banner

AR Iron Sights: Vital or Useless?

Firearms


When was the last time you saw anyone shooting an AR-15 using iron sights? Some people think They might be obsolete, but Tarr thinks every AR should have them.

Recently, I was reading a piece about elite snake-eating specwar soldiers, and the author mentioned in passing how the EOTech or Aimpoint red dot sights on their rifles were actually backup sighting systems.

Since our elite operators do as much of their work at night as they can, wearing night vision goggles (NVGs) which usually don’t allow a proper cheek weld, most of the time the primary aiming tool on their rifles is an IR laser.

While not visible to the naked eye, these glow bright as a Bond villain laser through NVGs and rifles so equipped work very well inside the limits of night vision.

A thought occurred to me—so if the IR laser is the soldier’s night sight, and his red dot is his day sight, when does he use iron sights? Now forget Tier 1 operators operating operationally, when was the last time any of you saw anyone shooting an AR using iron sights?

Dozens of companies manufacture back-up iron sights (BUIS), but who uses them? Everybody slaps a red dot or traditional scope on their AR these days. Heck, even the Marine Corps, the last bastion of iron sights, is issuing Trijcon ACOG scopes.

So the question is, are iron sights for ARs in the modern era obsolete?

There are dozens of different brands and styles of flip-up rear sights available for the AR-15 platform. Here is a small sampling: Spike’s Tactical, Blackhawk, Leapers UTG, and MagPul MBUS. All of them are adjustable for windage, but the Spike’s is adjustable for elevation as well.

There are dozens of different brands and styles of flip-up rear sights available for the AR-15 platform. Here is a small sampling: Spike’s Tactical, Blackhawk, Leapers UTG, and MagPul MBUS. All of them are adjustable for windage, but the Spike’s is adjustable for elevation as well.

Let’s look at what iron sights actually are, and what they actually do, before we start getting judgmental about their utility in this new modern golden era of firearms in apple pie America.

The ubiquitous term “iron sights” refers to mechanical aiming devices, traditionally made of steel, affixed to a firearm to help the shooter aim it. Just looking down the barrel and pointing a rifle works, but only at short distances. There have been sights on rifles since before they got accurate enough to be worth aiming.

Handgun sights tend to be simpler—a post front sight combined with rear sight sporting a notch. To use, center the front sight in the rear notch while aiming at the target and pressing the trigger.

Most handgun sights are not adjustable other than drifting the rear in the dovetail, but that’s okay, handguns are used at close range where sights are often superfluous. Rifles, on the other hand, are valuable because they don’t require closing with the enemy.

With handguns, it’s all about the front sight—where that front sight is, that’s where the bullet is going to go. With rifles, it’s all about the rear sight.

When it comes to front sights, the main variation is in the size and shape of the protective ears, as most flip-up AR sights utilize the GI front sight post. Daniel Defense clamp-on fixed, Midwest Industries gas block mounted (so it is a little taller), Leapers UTG, and Blackhawk.

When it comes to front sights, the main variation is in the size and shape of the protective ears, as most flip-up AR sights utilize the GI front sight post. Daniel Defense clamp-on fixed, Midwest Industries gas block mounted (so it is a little taller), Leapers UTG, and Blackhawk.

Over the centuries people have been shooting rifles we’ve learned that gravity makes bullets drop over time and distance, and wind blows them off course. So rifle sights tend to be more complicated and adjustable for up-and-down (elevation) and side-to-side (windage). Usually, most if not all of that adjustment occurs at the rear sight.

The original fixed sights on the M16/AR-15 are relatively simple, but they work—and modern flip-up/back-up sights tend to mimic the original fixed sights in setup and adjustment.

The front sight is a post protected by wings on either side. The post front sight is usually click adjustable for elevation by screwing it in and out of its base. Moving it down shifts bullet impact up, and vice versa.

Rear sights are a little more complicated. Rear sights on handguns and even some rifles (like the AK-47) are simple notches. Look through the notch and adjust your sight picture until you see equal height (of front and rear sight) and equal light (to either side of the front sight inside the notch) and you’re good to go.

The rear sight on the M16/AR-15 is not a notch but rather an aperture—which in simple terms is a hole you look through. Center the top of the front sight post in the aperture, aim at the target, and pull the trigger.

The Aimpoint Micro’s battery life is measured in years, but Tarr still recommends back-up iron sights, because everything that can go wrong  will go wrong.

The Aimpoint Micro’s battery life is measured in years, but Tarr still recommends back-up iron sights, because everything that can go wrong will go wrong.

The smaller the aperture, the more precision it allows when shooting, which is why the standard AR sight features a large aperture for shooting at closer range (point blank to 200 meters) and a second smaller aperture that flips up for shooting beyond 200 meters. The GI-style rear sight of the current M16/M4/AR-15 is click adjustable for both windage and elevation.

It is possible to shoot iron-sighted rifles out to incredible distances, provided you’ve got eyes good enough to get that front sight into focus…and of course a good grasp of the basics of sight alignment and breath and trigger control.

While even he admitted it was a lucky shot, Billy Dixon dropped a Comanche at (a later measured) 1538 yards during the Second Battle of Adobe Walls in 1874 using an iron-sighted “Big Fifty” Sharps.

Tom Selleck used a 34-inch .45-110 Shiloh Sharps rifle with a Vernier tang sight to great effect—at distances far less than Dixon’s famed shot—in Quigley Down Under, and Shiloh Sharps to this day has trouble keeping up with the demand for their rifles because of that movie. Sometimes people like the extra challenge of shooting using iron sights. That extra challenge is the main reason reproduction muzzleloading rifles are so popular today.

Most flip-up front sights, like this Midwest Industries unit, feature a standard GI front post that click adjusts using the tip of a pen or a cartridge.

Most flip-up front sights, like this Midwest Industries unit, feature a standard GI front post that click adjusts using the tip of a pen or a cartridge.

The accuracy of a rifle does not change if you replace iron sights with a red dot or a scope. However, the ease at which someone can shoot that rifle accurately can be affected drastically.

Replace a magnified rifle scope with iron sights and it is much harder for the average person to achieve the same accuracy, or shoot as fast. And red dot scopes (non-
magnified optical scopes which feature an illuminated reticle, usually a dot, for aiming) are much faster to use than iron sights.

With iron sights, you have to align the front sight with the rear sight with the target, keep the front sight in focus while letting the rear blur out a little bit, then keep all of them lined up while you pull the trigger.

As the red dots inside red dot optics are on the same focal plane as the target, all you have to do to aim is put the dot on the target and pull the trigger. When it comes to aiming a red dot, there is absolutely no learning curve, something that can’t be said about iron sights.

Iron sights have a storied history, because until very recently optical sights were not reliable or durable enough to use in combat. But that has changed.

“Cowitness” and “lower 1/3” specifically refer to the relationship  of red dots to iron sights, as iron sights can be used through  non-magnified red dot scopes.

“Cowitness” and “lower 1/3” specifically refer to the relationship of red dots to iron sights, as iron sights can be used through non-magnified red dot scopes.

I mentioned the Trijicon ACOG above—this magnified sight was specifically designed for use on the M16/AR-15 platform, and is so durable that it has been adopted across all our military branches. It has seen combat all over the world.

The ACOG isn’t the only scope to benefit from modern manufacturing processes, scopes have improved across the board. Glass is better, tubes are stronger, reticles are better designed and more robust, windage and elevation adjustments are more repeatable—and illuminated reticles are commonplace.

I’ve said previously that most of today’s “bargain” $400 scopes are better made and more durable than anything anybody made anywhere in the world 50 years ago. One of my favorite scopes is the Burris 1-4X MTAC; in fact, I’ve got one mounted on the rifle in my bedroom.

It features a 30mm tube, great reticle, battery-powered illumination, and built-in sunshade…all for about $400. Thirty years ago, the features on it would be considered cutting-edge tactical…and in today’s marketplace it is nothing special, that’s how good scopes are getting.

It was only a few years ago manufacturers were stating that producing 1-8X scopes was mechanically impossible…and now they’re everywhere. IOR Valdada was one of the first companies to offer a 1-8X scope, and now they’re offering a 1-10X optic…what is “possible” keeps changing.

Tarr really likes the LWRCI Skirmish flip-up sights, and thinks the  revolving cube for  apertures in the rear  is ingenious. The only  downside is their cost.

Tarr really likes the LWRCI Skirmish flip-up sights, and thinks the revolving cube for apertures in the rear is ingenious. The only downside is their cost.

What about red dots? Of ARs wearing optics, I would wager that perhaps half are not mounting traditional magnified scopes but rather non-magnified (1X) “red dot” sights. Red dot sights are just as inherently accurate as iron sights, and much faster to use. They are intended to be used with both eyes open, unlike iron sights.

Thirty years ago, these were just expensive fragile toys being played with by competition shooters, but technological advancement being what it is, soon these optics were durable and reliable enough to be put into service by our military.

The Aimpoint Comp M2 was adopted by the U.S. Military in 2000 as the M68 CCO (close combat optic). Not only was this unit durable enough for field use by the military, battery life is an incredible 50,000 hours.

Let’s forget traditional daytime optics, rifle-mounted night vision and thermal scopes are getting close to being affordable to the average Joe—reality is catching up to science fiction.

Currently my favorite variable-power riflescope is the Trijicon TR25 1-6X AccuPower, which features a reticle illuminated by both fiber optics and tritium. I am eagerly looking forward to the new Hi-Lux 1-8X scope which features a great reticle usable at both ends of the magnification range and a retail price far under $1,000.

The LWRCI Skirmish front sight features curved protective wings. The curved wings form a “circle within a circle” when looking through  the rear sight.

The LWRCI Skirmish front sight features curved protective wings. The curved wings form a “circle within a circle” when looking through the rear sight.

Scopes with illumination, amazing magnification, battery life measured in years, toughness enough for the U.S. Marine Corps. With all of that, many people think it’s stupid to spend the better part of $100 or more on back-up iron sights they’ll never use. So why bother with iron sights at all?

Let’s hit the big bad main point first—but it is far from the only one. The main point being this: you don’t need a back-up when your primary never goes down. But there hasn’t been an optic made that hasn’t broken for one reason or another.

Very few of us are elite ninja deathstalkers cutting trail on the Hindu Kush, but whether you’re out hunting whitetail or just punching paper at the range, if your scope was damaged in transit or your battery dies, having iron sights on your rifle allows you to use it immediately without needing to wait on parts or repair. Batteries die. Scopes suddenly develop wandering zeros or fog up. Excrement happens.

Some of you may have never had a riflescope catastrophically break or develop a wandering zero. Chances are that means you don’t shoot or travel with guns very much.

I learned this lesson the hard way—the very first rifle scope I ever owned was a Swarovski 6×42. It came mounted on a Steyr SSG P1, being sold by Steyr as a package. These were military contract overruns for the Indian Government (and yes, I found out about them through an ad in Shotgun News circa 1991).

That Swarovski was an expensive scope and worked fine for me. Mounted atop a rifle that shot .75 moa, it made me look better than I was, punching paper through a Michigan summer out to 200 yards shooting the ubiquitous Federal 168-grain BTHPs.

Tarr even puts iron sights on AR pistols. The Hi-Lux Micro Max B-Dot is durable, but that doesn’t mean it can’t break. The iron sights are Ruger Rapid Deploys.

Tarr even puts iron sights on AR pistols. The Hi-Lux Micro Max B-Dot is durable, but that doesn’t mean it can’t break. The iron sights are Ruger Rapid Deploys.

But then I loaned that rifle/scope to my buddy Dan who took it hunting in Colorado in the fall. And that scope fogged up on him, badly. At first I didn’t believe him, thought maybe he’d only breathed on the outside of the scope, because this wasn’t a Tasco or a Bushnell, it was a freaking Swarovski.

Expensive European scopes don’t just fog up. But no—my fancy European uber-mankilling scope had fogged internally. And Dan had spent enough time hunting to know that even expensive scopes fail.

Not too long after that, I read something by Jeff Cooper saying much the same thing, that he had yet to see a brand or type of scope immune to breakage. He thought perhaps scopes with the windage and elevation adjustments external to the tube (such as found on the ELCAN Specter DR) might be more robust.

Just because the scopes of today are better or more modern does not mean they won’t break, they are just likely to break less frequently. Oh, and that Steyr rifle I mentioned above? Military contract gun, sporting a high-grade scope…but that rifle came with iron sights.

Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, as they say.

No, iron sights are not invulnerable to breakage, but I bet if you took a hammer to a set of iron sights and a scope at the same time, the scope would lose zero before the irons.

Now let’s talk about iron sights as a piece of cultural history.

I remember turning 18. Turning 18 to me meant I could finally buy an AR-15. And every day thousands of people turn 18, every day somebody decides they want to buy their first gun. However, the new gun owners of modern America do not have the same background as they did 50 years ago.

First, many AR owners these days are coming into the gun world as virgins (to guns)—they didn’t grow up with guns, or hunting, they might not have even had a gun in the house growing up.

They bought an AR after a terrorist attack or Democrat calls to ban them, for simple self-defense, or because they thought owning and shooting a real one would be cool after years of playing Call of Duty.

But they have no background in shooting, they didn’t start with iron-sighted .22s or even BB guns, were never taught sight alignment or trigger control, and might have even bought a rifle with a red dot already mounted on it.

So they have nothing invested in the “traditional” way of doing things, and iron sights are the epitome of traditional. And if it’s already got a “sight”, why would they need to put a second set of sights on their rifle?

As a result, these days a lot of people aren’t even putting back-up iron sights on their ARs. And I think this is wrong. I think everyone should know how to use iron sights. Learning how to use them is a valuable skill that you might need some day, like knowing how to drive a stick (that’s a car with a manual transmission for you damn millenials).

And learning how to shoot a rifle with iron sights will make you a better shooter when you do go and slap an optic on that rifle. My children learned how to shoot rifles using iron sights.

Here’s an analogy—when I’m asked about what kind of pistol someone should buy, I say this: if you just want to buy a gun for self-defense, that with little to no training you can pick up, point, pull the trigger, and probably hit your target, get a striker-fired pistol like a Glock or Smith & Wesson M&P.

But if you want to learn how to shoot a pistol, want to learn sight alignment and proper grip and trigger control, buy a double-action revolver, as it is much harder to shoot and every little mistake you make will be magnified. If you can learn to shoot a double-action revolver well, you can shoot any kind of handgun well. I believe the same thing about iron sights on a rifle.

Dave Fortier and I often engage in friendly arguments about all things gun related, and when I asked him about his favorite iron sights it provided another educational opportunity. Dave prefers a front sight with rounded ears that are open at the top.

The rounded ears are a near circle within the circle of the rear aperture, but he doesn’t want a true circle around the front sight (like HK sights) because if the front sight is not centered inside the front ring it can mess with your brain.

Dave is a former high power shooter, and as such he prefers the Knight’s Armament 600-meter flip-up rear sight. This is a very nice, feature-rich sight, but on a good day they sell for $150.

Which I think is a stupid amount of money to spend on a back-up sight, you’re not going to be shooting Camp Perry with a flip-up, and I told Fortier the same…only less politely. Dave’s response? “It’s a great sight, my favorite. Go be poor somewhere else.”

But Dave’s response, especially about why he likes a certain type of front sight, is a great example of “you don’t know what you don’t know”. If you never shoot iron sights, you’ll never learn what works best for you.

People smarter and with more experience shooting than the rest of us have developed all sorts of tricks for using iron sights at maximum efficiency, because often their lives depended on it. Here’s one—ever heard of the upside-down lollipop?

The Vernier tang sight on this Shiloh Sharps Quigley model is iconic, as is the rifle itself. Iron sights are the original sighting systems for rifles.

The Vernier tang sight on this Shiloh Sharps Quigley model is iconic, as is the rifle itself. Iron sights are the original sighting systems for rifles.

I was first exposed to this technique when my friend came back from the DEA academy with his new Colt 9mm subgun. This SMG was equipped with iron sights, and he was taught a very quick way to use the sights at CQB distances. Instead of looking through the sights, which is slower and can tend to limit your peripheral vision, look over them.

Looking over the rear aperture, put the top of the aperture at the base of the front sight pin (the result resembling an upside-down lollipop) and frame the target with the wings of the front sight.

The gun will hit a little high, but at indoor distances. this works just as fast and accurately as a red dot.

For features and performance, I like the LWRCI Skirmish sights. The rear sight has a rotating cube—rotate the cube to switch from a small to large aperture.

And the front sight post is protected by curved wings. These things are made to withstand salt water and zombie attacks—and they’d better, considering a set will run you over $225.

For the best balance of performance per dollar spent, I think the best iron sights on the market are the UTG Low Profile Flip-Up sights (see sidebar). They provide everything you need, nothing you don’t, and a set will run $50 or less.

I know I’m not alone in thinking ARs should have back-up iron sights, the proof being how many optics mounts are listed as providing “co-witness” or “lower 1/3” height.

A co-witness mount places the optic (usually a red dot) at a level off the rail where the dot is at the same height as the iron sights. “Lower 1/3” mounts position the dot just above the iron sights, so the sights are visible in the lower one-third of the optic.

And why is this? Because excrement happens. Scopes break, batteries fail, but unless your red dot optic has nearly blown up on you, you’ll be able to use your iron sights through the optic tube.

The same can’t be said for magnified optics, however, even if they dial all the way down to 1X. Even at 1X, your front sight will be a blur through a variable magnification scope. Which is why all of the optics on my personal rifles are in QD mounts. QD mounts provide quick tool-less access to iron sights.

I believe every rifle should have iron sights on it, whether or not it is mounting an optic. They are an integral part of the gun, no different than a stock or a trigger. I mounted iron sights on my dedicated competition rifle, where they’ll probably never ever be needed. But probably isn’t good enough for me.



Source link

Articles You May Like

Gunwerks releases new premium, rifle brass line
10 AK-47 Accessories That Won’t Bust Your Budget
Vanguard adds Pioneer 2100RT in Realtree Xtra to hunting pack lineup
It Takes A Thief
Senate Committee Passes Multiple Gun Control Bills

19 Comments

  1. I use iron sights all the time. I can shoot 100 to 200 yards with them. After that I go to a scope. Properly aligned iron sights work very well. Real shooters use them all the time. Why the army or the marines went away from teaching our troops how to shoot with them is a shame. Technology will fail. What do you do then?

  2. On my Ruger AR556 I swapped in a tritium front post and used a drill to open up the rear aperture to 3/16″ Fast and compact. Plenty accurate out to 200 yards IF I can see that far.
    I’ve got a Weaver K4W scope I bought back in `76 to go on a Ruger Mini-14.
    I’ve checked an it holds zero when removed and reinstalled.
    But I expect CQC home defense i the dark. I’ve got a Maglight XL50 I bought 10 years ago mounted with Weaver rings.
    I’ve managed t go 70 years without shooting anybody.
    Years ago I used my Remington 40XB NM ifle with steel Redfield Olympic rear and a Lyman globe to shoot 600 yard. My eyes were better then.

  3. I very much agree with your article that iron sights are essential to a gun. I got iron sights installed on my Winchester M70 as it came without. Unfortunately, due to the thin barrel of my Kimber 84 it’s difficult to get iron sights mounted but I will find something one day.
    My current rifle a Blaser R8 was ordered with factory iron sights and my AR has iron sights too.
    I don’t understand why hunting rifles are no longer offered with iron sights at least as an option. Everyone relies on scopes and apparently has never seen scopes breaking.

    1. I’ve always considered back-up sights essential on my serious hunting or defensive guns. Even my pistols have back-ups in the form of laser sights.
      My defensive AR’s no longer have mechanical back-ups because I realized that the guns would most likely be required in darkened conditions. That’s when the monsters come out! And I’m old enough that my eyes no longer play well with “irons”. Have you ever used your back-up sights in the dark? Pretty damn hard, in my opinion, even with young eyes.
      Currently my defensive AR’s carry red dots or 1-4 or 1-6 power illuminated variables. Each also carries a green laser, and a weapon mounted light. The illuminated scope is the primary aiming device, with the laser as secondary. If they both go down an effective sight picture for close quarters can be found using just the outer ring of the optic with the weapon light lighting up the target so it can be seen through the scope.
      With this arrangement I feel I’m well equipped to counter an equipment failure.

  4. Well said, after being in the military, Optics are cool add ons to me for rapid tgt acquisition, but I rely on my iron sites up to 400 meters.

  5. I learned to shoot with iron sights at six years old, on my grandpa’s Winchester semi-auto .22 rifle. He taught me well and it stood me in good stead, because when I was in Army basic training in 1968, I qualified as an expert marksman with the M-14 and M-16, both with iron sights. Yes, I had much better eyesight at the time, but I ‘knew’ my weapons well enough to be able to put rounds (with each rifle) through the head of a 3/4 silhouette pop-up target at 450 yards from the prone position. It was more difficult from the sitting, kneeling and standing position, but I always hit the target. It was a matter of ‘knowing’ my weapon, breath control, trigger control, and the conditions on the range on that day. I zeroed it in at 200 yards for those days on the pop-up range. I must admit, I’ve never used a scope. I often wonder how good a shot I could have been had I taken my Drill Sergeant’s advice to become a sniper, but I opted not to. It only took me another 49 years before I bought my own Colt AR-15…with iron sights. From the factory, it only took one click of elevation to zero it for 100 yards. It’s a joy for me to shoot again. I’m thinking about getting a red dot optic now.

  6. Recently built my first AR and I put irons on it first and have been teaching myself how to shoot using them. I bought a 1-4x scope at Christmas because I know it will be easier to use, but I wanted to make sure I knew how to shoot with the irons before I mounted that scope. I definitely think that’s a skill anyone who shoots should have.

  7. Your article was both enjoyable,entertaining and educational,thankyou!
    My brother and I grew up using mdl.94’s with Williams peep sights;his in 25-35 and me with the 30-30.This growing up took place in high desert open sagebrush country.I can’t recall if the peeps had windage adjustment?
    We learned the value of employment and went on to scoped rifles.
    My father held the same viewpoint as you,his rifle was a Remington 740 in .308 w/Weaver 4X(steel one piece tubes) and Weaver flipover mounts,and yes excrement happens.While you are chukar hunting with your buddies you let your son borrow your rifle and he drops it…but doesn’t tell you…until after your extremely exciting moment of missing a slam dunk shot at a big muley 4×4,flipping scope over and then making said shot!
    And after all of this,he still was gracious enough to teach me to drive his 53’ GMC pu…with a stick!
    I’m building my first AR and you just provided an answer to a question/dilemma I was facing. Thank you!

  8. I’ve not read any of the comments and this would not be the first time that I am missing something, but the first statement of the article tells me that the iron sights are primary.

  9. It is too bad that many firearms that come from the factory without sights or optics are only drilled for intent of mounting optics and not both. Something to consider while shopping.

    A wise friend also advised me that firearm owners (rifle or pistol) should ALWAYS have at least one common caliber that will have a plentiful supply of ammo if things go sideways in the future. So make sure you have a 308, 30-06 or 223 before you go off and buy that 6.5 Grendel or 7mm STW.

    A firearm is only a tool that ultimately cannot be used for it’s intended purpose (sending a small projectile off to a distant target) if there is no ammunition for it. Likewise, your firearm cannot do that if it does not have a working aiming mechanism for the task.

  10. First shot a modern sporting rifle (M-16) at Air Force basic training in 1970, with additional courses of fire and qualification throughout my active duty tours as a security forces augmentee and prior to a year in Thailand in 1973 (first time I got to fire full auto). All those were fired with iron sights. After I separated active duty I left the trusty M-16 behind until I re-enlisted into the Air National Guard in 1981 (yeah I missed working on airplanes that shot at other airplanes or dropped ordinance to blow things up on the ground). After I got commissioned I transferred to the Air Force reserved and transitioned to away from long guns. Post-9/11 the reserves got serious and we went from M-9 qualification every 3 years to every year. As we started deploying more into hostile AORs, we added the trusty M-16 qualification to the pre-deployment process. It was nice to get reacquainted to my old friend and the course of fire was again with iron sights. My final deployment required both M-9 and M-4 qualification with the latter using the excellent AimPoint red-dot optic w/flip-up iron sights in case the optic died or was damaged. Coming home after my last deployment I decided to pick a S&W AR-15, I have a scope mounted and off-set iron back-up sights (both zeroed to 100 yards). I can pick off varmints, coyotes and defend the castle if need be.

  11. As a former 0311/0369 Infantry Grunt in the Marines we had to Qual with Iron Sights out to 500 yards. I preferred them to the ACOG while deployed to Iraq in 2005. Fundamentals in shooting, breath control and trigger squeeze were how I was taught. I plan to purchase and/or build my own AR in the near future and have spent more time researching Iron Sight over Optics. I’m such a firm believer in the M-16 type sight I have a similar setup on my Compound Bow and can hit targets accurately and at distance using the same techniques. As stated, when optics fail you need to be able to take out a threat and these old fashioned sights are spot on if you take time to learn how to use them.

  12. I was in the army in the late 70s, I was also in a post combat rifle team ,we fired m16 every day at a marine base in Virginia firing up to 400 yards with nothing but iron sights and we did damn good! those of you don’t know what a combat rifle match is ,they take you and your rifle and go on a2 mile run soon as you make it back you go on to the firing range and is 400 yard field with 100 yard hills they call out what shots to take at what yards and start running some more by the end you are good and tired but now I am 59 years old and just starting to use nice scope cause my eyes are getting bad cant focus like I use to.

  13. A passing thought regarding detachable iron sights. Most that I’ e seen advertised are adjustable for windage only, which leaves one question, elevation adjustments to be made on the front sight. Whose silly idea was this?

  14. “When was the last time you saw anyone shooting an AR-15 using iron sights?”

    Every time I shoot my ARs. And I see a lot of other skilled and savvy shooters using them. I was issued an M4 and a very nice EOTech reflex sight but I also had BUS on my weapon. Never rely 100% on any technology to save you without an old fashioned solution to the problem of it failing.

  15. I’ve always thought the M-16/AR-15 peep sucked. I made marksman in the Army and believe I did so by hitting targets I couldn’t see. I had such a problem seeing the targets that I was surprised I qualified at all.

    Fast forward more than 40 years and my new AR is equipped with a Trijicon Accupower 1-4×28, and my backup for it is a Sig Romeo 5. Slightly heavy, but if I want to hit what I’m aiming at, my first choice is a magnified optic (for anything farther away that 60 yards or so) and my backup (a red dot) at least will allow me to see the target – something the peep sight won’t allow me to do.

    But if I MUST use irons, I prefer the HK-style curved horns. I set the gun up so the horns fit in the peep (with a very small amount of light all around the horns), and the target sits on top of the post, no matter how high or low the post is inside the horns. No “imagining” where the center of the peep is and lining it up with the top of the post – the alignment is between the rear peep and the front horns and is ALWAYS the same – the post falls where it will for the particular zero. It’s not necessary to attempt to put the top of the post in the center of the peep, which is always a guessing game. A consistent ring of light around the horns tells me my sight alignment is the same from shot to shot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *