PDA

View Full Version : basic question on sight picture with peep sights on AR15


swift
02-27-2007, 9:51 PM
I've been blessed/cursed with starting an interest in rifles somewhat later in life when I could afford good scopes. Some of you point out that the really good shooters can shoot well using iron sights. So help me understand what the sight picture should look like with a peep sight on an AR15.

When I look through the rear sight, I see the center sight and have a hard time seeing the 'wings' of the front sight. I assume that I want the top of the front sight centered in the field of view through the apeture and that it should just touch the center of my target. Should I be seeing the curved parts of the front sight as well? Should I be seeing any of the base of the front sight in my sight picture?

I've used this sight picture at 100 yards (off bags) and gotten 5" groups, but I'd like to get it tighter so I can try 200 and 300 yards.

blkA4alb
02-27-2007, 9:57 PM
Just look through the rear apeture at the front center post. The "wings" are not related to aiming in any way and are simply there to protect the front sight. Your eye will naturally center the front sight post within the rear apeture.

anotherted
02-27-2007, 10:00 PM
Focus on the post, not the target.

ETA: Jim Owens has a great book on this subject called "Sight Alignment and trigger control" (I believe).
WELL worth the time.

Pthfndr
02-27-2007, 10:11 PM
Go read the first 4 chapters by Jim Owens on sight alignment, etc. It'll get you going in the right direction.

http://www.jarheadtop.com/chapters.htm

Technical Ted
02-27-2007, 10:13 PM
Just happens that I have a picture handy.

kj
02-27-2007, 10:15 PM
I too started rifle shooting at a late age (40) when I started highpower. I focus on the front sight, which is centered in the rear aperture. Also, I put the post right under the bullseye - a six o'clock hold. My eyes aren't good enough to see the target if I push the front sight up into it.

Technical Ted
02-27-2007, 10:31 PM
Check out these excerpts from Jim Owen's book "Sight Alignment, Trigger Control and The Big Lie"
http://www.jarheadtop.com/Chapter_one.htm
http://www.jarheadtop.com/Chapter_Two.htm
http://www.jarheadtop.com/Chapter_Three.htm
http://www.jarheadtop.com/Chapter_Four.htm

When I first read them about 10 years ago my groups improved dramatically.

ETA: oops didn't see Pathfinder's post.

xenophobe
02-27-2007, 10:42 PM
Focus on the post, not the target.

No, focus on the target, and not your sights. Your front post should be nearly in focus, your rear sight should be fuzzy. Do not pay attention to your sights, pay attention to your target.

Looking through the rear peep, the front sight will naturally line up to where you are aiming.

If you are focused on your front sight, you will not even see your target.

Pthfndr
02-27-2007, 11:17 PM
No, focus on the target, and not your sights. Your front post should be nearly in focus, your rear sight should be fuzzy. Do not pay attention to your sights, pay attention to your target.

Looking through the rear peep, the front sight will naturally line up to where you are aiming.

If you are focused on your front sight, you will not even see your target.

You are wrong.

adamsreeftank
02-28-2007, 12:29 AM
I'm going to get a bowl of popcorn.
This should be good.

blkA4alb
02-28-2007, 12:33 AM
You are wrong.
No, he isn't. You should acquire the front sight but you should not be focusing on it.

FinweElensar
02-28-2007, 12:35 AM
You are wrong.

Please, educate us.

xenophobe
02-28-2007, 1:13 AM
You are wrong.

My advice shows results.

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?p=420492

Take the gun, to a real range and fire at a 25 yard rapid fire pistol target starting at 7y.

Aim at the center

Take slow, precise shots

Make sure your grip the pistol firmly, with a tight wrist.

Aim steady

Breathe normally

Pull the trigger smoothly all the way back when you reach 'fully exhaled pause'.
Pull the trigger all the way through until it doesn't move...
Do not jerk the trigger, do not hold your breath, do not focus on your sights...

Your rear sight should be blurry, your front sight should be almost in focus, you should be focused and be concentrating on the target. Your sights are to be viewed out of focus, but lined up with the target which you are paying attention to.

I read this post before heading out to the range earlier tonight and all I can say is

THANK YOU..

My Sig is the first pistol I have owned and the first 500 rounds were all over the paper. Following your advice I was able to place my shots almost exactly where I wanted them to go. I was shooting very tight groups like I knew what I was doing... Had many runs of touching holes..

Feels like I overcame a major stumbling block in my shooting ability. I owe ya one..

ldivinag
02-28-2007, 2:53 AM
Just happens that I have a picture handy.


what if your rear sight doesnt have the 2 red cross-pieces...






jk... ;)

chickenfried
02-28-2007, 2:54 AM
Yeah what does pathfinder know, he's never worked at a gun shop :p . Come to think of it the guys on the USAMU Service Rifle Team probably haven't either, I'm never listening to their advice again.

The cmp site is acting kinda wonky right now. Here's a link showing how Norm Anderson, the guy answering the question below, did at the 2005 national matches at camp perry.
http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:ajHFK1IU1R8J:clubs.odcmp.com/cgi-bin/report_matchResult.cgi%3FmatchID%3D827+norman+ande rson+national+matches&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&lr=lang_en&client=firefox-a

http://www.odcmp.com/USAMU/Shooting_Tips.htm
Q: Sir, I shoot service rifle and I have heard it explained many times that the shooter should focus and concentrate on the front sight. As simple as it sounds, I’m not sure I do it. When I prepare to make a shot, I look through the rear sight at the combination of the front sight and the aiming black of the target. Before taking the shot, I make sure the tip of the front post is exactly in the middle of the black circle created by the rear sight. Then after being satisfied of this alignment, I position the front post as perfectly centered on the aiming black as I can with the appropriate “line of white” then shoot. I do not consciously concentrate only on the front post but, rather the combination of the post and aiming black as one sight picture although, the post is sharply in focus. Am I viewing the right thing the right way? Thanks, Mike

A: Mike, My first response to your question is Yes, you are looking at the right thing the right way. I know this because you say the FRONT SIGHT POST is sharply in focus, not the target. My concern however is that you are not giving your full attention to the front sight at all times, and here is why I say that. The front sight moves all the time, meanwhile, the target stays still, right? The natural tendency is to be drawn to the target just because it doesn't move. That is what makes focusing on the front sight so difficult; we are fighting a natural instinct to look at the still target. This is what also makes looking at the sight picture as a whole "not the best thing to do."

As a shooter, you need to be aware of the location of the front sight post in relation to the target, not as part of it. When you can gain control of your focus and stay on the front sight while it moves around, you will see immediately that you will be inside of call, and your shots will be closer and closer to center. Understand that this isn't too far departed from what you see already. I think that what you are missing is right there in between checking your alignment and final focus on the front sight post. Just remember to always keep your focus on the front sight, and good things will happen.

Good Shooting,
SFC Norm Anderson

xenophobe
02-28-2007, 4:39 AM
Yeah what does pathfinder know, he's never worked at a gun shop :p

I graduated in the top 7 shooters in my training battalion of 200+ and qualified expert 4/4 times. I helped train BRM in AIT for S3/HHC 2/159 INF (M), and assisted range cadre numerous times at Camp Roberts and Ft Ord as well as working Los Altos R&G for nearly 2 years. The only reason I'm not a NRA certified instructor is because I haven't a strong desire to be.

I'm no long range NRA highpower match guy, and you can sit there and shoot your single static target at a known distance all day long, but I've never missed a single 300y popup at any BRM qualification range with open sights, and I used to be one of the fastest guys to actually clear a room. I was offered a position with the California Drug Interdiction Program and training with the DEA, Customs Enforcement and other agencies, but went a different direction in life.

I'm telling you what works for me, and it has worked for a number of others I've instructed. Sitting there focusing on your front sight doesn't help any when you have multiple targets popping up at various distances, or in close range situations. Exactly why optics like the EOTech or Aimpoint are so effective in combat.

Telling me to focus on the front sight is like telling me to focus on my fists during a fist fight. Umm.... maybe that would work for you. :p

And unlike you, I'm not cutting and pasting crap. You can cut and paste all you want, I'm talking about my own real life experience. As soon as I have my bolt gun setup correctly, I'll put up my gun for a winner take all match, if you'd like.

swift
02-28-2007, 5:11 AM
Thanks for your advice, pictures and links. The sight pictures I've seem to be misleading because they often show the curved left and right parts of the front sight, but I can almost never see those. Now I know that I don't need to see them.

I can't wait to try what I've learned! Thanks to Xeno's post, maybe my pistol shooting will improve too!

Now can we stop arguing about whether or not to focus on the front sight?

Sniper3142
02-28-2007, 6:40 AM
The Front Sight should be in focus. The target beyond it is slightly blurry.

That is how I wasd taught in the USMC and I qualified Expert 8 times over 10 years (couldn't go to the range a couple of times due to deployments).

I don't know what the Army teaches but since most of the soliders I've met don't think the M16 can hit a man sized target at 500 yards, I'm not impressed.

:(

Fjold
02-28-2007, 8:38 AM
Always focus on the front site!

anotherted
02-28-2007, 9:12 AM
Amen

Technical Ted
02-28-2007, 9:15 AM
Front site in focus. That's what every shooting instructor, rifle or pistol, will tell you in class or in print. That's what service match shooters will tell you. That's what it says in FM 3-22.

That's what it says in the instructionals that Pathfinder and I linked to.

That's what works for me.

PanzerAce
02-28-2007, 9:21 AM
I have a great idea, how about if everybody shoots however they find the easiest and most accurate?

chickenfried
02-28-2007, 9:24 AM
Nice internet resume (jk'ing no reason to doubt you), but what does all that have to do with the original posters question? Which was shooting good groups with an AR and iron sights at 100 yards?

Forgive me for cutting and pasting advice from a guy that's won awards at the national matches with a service rifle equipped with iron sights. Advice that most shooters at his level would agree with. I have no idea why I thought it might be relevant to the subject :rolleyes: .

I graduated in the top 7 shooters in my training battalion of 200+ and qualified expert 4/4 times. I helped train BRM in AIT for S3/HHC 2/159 INF (M), and assisted range cadre numerous times at Camp Roberts and Ft Ord as well as working Los Altos R&G for nearly 2 years. The only reason I'm not a NRA certified instructor is because I haven't a strong desire to be.

I'm no long range NRA highpower match guy, and you can sit there and shoot your single static target at a known distance all day long, but I've never missed a single 300y popup at any BRM qualification range with open sights, and I used to be one of the fastest guys to actually clear a room. I was offered a position with the California Drug Interdiction Program and training with the DEA, Customs Enforcement and other agencies, but went a different direction in life.

I'm telling you what works for me, and it has worked for a number of others I've instructed. Sitting there focusing on your front sight doesn't help any when you have multiple targets popping up at various distances, or in close range situations. Exactly why optics like the EOTech or Aimpoint are so effective in combat.

Telling me to focus on the front sight is like telling me to focus on my fists during a fist fight. Umm.... maybe that would work for you. :p

And unlike you, I'm not cutting and pasting crap. You can cut and paste all you want, I'm talking about my own real life experience. As soon as I have my bolt gun setup correctly, I'll put up my gun for a winner take all match, if you'd like.

anotherted
02-28-2007, 9:41 AM
I have a great idea, how about if everybody shoots however they find the easiest and most accurate?

screw that.:p

PanzerAce
02-28-2007, 9:44 AM
screw that.:p

oh yah, its the internet, screw common sense :p

ocabj
02-28-2007, 10:10 AM
Front sight focus is critical to an accurate shot.

It is fine to switch focus onto your target to line up your sights. But when you break the trigger to let the shot go, your eye should be focused on the front sight.

This ensures that your front sight is still on target and so can call your shot.

Even scoped rifle shooters are supposed to focus on the reticle when the shot breaks. Why? If you were looking at the target when the shot breaks, you can't call your shot because you weren't 100% focused on where the reticle was. In your mind you think you were looking at the reticle, but in reality, you weren't.

It is very easy to lose focus on the front sight and focus on target when breaking the shot. The human brain can process the images perceived by the eyes very rapidly, and can process the various planes of focus accordingly. This is why you may think you have front sight focus when in actuality you don't.

A good way to ensure and practice front sight focus is to always call your shot, even in practice.

In highpower competition, you'll see the shooters writing data in a book after each shot in slow fire before the target is even run up with a spotter and score. Why? Because they are calling where there they think the shot is going to be. Why is this important? Because it ensures they had proper sight alignment, picture, focus, and settings. This is how in high power, you are able to zero your sights while standing and shooting at 200 yards. Even if you miss with a shot at 3 o'clock in the 8-ring, if you were able to call the shot and predict that you broke the shot while the front sight post was on the right edge of the target black, you know you are zeroed correctly.

When you call your shots, be honest about it. Take a shot, and if you are not confident about the call, you were not focused on the front sight when the shot broke. If are confident about your call, and the shot is not where you called, then you simply need more practice calling your shot (assuming good ammo and rifle). Eventually, when you master calling your shot, you will be able to detect equipment malfunction (ammo, barrel, rifle) and even wind pick-ups (depending on distance).

Front sight focus not only applies to rifle target shooting, but also practical real life shooting and with pistols. Action pistol shooters (IPDA, IPSC, USPSA) use front sight focus. Yes, they shoot very fast, but they are using front sight focus. They are simply changing focus very rapidly when they acquire their targets and pull the trigger.

I suggest the thread author read the Jim Owens book on Sight Alignment, as already mentioned. Also, if possible, attend a High Power clinic such as an NRA High Power or CMP Garand clinic. They will teach the fundamentals of sight alignment and focus. An NRA basic rifle course may also be worthwhile, but I think a high power type clinic is better for non-novice shooters.

I don't know of anyone in rifle shooting that officially teaches or endorses target focus, besides a few people who have responded to this thread. Whether it be competition shooters, regular rifle shooters, the Army or Marine Corps, front sight focus is always stressed.

chiefcrash
02-28-2007, 10:39 AM
i'll throw in my $0.02

First off: there is no "wrong" way to aim a firearm. the whole point is to develop a way for you to aim your rifle at the same point in space each and every time. If you can repeat everything about your shot (sight picture, sight alignment, trigger squeeze, etc), your shot will go in the same place every time. You can then adjust your sights to make the point of impact = point of aim

that being said, as for the whole "focus on front sight" vs "focus on target" debate: it all depends.

When i did precision rifle competitions, we were taught that you focus on the front site, and your target will be a hazy unfocused ball. This works well when the target is the same every time, doesn't move, is at a known distance, etc. (our rifle team coach was on the USMC Rifle Team, and had a couple of gold U.S. Distinguished International Shooter Badges)

Now, if you are shooting at a target that's running around, camoflagued, etc, then it's going to be hard to see the target without focusing on it. and you can't shoot at what you can't see...

so what should you focus on, front sight or target? it really boils down to preference. If you want to be a bad-*** service rifle paper killer, focusing on the front sight might work better for you. LEO who might have to take out some barricaded bad guys, perhaps focusing on your target will work better. Find out what works for YOU. Figure out what style allows you to get better REPEATABLE results.

JPN6336
02-28-2007, 11:25 AM
Consistency is the real key. If you do something different each time then you can't make successful adjustments. Focusing on the target may be more appropriate for LEO at closer ranges with moving targets. I don't know anything about that. For known distance target shooting the front sight post should be in focus, especially at longer distances when you can barely see the target.

NeoWeird
02-28-2007, 12:52 PM
Ok, I am sick and tired (both I mean literally) so I started skipping a lot of what was said.

First off Xeno is a good guy who knows his stuff. I have no doubt that his accomplishments are in fact true and that he is that great of a shot.

Second off pthfndr is a great shot as well. Anyone that can compete with a 4x nearly 75 year old rifle in 1,000 yard matches and give people a run for their money knows a bit about long range shooting. I also know he shoots scoped and unscoped rifle matches on a regular basis. So what he is doing is working for him, so don't brush off what he says so quickly.

I think there is a proper way to aim and improper. For example it's agreed that the rear sight should not be focused on. I personally find this hard to do when I squint one eye to aim, and with both eyes open I find it much easier. Breathing is also very important. Trigger control and finger placement on the trigger (tip of the finger, not the crack of the knuckle where a new shooter naturally rests it) are also important. A clear sight picture of what you are aiming at is very important as well, even if it is not what you are aiming at.

Personally I find focusing on the front sight post to be the easiest for me, but then again I have fairly bad eyes and if I don't focus on it it will shift or even disappear. Actually, what I do (since I don't compete) is I look for my rear sight and focus on the front sight, I hold it firm once I have it and create a static peripheral view of it while my concentration goes to the background. At this point I can move my rifle around and as long as I don't jerk it my front post stays in view, 'focused', but not the center of my attention. I then sweep the rifle up with my attention on the target and I place the post on target. At this point I place my finger on the trigger and put light pressure, breathe in and hold it, get that moment where everything stops and you can feel your heartbeat, and between beats I softly squeeze.

Again I don't shoot competetions, and I rarely shoot past 100 yards, but it works well enough for me.

I guess things we can all agree on are:

- Do NOT focus on the rear sight
- Breathing control is important
- Finger placement is important
- Send money to NeoWeird, he is the coolest
- Trigger control is also vital
- Do NOT flinch! Cure that ASAP if you do (dry firing and rimfires help)

I am sure there are more, but that's a good start for a new shooter, at I'd imagine it is. Watch I probably broke like 9 rules alone before I even pull the trigger.

30Cal
02-28-2007, 1:05 PM
If you don't focus on the front sight, the best you'll be able to shoot is about 2-3 MoA. Focus on the front sight. Don't worry if you can't see the target (it should be completely blurry at best): it's still there.

If you really want to know how well the rifle can shoot, post a blank sheet of paper instead of a target. Focus on the front sight and shoot into the middle of it.


Against less demanding targets, you might be able to get away with focussing elsewhere. But you will ALWAYS shoot better with the front sight in focus.

Ty

thefinger
02-28-2007, 2:16 PM
Keep the rear peep sight in focus. Forget about your front post and target. :p

anotherted
02-28-2007, 2:44 PM
If you have a pistol grip, your rifle is capable of highly accurate spray fire anyway. So who needs front/rear sites?

NeoWeird
03-01-2007, 1:10 AM
If you have a pistol grip, your rifle is capable of highly accurate spray fire anyway. So who needs front/rear sites?

You know, this brings up the question of why no one has bothered to put a NV scope on their pistol grip rifle and put a flash hider on it so they can spray randomly, from extreme distances, in the dark, without being seen, and never having to reload.

I mean hell, why don't we just do that with out military and win all our wars overnight? :rolleyes:

xenophobe
03-01-2007, 6:51 AM
I've heard many reasons why people have not qualified expert, getting to know your rifle and learning instinctive shooting is key. Rifle qualification is a timed course and focusing primarily on your front sight, scanning the field and then returning to focusing on your front sight and aligning properly just takes too much time for some people. Dime sized groups are not your objective, taking timed multiple targets at varying distances is. Going through MOUT courses as well, your attention is on room clearing, acquiring the targets, deciding friend/foe and then taking out the BG, you're aiming center mass and your attention is not focused on your front sight. Many pistol courses (as well as archery classes) also stress on instinctive shooting as well. Instinctive shooting plays a key role in self defense as well.

I'd really like to see how some of the NRA high power shooters do on an ARM range. :p Actually I do know, the people who were most comfortable shooting instinctively did the best.

And this advice is absolutely the truth:
Just look through the rear apeture at the front center post. The "wings" are not related to aiming in any way and are simply there to protect the front sight. Your eye will naturally center the front sight post within the rear apeture.