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Old 02-22-2021, 05:12 PM
eflyguy

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Small frame sighting question



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TL;DR - do you generally have to sight differently with a smaller frame pistol?

Backstory - my daughter and I shot thru ~$200 (at today's prices) Blazer this afternoon. We took all our 9mm pistols. Two are our USPSA match guns, her G17 and my XD - both what I'd call "full-size", both have slight modifications, mostly regarding trigger and recoil spring. In addition, our EDC - she has a Shield, I have the G43, plus my previous carry, a G26.

We were shooting reasonable groups (2-3", she's better than me) at 10yds with the "full size" match pistols. The smaller ones were all shooting low by about a foot. At 10yds, that's ridiculous. I could understand if the groupings were all over the place, but all three were consistently low. We ended up using something like the sight picture below. We joked "if you have to use it in defense, aim for the head, and you'll get a body shot!" All this is off-hand, standing. Didn't think to try supported until I got home.

We've never really tried for much precision with pistols - even shooting USPSA, the targets aren't small - but since starting rifle competition in August, we have a new appreciation for the skills required.

So is there something about small pistols that requires a different POA? Or do we have three unicorns?
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:15 PM
VASCAR2
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Only way you’ll know for sure is to shoot the pistols off a solid rest like a bench with sand bags. Having a couple other shooters try the pistols to see if the guns shoot low for them.

It is pretty common to anticipate recoil and push the muzzle down just prior to the cartridge firing. This causes the shot group to be low. I’ve seen people consistently do this on almost every shot. When my Daughter first started shooting pistols She consistently shot left. With practice and time She doesn’t do it as often today. She’s a LEO and shot a lot in the Academy and shoots pretty good these days.

I have a Friend that always shoots handguns lower than I do. I think it is the difference between our hands and or vision. We both shoot consistent groups but just not the same place on the target. My groups are generally one to two inches higher than his group.

It is entirely possible you have three pistols which just shoot low but no way to know for sure without using a bench or having others shoot the pistols. I notice many people have a difficult time accurately shooting small concealed carry type hand guns. In my experience many shooters tend to shoot full size pistols better as long as their hand can accommodate the grip and the pistol is not to heavy. Small guns usually have smaller sights, the grip is small and may not have as good a trigger pull as a full size pistol.

Last edited by VASCAR2; 02-22-2021 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:47 PM
Cap'n Caveman
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sight picture

I have always used level/level front sight to rear sight and covered the bullseye with the dot you've shown on the front sight. That's the way the 1911 was designed and I've stuck with it. However, it's best to practice point and shoot for emergency situations and scrap the sights all together. Starting at living room distance and working your way out further.
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Old 02-23-2021, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cap'n Caveman View Post
I have always used level/level front sight to rear sight and covered the bullseye with the dot you've shown on the front sight. That's the way the 1911 was designed and I've stuck with it. However, it's best to practice point and shoot for emergency situations and scrap the sights all together. Starting at living room distance and working your way out further.
I agree, and during fast moving USPSA matches, we really aren't "sighting" every shot. It's only now that we're "into" iron-sight rifle competition that we took our pistol sighting more seriously yesterday, and were both amazed at how low the small pistols were shooting when sighting "correctly" as you describe. The larger pistols were dead on.

I'm fairly good at calling my shots (POA as it fires) and they were not dropping on trigger pull. We were taking our time.
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:02 AM
Cap'n Caveman
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sighting issues

I should clarify, 1911 obviously wasn't designed that way because the originals did not have the dot on the front. These newer sights (dot) however to the best of my knowledge were intended to reflect the point of impact. Open sights on rifle shooting is totally different being level/level and intended point of impact at the top of the front sight.

It's quite possible the distance is too far from the manufacture's intended use. Most of the self defense distancing is within the distance across a room. How does the weapon perform at that distance?
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:43 AM
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We were shooting @ 25'
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:07 PM
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sighting issues

That is pretty low. I do not remember the Colt Mustang shooting (level/level) much more than a couple inches below point of aim at that distance. Short sight radius and long trigger pull contributed some. One of the reasons I switched targets and went to point and shoot practice with it.
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Old 02-24-2021, 05:23 PM
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If both of your IPSC pistols have worked-over triggers, perhaps the poor triggers of the carry guns is causing you to shoot lower. Trigger control IS a big deal, and a "worse" trigger can cause havoc if you're not training a LOT with them.
Back when I was shooting IPSC, I had my match gun's trigger at 3.25lbs, and my LWT Commander's trigger was at 4lbs., not enough to matter much. I'd often shoot the Commander at matches, too, just to keep "current" with it.
Then again, both of the guys were 1911s, and had triggers that are easier to shoot than the staplegun triggers common on plastic fantastic pistols.
OTOH, I shot a lot of revolvers and other types of pistols, too, and wasn't too fazed with anything that went bang. I tried to keep up to date on anything that might come to hand.
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Old 02-24-2021, 06:43 PM
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Low?

I am not familiar with the bullet weight of Blazer 9mm ammo. That being said, I would look for a round with a heavy for caliber bullet to try in the small frames. My J frame 38spl shoots 158gr higher than 125gr bullets.
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Old 02-24-2021, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STEEL SHOOTER View Post
I am not familiar with the bullet weight of Blazer 9mm ammo. That being said, I would look for a round with a heavy for caliber bullet to try in the small frames. My J frame 38spl shoots 158gr higher than 125gr bullets.
Opposite of rifle because of recoil --- I think. Heavy bullets shoot higher (for me) in pistols.
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Old 02-25-2021, 08:37 AM
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Doesn't this assume the same MV regardless of bullet weight? Not trying to be snarky, but bullet weight is only one of the variables (powder choice, powder volume, primer choice, case thickness etc.), right?

I think you need to shoot a couple of varieties of ammunition in a controlled environment. Ransom rest if you have access to one, sandbags if that's the best you can do, to take the shooter out of the equation.

The shorter your sight radius, the more error you will have with a small sight misalignment. This is why a snubby is harder for me to shoot accurately at distance compared to, say, a Contender with a 10-inch barrel. In my experience, these problems are made worse when shooting offhand.
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Old 02-25-2021, 10:06 AM
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Bullet weight is a good way for vertical adjustment. Try some 147 grn.

Last edited by sicumj; 02-25-2021 at 10:09 AM.
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