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Tradition, Training Scars, and Sight Design


I recall the days teaching with Chuck Taylor at Front Sight. The malfunction clearing drills were taught in a very diagnostic way. First, the shooter set them up artificially so there was no unexpected surprise element when they occurred. Secondly the shooter was taught that upon anything unexpected happening with the pistol (the expectation being a shot when he pressed the trigger), he was to look at the ejection port area and discern the problem. They were then given time limits to clear each problem with the correct solution.

Never mind that in a real gunfight one’s attention would be drawn to the adversary, that shifting gaze back to the gun would be counter to one’s nature, and that such a method would be impossible in reduced light…but we learned and don’t do it that way any longer. Continuing…

The solution to what was called a “Type Two”, alternatively a “Stovepipe” was to sweep the hand across the top of the slide, sweeping the offending empty case (it is not a casing…a casing is what you put sausage into). But gentlemen with gentle hands complained that those sights would cause them blisters and ruin their soft and delicate skin. Such was the outcry that rearward swept sights were designed specially to address the preservation of delicate hands. These were very prolific on custom 1911s and subsequently adopted by Smith&Wesson on their 5906 pistols. And they have hung on like an ugly mole on all S&W pistols since then.

They work fine…as sights…but they present a special problem when either the shooter’s hand does not sufficiently grasp the slide during a clearance maneuver, or worse, when that shooter has an inoperative injured hand. From the study of street gunfights, as well as the replication of those fights hundreds of thousands of times in force on force by our students and staff around the world, we know that the hands tend to get hit a great deal in these gunfights.

Suarez Suppressor Sight Rear

The reality is that if one has a malfunction during a fight, they will not be analyzing the issue before selecting a solution, but rather proceeding with a non-diagnostic refunctioning of the pistol – and – that there is a great possibility that one hand will not be available to assist the clearing. The injured shooter will have to use his clothing, the cover he is hiding behind…or even a dead adversary’s body, to leverage against and rack the slide. It was with that reality in mind, and not preserving the metro-soft hands of a manicured peacock, that we designed our sights.

Racking slide on belt

I know its not an issue when an RMR is mounted, since one can, and we have, use the red dot optic to do the same thing. But it is when the red dot is either not there, or has been purposely removed, that these sights come into their own in clearing the malfunction. The front face of the rear sight, serrated to 40 LPI in the same fashion as the rear face, allows you to clear your weapons with one hand in case of malfunction while injured. These sights are available presently in suppressor height in black or tritium, and for all Glock pistols. They will be available shortly for the MOS platform, as well as in standard height for non-red-dot-equipped weapons.

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