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Sight Sense

Sight Sense

Of the thousands of questions gunsmiths answer, questions about sights top the list. The most common is, “I’m getting old and am having a hard time seeing the sights. Is there anything that will help me see the sights better?” I have been through that time myself starting at 40 years of age until I had to give up competitive shooting around 55. I tried everything from trifocals, progressive lenses, Merit discs and electrical tape with a pinhole cut in it, aperture sights and other weird ideas.

The best solution in those “old days” was the battery operated red-dot sight. However, the red dots back in the 1970s and 1980s were fraught with problems. They worked well on 22s, but would not hold up to the punishment of the .44s and .45s, so aging shooters in the bull’s-eye precision shooting game dropped out like flies.

Today, we have a cornucopia of sights to enjoy, including fiber-optic, Tritium, white dot, combination Tritium and fiber-optic and sights for the partially blind made by Advantage. For shooters who are legally blind, or close to it, the Advantage sights can be real saviors, plus they look cool. A complete kit comes with red, orange, yellow, green and white snap-in inserts for the front and rear sight. The Advantage is the closest sight you will ever find to a “do-it-yourself” drop-in set. The front dovetail might require a little fitting, but the rear sight glides into the factory dovetail and is tightened with a screw locking a gib tightly into place. Other than the Advantage, there are no other sights of which I am aware that a shooter can install his self.

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  1. I am an Optician, and I have figured out Proper shooting glasses!

    One needs to adapt a lens with an inverted bifocal to the shooter’s needs-

    I have been making these for years. You can mount all the different sights you want on a handgun or Rifle, But- “If you can see it, You will never hit it!”

    One customer recently saw his expensive sight for the first time when he picked up his New Shooting glasses-

    There are better solutions out here- look around- Some people a blessed with good vision- some others are not equaly blessed and need correction and we are loosing too many shooter over 50 years old, because they just cant see their sights- We DO NOT need to loose anyone from our sport!

    You need to find a shooting optician- That shoots and Understands-
    We welcome people to bring their guns into our Shop, in a suburb of St. Louis, MO. and let them SEE the sights for the first time in many many years- Changing the fixed site is nice, but what will you do for all the rest of your guns? New sites on ALL your guns will cost a heck of a lot more, than one pair of Good Safety Shooting glasses! Its amazing to hear people say, “Your shoot! you understand!” To hear “Eddie” In California say, he is now a 68 year old man, with 35 year old eyes again! and the “Kids” do not like getting beat by an Old Man!” he was ready to sell his guns and quit?
    Thank You
    Chris Vogler
    Head Optician
    SafeVision LLC
    Webster Groves, MO

  2. There are a lot of different sights out there, to be sure. I’ve tried the Advantage system and not only is it pretty, it works. All that aside, the fellow above me, the Optometrist, has the right idea…NO SIGHT IS GONNA WORK IF YOU CAN’T SEE IT!
    When I’m at the range, I use the Merrit device simply because it lets me use the plain jane sights most of my shooting gear still wears without squinting or anything else.
    Note, though; this is at the Range- not out hunting. The Merrit device is not for tramping through the greensward looking for the deer you have a tag for, or the pig you are going to turn into bacon.
    For that, decent glasses and good sights will do the job nicely.

    P.S. For pistol hunting, shooting sticks work very well and are worth carrying…or do what I do and use a modified walking stick; either way makes for a stable and well aimed shot.
    And dinner…

    • Note for Advantage (maybe) users. Yes, the rear sight can be relatively easily installed, but on my Springfield XD I had to take a jeweler’s saw and split the front sight in two to get it off. Tapping with a brass drift does NOT work. Fortunately, the front sight went into the dovetail with only a tiny bit of fitting and a little Loc-Tite to hold things in place. Ditto the loctite on the rear sight screw. Its a pain, but well worth it when done.

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