By Ron Geppert
Shooting a pistol accurately is a mind game. Just to emphasize that sight alignment is more important than holding the pistol extremely steady on the bullseye, the following facts may help explain why “the theory” works . . .
Common copy paper is about 0.004″ thick.
Lets assume the sight radius on a pistol is 6″.
The target is 50′ away.
The shooter grasps the pistol firmly but not to the point of creating a shake.
Because the distance to the target is 100 times that of the sight radius, misalignment of the sights will be amplified by a factor of 100 at 50’.
For every 0.001″ of misalignment of the sights, the bullet impact will shift 0.1″ at 50′. That means if the sights are misaligned by the thickness of one piece of copy paper, the bullet strike will be off by 0.4″ or just over 3/8”, two thicknesses over 3/4″ and three will equal almost 1-1/4” of deviation.
If a 1″ bullseye is displayed on the wall one foot from a pistol muzzle, it’s not difficult to hold the pistol on the bullseye. With the above facts in mind, one can easily see that accurate sight alignment is far more important than holding the pistol exactly on the bullseye. That’s why one should focus only on the front sight, insuring the top of the sights are level and there is equal light showing on both sides of the front sight.
To aid seeing an equal amount of light on both sides of the front sight, a six o’clock hold should be used so the black bullseye is on top of the front sight. The white paper below the bullseye will reflect adequate light to easily be seen on both sides of the front tight.
With the sights aligned as described above, let the blurry bullseye dance on the front sight and squeeze the trigger until it surprises you. Every report from a firearm should be a surprise. If it is not, the intentional pull of the trigger (jerking or slapping) will upset the sight alignment and for right handed shooters, the bullet will hit low and left while left handed shooters will see their groups low and right.
When I focus and incorporate all the above, the results can be very satisfactory. I shot the 5-shot target at the top with a S&W 500 mag at 50′ a week ago. Sorry for the used .22 target but three .50 cal bullets made the one jagged hole with the other two slightly left. I moved the rear sight three clicks to the right and shot a similar target this week with the group more centered. My intent in sharing the photo isn’t to boast but to display proof that the theory works even with a .50 cal. magnum pistol but it’s definitely a mind game.