Video: Defensively Speaking, Is Perfect Sight Alignment Imperative?

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It might go against everything you've been taught when it comes to handgun marksmanship, but impeccable sight alignment isn't called for when you're aiming to save your life.

It’s drilled into your head the first day you pick up a gun and reiterated ever after: sight alignment is key to effective marksmanship. It goes almost without saying, doesn’t it? Get cockeyed here and you’ll send your round way out into left field, not doing anyone any favors.

All of that said, there is some wiggle room when it comes to sight alignment, particularly where it pertains to defensive handguns. When the action is fast and furious, you’ll likely not have the time nor the position to line up your sights perfectly the way you do at the range. But in the scheme of things, close up—10 yards and in—a bit of imperfection won’t stop you from pounding center mass.


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As long as your front sight remains in the notch of the rear, you can eat up a lot of the space to either side and remain on target. Richard Mann gives a solid demonstration in the above video. At 7 yards, he puts plenty of play in his sight alignment, yet, if it were a real-life lethal-force event, would mitigate the threat.

So, don’t worry about sight alignment? Far from it. Getting the front sight into the rear notch is still imperative, otherwise, you’ll hit everything and everybody except the assailant. You need to practice developing a proper and fast alignment to truly be effective with your defensive gun. Simply, you don't need to trip yourself up by building the perfect sight picture to place life-saving hits.

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