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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Another good question buried in a thread.

Brian Bilby wrote a good piece on the subject for GUNRAG. Try http://gunrag.com/showarticle.php3?article=20


Past that having used both to a great extent here are my thoughts and a little story. The Heinie has a deeper notch for a fast sight picture. The sight plane is not confusing on a Heinie. It is on a Novak. There are almost twice as many visual planes on a Novak that your eye will focus on at some point. I DO understand that the rear sight is supposed to be a blur and the front sight is where the focus is SUPPOSED to be. Understanding how the eye works clearly makes the Heinie a better sight. The blade design of the original Heinie was a little rough on the body. (I carried on for 7 years almost every day so I can say that) The slant Pro version solves that problem I believe and keeps the crisp sight picture.

Now when I wasn't carrying a Heinie sight I had another gun with Novaks. I shot some amazing groups with that gun
But here is why I stopped using and later refused to install a Novak.

Some may have heard this story befor related by another pistolsmith. This is actually what happened. Wages of a misspent youth


My partner and I were leaving the jail lobby at O dark thirty one morning and I walked into the edge of the 1" thick glass door at the entry. I was sure I would break that door! The edge of that door hit the Novak sight on my Stainless series 80. No broken door. No harm, no foul. The next day when I finally got some rack time and the chance to take off my gun and noticed a HUGE divit in the Novak. I could have used it to sight the gun with! You couldn't fix it and the sight needed replacement.

From that lone experience I found out that Novak mills his sights out of very mild steel that is easily dinged. (because it is cheaper) Heinie's are a better grade of steel. I have dropped a set of Heinie's at LEAST a dozen times and have never had a ding on the sight that cold blue wouldn't cover.

That is why I will not install a Novak. I have lost a few gun commissions over that fact but I build what I know works not what is popular.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As Mike says, "that is what makes a horse race".

I meant to add this but forgot earlier. There is no major winning competitor that I know of using Novaks other than Jim Wall who works for Sparks leather. To put that in perspective Jim also finished 3rd in the USPSA Area 1 Championships and 13th Overall in SOF this year. All with a gun that had NO, that is right, NO sights, a rebuilt, POS, Norico single stack. He actually shot it that way on purpose from a IWB.

It isn't IDPA at either match. You have to actually be a master handgunner to achieve those kinds of results with or without sights.

But if there is anyone else who competes with the big boys using a Novak I sure don't know who it is. There is a reason for that.

The most popular iron sights in any of the highly skilled in action shooting sports are Bomars. Most learn quickly to open up the rear notch on a Bomar to Heinies spec and cut the front to .100". As opposed to Bomars, and Heinie's normal .125". The reason is faster sight alignment, cleaner sight picture.

The Original Heinie profile was in fact a copy, a better copy in many eyes, of the Bomar. Heinie shot in A class when that was the upper limit of USPSA/IPSC and you had to earn the rank. Don't get the idea the guy doesn't know what it takes to make a gun go bang in his hands. So when someone tells you that there are only "two sights worth a crap" ya have to wonder where he is coming from.

Calls it, like I sees it, Mike.

Wilson's new clone of the Novak, JayDee? Interesting to split the difference between a Heinie and a Novak. He forgot the serrations to cut the light IMO on the newest Tactical sight. Sorry you were asking about the Combat Pyramid on the adjustable Bomar clone. I use that blade and suggest it. I also serrate it for my customers if I use it. Oh and I refrain from calling my tennis shoes, belt buckel and wrist watch, tactical


[This message has been edited by Dane Burns (edited 01-29-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Interesting enough I had a guy comment that members of the Gunsite list was berating the Heinie for vertical stringing of shots at night.

Many were promoting a three dot picture.

(get ready here comes another long tirade)

I would bet I have seen a several thousand students go through night shoots over the past 15 years as student, match staff or instructor.

I know there are some pretty asute folks on the Gunsite list, know a few myself. I have no idea who promotes the three dot as better but again if you understand how the eye works there are better designs and some not so "better" designs to be used at speed and at night. The reason almost all flight line and aviation lights are in a verical string is because they are faster and easier to line up under stress.

The night sight hoopla is a gun writer and magazine sales pitch. You don't have the time to line up sights if you are shooting in the dark at close distances. You most likely shouldn't be shooting at long distances in the dark for legal reasons with out being able to see exactly who you are shooting at. Life is not a free fire zone. Which is where night sights shine. The Isrealis invented them afterall.

Makes a handy way to find your gun at night but is very little real help out side a formal schoot setting IMO. I have pointed a gun at real people in the dark enough to make that comment. Take it for what it is worth when you get ready to drop a $100 bill on those new sights. I would spend the money on ammo and then take the time to shoot it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Man a guy gets sunshine, warm weather and a FREE gun to shoot! (Mike won the gun in a raffle at a Rangemaster.com match several years ago)

Some folks just know how to live right! Well almost right...that BBQ paint is a social disgrace
Just another reason to question your choice of Novaks.

I also realize Mike shoots adroitly and enough to make up his own mind on sights

Must be those holsters that makes the gun reliable
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Here is my take
I will shoot a Bomar or the clones of it and either version of the Heinie. No surprise what I think is the best sight picture.

The Novak and Wilson series of fixed sights aren't bad. I even like the tiny fixed sight by Wilson.

But I wouldn't pay for them to be installed.

The MMC will fit a Novak sight cut which is a benefit. The rear sight picture is way too busy, the notch neither deep or wide enough for my liking. The wings are not as protective as I would like and a little unfriendly to the user IMO.

If you take a look there are few improvments on 1911 sight designs since the '30s really. Many of the sights available today still have the S&W K frame series sight picture. I would prefer something easier to use and easier on the body while carrying it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Goodguy,
Any smith including myself can give you two day service on Heinie installation on a Kimber. Mail me off line if you are interested.
Holder 20,
Don't know where the confusion is. The Heinies are all low mounted and needed to be milled into the slide. On a Colt or Springfield gun that is a milling machine answer. On the XS Colt, loaded Springfields or Kimbers that just means buying the right sight to go into the dovetail that is present. They must be hand fitted and soem file work is needed.

BR,
Missing Leonards! Walking distance from the range too...just never feel like walking back
In LA teaching a 1911 gunsmith class that weekend.

Make sure Benedict does try slipping some ribs to the MD. He could be bribed! Good luck to both of you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Just to put the sight subject into perspective here.

Diamentions for the rear notch in the most common sights.

Wilson adjustable
.087 deep x .125 wide
Wilson fixed
.090 deep x .125 wide

Bomar .100 deep x .115 wide
Novak .100 deep x .125 wide
Heinie .125 deep x .125 wide

OEM front sights on all brands mentioned here is .125".

For a better understanding of how the eye works in comparison to sight types and the sizes mentioned I can suggest Brian Enos' book, PRACTICAL SHOOTING, and the A.M.U. research material available addressing how the eye functions with iron sights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Man you guys in Georgia beat me up all the time on Mike's gun


If he would take care of them better I might even give him a "real" gun. But being he is th kydex guru I have to be very careful what I give him


Kydex, the only finish guaranteed to chew off hard chrome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Thanks Tony....we all knew it wasn't guns, sights or skills


Lucky for us Benedict keeps using the small caliber stuff.

Jim Wall still shooting an IWB, ball ammo, no sights and whipping on everyone?

Them Idaho boys would be pretty tough on Team Red Neck I suspect


[This message has been edited by Dane Burns (edited 01-29-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Hey Mikey, while a needle file is a fun thing right up there with a dremel, there are some designs that limit what can be cut away and still usable.

The normal human eye can define .001 of an inch so if you full outthe files I hope you get it all centered


The ability of the eye is why you will notice those damn inserts being off by a thousanth or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Good


Now we have a gun smith who works for and started at Novaks, Joe Bonar, and the guy who does all of Novak's checkering chiming in. (Same guy Wayne puts in the catalog as a "member of the family".

Now neither, as far as I know, have carried a gun on a daily basis for work.

Unless you are going to claim what Wayne did back in 1990 when I asked him about my specific set of sights and the damage. Wayne's retort was, "I carry on a daily basis!"

My come back was, "With this kind of product and the customer sevice attitude you have, Wayne, I understand exactly why you do that!"

Correct me if I am wrong guys? Ever work with a gun?

I did a little hammer and punch testing myself on a set of Heinies and Novaks in the shop this afternoon. I can go with the assumption that they are in fact made of the same steel.

I also know for a fact which ones I damaged beyound reapir from dropping them. The Novak's did not hold up under my use. The Heinie's are still going strong on their original guns. I have dropped them all, A LOT


There is a BIG difference between having the ability to build a gun or having the ability to build a gun, shoot it and understand the simple facts of how those guns are used in the field on a daily basis. No amount of jaw jacking on the phone will give you that experience nor will wearing one around the "office".

Copies? First let's all realise that S&W along with all the Governmental agencies go with LOWEST bid. No doubt Wilson, and Baer have copied Novak. Why any one would I have not a clue. But sorry, dude, if you don't understand the difference between any of that three and a set of Heinie's, Slant pro or not, you aren't keeping up in the converstaion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Fair enough Anthony. I have can live with bad form.

My quizz to other smiths in general, is can you shoot. That means can you prove to me that you know how to run a gun?

Old John Moses shot 200 rounds a day of government issue ammo from a 1911 so his biography goes. And was more than a passable shot by the record.

The old guys who built bull's eye guns could. Heinie and Vickers can. Wilson can. Morris can. Plaxco did. I am sure there are others.

Swenson we all know, could. Add Hoag, Jimmy Clarke Sr and Jr.

I don't think that using one on a daily basis means everything until you start telling me which accessories are good and bad in hard use.

If your basis for commentary is wearing the gun in your office then I have to wonder how relevant the comments reallly are.

What many miss is these tools are made for one thing. You have to have a little understanding about the end use to build one IMO.

You want to get in a discussion with me you better come armed. I have some more than healthy opinions because I have used the guns as intended and I can shoot. Vickers even more so. Heinie and Morris have some too. Craig Westein did also.

So while it may be distasteful if you have to own up to your own experience or lack there of, so be it.

My life experiences do in fact effect how I built a gun and my thought processs of what makes a good one.

Your observations are limited by your experiences Anthony. That is the facts of life. I can refer to Vickers as a good example. He kept commenting "trust me" and the "1 Milllion" round count. He sees more than I and I have seen a lot. I may disagree with Vickers but I will ask why.
If nothing else I will have learned by asking.



[This message has been edited by Dane Burns (edited 03-09-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Originally posted by PJB .45:
Dane, Iwont get into a pissin match

Good.

Also you say it is always the low bid that gets the pie,

That I did.

and another time you say that the NOVAK is more expensive than most other sights such as the HIENIE

If you are going to quote me, Joe, at least have the courtesy to be correct in what you credit me with. I have NEVER refered to the actual prices of either sight on list. My original comment said I thought a Novak was cheaper and softer steel and easier to machine. I know in use it dings easier. Pete Single says it ain't so. But then Pete doesn't post by his real name either. So I quess what he says he doesn't care to stand behind.



[This message has been edited by Dane Burns (edited 03-09-2001).]
 
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