Self-defense shooting with corrective lenses
| February 23, 2021
A lot of times, the techniques that we use for plinking and having fun with guns don’t necessarily carry over to self-defense shooting.
Take shooting with glasses or contacts as an example.
The fact is, we may or may not have our corrective lenses handy when we need to defend ourselves.
It may be bifocals, trifocals, correcting astigmatism, monovision, progressives or readers, but roughly three-quarters of Americans wear corrective lenses of one sort or another.
That can pose some interesting challenges with shooting … particularly self-defense shooting using traditional iron sights.
Of course, a laser or red dot make this easier, but the fact is that most non-competitors and non-professionals don’t use red-dots or lasers on their carry guns.
One thing that people do as it becomes more and more difficult to see their front sight is slack off on their acceptable group size … thinking that a flat footed, static group on a paper target somehow carries over to a real-world shooting situation.
That’s the wrong attitude to have. As you’ve heard me say, the bigger the difference between your training conditions and reality, the more disciplined you need to be and the tighter your groups should be.
Part of the problem is that a lot of people kind of over-buy into the whole “train like you fight because you’ll fight like you train” mantra.
It’s true to a point … but it’s also kind of a joke.
If it were true, we’d do all training without eye or ear protection and we’d only train against live targets who were in the process of attacking us. We don’t do this.
For people who wear corrective lenses to shoot, this is a big deal.
Take people who need to wear readers, bifocals, trifocals, or progressives to see their front sight.
It’s a royal PAIN to tip your head up far enough to see your front sight clearly.
For a portion of your training, it’s perfectly fine to use SSP “Top Focals” with the “reader” lens at the top instead of the bottom.
It’s also perfectly fine to use stick-on readers with your existing shooting glasses as a short-term solution.
Now, you may be wondering why you’d practice with either of those options when you’re not going to have them with you in a self-defense situation.
You’re also probably not going to have hearing protection, but you don’t hear people advocating for practicing much without hearing protection.
What the lenses are going to let you do is learn what perfect sight alignment feels like and how quickly you can run the trigger without disturbing sight alignment.
The lenses will let you see your front sight clearly and, at that point, if you aren’t drilling holes, you can’t blame your eyes or age … it’s your trigger press, and you can fix that!
What if you wear other types of corrective lenses … not “readers?”
The following concept holds true regardless of what kind of vision correction you need … so long as you can safely do the reps without vision correction.
When you (dry fire) practice, you want to start and end with clear vision and do some reps in the middle without any correction.
(Use safety glasses without correction if you’re using projectiles of any kind)
For the dry fire reps without correction, it really helps to use lasers as a feedback.
When you’ve got this foundation, it’s possible to make very accurate shots at common self-defense distances, even when your sights are mostly a blur and you’re mostly using the frame of the pistol to aim.
Is it ideal? No. It would be better to be able to see your sights clearly, have a laser sight, or red dot sight. Heck…it would really be better to have a long gun. But shooting with compromised vision is a reality for a lot of shooters and we’re much better off meshing our training with reality than trying to ignore it.
If you wear glasses or lenses of any kind and shoot, I want to strongly encourage you to watch the free automatic aiming presentation.
It will show you how you can be freakishly fast and accurate with a pistol with less time and effort than most experienced shooters believe is possible.
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