Do you need adjustable handgun sights?
During a recent range session, I brought along two of my favorite handguns. The six-inch barrel Colt .357 and SIG Sauer 1911each feature fully adjustable rear sights. These sights allow the shooter to account for windage and elevation, and to fine tune the sights to the individual loading. There are many different bullet weights in each caliber, and they do not fire to the same point of aim.
Fixed sights may be zeroed to certain loads, but once zeroed, that is it. A handgun with adjustable sights may be zeroed for one load and then re-zeroed for another. If you are really good at the game you may even tune the elevation setting for different ranges. It isn’t just target and hunting handguns that need adjustable sights. Service guns may profit from adjustable sights. After all, for many years the Smith and Wesson Combat Masterpiece and Combat Magnum were front line police revolvers, and each featured adjustable sights. Some were knocked off the revolver when they contacted door jambs or vehicle doors, but at other times they allowed excellent shooting at very long range.
Let’s look at reality. When you purchase an expensive hunting handgun or a target pistol, you expect to be able to convince the pistol to hit where it is aimed. The point of impact and point of aim will be in perfect sync. If you purchase a fixed-sight handgun for personal defense, and find it is zeroed for one load or the other but it will not be easily done.
Might we expect for any handgun to be zeroed for the load of choice?
Some makers make the effort to properly zero a handgun for the most popular service load. Most fixed-sight 1911 handguns are useful for the six o’clock load and 230-grain ball. However, if you use a 185- or 200-grain load, then you may not be so lucky. With the development of so many handgun loads during the past few decades there is hardly a thing such as a standard load. 9mm Luger defense loads may range in weight from 92- to 150-grains and 880 to 1,500 fps velocity.