Proper 3-Dot Sight Alignment

By Jerry Garner
Proper 3-Dot Sight Alignment
David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

When you like going out to the firing range, or other types of recreational shooting, it is important to not only be familiar with the gun but also with the sights of the gun. The three-dot sights are found on semi-automatic handguns. Several different types include the three-dot sights, including some that especially seem to give a few problems to those who use them.


The three-dot sight consists of a dot on each side of the rear sight notch, as well as the one on the front sight, near the top of the blade. These are usually bright white, but, depending on the manufacturer of the gun, they may be different colors.

When not very much light is available, the front sight dot is centered between the two rear dots. All three dots must be in line with each other for an accurate shot. The target is above the front, central dot.

Correct Alignment

An equal distance should be between the spaces between the front center and the rear left sights as there is between the front center and the rear right sights. If the rear sight on your particular weapon is a straight line, have the front sight placed visually on top of it in the center. Having all three dots on the same vertical axis and in the center of the space between the two rear dots indicates that the gun is in line with your eye and in the correct position.

When focusing the front sight, aim at something in particular on the target. If you have a large target, aim for a small piece of it and focus on that piece. Focusing on the whole target in most cases will give you an inaccurate shot.

Adjustments for Recreational Use

If you are one of those people who have tried to use the three-dot sights but can’t seem to adjust to it, and ignoring them isn’t working, there are two interesting ideas that you can use. These are for recreational use only. The first may not offer very much precision without the practice. This includes lining up the blade and the notch. However, doing this will usually put the central dot a little lower than the other two making your shot a little low as well.

The second method is to use a black Sharpie marker and color in the dots. Line the sights up at 6 o’clock position of your target and put the rear blade even to match it. Although some new models are a little different, for the older ones this works well for many people, and even shooting instructors use this tactic. These methods are not suggested when using the weapon for self-defense.

About the Author

I am also the publisher of, and hold a position at the local newspaper.