‘A J-Frame doesn’t need sights… PERIOD’
This was a statement by a person on one of the gun forums I frequent, and it is absolutely true as far as it goes. A gun- any gun- is an inanimate object; it doesn’t need anything.
I, on the other hand, am not an inanimate object. I’m a human being with individual strengths and frailties, and a few decades of experience to back that up. I do need things, or at least want them. One of the things I want is to never draw a weapon in anger again, but you can wish in one hand and crap in the other and I think we all know which hand will fill up faster. I can be vigilant, I can be careful, I can do everything I reasonably can to avoid needing a gun and it might still happen. If it does I want to be as certain as possible that the bullets go where I want them to. The best way to accomplish that is to aim, and to do that I need sights.
Seven yard rapid fire targets, one with sights and one without.Â
Â On the average a civilian defensive shooting takes place at 3-5 feet, and no- I probably don’t need sights for that. But if the action occurs at any greater range I want them. There are a number of reasons for this. Police used to be taught to ‘point-shoot.’ Great theory- unfortunately in practice it meant 3 out of 4 bullets missed the target in actual gunfights. When they began teaching cops to use the ‘flash-sight-picture’ this jumped immediately to 2 out of 3 bullets hitting the target- in actual gunfights. Not in training, not in theory, but when it mattered.
I also have a significant amount of experience, and every bit of it tells me the bullets are much, much more likely to go where I intend if I aim. Yeah, I keep harping about that- because it matters. Stopping an attacker depends onÂ breaking something they can’t live without. That means the bullets have to hit those things. In the right-hand target above, with the bullseye representing the heart, every shot would have missed. Sure, the attacker might have stopped- but I don’t prefer to bet my life on ‘might.’ I much prefer the target on the left- even using .32 S&W Long with semi-wadcutters instead of .38 Special hollow-points.
Handguns- all handguns- are not good at stopping a determined attacker.Â The only way it works is to take out the central circulatory system- the heart and aorta- or the central nervous system. Yes, a bullet has to penetrate deep enough to hit vital structures, and a larger permanent wound cavity is better than a smaller one, but none of those things matter if you don’t hit the things you meed to hit. You probably don’t need sights at an arms length, but anything longer than that? Learn to aim quickly. You can, with practice, get a sight picture as fast as you can point the gun.
In my opinion any gun that is not a last-ditch, point-blank SHTF gun needs decent sights- and I’d prefer that even those have them, because you won’t get to dictate the circumstances under which you need it.
Michael Tinker Pearce, 29 December 2017
My only quibble: The “last-ditch, point-blank SHTF” qualification was completely unnecessary, since decent sights essentially cost nothing.
The trough-and-post factory sights of my carry revolvers are eminently decent, and have allowed me to make hits at steel shoots and in IDPA Backup Gun competition that are at once conceivable in a defensive scenario yet more difficult than I’d ever try by point shooting.