As the majority of the population today ages one question that comes up constantly is what sights are best for older eyes. I am one of those aging baby boomers. I have shot pistols as a hobby all of my life and over the past few years I have noticed a decline in my performance simply because It's getting harder and harder to focus on the front sight.
The fact is bifocals make focusing on the front sight almost impossible unless you want to run around tilting your head back every time you make a shot. So what is the solution. We are old but not useless.
Quick answer: Pistols are designed to be a defensive weapon. For defensive shooting, the best sight is no sight at all. The vast majority of defensive shooting is done at distances less than 7 yards. In an intense situation you will be looking at the threat, not the sights, so learn to put shots on target instinctively within 7 yards.
Actually it is possible to point or instinctively shoot a pistol very well at distances much further than 7 yards but this takes a lot of practice. But it is time well spent if self defense with a pistol is your goal.
Another alternative for old eyes is to use the XS Big Dot sights. These have a much larger front sight post and dot than normal. They are defensive sights primarily designed to allow a shooter to get on target quicker. They work really well for that purpose or in competitions like IDPA matches where you are shooting at man size targets. You will see a little loss in accuracy at longer distances if you do any of that kind of shooting.
Another alternative is to go with one of the compact red dot sights now available for pistols. These sights are the future of pistol shooting. As Rob Latham below says, "if you can see the dot, you hit the target".
These red dot or reflex sights are used by champions in the unlimited classes of various shooting disciplines for a reason, they work.
I have a Vortex Viper on my Smith and Wesson 9L. It has improved my performance tremendously. Some people say the dot is hard to find. Mine is a 6.5 moa model and I have never had that issue, probably because I also spend a lot of time point shooting and my pistol just comes up to the shooting position naturally.
I have suppressor sights on this pistol and the Vortex co witnesses with them perfectly.
Hitting a man-sized target at 100 yards is a piece of cake. And if you really want to have some fun, try shooting out to 200 yards. With this sight, you will learn quickly where your faults are and will get some hits at that distance.
I own all of the sights featured above. My favorite is the Vortex Viper. It's functionality and dependability is just as good as those produced by Trijicon, at a much lower price. I've it on one pistol now for 2 years and a half and have had no issues with it. I have had to replace the battery once because I left it on high power inside my pistol bag for several weeks.
Of course, as with any battery operated device, you run the risk of it not working when you really need it. I recommend that if you like to shoot at a lot of different ranges and shooting is a hobby for you, or if you really want improve your shooting by learning what you are doing wrong, use a red dot.
If self defense is your primary goal learn to point shoot. Or if you are like me and are interested in all pistol shooting, do both.