ELITE SIXGUNS HAVE FIXED SIGHTS
Handloader|December - January 2020
RELOADER’S PRESS
Dave Scovill

It has been nearly 20 years since I was sitting on the porch at a hunting cabin in South Texas cussing and discussing various topics related to hunting with a well-known handgun editor from another magazine. Glancing down at my holstered Colt he asked, “You hunt with that?” as if it was some sort of disgusting vermin, or some such.

I pulled the Colt out of the holster and answered in the affirmative, that at one time the Colt and a Hawes Western Marshall were the only sixguns I had that were suitable for hunting. He was fixated on the Colt, and in so many words stated that he was sure I was aware that there were better handguns with good triggers and adjustable sights that were more accurate for serious work like hunting.

It wasn’t the first time someone questioned my judgment regarding that old Colt, but it was the first occasion to be dressed down over it. Under the circumstances, I let the gentleman chew on me a bit, but after a couple of cervezas, I asked if he had done any serious work with a Colt SAA, or any of the S&W duty revolvers with fixed sights. He had not, mostly because he required target sights for good accuracy, and his readers expected him to use an elite handgun that was capable of fine accuracy. It was the first time I had heard anyone refer to a Smith & Wesson as “elite,” as if the rest of the industry were building second-class trash, or worse.

Eventually, I got around to noting that as far as I was concerned, once fixed sights on a Colt or any handgun are set up to place the standard weight bullet for the caliber, 250 to 255 grains for the .45 Colt for example, about 1.5 to 2 inches above point of aim at 25 yards or so, the sights don’t need to be adjustable. If adjustable sights on a Ruger Blackhawk, for example, are set up for a given load, they remain fixed since I had no intention of packing a screwdriver around in the field adjusting the sights for shots that vary with each opportunity. The solution is to visually adjust the front sight in relation to the rear sight to account for variations in distance. In effect, no two shots are ever the same, so it’s a waste of time to adjust sights, or a scope, in the field.

As for the difference in quality in sights, such as fixed sights on a Colt, Smith & Wesson or Ruger, in my opinion it’s simply a matter of familiarization with the sights, and practice* shooting at targets placed at various distances other than 25 yards. That adds up to field experience with opportunities to shoot at unknown ranges, including thousands of shots at small game – jackrabbits, badgers, foxes, coyotes and prairie dogs – or deer, even rocks or whatever over the years.

It is also important to know that adjustable sights are not necessarily target sights or vice versa. Moreover, target sights do not necessarily make good hunting sights, although a good set of adjustable sights might prove quite adequate for field use.

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