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File down his sights

Posted by Barney on February 18, 2004

In Reply to: File down his sights posted by Bob on February 18, 2004

: : : : : : : What does the phrase "he filed down his sights" or "I've got to file down my sights" mean? I know it's a metaphor, and I know it's language taken from riflery. But that's as far as I can get with it. Thank you.

: : : : : : I've looked in several references and found "zero."

: : : : : The result of filing down the fore sight would be to aim lower. This corresponds to being less ambitious. Does this fit the context?

: : : : Not sure if it fits. But what about the idea of accuracy? Might the idea of filing sights have ever had to do with that?

: : : Sure sounds like "file down my sights" means to aim lower, although from the context of this article I found, it seems only the front sight would be filed down.

: : :

: : : "For windage adjustment, an armorer had to bend the front sight or whack the frame with a babbit. To bring shots higher, he would file down the front sight and, for the much tougher task of making it shoot lower, he would have to weld up the front sight higher. No wonder so many cops carried adjustable sight guns back then.

: : : Today's auto pistol is likely to have a dovetail rear sight and often a dovetailed or pinned-in front. A factory approved sight-moving tool can take care of your windage adjustment. Replacing the front sight allows you to get the elevation perfect for the load in question. No, it's not as quick or easy as simply putting a screwdriver to an adjustable sight. But once zeroed, these "semi-fixed" sights are likely to remain so."

: : Hmm, that's funny. The article actually says that filing down the front sight causes you to shoot higher, not lower.

: Natch. Think of your eye, and the target, as fixed points. Then, if you file down the sight, to keep the target on sight would require you to tilt the barrel of the gun ... higher.

I use a longbow: it's much less hassle.