Train Your Brain to Process Picking Up Pistol Sights Lightning Fast!


There is so much science behind shooting fast. Your brain must process information quickly, and your body must react quickly as well. The ability to intake information, process that information, and compute an output under stress is not something everyone is gifted with. People who shoot competitions are good at processing information and responding in kind because they practice so much of this during a match and under the stress of a timer. This training is key to picking up your pistol sights more quickly during stressful situations.

Picking Up Pistol Sights With Speed

Newer shooters immediately stand out during competition. The amount of information thrown at them becomes overwhelming; most new shooters lack the ability to process it quickly. These shooters typically lose their way easily in a stage; they forget target locations. Many times, new competitors forget to reload when they should. I’m going down a rabbit hole, but all of this is to say you must train your brain to process information quickly. I consider this drill step one when working on processing information with your handgun. It might seem basic, but your performance may surprise you.

Equipment Needed

  • Pistol with Sight(s) of Choice
  • Target of Choice
  • White Paster
  • Timer

The Drill

Set up a target at about 7-10 yards with a white paster taped to it. The starting position for this drill calls for handgun aimed in, ready to fire at the white paster. The shooter places their finger on the trigger. Advanced shooters may even begin with the trigger already prepped. But we do present a catch: your eyes remain shut up to the start. On the beep of the timer, open your eyes and fire your handgun at the white paster. The goal of this drill is to have a fast reaction time, from opening your eyes to finding your target and pulling the trigger.

Accuracy remains important in this drill, working on focusing on the target as quickly as possible. This means you should focus on your target (the white paster) instead of your red dot reticle or front sight when you open your eyes. You should see a flash of your dot or sight as it aligns with the white paster, but never a clear sight picture. If you’re taking the time to find your sight and focusing on it instead of your aiming point on a target, you’re never going to increase your eye speed.

Starting with eyes closed is key in this drill for picking up pistol sights quickly.

Your Eyes Lead Everything

Your eyes lead everything in shooting. When you look at a target, your gun should follow, and your sights should automatically find the spot on the target you’re looking at. As I mentioned earlier, this is really step one in increasing your ability to process information quickly. If you have multiple targets to shoot at, your eyes must work quickly to find and focus on target two, then on to target three, onto target four, and so on. 

If you want to get fast at shooting, there is no time to let your sights settle, get perfectly aligned, and then fire the shot. The “fast” comes from focusing on your target, bringing your blurry sight across the intended target, and firing as soon as this occurs. You should push yourself in this drill so you don’t have a perfect small hole but a good grouping from pushing speed while maintaining focus on your white paster. Track your times and work on getting a consistent time with decent accuracy on target.

More to Come

There is more to come on pushing eye speed, as I haven’t even gone into target transitions with a pistol just yet. Stay tuned for more drills coming soon!

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