Its been vigorously reported that an extraordinary number of Americans are now buying their first handguns. Interestingly, many of those buyers are over 50 and a good number over 65. Much of the correspondence I receive comes from older shooters with questions about sighting with vision defects. Here’s some suggestions concerning imperfect vision and marksmanship:

Be aware of lighting. Indoor range lighting is dramatically different from natural light. You can test this by trying to read small print indoors and then trying the same after stepping into direct sunlight. If you must shoot indoors consider light-colored, reduced reflection, shooting glasses which will magnify light and reduce glare.

Extremely bright sunlight or darkness can cause visual distortion even with perfect vision at longer distances. Bright light causes light colors to appear to bleed onto dark colors and darkness causes the opposite. Meaning that a 50 yard bullseye target in bright sunlight will appear to have a smaller bullseye as the white background reflects light onto the edges of the black bullseye. A good pair of dark lens glasses will help with bright light and light lenses are worthwhile for sundown. Aside from glasses, avoid eye fatigue. If you see distortion or a mirage, lower your sights but keep your vision on the sights. After a second or two raise the sights back onto the target. The longer you try to “muscle through” a mirage the worse it will be, to the point where your general vision will become temporarily blurred.

Remember what you’re trying to accomplish. Focus must be fanatically placed on the front sight tip. The target and rear sight should be blurred. If your target is clear you are incorrect. Glasses need to give you crystal clear vision for about 3 feet and an ability to distinguish shapes with peripheral vision at your target ranges.

Dry-fire as explained in The Perfect Pistol Shot will enable you to develop perfect sight alignment. Every serious marksman needs dry-fire but those with vision problems need it even more.

Eyes are muscles and they need rest from intense focus and light strain. Shut your eyes after a string of fire for at least 60 seconds. If your vision problem is severe, limit your shooting sessions to 15 minutes. Remember the goal is perfection, not how many aimless rounds we can throw downrange. As hands begin to tremble and eyes begin to weaken, the shooter needs to be smarter. Self-restraint and patience will do you more good than firing countless rounds.

I don’t mean to insult anyone but when was the last time you had your eyeglass prescription checked? Most men would rather drive off the road than get another eye exam. A pair of glasses that no longer fully corrects your vision to its best possible standard is really no better than a pair of drugstore cheaters.

Know your dominant eye. Again, The Perfect Pistol Shot has my best explanation for finding and using the dominant eye but the goal is to make sure that you are using both eyes but with the dominate eye as the primary guide to the sights.

On an unrelated topic, the Practics book is still coming along, the manuscript is 100% completed and now the photos and formatting are being finished. Those who signed up for advanced notice will receive an email with details as soon as a date is set with Amazon. A general notice will be made on this website and at

Thanks for reading.

One Response to Vision and Sighting

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    Mr League. On this topic, and having gone through many different kinds of varifocal and other spectacle lenses and contacts, the difference between the strengths of each eye are a cause of confusion and complication. Yes, the strong eye dominates but the different strength or weakness of the other eye can cause all kinds of different sight pictures to be evident while focusing on the front sight with the strong eye. I am 66 and have noticed over the years that using two eyes open, the sight pictures have changed, as in seeing, more or less of the two blurred targets or two sets of sights. One has to adapt, no choice! For absolute precision, I am finding squinting the weak eye, or closing it, the best for accuracy. Plinking is a different kettle of fish. I/we can find a compromise, using two open, but as we’re not all the same in the weak eye…….. PLEASE keep your blog and books coming. The tripe we hear from the tactical, fast first, learn to shoot later mob is doing a disservice to marksmanship. The only foolproof way to shoot well is to remove the fool. (you can use that in your next book) ATB. Pete.