Seeing Is Believing

My husband Sean and I recently had an opportunity to train with Dave Sevigny of Sevigny Performance, winner of more than 250 major matches from 1999–2018 in International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA), International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC), NRA Action Pistol (including Bianchi Cup), Pro-Am Shooting, Steel Challenge Shooting Association, Tactical Shooting Association and the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA). That’s a lot of competitions … and a lot of wins! You can definitely say that Dave is a pretty impressive guy (and a really great trainer).

Sean and I spent an entire day with Dave at the Sevigny Performance Range in Georgia, staring down steel targets from all eight stages of a typical steel challenge match. And both of us learned some effective techniques for getting to the gun faster and getting it out of the holster and up on target faster. But, unfortunately, nothing I worked on could help me see any faster. The thing is that shooting accurately and quickly often involves seeing accurately and quickly. And, odd as it sounds, if you can see fast, you may be able to shoot fast as well. In other words, if your overall body mechanics, natural abilities and sharp eyesight enable you to line up on target and get good sight alignment and sight picture (or even a flash sight picture), then you are on the right track to quick, accurate shooting. But, unfortunately, my aging eyes have not been very cooperative on that front. And while I do have a new prescription for corrective lenses to help with distance, I have felt as if my contacts are competing with — or even compromising — my up-close-and-personal, clear focus on my front sight. So, I was definitely struggling that day.

Beyond just healthy, able eyes, however, gear can certainly come into play. So, Dave asked to look at my M&P 9mm and my Dawson Precision sights (which Sean calls my “suppressor sights” since, for some reason, I tend to gravitate toward the taller, suppressor height). Dave measured my setup and found that there was not much space between the posts of the rear sight and front sight. That, combined with my slowpoke vision, made lining up my sights on target a little sluggish. He suggested I try a wider rear sight notch (which would result in a wider distance between the posts) so I could float that front sight into the center of the rear sights much faster and see more of the target through the gap.

It only took Dave asking one time if he could work on my gun for me to agree and then anxiously wait for the results. He also put brand new Sevigny Competition sights on Sean’s M&P (yes, we shoot the same guns). The Sevigny sights measure 0.15 inches wide in the rear and 0.115 inches wide in the front, providing a considerably larger amount of light available around the front post. He then hand-filed my rear sight to a similar ratio to match the wider-than-0.115-inch front post that I have on my “suppressor sights.”

Basically, Dave carved out some more space for me so that I could more easily and clearly get that front sight lined up and equal between the two rear posts. It sounded completely logical to me, but who would have thought it would make such a big difference? Seeing was definitely believing. And making that small change to my sights improved my shooting speed exponentially. Clearly (pun intended) sights are not the magic bullet for fast and accurate shooting, and that additional space might not be a solution for everyone, but I am definitely excited to use this new setup in competition and in other training.