When I was younger, I spent a lot of time
shooting. Rifles, handguns, shotguns….it didn’t matter,
I was shooting. I never gave much thought to the process of
sighting and aiming; it just came naturally. Later, I
started to slowly realize that the quality control at the
gun companies was slipping, as the sights that they were
installing on their guns were not as sharp and clear as they
once were. After I reached the magical age of forty, most of
the front sights began to grow fuzz on them, even on my
older handguns that were once sharp and clear. If that
wasn’t bad enough, a good black bull's-eye target looked
great at twenty-five yards, but if I looked at it over the
top of open handgun sights, it appeared as a blurry little
blob of mud.
Shooting handguns and rifles with open
sights requires the eye to do some optical calisthenics.
The eye can only focus on one optical plane at a time, but
quickly changes focus from the front sight, to the rear
sight, and to the target repeatedly. Youthful eyes can do
this so quickly that it seems as if all three are in focus
at the same time. However, as our eyes get older, they lose
the flexibility to quickly change focus. Regardless of
whether or not the shooter wears glasses, the eye must still
shift its focus from the sights to the target.
A few years ago I had eye surgery, and had
to put medicine into my eyes a few times every day. I
quickly realized that the world’s smallest writing is on a
bottle of eye drops. Think about it. If my eyes were working
perfectly, I would not need to read the writing on the
bottle, but since I needed to read the information, it is
written as small as a grain of salt. Life can be a cruel
joke at times. Anyway, I discovered that by looking through
a small pin hole in a piece of paper, I could clearly read
the writing on that bottle of medication. By this same
principle, looking through a small aperture allows a shooter
to focus on his gun sights and the target at the same time.
Studying photography several years ago
taught me that by using a smaller iris, or f-stop setting,
the depth of field is increased dramatically. The light
entering the camera lens through a small hole produces a
clear, sharp, in-focus image from up close out to infinity.
Shooters can use this same principle to clearly focus their
sights and their target at the same time.
There is a little device known as the Merit
Optical Attachment that bull's-eye target shooters have
used for years to help them shoot better scores, and it
works just as well for the casual target shooter and
plinker. Testing handguns and rifles for Gunblast.com, I try
to achieve the best accuracy of which any test gun is
capable, to show the readers the potential of the gun being
reviewed. Scoping a rifle or handgun usually allows me to
realize the accuracy potential of the firearm, but with some
guns this is neither practical nor possible, and clearly
seeing open sights is harder than it used to be. I had known
of the Merit device for several years, and decided to try
one. I should have done it long ago.
The Merit Optical Attachment is one of those
devices that is both simple and amazing at the same time. It
uses the same principle as described above for a camera lens
to clearly sharpen the image of the target and the sights,
resulting in a much better sight picture. It attaches to the
shooters prescription or safety glasses with a small rubber
suction cup. The aperture swings out of the field of view
when not in use. The size of the aperture is adjustable by
rotating the outside of the disk. This allows the shooter to
adjust the size of the aperture to allow the best sight
picture for differing light conditions. The suction cup
holds firmly in place, and did not loosen or move after
being stuck to the lens of my shooting glasses for several
days. The device weighs less than a quarter of an
ounce, and adds no discomfort to the weight of the glasses.
It has greatly enhanced my ability to better focus the
sights on target, and therefore to shoot better groups. I
found that it also sharpens the image of a red dot sight.
Red dot sights have always appeared fuzzy to me, but the
Merit device cured that problem instantly.
The Merit Optical Attachment is a great
little product for shooters of all ages, but particularly
those who can’t see sights as sharply as they once could.
It is available for $65 from Brownells online at: www.brownells.com
or by calling 1-800-741-0015.
Their product number is 571-001-000. It
works, and I highly recommend it.