Sight Misalignment, Speed, Accuracy

This article originally appeared on the Tactical Professor’s blog. We’re republishing it here with his permission. Mad Duo 

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Friday Fundamentals 02: Sight Misalignment, Speed, Accuracy

Originally published on tacticalprofessor.

We’re continuing on with the series of ‘Friday Fundamentals’. I’ve written about Sight misalignment, speed, and accuracy  before. It’s a key fundamental to increasing your speed while still maintaining an acceptable degree of accuracy. This drill is part of the second session of my Pistol Practice Program.

Required equipment:

  • Any silhouette target; B-27, B-21, Q, IDPA, IPSC, etc. Put a 2-3 inch aiming point on the silhouette in about the center of the target.
  • Masking tape (preferred) or magic marker to mark the target.
  • Pistol, 24 rounds of ammunition
  • Eye and ear protection


This drill consists of three (3) Sequences of 8 shots each. You are going to deliberately misalign your sights so you can see the effect of this at increasing distances. The drill is to fire the pistol with the front sight on a spot on the target but with the rear notch deliberately misaligned. The Sequences are untimed.


Place target at five (5) yards


Sequence 1 (8 rounds at 5 yards)

1) Start with handgun held in both hands. If possible, sit and rest your arms on the bench. You want to be as steady as you can for these three sequences. Do not let the pistol touch the bench; this can change where the bullets hit. Shift your support hand slightly under the pistol, if needed.


2) Put the front sight just below the aiming spot on the target with the front sight half way above the top of the rear notch. Carefully fire two shots. Your sight picture should look something like this.

3) Put the front sight just below the aiming spot on the target with the front sight lowered so that its top edge is half way down in the rear notch. Carefully fire two shots. Your sight picture should look something like this.

4) Put the front sight just below the aiming spot on the target with the front sight over to the right so that its right edge is touching the right side of the rear notch. Carefully fire two shots. The sight picture should look something like this.

5) Put the front sight just below the aiming spot on the target with the front sight pushed to the left so that its left edge is touching the left side of the rear notch. Carefully fire two shots. Your sight picture should look something like this.

Bring the target back and mark your shots with masking tape, pasters, or a marker. You will end up with eight shots on the target that will be dispersed up, down, left, and right. The target should look something like this:

Sequence 2 (8 rounds at 10 yards)

1) Send the target out to 10 yards.

2) Repeat Sequence 1 but with the target at 10 yards.

3) Bring the target back and mark it.

Sequence 3 (8 rounds at 15 yards)

1) Send the target out to 15 yards.

2) Repeat Sequence 1 with the target at 15 yards.

3) Bring the target back and mark it.

Depending on your eyes and the nature of your sights, you may find that even at 15 yards your group stays on the target, despite the slightly misaligned sights.


The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate that the sights do not have to be perfectly aligned to get an acceptable hit on a silhouette size target. Many people waste time trying to get a perfect sight picture when it isn’t necessary. This principle of acceptable misalignment is the basis for what is called the “flash sight picture.” What we are trying to do is to get the front sight close to our aiming point and then refine the sight picture only to the extent we need to in order to get an acceptable hit. As your skill improves, your groups will get smaller and smaller but the principle remains the same.

We hope you got something out of this article. If you’re looking for more fundamentals and critical thinking, visit the author’s home page at The Tactical Professor. While there take a few minutes to read through the Gunfights and Gunbattles section. Some great stuff in there.


“Tactical Professor” is about as good a term as could be used for Claude Werner. A retired Army Captain with 10 years service in Special Operations Forces, former Match Director for the IDPA GA State Championship and IDPA Area Coordinator, he’s a Four Gun Master, Master shooter in several categories, an accomplished competitor, and more importantly an extraordinary (and justifiably storied) instructor. He’s also a fan of baked pork chops and rye whisky. Werner served in the Ranger Regiment and commanded an Army SF unit, and was for many year the Chief Instructor at the widely acclaimed Rogers Shooting School. You can follow Werner on Facebook at The Tactical Professor or online at We’re pretty sure he doesn’t Instagram and almost certain he never Snapchats. We’re also guessing he doesn’t have a Tinder account, but who knows? The rest of his online presence, however, is a wondrous place. He describes it as the, “…great Venn Diagram of Life where guns, tactics, data, training, and public policy merge into a spot occupied by a few others.” We like that definition. You don’t have to agree with everything he says (nor should you, ever, with anyone) but you’d do well to ruminate upon it.

Grunts: ruminate.

“If you don’t own a rifle, you’re wrong. Doesn’t matter what caliber, even .22 Long Rifle such as a Marlin 60, own one. Have some basic idea of how to use it and practice periodically.” Claude Werner

Claude Werner, the "Tactical Professor"
We met up with Werner at the NRA Convention once and asked him to smile. This is what we got.


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