adjustable ccw sights

Is The Premium For Adjustable Sights Worth It On A CCW

A good number of gunmakers offer adjustable sights as an upgradeable option, sort of like how you can get leather bucket seats and an infotainment console in a premium trim package on a car. Are they worth it on a concealed carry gun?

Defensive shootings take place close-up for the most part, and good defensive shooting drills likewise take place at close ranges. Do the fancy sights even matter?

Target Shooting Vastly Different Than Defensive Shooting

sighting in gun at range

Regarding opting for fancy sights, the fact is that defensive shooting is much different than target shooting. For starters, most instances where an armed citizen or police officer has to draw their gun and use it to defend themselves occur at close distance and very quickly. You just don't have time for traditional aimed fire.

That's why professionals have taught certain techniques for decades, such as point shooting or the flash sight picture. These are different aiming techniques from traditional aimed fire and sight alignment, but they work in different context.

Point shooting is for shooting very quickly in close quarters, 10 feet or fewer. Sights really aren't even necessary; point of aim is how the pistol is aligned with the target. Basically point and shoot.

Conventional wisdom on flash sight picture shooting is that it's for moderate distances at 10 to 20 feet. Anything beyond that may require aimed fire. As the pistol is presented, the shooter focuses on the front sight. When the front sight appears in the rear sight picture at all, shoot.

Both methods can get rounds on target, and in a hurry. That's why these are the shooting methods that have been taught to professionals for decades.

Precision Handgun Sights May Not Be Necessary For Less Than Surgical Shooting

sighting in gun

Adjustable handgun sights are for precision shooting. A good set of sights can allow a person to hit a bullseye at long distances, especially if adjustable for windage as well as elevation. But is that necessary for defensive shooting techniques like point or flash sight shooting?

Neither method is as precise as aimed fire, this is true, but ultimately the end goal is not necessarily to shoot out the center of a bullseye. The idea is to get rounds on target, quickly and reliably.

There really isn't much reason to bother with sights for target pistols on a gun that you're going to carry or keep in the home for defensive uses. The point of a target gun is target shooting or plinking.

There's all the reason in the world to put precision sights on a gun that's going to be used for more precise shooting. A set of quality sights is absolutely a good idea on a rifle that's going to be used for iron-sight hunting. The serious target shooter should definitely invest in good sights.

In fairness, adjustable sights DO allow a pistol to be zeroed from a rest, which is good to be able to do. A pistol that doesn't shoot where it aims with the sights perfectly aligned probably won't shoot as accurately as it COULD if shooting with other sighting techniques, which does make a difference.

Overall, however, there's really not much reason to spend more to get sights on a pistol that aren't much use for the intended purpose. After all, a gun is merely a tool, and a person should use the right one for the job.

Night Sights Or Lasers Are Probably Worth It Though

best handgun laser

If there was an upgrade that's worth it, night sights or laser sights would easily be one of the first on the list. In low-light conditions, and many shootings take place during low-light conditions, night sights or a laser make acquiring the target easier than with mere iron sights.

Flash-sighting will certainly be made easier with a luminescent or fiber-optic front sight. (Just be sure to photoactivate the night sight every so often with a flashlight.) Anything that can be easily identified in low-light conditions that's at or near the muzzle will be of great help in point shooting or acquiring a flash sight picture. So will a laser.

That said, don't worry too much about adjustable sights unless you're buying a target or hunting pistol. Precision sights don't matter too much on a carry pistol.

Sam Hoober  

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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