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Shooting Basics: How to Aim with Open Sights

If you want to be a complete marksman, you have to be good with open sights, too.

Effectively shooting with open sights or “iron sights” is, in my opinion, an essential skill that every hunter or shooter must have.

This video gives a brief overview of some of the fundamental aspects of shooting with open sights, including sight radius, sight alignment, gun fit and focus.

Most shooters occasionally go through periods where things just aren’t going right. We’ve all had moments where, for whatever reasons, our shooting accuracy hasn’t been what it should be. I’ve found that a review of the fundamentals of good shooting form often puts us back on target.

Sight alignment and focus are the keys to using open sights. The video narrator rightly indicates that rifle fit plays a big part in achieving sighting accuracy.

It’s a little tougher with a handgun because you’ve got less solid physical anchors with a handgun and the rear sight is further from your eyes.

Unfortunately the video fails to show an example of an accurately aligned sight picture.

In the examples shown from the shooter’s point of view, the camera always appears to be position higher than the shooters actual sight picture, presenting an image with the front sight higher than or floating above the rear sight. If the sight alignment shown were the actual shooter’s sight picture, the shooter would be shooting above the intended target at normal shooting range.

Perhaps an animated gif or a graphic could be included such as that shown below.


An article from Handguns magazine, “How to Cure Common Shooting Mistakes“, by Richard Nance offers a solid review on how to achieve accurate sight alignment. I also agree with Nance that as important as sight alignment is to accuracy, so too is proper trigger control.

Trigger control is vitally important in most any type shooting, but even more so with handgun shooting. Excelling in these two areas – sight alignment and trigger control –  should be your goal as a shooter.

Fortunately, excelling is achieved through practice, and there are few skills that are as fun to practice as shooting.

NEXT: Rifle Trick Shots: Shooting Through Washers

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Shooting Basics: How to Aim with Open Sights