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When to Use Your Sights

The importance of perfect sight alignment depends on how far you are from the suspect, size of the target, penalty for a miss (such as children walking behind the bad guy) as well as how pressed by time you are in the situation at hand. The closer the suspect is and the more imminent the deadly threat, the faster you must shoot. If the suspect is close, sight alignment is less of a concern. At close combat distance, from five to ten feet away, if the front sights are on center mass at “Bang!” the round will hit the suspect.

If the suspect is farther away and counting down to kill a hostage, you do not want to misaim and waste an opportunity to save a life while the suspect murders an innocent hostage. You will want to take time to carefully align those sights and minimize the movement of your weapon as you press the trigger back. After “Bang!” if you have placed the top of the sights at the top of the ear lobe of the suspect, your bullet should enter the ear of the suspect, thereby ending the threat and saving the intended victim.

Frank Hamer was the Texas Ranger who is remembered most for dramatically ending the career of Bonnie and Clyde. He was said to have prevailed through an estimated fifty law enforcement gun fights. Once he was asked, “Do you use your sights?” His response was “Yup!” Then he explained, “I can’t see spraying the whole countryside with lead when one shot would do the trick.”

Jelly Bryce, a famous law enforcement gunfighter, would probably tell you that he rarely used his sights in his gunfights. He was the master at “point shooting.”

Who was right? Let’s examine their life circumstances for an answer.

Jelly’s gunfights were close quarter affairs, mostly at combat distances, where he won almost exclusively using point shooting and defeated all comers in this arena. Many of his gunfights happened suddenly during urban law enforcement contacts. They took place throughout the deadly gangster era.

On the other hand, Frank was a Texas Ranger whose career spanned both the “Old West” and the “gangster era.” Many of his gunfights took place in the great outdoors facing Texas bandits and Mexican banditos. Many of his shots were taken at great distance with a variety of weapons, often a long gun.

When you have time and distance, use your sights. When you have no time and there is very little distance between you and your would-be-killer, you will probably not think to use your sights.

That’s just the way it is. Both of these experienced gunfighters were right.

So, should you use your sights or not use your sights? The answer is “Yes!”

Should you train using your sights and not using your sight? The answer? Well, it’s obvious. Of course you should. And from much closer than the seven-yard line.

Keep your head down and keep the faith,


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