Which Way to Move Rear Sights to Improve the Accuracy of Your Weapon

As you may know already, adjusting the rear sight is mandatory on all rifles, pistols, and all weapons in general. This must be done on a regular basis and it has a huge role in your accuracy. The goal is to align the line of sight to the impact point of a bullet. The biggest question here is which way to move rear sights? Although the answer is simple, there are a lot of things to keep in mind and there are a few cases where you will need additional information in order to complete this task perfectly.

Up and down or vertical alignment

The first thing you need to know regarding rear sight adjustments [1] is that you can do it all by yourself. But if you don’t have a firm understanding of how to adjust Glock rear sights (and other weapons), it’s easy to mess up. It is a straightforward process that will take your time and basic skills. Don’t forget that you need to make sure the sight is accurate in a vertical orientation or up and down. To do so, follow these steps.

  1. Clamp the rifle into the vise and fire a test shot targeting at the center of the target.
  2. Unload your weapon and see the result without moving the weapon.
  3. If the shot is below the desired target, then you will have to move the rear sight lower.
  4. If the shot is above the target, move the sight must be moved higher.
  5. All adjustable sights will have screws allowing you to lift or over them

If your sight doesn’t have screws, you will need to use an alignment tool that is compatible with your sight. In some cases, you need to hit the sight with a rubber or brass hammer to lower it down or lift it up. Don’t forget that you can replace your sight with an adjustable one.


We must add that when adjusting the rear sight, you need to check the front sight as well. It is always moved in the opposite direction than the rear sight. For example, if your shot is below the target, the rear sight should be lifted. But the front sight should be lowered down.

For our readers who run optics, be sure to learn how to sight your red dot sight. Using a laser bore sight is the most precise way to do it. If you don’t know how to use a laser bore sight, take a look at our quick guide!

Which way to move rear sights if shooting left?

Which way to move rear sight and improve the accuracy of your weapon

Another, also common issue is to adjust the sight[2] when the rifle is shooting to the left of the target. This is actually more common and it deserves your attention. As you would expect, the process is similar or at least identical to the first case. There is no need to hire a professional for a simple rear site adjustment. Anyway, follow these steps.

  1. Clamp the rifle into the vise. You can use a special tool for mounting the weapon and testing the accuracy and alignment.
  2. Fire just one shot while both sights are aligned to the center of the target.
  3. If the shot hits the left to the desired point, move the rear sight to the right.
  4. If the shot moved to the right, move the rear sight to the left.

Once again, we can see that front sight of a rifle is aligned and adjusted in an opposite direction. For example, if you are moving the rear sight to left side, the front sight must be moved to the right and the other way around. All of this may sound complicated but it requires practice. Take your time and make sure your rear sight is as accurate as possible. You will have to repeat the process a couple of times if you are a beginner, but this is definitely something you can do all by yourself. Remember, this process will be slightly different depending on your weapon. For example, adjusting AK Sights may not be the same as adjusting your handgun sights.

How you move the sight is another story. There are several options. You can use a sight pusher tool, a hammer, or a screwdriver. This depends on your sight and the matter cannot be generalized. All we can add is that you need to check your rifle and see which method should be used.

Adjusting sights does not need to be rocket science! There is a simple trick to this process. Say you just read our Trijicon HD XR review and bought a brand new Glock sight. it’s time to make some adjustments.

The rear sight should always be moved to the direction where you want the bullet to hit. The front sight must always be moved in the opposite direction. This has been one of the most important tips and tricks even professionals use so you can understand how important it is. In other words, this is the ultimate answer to which way to move the rear sight question.

Which way to move rear pistol sights?

What if you have a pistol[3] and you want to adjust the sight? Then you need to know the answer to this question. Once again, we will guide you through the entire process and help you get all the needed information. Anyway, follow these steps.

  1. Secure the pistol in a vise or use a special tool for this.
  2. Fire a test shot aiming at the center of the target.
  3. Check the result.
  4. Unload your weapon.
  5. The rear sight moves in same side where you want a bullet to hit. If it hits the target to the left of the center, move it to right side. If it hit the target on the right side, move your rear sight to left side.

The situation with the front sight is the same as with rifles. You need to move it in the opposite direction compared to where you want the bullet to hit the target. For instance, if a bullet hits the target to the left of the center, move the front sight to the left.

The tools you will need for the iron sight adjustment process can be a tool alignment tool or a hammer. Make sure if your pistol has plastic sights to be very careful because they can easily break. Take your time and always use as little force as possible.

The technique for adjusting your sights can vary depending on your weapon. For example, adjusting your night sights for M&P shield 9mm or Glock suppressor sights will not be the same as for your Henry H001 Sights. Different weapons will always have their own unique techniques.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the basic rule for sight adjustment?

The basic rule is to move your pistol rear sight in the same direction in which you are shooting your groupings. Therefore, if you are missing all of your shots to the right, you should adjust your rear sight right. And if you are missing left, make the necessary windage adjustment to the left.

Which way do you move your rear sight?

The direction you move your rear sight depends on where you are missing your shots. As a general rule, you should move your rear sight in the same direction that you are missing your groupings. So if you are missing all your shots to the left, move your rear sight left!

What is a drift adjustable rear sight?

A drift adjustable rear sight is a sight that cannot be adjusted for elevation. This means that if your grouping is missing high or low, you will not be able to make adjustments to your rear sight. However, a drift sight can make windage adjustments to adjust your groupings left or right.

The final word

Which way to move rear sights on the rifle and a pistol? As you were able to see there are a few scenarios. However, all of these tasks are simple, will require a few minutes of your time and there is no need to hire a professional. The most important thing is to take things slow and invest the proper time into alignment. Rear sight adjustments will have a huge effect on your accuracy.

About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

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