Over ten years ago when I started Graham Combat, I began by creating classes I wanted to take. Now, with my introduction of FAST Technology, I’m developing the weapons I want to use. The first launch of FAST Technology is our Fast Acquisition Sight (FAST). I have carried the Proof of Concept FAST set on my personal gun for almost two years, have fired thousands upon thousand of rounds through it, and let almost everyone I train with do the same. Here’s a bit of background behind the technology, our application, and product availability.
What is the Fast Acquisition Sight?
The FAST is the first mechanical pistol sight to utilize “focal banding”. When talking about new technology it is important to define it and explain in so we have a better understanding of what it can and cannot do. The term Focal Band is described as “a series of focal planes which, when viewed together, give the perception of being in focus”. Throughout our two years of research and development with FAST we – the engineers, doctors, machinists, and shooters of Graham Combat – discovered focal banding. Prior to our launching of this product the term focal band didn’t exist when talking about mechanical pistol and rifle sights. Everyone – including us – referenced the known body of knowledge and the term “focal plane”. Current sighting systems work within focal planes: a front sight plane and a rear sight plane. The distance between the two has varied based upon the manufacturer and the length of the slide. Traditional sights have a distinct look: a rear sight at the rear and a front sight at the front. The discovery of the focal band allowed us to move the rear sight forward along the length of the slide to a point where, physiologically, we perceive it to be in focus.
What motivated this development?
The drive for this innovation came from the needs revealed in teaching new shooters. Commonly as teachers we tell new shooters to focus on one of two sight planes. The question automatically arises: why not focus on both? And all of us know the answer: the human eye can only focus on a single point at a time, a single focal plane. What it took to develop FAST was an attitude of questioning the established school of thought: why can’t my sights be closer to each other? Why are pistol sights positioned where they are? What governs the positioning of pistol sights: how people see and interpret information or how products are manufactured?
What about sight radius and accuracy?
Pistols aren’t small rifles, they’re pistols. They are combative weapons that stand alone. You cannot transfer sighting technology used for rifles to pistols, they are entirely different beasts. In our research one of the key components of sighting that we found was commonly ignored or misrepresented is eye relief. Eye relief is the distance from the eye of the shooter to the sight aperture, whether mechanical or electronic. In rifles eye relief is typically measured in inches, sometimes fractions of an inch. In pistols eye relief is measured in feet. Therefore you cannot successfully take one sighting system (short relief) and transpose it onto another system (long relief) and expect similar results. For a long time the method to making a pistol more accurate was the belief in “longer sight radius”, meaning: the greater the distance between the front and rear sight, the more accurate the pistol. While this is in part true, it only bears fruit if you maintain the eye relief of a rifle. Otherwise a long slide isn’t any more accurate from a sighting perspective than a short slide. In fact, with regards to focal banding and FAST, we prove the opposite is true. A single focal band sight is inherently more accurate because the shooter cannot input negative feedback through yawing the gun. Yaw or slew is the side to side input that we have on the gun or more simply, the “play” in our wrist that moves the front sight within the rear sight notch. With single focal band sighting the ability to yaw the gun is greatly reduced, resulting in far greater accuracy at distance because the sights act as those they are “fixed”. Fixed focal band sights reduce MOA deviation because the front sight to rear sight geometry remains constant, therefore while it is a characteristic of single focal band sights to be fast, we have also found that they are extremely accurate. That accuracy comes from the inability to move the front sight within the rear sight notch.
What we have done with FAST is create a functional mechanical version of a heads up display. With single focal band sighting all of the visual sighting information presented to the shooter is presented at the same time: you have front sight and rear sight focus at the same time, reducing the presentation of two separate focal planes to one single band, thereby cutting the cognitive processing time in half. Simply, you either see your sights or you don’t and when you see them, they’re equally in focus. Pistols are only as accurate as the width of the front sight so FAST is being manufactured with the minimum, front sight width necessary to be visually acquired, minimizing the gap necessary within the rear sight notch.
When will it be available?
Over the next few weeks we will be presenting more information about the availability and options for FAST and your gun. Stay tuned.