The Benefits of Training With Open Gun Sights

rifle sightOne of the most important things you could ever do to improve your shooting, is to learn how to shoot with open gun sights. When you do, there is more of an emphasis on the proper mechanics associated with long distance shooting such as sight alignment, sight picture, proper breathing techniques, trigger control and how everything comes together to become an extension of your own body.

Unfortunately, most people learn how to shoot with a high power scope, and, once they do, they never learn how to shoot with open iron sights. While it is fine to shoot with a high-power scope, it can become a crutch to proper technique, as the shooter begins to rely heavily on the magnification of the optic itself.

When you fire a rifle using its iron sights, all of your mechanics have to be in sync with each other, and you literally cannot send a round down range until your front and rear sights are perfectly aligned. And of course, they aren’t perfectly aligned until your body reaches that natural pause in between breaths. If the sights are off, even slightly, you could miss the target altogether.

Using a scope, on the other hand, is comparatively easy. What I mean, is if you take any novice who has never fired a rifle before, tell them to put the scope’s cross hairs on the target and send a few down range, they’ll at least be able to hit the target. Of course, there is a bit more that goes into shooting with a scope than that, but scopes are designed to do most of the work for you.

Don’t get me wrong, I love shooting long distance with a scope. But, then again, I also love shooting long distance with open sights. During my time in the Marines, we were taught the fundamentals of shooting: sight alignment, sight picture, proper breathing techniques, etc. People always look at me like I’m nuts when I tell them that I could hit a target at 500 yards with nothing more than the open sights on my M16. Finally, it’s always fun to see some of the looks I get at the range when everyone else is using their 10X optics to target practice at 100 yards.

If you’ve reacted a plateau in your distance shooting, maybe now is a good time to learn the proper mechanics that can only be taught by learning how to use the iron sights on your rifle. You’ll be glad you did, and you can only improve from there.

Editor’s Note: Joshua Gillem is a guest contributor who currently serves as the editor for Gun Carrier.

Photo credit: Dreamstime