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Old shooters never die, their eyesight just fades away...

A useful discussion of the problem...

12 Comments

At most self defense ranges it isn't going to matter.  A lot of people in  "run & gun" sports shoot over the sights (point shooting) at those close ranges and do just fine.  Get much beyond abut 7 yards and it becomes a different game, but at close range point shooting is fine.  Well, unless you are trying to shoot at a bad guy who is exposing only about half his head behind a hostage.  In which case you likely shouldn't take the shot anyway.
 
Part of growing old gracefully means ... I used to be a precision instrument with a rifle. Now I am an area weapon.

So in the tradition of Clint Eastwood in "Unforgiven" ... my go to gun is now a shotgun.
 
8^) 
 
 Two issues: one, I love to shoot my milsurp rifles, especially my Enfields. I simply cannot "see" those sights anymore. Second issue, altering the front sight with a milled-in shiny-bright may help, but may well greatly lower the value of the rifle as a collector piece.

One thing that this author didn't mention is the "diopter sight". He doesn't quite have the physio explanation of deterioriating eyes down right, IMHO. As I have heard from a USAF doc and understand, the process he needs to affect is ACCOMODATION, the ability of the eyes to focus on very near objects. Accomodation is what goes away. The average guy in his 50's has accomodation out at 3-4 feet, whereas when young, it might be as little as 10" to a foot.

Enter the Diopter Rear Sight. It's a simple disk with a hole in the middle, different from the popular "ghost ring" sights which function in a similar way. The sight is used right up close to the eyeball, where it forces the eye muscles to accomodate more closely. The size of the hole in the disk is critical, but is found through experimentation. When young, the best diopter sight size is very small, barely over a pinhole (hence: the name "pinhole sight"), but it might have to enlarge some with age.

I'm looking at my Ishapore Enfield 2A, and note that the standard rear battle sight is a large, flat, V-notched piece, with ample area to attach a diopter disk sight to. I will experiment with diopter sights by using hot-glue for temporary attachment, and solder for the final attachment, final alignment made by aluminum (solder-proof) pin through the diopter hole and v-notch. Restoration of the gun to factory original will involve nothing more than heating the sight, un-soldering the diopter disk, cleaning the battle sight and repainting with the gloss-black Ishy enamel.
 
Rivrdog - why not just use paint? White paint on the front post, then white paint on the rear site - the edges, leaving the v notch black, then center the post in the gap?

Or your way.
 
I seem to have lucked out on this one.  I have had asymmetrical myopia since that scarlet fever when I was a very little kid.  The port eyeball has always been just fine, 20/15.  The starboard nearsighted one corrected to 20/15 (autistic superpowers, yay!).  When I was a kid I wore one contact lens for a while.

I am old now, but can still mostly get by without reading glasses. The really nice part is that the sharpest focus for my starboard eyeball seems to be just about exactly where the front sight on the piece is, these days. Thus, if a burglar busts in at 0300, I no longer have to find the glasses before grabbing the piece.

Now, that's all well and good, but then there's the cross-dominance...
 
starboard in right ... port is left
 
For me, it turns out that the middle speed of my trifocals is the best compromise for seeing the sights and seeing the target.  On the advice of Massad Ayoob, I acquired a pair of what are called 'occupational trifocals' at my annual eye checkup this year.  My VSP covered them completely.  The mid-distance pane is at the top .  It covers about 50% of the width and comes about a third of the way down.  Long distance is the main full width pane, with a normal size reading pane at the bottom.  This allows me a proper head-down shooting stance for defensive applications.  I have a cooperative eye doctor who worked with me to find the mid distance recipe that would give me the most distance vision possible while still having an acceptable compromise for the sights. He did a marvelous job.  On handguns, rear sight is clear to sometimes slightly fuzzy, front sight is clear, and I notice little to no loss of focus on targets out to 100 yards, sometimes beyond in brighter light.

My eye doctor tells me that occupational trifocals were invented for folks like pilots who have instruments  on the cabin roof.  Last check, there are three of us in town who have them.  A pilot, a plumber, and me.
 
I'm in there with shotgun for basic defense. Pistol sights aren't a problem, the target is. Rifle sights, got choices. Wear far-seein' specs, and see the front sight and target, or wear close-seein' specs, and see the rear sight. Reckon it's the 'ghost sight' ring rear on the irons for me. Better yet, optics.
 
@jim b: I was trying to be kind to the southpaws.  The eye doctors use "dexter" and "sinister" when distinguishing between eyeballs.
 
Oh, yeah, Prim. If somebody says that you are an evil "vote from the rooftops" guy because you have a scope on yer rifle, just tell 'em, "No, I do it because I'm old."
 
@John at 3:48:  Messrs S & W very kindly provided me a nice little fluorescent orange plastic insert in the front sight of the bedside piece.