Drill of the Week: Tracking Your Sights

16-Dec-07 – 15:48 by ToddG

We spent the last two weeks working on our marksmanship fundamentals. This week, we’re going to see how fast we can exercise those same fundamentals. We’ll do this by shooting a variation of the Bill Drill to focus on sight tracking.

Tracking the sights in the dark
Tracking your sights is a critical aspect to shooting accurately when you’re going fast. It takes time, effort, and ammunition to become really proficient so the sooner we start, the better.

What is sight tracking? When you fire your pistol, the gun recoils and the muzzle “flips” upward. Tracking your sight means keeping your eyes focused on the front sight through that arc of recoil. The gun goes *BANG* and you watch the sight rise & fall back onto the target. You don’t look at the target, you keep your eyes glued to the front sight as it moves. The better you’re able to do this, the faster you’ll be able to fire your next aimed shot.

For this drill, you’ll need a reasonably big target (a sheet of paper or 8″ paper plate works well) that will stand out really well against your backstop or target backer. An 8″ black circle on a white paper target, or a bright yellow sheet of paper on a cardboard backer would work. The important thing is that there is a lot of contrast between the target and the surrounding area because you’re not going to be focussed on the target.

Shoot at a distance you’re comfortable. Somewhere between five and seven yards is probably ideal. You will aim the gun at the target and fire six shots. Remember, the goal is to keep your eyes focused on the front sight from the beginning until the end, from first shot through the sixth. Start by going slow, just working on watching the sight.

Now, as you get the hang of tracking your sight, try to fire your next shot as soon as the sight comes down into the target. Your sight picture doesn’t have to be perfect; at this distance, if the front sight is on the target you’ll hit the target. You’re learning to fire the gun the moment you have an acceptable sight picture rather than waiting for a perfect sight picture. What this means is that your shots should be all over the target, not just in a tight little group. Remember, you’re just trying to hit the target, anywhere on the target. The goal is to do it as quickly as possible.

Don’t forget to keep your marksmanship fundamentals working! Going faster doesn’t mean you can just ignore proper trigger manipulation. If you start jerking shots off the target altogether, be a little more conscious of your trigger finger and slow down.

Tracking the front sight will allow you to break the shot as soon as possible while helping make sure you don’t fire too early.

Training with firearms is an inherently dangerous activity. Be sure to follow all safety protocols when using firearms or practicing these drills. These drills are provided for information purposes only. Use at your own risk.

  1. 8 Responses to “Drill of the Week: Tracking Your Sights”

  2. Todd;
    Started using your drills last week.
    Did the first 3×5 drill,Circle Drill and Tracking Your Sights.
    They are great teaching tools and also give a concrete measure of ones progress.
    For a relatively new (2 years)shooter,the 3×5 builds confidence since you start at 3 and 5 yards so you can see a nice hole form even if there are a few fliers.

    By The Fish on Dec 18, 2007

  3. I just found your web site and plan to use it regularly for my training program.

    I am a new shooter of about 9 months. A dilemma I have on sighting is that I am left eye dominant and right handed. I have started to shoot left handed and for accuracy I shoot better that way. The problem is that I do most other things, include think right handed.

    With my pistol, a S&W M&P 9, in my left hand sighting the front sight is quick and sure, however in the right hand I have to close my right eye.

    I have done a couple of rounds of your wall drill and would like your input on the situation.

    I feel that in defensive shooting I am going to be better served right handed since that is my reaction.

    Thanks in advance for your consideration and thanks for your site.


    By RandyA on Dec 24, 2007

  4. RandyA — With a pistol, there isn’t a lot to worry about when it comes to cross-eye dominance. Hold the gun in your hands, using your right hand as your strong hand. Close your left eye, and look through the sights. Now, without changing your grip or stance, switch to having only your left eye open and simply turn your head a few degrees … ta-da, the sights are aligned.

    By ToddG on Dec 25, 2007

  5. Is that Super Dave in the photo?!

    By M4arc on Jan 14, 2008

  6. Yes indeed. 😎

    By ToddG on Jan 14, 2008

  7. Who is this Super Dave fellow I hear folks talk about now and again?

    By rmdugan84 on Jan 16, 2008

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