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What Are the Best Pistol Sights for Old Eyes?

TidalWave

Custom
I tend to agree with Anni above. Besides, there is my general principle of Simpler is Better - at least I lean that way for EDC and uncertain purposes. (Commando ops? That’s a different thing Lol ).

I will make one concession - I’ve come to like fiber optic front sights.
stands out better and quicker acquisition for me at least. On the other hand a gold bead might do as well - I’ve never had that on my pistols. Either way, a bit bigger is preferable…
 

TSiWRX

Custom
A very nicely written article as well as well-presented video.

Overall, while I appreciate the details explored in this article/video, my opinion is that to explore what are "the best pistol sights for old eyes" has the very same limitations as to suggest that any sight is "best" for anyone, at any time in their shooting career. Quite simply, we all "see" just a little differently from any other person, and as-such, our sight preferences - everything from the shape of the sight bodies to the front-post versus rear-notch size differences to how the sight bodies may or may not be highlighted to whether we prefer an etched reticle or a "projected one" - are just that: personal preferences that are based as much in objective measures that can be quantitated as they are in our personal tastes and special vision needs (i.e. astigmatism).

There really is nothing better than to be able to get your eyes behind a specific (or very similar) setup, in order to figure out what you truly like. :)

Nevertheless, it's a nice article, and a nice video, too.


------


More specifically, I do have some constructive criticism.

For an article that ostensibly relates vision degradation to sight selection, I am surprised that the red-dot section did not include mention of astigmatism and how this condition can induce significant visual artifacts of red-dot sights.

Similarly, for shooters with low-vision, the statement that "[the RDS] is a major advantage for people with eyesight challenges, because if you can see the target – you can also see your handgun sights at the same time..." isn't a sure-fire absolute. For example, for one legally blind shooter whom I advised, the visible laser was the only viable option for him as at full-presentation as his limited vision was insufficient to resolve the dot in his RDS, even when he is able to make positive identification of the threat. While he could not see the laser designator as far off in the distance as a normally sighted shooter, what he found was that he could resolve the laser very easily at distances at which his visual limitations allows him to also make a positive identification of the threat.

Finally, while modern RDSs are billed as "parallax free," this is not truly the case, and can be proven quantitatively -


As "Doc" Spears noted, the amount of precision we need to devote to the centering of the dot (in a zero'ed) RDS should be relative to the target accuracy/precision requirements. To effect an B/C-zone hit at 7 yards is a lot different than what's needed to hit an eyebox at the 50, and that is the same for a handgun that's equipped with an RDS or with irons ( https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/89081/ - this excellent blog entry by Claude Werner shows the same principle of slight sight misalignment with the RDS, as it is applied to the front/rear sight relationship with iron sights).

Finally, whether or not a dedicated holster is required for a slide-mounted RDS equipped handgun is completely dependent on the specific gun/holster combo and the type of RDS and/or its mount and/or its backup irons. To suggest that specialized holsters are not needed can cause heartache, frustration, and wasted dollars.
 
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Sld1959

Custom
Good article, it's something I am in fact starting to deal with. I have always preferred a black rear sight with a gold bead front. But with continued shortening of my arms I got sonething different on my latest revolver. I went with a black rear with a bright neon green front sight which seems to be working well for me.

This is why no matter how determined I am to get another 1911 as my next pistol I keep having these niggles of doubt that I should just bite the bullet and jump into a modern poly pistol, replete with a red dot, cowitness sights, and a rail for a light.
 

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Annihilator

SAINT
Founding Member
Good article, it's something I am in fact starting to deal with. I have always preferred a black rear sight with a gold bead front. But with continued shortening of my arms I got sonething different on my latest revolver. I went with a black rear with a bright neon green front sight which seems to be working well for me.

This is why no matter how determined I am to get another 1911 as my next pistol I keep having these niggles of doubt that I should just bite the bullet and jump into a modern poly pistol, replete with a red dot, cowitness sights, and a rail for a light.
Nice, bet that front sight stands out in the sun, was that factory?
 

TSiWRX

Custom
Good article, it's something I am in fact starting to deal with. I have always preferred a black rear sight with a gold bead front. But with continued shortening of my arms I got sonething different on my latest revolver. I went with a black rear with a bright neon green front sight which seems to be working well for me.

This is why no matter how determined I am to get another 1911 as my next pistol I keep having these niggles of doubt that I should just bite the bullet and jump into a modern poly pistol, replete with a red dot, cowitness sights, and a rail for a light.

^ As I've written elsewhere, my eyes are going, too.

Luckily for me, my rather severe nearsightedness has helped stave-off the worst of it....well, for the time being, at least. :) I find that while I'm starting to peek over my glasses to load my microsurgery instruments, the front sight on my pistols (my EDC and HD pistols both carry .100-width front posts) are still reasonably crisp .

At some point, I think that switching to a modern "windows" setup (i.e. micro-RDS) will become a necessity - and I started training a new draw-stroke/presentation towards that as of a few years ago, but even so, I still wonder just how much that change may benefit me.

The problem for me is that I have significant astigmatism as a result of my severe nearsightedness. Hence, even a true-holographic dot appears more like a comma/comet to me. While proper threat-focused technique has somewhat mitigated this concern (and luckily for me, the comma/comet typically has a consistent reference point, whereas I know that for other shooters with astigmatism, their unique presentation of the disease may cause them to inconsistently visualize even the same sight, from presentation-to-presentation), where it comes to the low-percentage shot, it does give me pause.

And that's where it gets me.....

In Pat McNamara's "Pistol Taps" DVD for Panteo Productions, he shoots a demo at 7 yards with an iron sighted Glock 17/19. He's literally drilling the same hole, clover-leafing, at this distance. He's placing the shots at about a 1-second cadence, and he's running through the entire mag, shot after shot after shot, live on-screen. He's doing this -he mentions as a complete side-note- with his 50-year-old (at that time) eyes which can no longer resolve the front sight post!

For the time being, I really do still very much like my Dawson's - I've really grown to love the speed of the narrow front post/wide rear notch of my setup, and the front fiber-optic really helps catch my eyes. Similar to @HayesGreener, I also really like the Trijicon HD, in particular their XR variant.

I guess I'm just going to have to see what the coming years bring. :)
 

TSiWRX

Custom
My Hellcat has the WASP dot, and I still can't get used to using it, I'm better, but not where I would like to be right now, got to keep practicing with it I guess. Still having issue of when I bring it up.

I'm far from a pro at the pistol-slide mounted micro-RDS, but from my understanding, it's all about consistency - that you want to be able to consistently hit that spot in your presentation where the dot properly appears for you.

Here's where the idea of "only perfect practice makes perfect" comes in: in order to truly burn-in the consistency, you absolutely have to make sure that -particularly as you start- everything is absolutely perfect.

For every rep where not everything is perfect, you're essentially teaching your brain/muscles that alternate pathway, and you're throwing in inconsistencies.

Personally, I subscribe to the backwards-engineering of the draw-stroke: to start at full-presentation, with the sights aligned and the trigger prepped, and to go "back to the holster" from there.

For the dot, my goal is to visualize the dot on-target for as long as possible working backwards. In full TENET fashion, this should translate to my picking up the dot as soon as possible in the presentation, going forward.
 

David N.

Professional
Founding Member
I'm far from a pro at the pistol-slide mounted micro-RDS, but from my understanding, it's all about consistency - that you want to be able to consistently hit that spot in your presentation where the dot properly appears for you.

Here's where the idea of "only perfect practice makes perfect" comes in: in order to truly burn-in the consistency, you absolutely have to make sure that -particularly as you start- everything is absolutely perfect.

For every rep where not everything is perfect, you're essentially teaching your brain/muscles that alternate pathway, and you're throwing in inconsistencies.

Personally, I subscribe to the backwards-engineering of the draw-stroke: to start at full-presentation, with the sights aligned and the trigger prepped, and to go "back to the holster" from there.

For the dot, my goal is to visualize the dot on-target for as long as possible working backwards. In full TENET fashion, this should translate to my picking up the dot as soon as possible in the presentation, going forward.
Interesting, thanks.
 

TSiWRX

Custom
^ Towards that.....

With either the irons or the dot, I look where I want to hit - given our natural biology, we'll do this under-threat, anyway. :)

Working backwards allows me to start where I want to optimally finish (i.e. where I want to break that shot).

Doing everything consistently allows me to burn-in that "muscle memory."

A part of this is just me, because I'm not naturally blessed with great hand-eye coordination. Practicing by "throwing the gun out there" while my eye is focused on the target, I just didn't have the horsepower to get myself there. I couldn't get consistent enough.

A different shooter may benefit from a different attack at the problem. :)

That's from the draw - with successive shots, the consistency part of the problem becomes how the dot settles/returns, just like how the front post returns within the rear notch on successive shots. Here, the advice I've followed is that I need to correct my grip in order to achieve consistency.
 
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Susquash

Master Class
Founding Member
I am battling "old eyes" myself. Had one cataract removed and have the other eye done next week. A good article.

One possible solution that was not mentioned is the Mepro Bullseye Sight. I have one on my Glock 30 45 ACP
It replaces the rear sight on a number of different models. The sight is both fiber optic and tritium.
Comes In green or red. You do not need a front sight with it.
It lights up when your sights are aligned. Set sight where you want to hit
It was developed in Israel and is probably best suited to close quarters shooting.
Just my 2 cents. 😁

Whoops! Too slow writing this up and Classified beat me to the draw. 😁
 
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conax

Elite
^ As I've written elsewhere, my eyes are going, too.

Luckily for me, my rather severe nearsightedness has helped stave-off the worst of it....well, for the time being, at least. :) I find that while I'm starting to peek over my glasses to load my microsurgery instruments, the front sight on my pistols (my EDC and HD pistols both carry .100-width front posts) are still reasonably crisp .

At some point, I think that switching to a modern "windows" setup (i.e. micro-RDS) will become a necessity - and I started training a new draw-stroke/presentation towards that as of a few years ago, but even so, I still wonder just how much that change may benefit me.

The problem for me is that I have significant astigmatism as a result of my severe nearsightedness. Hence, even a true-holographic dot appears more like a comma/comet to me. While proper threat-focused technique has somewhat mitigated this concern (and luckily for me, the comma/comet typically has a consistent reference point, whereas I know that for other shooters with astigmatism, their unique presentation of the disease may cause them to inconsistently visualize even the same sight, from presentation-to-presentation), where it comes to the low-percentage shot, it does give me pause.

And that's where it gets me.....

In Pat McNamara's "Pistol Taps" DVD for Panteo Productions, he shoots a demo at 7 yards with an iron sighted Glock 17/19. He's literally drilling the same hole, clover-leafing, at this distance. He's placing the shots at about a 1-second cadence, and he's running through the entire mag, shot after shot after shot, live on-screen. He's doing this -he mentions as a complete side-note- with his 50-year-old (at that time) eyes which can no longer resolve the front sight post!

For the time being, I really do still very much like my Dawson's - I've really grown to love the speed of the narrow front post/wide rear notch of my setup, and the front fiber-optic really helps catch my eyes. Similar to @HayesGreener, I also really like the Trijicon HD, in particular their XR variant.

I guess I'm just going to have to see what the coming years bring. :)
I am extremely far-sighted with plenty of astigmatism as well. I can't really see the rear sight most of the time.
I discovered that the reading glasses I use with iron sight revolvers leave the astigmatism and show the red dot as a line instead of a dot.
Now I wear the reading glasses with irons and prescription bi-focal glasses with the red dot. These glasses help but there is still distortion of the dot that's worse when the dot is bright.
Here's a tip you might try- dim the dot down to minimum and it minimizes the effects of astigmatism. With the WASP I put some squares of masking tape over the ambient light sensor port to trick it into thinking it's darker outside.
I'm like Fred Sanford at the range, switching glasses for the different guns I bring along. Getting old makes everything a challenge. Even writing coherent comments.. :rolleyes:
 
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