EXCLUSIVE: Florida man designs, patents revolutionary pistol sight

Sarasota businessman Mike Mansfield has designed and patented what he believes will be a better pistol sight. Mansfield uses four half-circles that create two complete circles when the sights are properly aligned. [Herald-Tribune staff photo / Mike Lang]

Those of us who are old enough to remember eight or nine presidents know all about the conspiracy.

Every year, it seems, handgun manufacturers make their pistol sights a bit smaller and harder to see.  It’s either that or maybe our arms are getting shorter …

Regardless, we seasoned shooters want sights that work even with uncorrected, sleepy, 2-am-in-the-morning eyes — high-visibility sights that stand out.

Same-same for competition shooters and gunfighters. They want sights that are easy to reacquire for follow-up shots.

Well, Sarasota businessman Michael Mansfield may have the answer. At least he’s on the right track.

Mansfield recently patented a two-dot sight system or, more accurately, a four, half-dot sighting system.

The rear sight features two half-circles. There are two half-circles on the front sight as well. When the sights are properly aligned, the shooter will see two complete circles. To make it a bit easier, the circles are different colors.

Mansfield’s front sight is a bit wider than traditional front sights. As such, it fills in the gaps usually seen on each side of the front sight.

Click here to see Mansfield’s U.S. Patent, complete with diagrams.

Mansfield — who’s also a flight instructor, personal trainer and holds an MBA — is somewhat of a natural at sight design.

“When I was 12 years old I got a BB-gun,” he said. “I didn’t like the sights on that either.”

His path from idea to production has been lengthy.

It required more than four years and $12,000 before the patent was issued.

It’s usually a three-year process, Mansfield explained, but there are a lot of sight patents out there that needed to be examined.

Mansfield, who recently formed Mansfield Munitions LLC, has a way to go before the sights are sitting on shelves in shrink-wrap.

He’s got several plastic prototypes for now. The dots on the prototypes were painted with nail polish. And he is looking for the right fabricator to machine the finished products out of steel.

The prototypes are mounted to an HK VP9 and a Sig P226, but his first production run will likely be for Glocks.

At the range

We met Mansfield Thursday at Sarasota’s Take Aim Gun Range.

Mansfield brought two P226s. One had Sig factory three-dot sights. The other had his four, half-circle contraption ( I still don’t know what to call it. Perhaps, the “Mansfield Sight.”).

I was skeptical at first.

I started with the factory sights.

No big thing — I’ve shot them all my life — and then I switched over to the Mansfield Sight.

My skepticism ended abruptly.

Mr. Mansfield is onto something here, folks.

Though somewhat crude — again it’s a plastic prototype with fingernail polish — they work.

I was able to reacquire the sight picture and fire follow-up shots far quicker than with the traditional sights.

Switching back to the stock gun only slowed me down.

It seems to be a combination of the circles and the fatter front sight, but these things work!

Mansfield called it the “Vernier Principle,” an idea he arrived upon after talking with his ophthalmologist.

Sorry to get all sciencey, but the Vernier Principal uses “alignment of line segments displaced by a small amount to make fine measurements. Human eye can easily detect this alignment of lines which is the main fact that drives a vernier.”

Whatever. It works.

Takeaways

I like Mansfield’s two-dot design.

I think it holds a lot of promise, but we’re not quite there yet.

I told him that, instead of paint, I’d like to see his sights incorporate laser-cut half-circles supporting fiber optics. The sights would be brighter and easier to acquire. And laser cut half-circles would be far more precise than a dab of paint.

We talked a bit about other options.

He’s already showcased his idea to several law enforcement firearms trainers.

They too think he’s onto something.

Mansfield knows he’s got a bit more work to do.

Rest assured we’ll be following and documenting his progress.

Stay tuned.

Range pics by Carrie Rasmussen

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About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1741 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

8 Comments

  1. He’s close, but missed the mark. A little bit of research on how human’s process visual input would get him straightened out.
    There’s a reason the traditional patridge sights have worked so well for close to a century. They present exactly what our visual system is looking for.
    His sights work, to an extent, but not for the reason he thinks.
    _ -_ _ _ _ 0o0 ooo

    give him my contact info, Lee, and I’ll be happy to discuss it with him.

  2. Prevo Rodger Jr on

    I like the idea, but it seams to me it does what myself and a lot of other instructors and shooters preach. Focus on the front sight. The best sight I have come accross latley is on the Canik TP9 where the rear sight has a like running verticle in the center of the rear sight. If you take the front sight and lolipop it on top of the line you have perfect alignment everytime. It has causes me to add this line to my H&K VP9.

  3. Pingback: Mansfield Two Dot Pistol Iron Sights | Firearms Life

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