Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Timothy Kraft, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Vision Science Research Center, is also a competitive target shooter, and he decided to develop a new gunsight that improves marksmanship with intuitive aim:

Opti-sight is a precision-milled half-triangle shape that replaces the traditional pistol gunsight. The design relies on subjective contours, an optics principle that explains how the subconscious mind fills in the blanks when the eye sees half of a familiar shape like a circle, square or triangle, Kraft says.

The rear opti-sight notch looks like an incomplete triangle sitting atop the gun barrel. When a shooter looks through the notch, the brain tells the eye where the missing triangle apex should appear, and that apex is the precise point of aim, Kraft says. “This triangular shape that I’ve created allows the brain to visualize concentric triangles whose imaginary apexes focus the shooter’s attention on the exact target bullseye.

“Opti-sight makes shooting very intuitive by allowing gunsight alignment to become subconscious.”

Kraft’s new Opti-Sight doesn’t seem too terribly different from the trapezoid sight (G) in Wikipedia’s diagram of iron sights.

The typical iron sight, with a rectangular front-sight post and a rectangular back-sight notch is called a Patridge sight, by the way.

A few years before Kraft devised his Opti-Sight, some other shooters devised the Sure Sight, which makes the triangle explicit — but they took people’s money for pre-orders and then disappeared.

It still seems like a decent idea, I suppose. The few people who got early models seemed to like them — assuming they weren’t shills, of course.

Now another company is offering its Advantage Tactical Sight, which combines long, swept-forward, back-sight legs with a colorful, five-sided tip on the front-sight, to complete the inverted-V.


  1. Todd says:

    A fixed sight such as this might be useful for law enforcement officers or for the few oddball iron sights competitions. Olympic shooters would want adjustable — everything they have is custom or adjustable. The majority of Bullseye competitors use red dot sights. Funny thing is, although scopes are legal for Bullseye competition, they are not considered an advantage.

  2. Isegoria says:

    In this day and age, iron sights seem to make the most sense for practical “everyday carry” pistols — whether “open” or concealed — because the sights are small and rugged. I can’t imagine actually carrying a bullseye pistol with a red-dot scope on my hip.

  3. Johnny Abacus says:

    I actually saw someone carrying with a micro red-dot sight mounted in place of his rear sight. It looked like it worked quite well, although one would have to be vigilant about batteries.

  4. Isegoria says:

    A red-dot sight that is small, rugged, and alway-on — without relying on batteries that might die unexpectedly — should be able to take the place of iron sights. For now, groups like the IDPA still consider them too impractical for every-day carry.

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