I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday while practicing with the irons on Heimdall. A habit that has carried over from using optics for so long is the practice of focusing on the target. It’s understandable, really. Modern red dot sights and telescopic sights are designed to have the reticle projected onto the same plane as the target, and that is just what I’ve come to expect.
But, while practicing, I remembered what I was taught when shooting pistols accurately. Accurate iron sight shooting means focusing on the front sight and not the target. To date, I’ve been focusing on some distant target (I typically practice iron sight shooting at home while aiming at 3-4″ targets placed 60-80 meters away). This means that the front sight post has been a bit blurry.
I now find myself stuck. Some quick googling has shown that the best practice for rifle iron sights is to focus on the front sight post and let the target be blurry. I suppose this works with large silhouettes or big black bulls, but I’m having a much more difficult time with low contrast targets like the little grey satellite receiver placed in front of a grey background. I suppose this is going to be a practice item. Since the target doesn’t move, as long as I pick a slightly-blurry reference point and focus on a sharp front sight picture, a hit should still be made.
I should, hopefully, be able to get out to the range in the next couple days to put this to the test on paper. I’m a little shy of one month until competition day. I’ve been neglecting slung prone in favor of practicing offhand and kneeling positions, which I think I have improved dramatically at with regards to stability. I’ve come to really like the crossed ankle position for sitting, but all of my targets from home tend to be on an upward slope from me. I may find I prefer going back to crossed leg when shooting on a level plane at the range.
I still want to order a 20″ government profile upper from BCM to really practice with rifle length iron sights. But, threats of the Air Force reduction in force (RIF) boards this summer are driving me to save as much money as possible and make sure my family is clear of debt. Toys will have to wait.