10 Apr 17

“There are two ways to be fooled: One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is.”


Pistol sights:

My esteemed friend and colleague, Tom Givens, recently made the excellent point that the practice of shooting pistols from postures other than at eye-level came about mostly as a result of pistol sights that were so poor as to be mostly unusable. Indeed until relatively recently, sights on production pistols were small, hard to see, and thus hard to align quickly.

Gun manufacturers, who knew something about manufacturing, but not much about guns, traditionally figured (incorrectly) that most pistols used for serious purposes weren’t going to be “sighted” like rifles during a lethal confrontation, and thus “sights” on most production pistols were little more than a pitiable afterthought. “Training” in practical pistolcraft during at least the first half of the last century consisted largely of watching cowboy movies. And, movie-makers didn’t know much about guns (nor history) either!

“Non-sighted shooting,” “body-index shooting,” “natural-point shooting,” the practice has gone by a number of titles, and even has a few naive advocates today. Results are poor, even among those who claim to be able to do it well, so most of us now opt for shooting pistols at eye-level while using our sights, under all but a few circumstances.

I remember, as a young patrolman back in the early 1970s, watching Bill Jordan who, shooting from waist-level, hit aspirin tablets with his S&W revolver, at a range of three meters. I recall being mightily impressed! (I’m old enough to have know Bill personally)

A generation earlier, Ed McGivern performed similar amazing demonstrations. (That was a little before my time!)

Both Bill and Ed, and a number of others less well known, were amazingly talented, no doubt. In fact, they were so gifted, neither enjoyed much success trying to teach us mere mortals how to do the same thing! And when they died, their astonishing talents died with them!

Modern pistols, intended for serious purposes and from reputable manufacturers (who today, to their credit, know a lot more about guns and their serious use than they used to), have genuinely useable sights that can be seen and aligned quickly.

Accordingly, we now train our students to make good use of them!

“Sights are good!”

Dave Spaulding