Suarez International and I are dedicated to advancing the art of gunfighting through perfecting its technical, tactical, physical, and mental aspects.

Optic Sighted Pistols


In class recently a student told me how his agency was handling the issue of cowitnessing. They totally misunderstood the concept. And a subsequent perusal of youtube, and various videos discussing their idea of cowitnessing and "slaving the dot", I was astounded at the lack of understanding of this very simple concept.

To see how widespread this was I queried my student body at Thankfully they get it!

I think the best answer came from LV-MD.

To wit - "IF you align the iron sights THEN the dot MUST be sitting right on the front sight. This is co-witnessing. You are "witnessing" both sighting systems at the same time. Of course, the Irons and dot must both be properly zeroed."

That is it...that is what it means. If you align the iron sights and the dot is NOT on the front sight, then you have two separate zeroes and that creates problems which we want to avoid.

Continuing, "BUT, being parallax-free, you do not NEED to co-witness in order to use the dot. Dot on target, anywhere in the glass (irons nowhere in sight) and you still make the hit"

We illustrated that with the Varying Focus Drill and the Asymmetric Dot Drill. In the first one, we put the dot in various positions in the window, but as long as the dot is on target, you get a hit. When students fired with the dot in the upper right, lower right, upper left and lower left corners of the window, but held on the same spot on target, the result was a single ragged hole in the target. The dot can be used without concern for the irons.

In the second drill, We had students focus on the front sight (like in the old days), on the target, and on the dot respectively. Result was also a ragged hole but a discussion of what they observed was interesting. Students noted they saw the traditional sight picture with the focus on the front sight, but the dot was still there. Accuracy was good, and there were no issues. With focus on the target, they saw the dot on the very same focal plane as the target and accuracy again was great. They noted it felt comfortable to keep both eyes open and that it was natural to visually focus on the target. Much more so in fact than to focus back to the front sight like the iteration with the traditional sight picture. When they focused on the dot, like it was a front sight, they noted a greater degree of control and accuracy seemed better. This specially as class progressed was evident at shots past the 50 yard distance (we shot out to 100 yards).

The reason for my query was that many police agencies are teaching "cowitnessing" as the preferred method of using the dot. My suspicion is that they simply do not understand the concept. Good to hear that we here have a firm grasp of it. And kudos to LV-MD for encapsulating the concept in as few words as possible.