Correct Handgun Sight Adjustment

The variety of sights used on handguns can warrant gunsmith attention for this seemingly-simple task.

RK Campbell

One of the greatest advancement in handguns over the past hundred years has been in the area of their sights. For many years, front sights were little more than a simple bump on the barrel. Even the infamous Colt Single Action Army came with sights leaving much to be desired and Colt’s Flat Top target revolver was a great step forward. This was improved when Tom Threepersons had a special flat top and tall custom sight installed on his revolver in the 1920s. Shooters on the line realized the untapped accuracy potential of a revolver would never be realized without proper sighting equipment. Then came the National Match upgrades applied to the Colt 1911A1 pistol.

Good sight design was at a premium for precision competition. Factories began to offer good adjustable sights in the form of the Smith and Wesson Micrometer sight and the Colt/Stevens sights. Today, it is common for service-grade handguns to offers some type of adjustment in their fixed sights and adjustable sighted handguns are also common. But all sights are not as good. Some, particularly on the compact handguns and inexpensive handguns, continue to challenge the shooter. Many handguns have sights that are difficult to adjust and we gunsmiths are often called upon to change or adjust them. Fixed sights remain common because they are rugged and relatively inexpensive but even these aren’t completely unadjustable. Even the grooves in a revolver top strap may be modified if we wish to badly enough.

Three types of sights that come into the shop most often are…

Read more in the May 2016 issue.

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