Melbourne International Shooting Club

Thoughts On Aiming


The essence of accurate shooting lies in the sight alignment. An indispensable pre-requisite to accurate shooting is the ability to maintain control of the relationship between the rear sight and the front sight. The front sight should be centred in the middle of the rear sight notch, with an equal amount of light space on each side and the top surface of the front sight on the same level as the upper horizontal surface of the rear sight blade.

There are two main sources of sighting errors:

The ANGULAR ERROR - This is the misalignment of the front sight in the rear sight notch.
The PARALLEL ERROR - This is the deviating of the hold of the aligned sights from the Centre of the aiming area. It is basically a holding error and it is not as bad as the angular error, which is an alignment error.

CONCLUSION: Sight alignment has less margin for error than holding errors. (The ratio is at least 6:1). Therefore it is obvious that the main effort should be concentrated on the ALIGNMENT of the sights with each other. This skill can be achieved and improved by practice and repetitions. It is important to remember that concentration cannot be maintained forever and the average sighting time should be kept to approximately 4 – 6 seconds. The optimum length of time for holding, seeing, concentrating, trigger control and breath control may not be the same for everyone, but they need to be coordinated. Coordinating the optimum periods of these different aspects of target shooting fundamentals is one of the most important (and difficult) tasks to do.

One must accept the fact that it is impossible to stop all movement of the pistol. Trying to aim and shoot at an aiming point therefore cannot be successful. Pursuing this impossible goal will result in shots “snatched” at the instant when the pistol looks stationary at an aiming point.

The only proven and successful method is the “AREA AIMING” method. Employing the fundamentals of stance, position, grip and breath control, one must hold the pistol within the smallest possible arc of movement, that is within an area he/she can hold the pistol, with the sights perfectly aligned. This is then the AIMING AREA. Look at the sights, hold a perfect sight alignment, and start positive, uninterrupted, steadily increasing pressure, straight to the rear. The shot will break as a surprise, somewhere within the area of holding, area of aiming.

With practice, this area will become smaller and smaller. This “area” can be anywhere on the target. It is found, however, that the best area – for most people – is somewhere under the “black” of the target, but not too close to it. Leaving a generous strip of a white “gap” under the black will make it easier to look at the sights, rather than trying to determine how close to the black the sights are.

When aiming too close to the bottom of the black, it is tempting to look at the target for judging the exact distance. While looking AT the target, it is simply impossible to see the sights sharp. According to the law of optics, due to limited “DEPTH OF FIELD” it is just not possible for any lens system to focus on objects as far from each other as the sight of a pistol and the target. It is EITHER THE TARGET OR THE SIGHTS.

So look AT the sights and do NOT try to shoot into a smaller area (point?) than you can hold.

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