get a better look. My eye doctor told me, “Don’t worry. This is just part of the natural aging process.” That did not make me feel any better.
As things got worse, I struggled to see the front sight clearly and was looking for answers. A bigger dot on the front sight works well. But there will come a time when even that big dot requires some fine-tuning. Reading glasses help with the words on the page and on screen, but it took some crafty thinking to make “cheaters” work for pistol shooters.
The folks at SSP Eyewear have created a line of shooting glasses that puts the bifocal part on the top of the lens, thus allowing you to maintain a proper shooting posture while using the magnifier to keep your front sight in focus. And guess what? It works really well.
After messing around with a set of the glasses for a couple days, I decided to jump in with both feet. I ran a series of drills on the range as I checked the new sights on my Glock 19. As expected, the front sight was in sharp focus, and the target remained a bit blurry. I can’t tell you how good it felt to actually see the front sight clearly again.
I got the Top Focal Ultra Kit for $79.99. It comes with six sets of lenses in three colors: clear, amber and smoke. You can have your right lens with the bifocal on top and your left lens with the bifocal on the bottom, or vice versa, if you choose. I haven’t gone that route yet as I have just been dabbling with them at this point. What I have noticed is that it takes a bit of practice to find the bifocal part if you have never experienced the magnification at the top before. But once I figured it out, I was on target quickly and accurately. As a double bonus, the glasses are also ANSI-approved to provide protection as well as magnification.
These lenses feature a permanent anti-fog/anti-scratch coating and give you a clear field of view without distorting your peripheral vision. The only downside I have found is that, as a cross-eye dominant shooter, I have to close my left eye to be able to sight effectively with my right eye. This is not the end of the world. There are even some training instructors out there saying it is all right to shoot a pistol with one eye closed. I look at it this way: The goal of shooting a pistol is to get rounds on the target as quickly and accurately as you can. If my aging eyes require me to give up some of my peripheral vision in order to achieve that goal, well that is just another reason why it sucks to get old.
These Top Focal glasses from SSP Eyewear will allow you to once again focus on the front sight. You might have to make minor adjustments to your shooting style, but we can’t have it all. At least we can have our front sight in focus again.