Teaching Sight Alignment Using Lasers

After trigger control, sight alignment is probably the next most important skill needed for good shooting results.  Yes, the laser itself can be used as a sighting tool.  Crimson Trace laser sights are also extremely effective for teaching traditional sight alignment because they clearly show exactly where the student is aiming.

Often you'll see trainers stand behind a student and try to look "through" a student's head to see what their sight alignment (sight picture) looks like.  How many times have you done it?  Unfortunately, it is impossible for more than one person to look down the sights of a pistol at the same time.  Laser sights help by demonstrating exactly where the bullet will strike the target, without taking a shot.

Here's how: First, the instructor needs to make sure the laser dot and the traditional sights are aligned at 5 to 7 yards.  Next, confirm your student understands what proper sight picture is by reviewing all the charts, pictures, models, diagrams, or any other tools you use to demonstrate proper sight picture.

Now it gets easy.  With the laser activated - with Lasergrips® or Laserguard® with Instinctive Activation™, the laser is activated while the firearm is held in a natural firing grip - ask the student to aim through their traditional sights at a target while you block the laser beam with your finger.  When your student confirms that they have "perfect" sight picture and alignment with the target, ask them to hold that position.  Now move your finger.  If their sight picture was perfect, the dot will hit the center of the target.  If the dot is anywhere else, then they obviously need to realign their sight picture.  Students also can perform the excercise by blocking and unblocking the laser with their own trigger finger (with Lasergrips only).  Usually, trying again several times until the dot and target align consistently is all it takes to confirm proper sight picture in their mind's eye.  If the dot is repeatedly off the target center, go to the next step.


Sight alignment and trigger control are the secret to accurate handgun shooting.  Without command of these two actions...you will not hit what you aim at.

- Richard Mann, Author, "Handgun Training for Personal Protection"

Now you're going to reverse the process.  Have the student aim their gun at the target.  This time they are going to "lock" the laser on the target and look slightly over the traditional sights.  The student holds the dot on the target and keeps it there.  Then the student slowly lowers their eyes to the traditional sight picture, maintaining sight picture and the laser dot in the same place.  If the student has a poor understanding of sight picture, they will force the dot into a different location as they revert to their "mind's eye" view of the sight picture.  Once the student maintains "proper" sight picture while keeping the dot on target, they usually have it.

Developing accurate sight picture is often very frustrating to both trainers and students.  Laser sights provide an effective, visible training tool that can dramatically reduce teaching time and improve results.




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