Handgun Shooting: Don’t Focus on the Front Sight


Handgun Shooting: Don’t Focus on the Front Sight

While perusing YouTube recently, I spotted a teaser screen which said, “Do not focus on the front sight!” Naturally, I decided to check it out.

The video is from NOIR Training, a service founded by Navy SEALs which “provides world class firearms and tactical training to Military, Law Enforcement, and Civilians.”

Like the video itself, the description is direct and to the point:

All about standard pistol sights. This is required viewing before any NOIR Training pistol course.

If you have any interest in shooting handguns with iron sights, view the entire video. It contains some of the best and most-understandable explanations and descriptions you’ll find, given by a narrator as we see a series of images to coincide with his words. For example, he does a good job explaining why it can be perfectly acceptable to fire at a target without a perfect sight picture, depending on the size and proximity of the target.

Around the 3:40 mark, things get even more interesting.

This is one area we differ from conventional shooting doctrine: We advocate shooting with your eyes focused on the threat, rather than the front sight.

The reason for this is, in a real life-threatening situation, your eyes will naturally focus on the threat. Since you can shoot perfectly accurately while focusing on the threat, we believe front sight focus is an unnatural and unnecessary complication.

He then goes on to explain the difference between front sight and target focus. While front sight focus can and will allow you to shoot accurately, he says, it’s “unnatural and unnecessary.” By contrast when you focus on the target, which is the natural thing to do when faced with a threat, you can still see both front and rear sights well enough to line them up to aim.


He then goes on to explain why we should all learn to shoot our handguns with both eyes open — because in a real life-threatening situation, we need to keep both peepers peeled.

I hope you find this as interesting as I did. Yes, it’s basic… but even the most experienced shooters can benefit from a fresh look at the basics.

Avatar Author ID 61 - 102191911

Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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