Knowing when to transition focus from target to sights will allow you to fire an accurate shot faster.

When should you start seeing your sights:

  • More of a question of when you transition from target to sights.
  • When it reaches your peripheral vision move focus to front sight.
  • Look sight onto the spot you want to hit.
  • When you hit full extension, you should complete the press and fire.
  • The sooner you get on sight, the sooner you can fire.

In the last “Defensive Handgunning” column, we shared some advice from Gunsite Academy instructor Cory Trapp, with regard to when you should put your finger on the trigger. Another common question he gets: When you should first see your sights?

During the draw stroke, as your handgun enters your peripheral vision, you should pick up the front sight, and then look it on to the target.
During the draw stroke, as your handgun enters your peripheral vision, you should pick up the front sight, and then look it on to the target.

“If you have enough room between you and your adversary to fully extend your arms, you should be looking at your sights,” says Trapp. “The question then is, when do you transition from looking at the target to the sights? As the hands come together and the pistol begins to extend, the top of the pistol will appear in your peripheral vision. As soon as it does, move your focus to the front sight. You want to look the sight onto the spot you want to hit. The moment you hit full extension and the pistol stops, you should complete the press and it should fire. The sooner you get on the sight, the sooner you’ll be able to fire.”

This is exceptional advice and it’s never wrong. But as we discussed last column, a sharp focus on the front sight is not always necessary. As you become more proficient with your handgun, you’ll find you can get good hits, quickly, without a front-sight focus. Keep in mind: You’re still picking up the front sight in your peripheral vision at the same point, and you’re still looking the sight onto the target — you just don’t shift the focus from the target to the sight. This is called “target focus shooting,” and most experienced shooters will find it can work for them out to 3, 5 and maybe even 7 yards. But, like everything else involved when it comes to pulling a trigger, it takes practice.


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For more information on Gunsite Academy, please visit: www.gunsite.com.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the August 2018 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.


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