Brown_human_eye_(2)

For most of the time that man has used projectile weapons, we have looked at what we wanted to hit. We kept our visual attention on that spot and then endeavored to deliver the projectile to that spot.


There was a combination of how our body works (kinesthetics) and where the parts are in relation to each other (proprioception). Think about playing catch growing up. In a relatively short period of time, most of us got to where you could look at someone’s hands or the ball glove of a friend and throw a ball or something else there. However, had I been a lot better at doing that, I might not have ended up as a cop. Our ancestors did that for millennia with rocks and then other weapons. It has only been in the last several hundred years that we started using weapons with sights on them – whether they were the early and crude designs or the much more refined ones of today. 

Point Shooting

FBI Special Agent Delf “Jelly” Bryce and his actual point shooting platform (PC – AmericanFightingRevolver).

For a time, actual point shooting was the primary technique taught. FBI Special Agent Delf “Jelly” Bryce, because of his incredible vision and extreme daily practice, was able to do it. He could demonstrate it as well. His daily hour plus of dry practice made him successful at it. Unfortunately, that did not carry over well to others. 

Hard Front Sight Focus

Sight alignment and sight picture in one. Looking through the rear, focusing on the exterior of the front sight, and places it on what you want to hit (PC – Gunsite).



The next shift of visual attention was to a hard focus on the front sight. This is accomplished by looking through the opening in the rear sight at the front sight. One’s focus stays on the front sight blade while then placing it on what one is trying to hit. Some issues arise – 

How many things can you visually focus on at once? One. 

Will a shooter do that despite the drive to focus on what is trying to hurt or kill them? Yes, but it’s work, and not everyone can do it on demand. 

Here is the way you’ll see HiViz’s FastDot if you choose to focus on it.

Do you look at the external edges of the sights when aligning them, or are the dots good enough? The dots and inserts aren’t in alignment; they were not done together. Focus on the exterior of the front sight. 

Soft Focus

As you age, your ability to get a crisp, clear focus on the front sight blade diminishes. There can be several reasons for that. In 2010, I took a handgun class from Pat McNamara, a retired Sergeant Major from the US Army’s special mission unit. Pat talked about vision issues and a concept he called “close blur, far blur.” Roughly, put the “close blur” (front sight) in the center of the “far blur” (B-8 target, Ba Guy, etc.) and press the trigger. 

For me, that seems to be the predecessor to the current “soft focus” concept. You see the sights on the target, but you are not fixated on them. Your focus is mostly on what you are trying to hit. 

Pistol-Mounted Optics

You don’t focus on the dot, instead you let it appear (PC – Gunsite).

Finally, there are pistol-mounted optics. With optics, the goal is seeing the target, the threat and letting the reticle appear (even briefly) in your eyeline. Most often, if the reticle is in the window and on the target, you can press the trigger and get the hit. Yes, there could be a few exceptions.

Are there concerns about optics? Oh yes. Mounting, batteries, broken or obstructed windows, and other environmental conditions. While I am a proponent of optics, I acknowledge they may not be for everyone.



HiViz

Going back to the concept of soft focus, Hi-Viz Sights introduced a sight system that lends itself to the idea. They call it the FastDot H3. I was sent a set of the sights around SHOT. The FDH3 consists of front and rear sights. The front sight has a large-diameter red fiber optic rod back by a tritium insert. The rear sight has a tube in it that is larger diameter-wise than the front sight. 

The FastDot is comprised of a tritium and fiber optic rod front sight with an enclosed tube in the rear.

You don’t look through the rear tube towards the front sight.  Instead, when the sights are aligned, the red dot in front disappears behind the tube in the rear. At that point, the tube turns green. The shooter isn’t focusing on the rear sight. I was able to have my visual attention on the target and still see the tube turn green.

Is Color an Issue?

Soft focusing on HiViz’s Fastdot sights allows one to visually focus on the target while seeing enough of the sights. Here is that green indicator of being on target.

Is the color difference going to be an issue? I don’t believe so. Although my color vision is red/green color deficient, I did not have any issue distinguishing between them. The green in the rear looked like the green on a stop light column. 

How precise does one’s presentation need to be? Well, like with an optic, the more consistent your presentation, the sooner in the process you will have a visual verification of the sights being on target. 

What about accuracy? While it is a function of the user, I stayed within the thoracic scoring area on a Gunsite target and a reduced B/C steel target back to 15 yards. As distance increased, so did the amount of refinement I needed to do. But then, I must do that with traditional iron sights. 

Construction and Installation

While longer than a typical front sight, there were no issues installing it.

The sights’ bodies are made of steel. They were slightly oversized for the dovetail sight cuts on the M&P I installed them on. I did not have to file the sights prior to installing them. The M&P sight tool from MGW made short work of mounting them. 

They are a low-mount design, meaning they work with traditional holsters and do not require a raised sight channel. 

Using MGW’s M&P-specific sight tool made installation a breeze.

Currently, HiViz makes models for non-optic versions of the M&P, Sig’s P320, and Glocks. They also have a model that is compatible with Glock’s MOS pistols. 

Final Thoughts

The HiViz FastDot H3 sights are “a” way to employ soft-focus shooting with a visual reference.

No one method of sighting will work for everyone every time. Understand when each method isn’t appropriate and be able to adapt to another to solve your shooting problem. 

Resources

HiViz FastDot H3 Sights

MGW Sight Tools

 

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