Written by: Greg Ellifritz
Different sized targets require a differing level of precision with regards to sight alignment. This issue is often described by instructors as “seeing what you need to see to make the shot.”
When shooting at a human torso at five feet, no sights are even necessary. When shooting at a partially exposed head at 25 meters, a rather precise alignment is needed. Figuring out how you need to see your sights to get hits on different targets is an important skill to master and continually refine.
A good drill to work on this facet of shooting is called “Diminishing Dots.” I got this exercise from the Tactical Performance Center website. The target was designed by the late Ron Avery. I first did the drill in a class I took with Ron.
Drill instructions from the TPC site:
Summary: This exercise is another vision “See What You Need to See” honing tool. You might guess, correctly, that we think Seeing What You Need to See is important.
Time: 30 minutes
Rounds: 100 live, 100 dry
Target: Diminishing Dot
Start Position: Compressed Imminent Threat, 3 to 7 yards (based on skill)
Dry Variant: Same as Live
We’ve numbered the targets, but don’t use a version with numbers on them. You need to start thinking about hitting regions, not spots. They are numbered here to help you plan the exercise.
1. Commit to doing this at the pace of doing it RIGHT. Right now… look at each target and decide what you need to see on each.
(Hint… try an ever improving sight picture in a circle smaller than the actual target. What you need to see for #4 will be much tighter and precise than #1, probably using the tip of the front sight, not the post).
2. For at least the first 10 reps, step away, and step in and rebuild your stance and grip from scratch each rep.
3. Do this dry first. Then hot.
4. Present to circle 1, then shot 2, 3, 4 – 4 times (16 rounds)
5. Present to circle 2, then 3, 4, 1, 2 – 4 times (16 rounds) 32 rounds
6. Present to circle 3, then 4, 1,2,3 – 4 times (16 rounds)
7. Present to circle 4, then 1,2,3 – 4 times (16 rounds) 64 rounds
8. You now have 46 rounds left. Do 10 rounds of any sequence you want. Play with it. have fun.
9. You know have 6 rounds left. Present to the TPC logo and eliminate it.
10. Write down what worked in your journal. Write down ideas for improving.
I shot this drill last week with my new Gen 5 Glock 19. I had just installed the Special Gen 5 Hackathorn sights from Ameriglo. I was very disappointed to note that the sights shot about two inches low at a distance of 10 feet, resulting in some misses.
I shot the drill again (without dry fire) with my Glock 26. Despite the fact that the gun was much smaller, I shot the drill better with the 26. The sights on that gun actually shoot to the point of aim.
When shooting this drill, you need to work hard to vary the cadence of your shots depending on the size of the target. The shots should not be evenly spaced. Shots on the larger targets should be fired more rapidly than shots on the smallest target. If you aren’t paying attention, you’ll find yourself trying to be more precise than needed.
The goal is simply to put your bullet in the dot. You don’t need to shoot a one-hole group on every target. Push yourself with the speed on this one. It’s OK to throw a couple rounds. You are trying to build a new skill set.
This drill (especially including the dry fire) is a lot of work. It isn’t as fun as some other drills I’ve shared. Sometimes hard work isn’t fun. Give this one a try.