1911 Firearm Addicts banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,098 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After the past few months, I've been struggling to understand why I tend to shoot high with my GI No Name, but not with my other 1911 pistols. I think the answer to my conundrum lies in the fact that my GI No Name as a U notch rear sight, whereas my other 1911's have a square notch. Before I present my "theory", let's recall three things: (1) why do we use U notch rear sights in the first place, (2) the role of the "dot" on a front sight, and (3) how the human mind behaves when using peep sights.

In theory, a U notch is superior to a square notch because your eyes naturally pick up sharp edges and corners before smooth, rounded, ones. So, a U notch rear sight should naturally direct your eyes to the top of the sight, where they ought to be. Based on my personal experience, this theory seems to more or less hold true.

The front sight on modern pistols generally have some kind of eye catching dot on them. The purpose of this dot is simply to make it easier for the eye to acquire the front sight. In the case of a fiber optic front sight, the fiber optic rod tends to glow brightly, making it near impossible to ignore. This dot, however, is not meant to be used for precision shooting. The true Point Of Aim (POA) is defined by the top center of the front sight. If you really want to be precise, you should ignore the dot. However, in many cases a person can still "ride the dot" and shoot accurate enough for purposes of self defense.

Now recall how a peep sight works, such as that found standard on the old M1 Garand, or just about any US military rifle that came after it. The rear sight is essentially a plate with a hole in it that you look through. You don't really even see the rear sight. The peep sight exploits the natural (sub-conscience) tendency of the human brain to want to put the object of its focus in the center of the peep hole its looking through.

So, how could it be that my U notch rear sight and fiber optic front sight might be responsible for causing a high Point Of Impact? I think what is happening is that a U notch rear sight, combined with a dotted front sight (e.g. a fiber optic rod, a tritium vial, etc) acts a little like a peep sight. When focus is placed on the front sight dot, the rear U notch acts like a peep, and your brain has a tendency to want to put the dot in the center of the U notch -- rather than align the top of the front sight to the top of the rear sight. At least, that is what I seem to be doing.

The picture below shows what happens when I focus on the front dot and try to establish sight alignment.

20191110_085802.jpg


As you can see, this causes the front sight to be too high.

Now, when I force myself to ignore the dot, and focus on the top of the front sight, I get the following.

20191110_085755.jpg


Notice how the dot actually needs to be near the bottom of the U notch, not the center. I find that it takes a conscious effort to maintain this sight picture. It doesn't feel aligned -- even though it is. My brain really wants to put that dot in the center of the U notch.

EDIT: Fixed wording, spelling, and (tried) to improve cogency.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,638 Posts
Thank You B81 that is a great example.

I was wondering why the 3 dot sights on some of my 1911s shot high.
Yet the std square notch with a Day-Glo painted sight seemed so easy
to line up.
I see now & will apply this to my 51 Colt build.
Thanks again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,023 Posts
For me the dot is for shooting fast on torso size targets. For precision shooting I level the top of the sights and forget about the dot. Is all in how you’ve been trained.
This for me as well.
 

·
ISO The Very Best 1911's
Joined
·
1,294 Posts
Ignore the dot. Line up the top of the front sight and the top of the rear sight. Squeeze. Boom.

The U-notch has NOTHING to do with your problem. You are attempting to use the front dot to aim your pistol. That is not why it is there.

The dot is there to help you find your front sight in a hurry.

I have heard every single complaint and criticism of the U-Notch. "I shoot high", "I shoot low". All the various issues boil down to the same incorrect sight alignment every single time.
 

·
Custom Pistolsmith
Joined
·
711 Posts
Ignore the dot. Line up the top of the front sight and the top of the rear sight. Squeeze. Boom.

The U-notch has NOTHING to do with your problem. You are attempting to use the front dot to aim your pistol. That is not why it is there.

The dot is there to help you find your front sight in a hurry.

I have heard every single complaint and criticism of the U-Notch. "I shoot high", "I shoot low". All the various issues boil down to the same incorrect sight alignment every single time.
This is correct
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,133 Posts
Ignore the dot. Line up the top of the front sight and the top of the rear sight. Squeeze. Boom.

The U-notch has NOTHING to do with your problem. You are attempting to use the front dot to aim your pistol. That is not why it is there.

The dot is there to help you find your front sight in a hurry.

I have heard every single complaint and criticism of the U-Notch. "I shoot high", "I shoot low". All the various issues boil down to the same incorrect sight alignment every single time.
^^^ I agree with this. It is the same reason none of my carry pistols have dots on the rear sight (either tritium or painted on) -- they are just a distraction. In my opinion, for slow/deliberate fire, the sight picture is all about the shape of the front sight in relation to the rear -- the dots just screw things up and get in the way. I do find a dot or some other marking on the front sight useful for speed when only coarse sight alignment is needed at closer ranges. When I teach people who are new to shooting the fundamentals I provide them with a firearm that has just a plain front post and plain rear notch -- not dots or outlines etc. Too many times I have found students trying to line up the dots or other symbols on the sights instead of focusing on the front post and its relation to the notch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,159 Posts
I tend to shoot a U + spot low because I pull the dot down to where it really nests into the curve of the U. Sure, I can concentrate and aim with the top of the blade and the top of the post, but that is not what happens in a hurry.
Mr Patridge knew what he was doing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,098 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
The point I was trying to make is that U notch rear sights and dotted front sights (e.g. a fiber optic front sight) may not be a good combination. Even when trying to focus on the top of the front sight, it can be difficult to not be influenced by a big glowing dot framed by a circular notch.

If you want to run a dot on the front sight, you may be better off with a square rear notch.

If you are running a plain front sight (or perhaps a gold line front sight), a rear U notch may be an advantage.

Of course, everyone is free to do what works for them. These are simply the lessons that my experience seems to be suggesting to me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mike A

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,098 Posts
Discussion Starter #12

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,638 Posts
How do you guys intend to shoot in the dark
ANSPV7 NV goggles & an Ithaca 37 with #4 buckshot. :)
That's the way I shoot in the Dark.
The 2 times I had a dangerous situations that I had to shoot
in the Dark with the Pistol, it was worthless.

12gauge with #4 buck shot is a sure cure for what want's to kill you in the dark.
 

·
ISO The Very Best 1911's
Joined
·
1,294 Posts
You know what is interesting. Take a top-level shooter. Hand them guns with square notch rear, u-notch, v-notch, wide notch, barleycorn etc. They shoot great with all of them. Why? Highly skilled shooters don't look at the rear sight, they look through the notch, not at it..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,098 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
You know what is interesting. Take a top-level shooter. Hand them guns with square notch rear, u-notch, v-notch, wide notch, barleycorn etc. They shoot great with all of them. Why? Highly skilled shooters don't look at the rear sight, they look through the notch, not at it..
Are you suggesting that you actually did this experiment? You're saying that you've conducted a series of tests with the top shooters of the world, systematically assessed their performance for different rear sight notch geometries, and found that notch geometry didn't impact their speed or accuracy?
 

·
ISO The Very Best 1911's
Joined
·
1,294 Posts
Are you suggesting that you actually did this experiment? You're saying that you've conducted a series of tests with the top shooters of the world, systematically assessed their performance for different rear sight notch geometries, and found that notch geometry didn't impact their speed or accuracy?
I personally know and have trained with enough Extremely High-level competition shooters over the last 25 years, that I stand by my statement 100%.

If you believe that you can hand a gun with a similar width and depth U-notch sight vs a square notch sight to any A-class or higher IPSC or Master Class IDPA shooter and see any real variance in scores you would be mistaken.

Besides, there is already one OLYMPIC pistol shooter on this thread that agrees with me,

LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
669 Posts
You can hand me any pistol that can hold a group and I can make due with the sights and get it to group. It’s all in how you use the sights to reference the target. Shooting fast at close targets I’m just trying to keep the front sight somewhere in the center of the target when the hammer drops. For all our speed shooting I never even look at my sights. I tune my double taps by recoil spring weight. For precision shooting the front and rear sights are completely different. You would want tighter tolerances between the rear sight and front sight. I don’t know if any of this makes sense but I’m typing this as I drive. I’m not THE expert just a guy with some training but I know what works for me and my students.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
629 Posts
I've been using the dot and U for years without issue. I'm far from being a high level competitor, but what bladeandbarrel says is correct.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,098 Posts
Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
You can hand me any pistol that can hold a group and I can make due with the sights and get it to group.
I don't think anyone is disputing this. Once I became aware of what was happening, I could make it work as well. However, I feel like the U notch with fiber optic front requires more conscious effort for the reasons already stated. Of course, if your experiences differ from mine, then you should follow what your experiences tell you. There's not going to be any hard feelings on this end.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mike A
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top