When you’re with friends and miss all your shots, you may get away with saying there’s a problem with your gun sights. But if you want to get the prize next time around, you better be sure the issue is with the gun sights and not your technique.
How To Tell if My Gun Sights Are Off?
To tell if your gun sights are off, you need to hit a new target consistently while disregarding where previous bullets landed. By avoiding any adjustment and sticking to the gun sight’s focus on the “main,” you can tell whether the bullets hit the main or miss it in a predictable pattern.
In this article, you’ll learn the steps you must take to fix your aim or gun sights, depending on where the problem lies. You’ll discover how to:
- Test the gun in the absence of variables
- Examine the target to interpret the pattern
- Remove yourself as the variable
- Fix misalignment or Improve technique.
Test Your Gun and Shooting
The first step in finding out whether the issue is with your gun sights is to bring variables to a constant.
When hunting, various factors impact the success of a shot. Anything could contribute to your misses, from the wind and climate to the animal’s color and surrounding shade.
If you feel like your sight alignment is to blame, you must go to a gun range and experiment.
While many gun ranges emulate the outside environment by placing targets in the open, your aim is not to practice for your hunt but to eliminate distractions and interfere with climate conditions.
That’s why booking an indoor shooting environment is the best way to dry fire or fix your trigger control. Once you have that, get yourself a blank target and place it at a reasonable distance for adjusting the sight alignment.
If you start shooting now, you might notice the first few bullets hit off-target to the left and right and instinctively adjust your barrel regardless of where the sight points. That will only blur the results.
Instead, you should first focus your point of aim on the main target and then start shooting without paying attention to where the bullets are landing.
If they’re not hitting the target, don’t “fix it” by moving the gun. Keep the sights on the main and keep shooting till you’ve emptied the ammunition load.
Examine the Results
Once you’ve done your best to keep the sight alignment accurately while shooting multiple rounds, you’ll notice a pattern.
Provided the climate, wind, or other environmental factors were to blame for your missed shots outside, you’ll have hit the main or close enough to it consistently.
On the other hand, if your gun’s front sight, rear sight, or technique are to blame, you’ll have missed the main with the same consistency. Look for the following patterns.
Close Cluster Off-Target
If you notice that most bullets hit in a round cluster off-target, then you have stayed consistent, but the gunsight wasn’t inaccurate. Aligning the sight will improve your performance.
That said, you shouldn’t dismiss all consistent shots off-target as the result of sight-issues.
If the cluster is not round (multiple bullets don’t make a large hole collectively), you may have a very consistent technique problem.
Supposing multiple rounds form a line of sorts as each bullet gradually strays further from the main, you likely have an issue with the technique, which gets looser with each shot.
You begin determined to hold the sight in focus, but as you fire each bullet, you relax a little on the concentration front.
If you face this pattern, you should conduct a second test without yourself involved (explained later).
Scattered Pattern Off-Target
In case you hit multiple areas on the target sheet but miss the primary target, for the most part, chances are you have an aiming problem with or without your rifle scope and must develop your technique to be more consistent.
Each bullet will be far enough from its predecessor that no three shots will form a big hole.
If you’ve just gotten into guns, this is to be expected, and it is a good thing you aren’t blaming your gunsight for the training gap you must fill.
Subtract Yourself and Retest the Gun
If your first test has sufficiently exposed the issue, you can skip this step and get your sights realigned.
However, if you’re still in doubt about your technique’s role in your shooting errors, remove yourself as the variable.
Get a friend or even the specialist at your local range to use your gun to lock in on the main of a fresh target sheet and fire subsequent rounds.
You should let them know that this is to test the sight, and you don’t want them to instinctively adjust their aim if the first rounds are off-target.
Once the shooter fires multiple rounds, you can look at the sheet and see if a similar pattern emerges. In the instance that it does, you can be sure that the issue is indeed with the gun sight.
How To Align Your Gun Sights on Target
By now, you understand how to tell when gun sights are off. In this section, we explore how you can adjust them.
The experiments above must be conducted so you can tell how much adjustment is required.
Place the target sheet in front of you and notice how far off the cluster is from the main. If the bullets are towards the left, you should shift the rear sight to the right.
You may need to shift the front sight to the left, but that’s rarely required. If the bullets are towards the right of the target, you’ll need to shift the rear sight towards the left or the front one to the right.
Bullets will rarely fall only towards the right or the left. Likely, your gun sights are vertically misaligned as well.
To adjust this, you’ll need to move your rear sight up to bring the bullets up or the front side in the opposite direction.
Similarly, moving your rear sight down will bring the bullets down. Tweaking the front site and moving it up will also bring the bullets down.
Final Thoughts: How To Tell if My Gun Sights Are Off
Misaligned gun sights can be frustrating as they lead to missed opportunities and low success. To make sure your gun sights are appropriately aligned, you should:
- Practice on a new target while focusing the aim at the main.
- Look for a cluster of bullets at a constant position relative to the target
- Have a friend shoot with your gun
- See if the bullets are still as far off
- Align your gun sights accordingly.
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