Seeing is Believing: Firearm Sights

Turning back the pages of time to the beginning of guns, we come to a place in which gun sights didn’t even exist!!  Yes it’s true buckaroos!  There was a time that some form of the notch-and-post sight system had no use in discharging a firearm!!  Well, I’m sure that you may ask why?  As always, PSA has a quick answer for you!!!  In the beginning, firearms were not expected (because they weren’t good at it anyway!!!) to be able to send projectiles in exactly the same direction time after time.  The first gun sights didn’t appear until the mid 1500’s.  Developing firearm sights and rifled bores (check back soon for a discussion on rifled bores vs smooth bores!!!) allowed shooters to be able to repeatedly send projectiles down range at deadly accurate paces.

When it comes to developing accurate and effective shooting skill, having reliable firearm sights is imperative.  With today’s firearms (handguns, shotguns, and rifles), we are lucky enough to have both the traditional notch-and-post sights as well as new and exciting variants of the traditional aperture.  Open sights (the type that we are most familiar with), peep sights, and globe sights are all traditional types of firearm sights that now come standard on either handguns or long guns.  PSA Rule of Thumb:  Regardless of the type of gun sight, it is imperative that you perform sufficient practice, safely, in order to be able to effectively and efficiently sight a target.


Standard open sights on handguns are usually of the “notch-and-post” variation.  Here you can see two different variances.  On the top two pictures we have the “notch-and-post” on a Taurus Judge Public Defender.  The “notch” as you can see here is, for all practical purposes, a part of the frame of the revolver.  The “post,” located near the business end, is a fiber optic rod.  This one is a bright red (picks up on most any target!).  Easy acquisition (with good grip, stance, and muscle memory).  The bottom two pictures show the “notch-and-post” on a Sig Sauer Mosquito.  As you can see here, the “notch” is made of plastic and built onto the frame of the gun as opposed to being actually a part of the frame.  The post here is different as well.  It too, is made of plastic and built on-to the frame of the gun, but only the front portion of it (the part visible to the shooter) is painted with a dot in a bright color (usually yellow, white, red, or green).  (Check back soon for a discussion on how to use gun sights!)


With rifles, standard sights are called iron sights, as you can see on the top right picture.  Those on the bottom right, are detachable and are called BUIS (back-up iron sights).  They serve the same function (as those found on pistols and revolvers) as far as taking aim, but with different methods.  The detachable ones shown here also flip up and down (notice the spring and hinge mechanism), so not to interfere with any mounted accessories (if not used for co-witnessing).  The picture on the left shows…well in “gun-nut” language, a perfect illustration of a reason to buy a nice optic!!!  This AR15 platform comes standard with some sort of open sight as well (but for effective longer shots an optic is always a good thing!!).  With either method on either platform, having good sight picture, sight alignment, grip, and stance (and a positive muscle memory for that matter!!!) is imperative.  Practice makes perfect guys.  Trust me, try it out and you’ll find out that seeing is believing.

We want to thank you for stopping by our lane at the shooting range!!  We hope that you enjoyed your time with us and that we were able to hit the target.  Please be sure to check back soon and often to ensure that you catch all of our new posts and stay on target with PSA updates.  We look forward to shooting with you soon!

And as always….remember to watch your six and stay low.

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