What you see and how you see it are two of the things that change when you make the switch from traditional sights to a pistol mounted optic (PMO).
With traditional sights, iron sights, your eyes look at three distances at once – rear sight, front sight, and the threat (target). With firearms, we’ve taught to look through the rear sight at the front sight blade – that’s where we want our eyes to focus – and then put those sights in the blurry center of whatever we are trying to hit. While you can successfully maintain your focus on the front sight during a confrontation, many will find their eyes want to return to the threat.
Your goal is to keep both eyes open. Doing so keeps the most visual information possible coming in for better decision making. While there are several reasons a shooter may close or squint the non-dominant eye, doing so limits the amount of information you are taking in.
We will cover field of view and tunnel vision in a future column.
The most significant advantage to PMOs, and the most challenging part of making the switch to them, is the ability to shift your visual focus to the threat (target). And when I look at someone, something, beyond arm’s length, I do it with both eyes open.
For millennia, when using a projectile weapon, the visual attention has been on the target. For only about the last 500 years have we looked at the sights on our guns, whether they were crude or refined.
Since my visual attention and focus is on the threat (target), I can keep it there rather than on the dot when it comes into my field of view.
Both sighting systems – sights and dots – give you information about what the pistol is doing; however, because the dot is smaller than the front sight blade, there is a perception that your handgun is moving around an awful lot more with the dot than with the iron sights. By keeping your attention and focus on the threat, you will noticeably reduce the dot’s perceived movement. So too is the tendency to get a more “perfect” sight picture than you would have with iron sights.
With both of my eyes open, my visual attention stays on the threat (target). When I present the pistol, I do so with the intent of getting the optic into my sightline sooner. As my arms extend, I’m looking for the dot to appear where I’m looking, where I want my rounds to hit. (Next month’s column will cover the specifics of the presentation and how to get there.)
As you master getting the dot into your sightline sooner, getting your presentation smoothed out, you’ll want to address doing it both strong hand and weak hand only.
So, this month’s takeaways: keep both eyes open, keep your visual attention and focus on the threat (target), and let the dot appear in your sightline where you are looking, where you want the rounds to hit!
Until next time.