Somewhere up the learning curve of pistol marksmanship, a smart shooter comes to a stark realization. Much goes into delivering a consistent series of pistol bullets to a point on the target. His group of shots needs to be as small as possible and proper instruction helps him to do that. To accomplish this worthy goal, a newbie handgunner learns all about a steady stance, consistent grip, controlled breathing and precise trigger control. These factors are all important, but they have to be reduced to habits in order that the shooter does them for every shot—habitually, with no conscious effort. The big realization is where he must focus his effort. He had to keep the front sight perfectly aligned with the rear sight. This sight alignment edges sight picture a good bit and, since the human mind can only focus on one thing at a time, it has to be the alignment of those two blocks of steel.
Every range has a poster somewhere on the premises showing the two sights lined up perfectly with a crisp, round bullseye on top. That is sight picture and it’s physically impossible to see it in real life, because you cannot simultaneously focus on two points (sights and target) that far apart. As a matter of fact, you cannot simultaneously focus on the front and rear sight. You must focus on the front sight. There’s an ever-present temptation to bounce the focus of your eyes back and forth between the front sight and the target. This spells disaster, so concentrate on keeping the top edge of that front sight even with, and centered in, the rear sight notch.
As a means of really emphasizing this process, turn your target around so you’re looking at plain white or tan paper. Right—no bullseye or other aiming point. Using exactly the same stance, grip, breathing and trigger control, aim and fire five shots at the center of the plain target. Since you don’t have an aiming point, you can’t look at anything but the sights. Don’t cheat and start shooting at your own bullet holes. If you conscientiously apply this training procedure, you will be amazed at the results. The technique does two things for you—prohibits looking at the target, and simplifies aligning the sights. Try it.