Gunfighting 101 |||


This morning I put a new set of Heine sights on a Glock 19. While I am definitely a red dot convert, not all of my fighting pistols have red dot sights on them, for reasons of bulk, size, and finances. For iron sighted guns I prefer flat black sights. No dots, no fiber optics, nothing to distract from your concentration on the top edge of the front sight and its relationship with the rear sight and the target. It is optimized for maximum precision.

Aficionados of various three-dot/big-dot/fiber optic systems will say, In a gunfight you need to be fast and our sights are faster!” The former is certainly true, speed is often going to be at a premium in a fight. Sometimes you will need to trade off some precision in order to get rounds on target faster. The problem with all these quick sighting gizmos is that they tend to a particular point on that tradeoff between accuracy and speed. Being mechanical devices they’re not very flexible.

In contrast, a good point shooting skillset allows you to choose the tradeoff between speed and accuracy that you need at that moment. Anything from a very fast shot relying mostly on body index and the visual outline of the gun, to a more precise, deliberate shot that brings the sights into play while still focusing on the target. If you’ve mastered the full sight continuum, you can make the tradoff that you need on any given shot, rather than having it dictated by your sights. These point shooting skills can be utilized effectively no matter what sighting system is on the gun. Since the point shooting skills take care of the speed/precision tradeoff, we can optimize the iron sights for maximum precision in sighted fire. Simple, flat black sights provide that.

I’ve used two different manufacturers’ flat black irons: Warren Tactical and Heinie Specialty Products. Both make quality sights, but I’ve come to prefer the Heinies. Where Heinie pulls away in my book is their night sights. Both companies offer tritium night sights in three-dot and straight-eight configurations. Warren Tactical, however, insists on putting a white ring around the tritium vial in their front sights. This spoils the flat black effect and undermines what we’re trying to accomplish. Heinie, by contrast, just drills the tritium vial into the sight with no white ring. During the day the vial is almost invisible.


Heinie offers two rear sights, the SlantPro and the Ledge. The SlantPro has a broadly sloping profile on the front, while the Ledge has a 90° angle and a vertical front face. I recommend the Ledge because it is much easier to hook on a belt or holster when doing one-handed manipulations.


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