Few topics in the field of gun handling are as contentious as the subject of sight picture. Every possible sight picture style seems to have its advocates and all are willing to point to specific facts to prove the superiority of their method over all others. These include advocates for the classic or traditional sight picture (NRA et al.) the roughly aligned sight picture (Cooper, Stanford, et al.’s Flash Sight sighting) the front sight post focus sight picture (Ayoob’s StressFire sighting) the silhouette of the weapon sight picture (Cirillo’s Silhouette sight picture) as well as target focus or line-of-sight sight picture (Sykes, Fairbairn, Applegate et al.’s Point Shooting sight picture)
Several firearm trainers have tried to bring a cold and dispassionate researcher’s eye to the debate. Of the research done to date I believe the current state-of-the-art work comes from Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Conti as presented is the seminal text Police Pistol Craft. While Trooper Conti’s examination has led him to side closest with Applegate threat focus or line-of-sight sight picture side of the debate he makes the persuasive argument that a thoroughly skilled self-defense shooter needs a functioning knowledge of all these sight picture styles. Furthermore he notes that under actual shooting situations and the various distances involved each one of these sight picture styles offer some specific advantages.
Acknowledging that there is a specific value in each of the various sight picture systems and not wishing to reinvent the wheel what then are the best sources for the shooter interested in becoming more familiar with each method? Here are a few sources I would recommend:
For traditional sight picture skills, see any NRA basic shooting text. For information on the roughly aligned sight picture see both Cooper on Firearms by Jeff Cooper and Surgical Speed Shooting by Andy Stanford. For front sight post focus sight picture see StressFire by Massad Ayoob. For the silhouette of the weapon sight picture see Guns, Bullets and Gunfights by Jim Cirillo. For target focus or line-of-sight sight picture shooting see DVD of Bullseyes Don’t Shoot Back by Applegate and Janich.
In every snub class I offer we review and practice all five of these sighting systems against targets at varying distances and under (ideally) artificial stressed situations. The two important learning points I want every snub shooter to come away with is 1) There is value in each system and 2) seamlessly flowing from the one to the other is not only easy but a practical skill to develop.