Point Of Aim Vs. Point Of Impact
Hitting a target with a handgun bullet not only requires a bit of hand-eye coordination and small motor skills in your fingers and hands; but also requires understanding point of aim (POA) in regards to point of impact (POI). Handguns cannot — and do not — place all bullets where aimed.
If you don’t believe that last statement have someone aim straight away with a big bore revolver, such as an old S&W N-frame or Colt New Frontier. Then stand a dozen feet to the side and look carefully. Its muzzle will be pointed slightly downwards. That’s due to a simple law of physics saying that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
For handgunners, that means as soon as the bullet begins moving down the barrel, recoil begins pushing the barrel upward. With cartridges such as .45 Colt, .44 Special, etc., with heavy, slow moving bullets, the revolver’s muzzle actually has to be pointed noticeably down so the bullet exits when recoil brings it up to level. The gun manufacturers calculate that factor into the heights of their front sights. Back in the day when there wasn’t much choice in factory load bullet weights, this was simple. They simply regulated a .45 Colt revolver for 250-grain bullets, a .44 Special for 246-grain bullets, a .38 Special for 158-grain bullets and so forth. That’s the reason why front sights are so tall on older revolvers, especially those for big calibers.
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