A pistol with 3 dot sights in the hand

How to Aim a Pistol with 3 Dot Sights | A Perfect Design or a Visual Distraction?

Do you want to get a decent shooting every time you squeeze of the trigger?  Know how to aim a pistol with 3 dot sights. The 3 dot sights play a significant role in getting a precise shot.

This is what I am used to, a 3 dot system. According to my experience, it is also easy to achieve a proper sight alignment with three-dot sights. Some shooters disagree and say that the 3 white dots are a distraction. I think it all boils down to what suits you and helps you aim better. Properly adjusting pistol sights is still a must.

I have had my new pistol for a year and have learned how to shoot accurately with it. Keep reading to learn how to aim your weapon using sighting dots.

How to aim A Pistol with 3 Dot Sights – Improve your Accuracy 

You might be wondering what 3 dot sights are. Many pistols come with 3 dot sight configuration. They have 1 dot painted on the muzzle or front and 2 dots painted on the rear of the gun.

They are a set of markers that are either fixed or adjustable and their main purpose is to help with alignment.

They also come in different colors. Many manufacturers will put an orange, red, white, or yellow colour for the front sight and 2 matching colours for the rear sights.

A lot of shooters like myself find it easy to align a 3 dot sight system.

When these three-dot sights are correctly aligned, be sure that you will hit your target. If you want to know how to aim a pistol with 3 dots and improve your accuracy, follow these steps:

  • Get into the shooting position and stand firmly
  • Hold the gun with your dominant hand and use the other one for support
  • Point the muzzle in a safe direction
  • Check to verify that your pistol is loaded
  • Aim with your dominant eye. It offers a more accurate image of your target
  • Align the sight dots and let your eye focus there. Ensure that the front dot is vertically centered between the rear dots and the gap between the front sight dot and rear sights is equal on either side. Their tops should also be even.
  • Make sure you have the point of aim then squeeze the trigger

Why Is It Important to Learn how to Use A Three-Dot Sight?

Knowing how to use a 3 dot sight is crucial when you have a pistol because they are difficult to use and aim well. Some come with mediocre sights that are difficult to use.

These sights are designed with 1 goal and that is guiding the shooter’s eye to get an accurate shot.

Many people prefer a three-dot sight because they have long been proven an effective shooting system. The 3 dots sight helps a user to achieve a proper sight alignment.

They are also simple to use; just line them up, aim, and shoot.    

aiming with 3 dots sight pistol

The layout of a 3 Dot Sight

The layout of a 3 dot sight is simple; the front sight of a gun consists of a single dot while the rear sights have two parallel dots. To guarantee constant shooting accuracy, you have to keep a proper alignment between the front and rear sights.

The 3 dots vary from one pistol to the other. They come in different shapes and colors also. Broader front sight and wider rear sights make it easy to acquire your target. The different colors of the front and rear sights offer greater contrast making it easy to see your target.

To get a perfect shot, you need to align these 3 dots sights. Ensure that the front sight is evenly centred in the gap of the rear sights and the top edges of the rear and front sights are levels.

Properly Aiming With a 3 Dot Sight

When aiming your pistol, maintain a consistent alignment by horizontally lining up your, for example, Glock 3 dot sights. Move the front sight left or right until the gaps between it and the rear sights are the same width. This will ensure that your aim will be accurate.

Slowly but firmly squeeze the trigger until the pistol fires. The skill of maintaining a sight alignment between front and rear sights is worth learning because of the great benefits that it brings.

A person shooting

Three Dot Sight Picture – Your Focal Point

The point of aim equals to the point of impact. The 3 dot sight picture is achieved when you have the front dot in perfect focus and the rear dots slightly blurred.

If you are experiencing problems attaining a three-dot sight picture, don't worry, the best way to improve it is to practice more.

With enough practice, you will be able to get a perfect sight picture and develop other skills such as proper sight alignment.

Determining Your Dominant Eye for Aiming

Knowing your dominant eye is crucial for target shooting; whether you are shooting with a rifle or a shotgun.

Your dominant eye provides a considerably greater degree of accurate information to the brain about an object's location. There are a couple of different ways to test eye dominance. My favourite way is using a distant object;

1. Spread both arms forward and use your index fingers and thumbs to create a triangle.

2. Keep both eyes open, find an object in the room such as a wall clock or a light switch, and centre it within the triangle you have created with your hands.

3. Close your left eye, if the object stays centred within the triangle, your right eye is your dominant eye. In case the object has moved outside the triangle frame, your left eye is dominant.

Shooting competition

Common Problems with the 3 Dot Sight

Although the 3 dot sights have become common over the years because of their predominant use in low light conditions, they have some shortcomings as well.

  • Manufacturers use fibre optic or tritium for the 3 dot sights, which make them more expensive.
  • The 3 dots sight can become a visual distraction when your eye is not capable of putting the 3 dots in a row and balancing equal space and alignment.
  • It can hinder your speed, especially if you are slow in lining up the target.

Three-Dot Sight Enhancements and Variations

Usually, manufacturers use white colour for front and rear dot sights though the red colour is also popular. There has been increased usage of fibre optic and tritium insert 3 dot sights for low light conditions.

When trying out new sight enhancements on your gun, be careful not to ruin your pistol design or structure. Chose a replacement sight that is compatible with your firearm. This is because you wouldn’t want to potentially or permanently ruin your gun.

Adjusting Your Sights

Like I have mentioned before, the sights should be aligned properly to get a decent shooting. If you are failing to get an accurate aim, you need to adjust your sights. Before you consider sight adjustment, check if your mistakes or errors are caused by other factors such as:

  • Aiming your pistol with your non-dominant eye. Failure to use your dominant eye will not present an accurate image of your target
  • You are not shooting with a stable shooting stance. In that case, you will not be able to have trigger control or recoil management.
  • Shooting with 1 hand or not using your support hand. Shooting with one hand is harder than 2 plus using your weak hand might be hard to manage recoil and you might have problems squeezing the trigger.


When to Adjust Your Sights

You should adjust your sights after eliminating other factors that could make you miss your target such as wrong shooting stance, not gripping your pistol properly, using your non-dominant eye to shoot, shooting with 1 hand, wrong pressing the trigger, just to mention a few.

You do not have a stable shooting stance

Arrange your body in such a way that you can achieve an accurate shot. No matter how good you are at gripping a gun, if your shooting stance is not stable, you will not have a perfect shot.

It provides the foundation of your shooting platform.

You have not gripped your pistol firmly

To shoot properly, you need to firmly hold your pistol. This will come in handy when managing a recoil plus achieving a decent shooting.

How to Adjust Your Sights

Adjusting your front and rear sights is a straightforward process. The 3 dot sight system has 1 dot on the front section and two dots on the rear section. If you want to adapt these sights to your shooting style, make sure that your pistol has adjustable ones.

Adjustable sights can be changed, unlike fixed ones. Again, the degree of adjustability will depend on your pistol. Some guns only allow the rear sight to be adjusted, other front sights while others allow all.

Glock pistol on the table

Choose a pistol that has sights that are adjustable for both windage and elevation. windage is horizontal adjustment and elevation is the vertical adjustment. You will need a specialized tool to push the sight left or right.

There are also other sight pushers that you can use to adjust a gun.

Adjusting the Front Sight Post

To adjust the front sight post, use a tool to push it left or right. It moves within the grooves and is used to correct windage issues. If you want the bullets to move to the right, then move the front sight to the right.

Adjusting the Rear Sight

Before adjusting the sights of your pistol, I would advise checking the manual of your gun to learn the techniques needed to correct it.

Adjusting the rear sight will also require you to push the dots right or left. You might be needed to loosen a screw to correct it. If you want your bullets to go to the left, push the sights to the left. It is as simple as that.

shooting target

How much Should You Move Your Sight?

The number of factors determines how much you should move your sight and they include sight radius and the distance to the target. Usually, you need a fraction of an inch to correct your sights so it is not something you should worry about.

This post has more information on how to calculate the distance needed to move your sight.

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