Sight picture is simple to explain, yet somehow very difficult to master.
Not to be confused with the next fundamental, sight picture has little to do with how your sights are aligned, and more to do with where your eyesight is focused.
The proper sight picture explained is letting your eyes focus entirely on your front sight while both your rear sight and your target go slightly out of focus. Your view should be a nice crisp front sight on a slightly blurry target and slightly blurry rear sight.
It is impossible for our eyes to clearly focus on separate objects especially when those objects are at different distances from each other.
So why the front sight? Why not focus on your target? Or your rear sight?
If your focus is primary on your target, which in a stressful situation that is usually what happens. The orientation of your barrel in relation to your target will be off. Focusing on your target does absolutely nothing to ensure hits on your target.
If your focus is primary on your rear sight, while your barrel orientation may be slightly better than when your focus was on your target. It will obstruct your view of the target and add difficulty to making your shots connect with your target.
If your focus is on your front sight, In relation to your rear sight, front sight, and target; your front sight is what lies in the middle. If your focus is on your front sight it will enable you to have a sufficient view of your target while still
keeping your barrel orientated properly.
Good practice is the only way to learn this fundamental. Dry fire is a very good way build this skill.
After clearing your weapon and making sure there is no ammo in the room pick a decent sized target no smaller than a basket ball stand 3-5 yards away, hold your weapon out, on target, and without pressing the trigger just take some time, breath, and focus on the front sight. Don’t let your eyes travel back and forth between the sights and your target. Spend a few minutes doing this prior to pressing the trigger the first time and your accuracy will improve.
Front sight focus during live fire is a bit more difficult. When it comes to sight picture the most common problem I find with students is “chasing their shots.” Firing a shot, then removing their focus from the sight to see where their shot hit. The shift of focus not only slows you down but will inevitably cause your shot group to open up.
The only way to break this habit is practice, before I step up to the range, in my head or even out loud I’m saying to myself front sight, front sight, front sight.
Mentally preparing yourself, reminding yourself to focus on your front sight before live fire is a step forward in mastering your sight picture. Being mentally prepared is vital for training. If you constantly tell yourself to focus on the front sight on a static range, your training will kick in under stress. If your target ever becomes anything more than a sheet of paper hung on a piece of cardboard, this could save your life.