Some points in favor of non-aperture sights.


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Greg Bell
May 17, 2006, 03:02 PM
Guys,

It is commonly accepted that the aperture sight is superior to the older, pistol style rifle sights. In fact most major combat weapons now come with the aperture sights, so it would seem that the question of which is better has already been answered. However, aren't there some things that the older sights do better?

Aren't the old sights...

1. Less obtrusive. Aperture sights tend to be tall and block a good bit of your vision.

2. Simpler, less likely to be knocked out of alignment?

3. Faster. I know this is debatable. But I feel faster with the pistol sights than the aperture.

4. Present less of a problem as BUIS. It seems that the older style sights are much less likely to result in mounting problems with scopes. OTOH, they may be too low.

5. Are lower to the bore.

I am just wondering out loud.. What do you guys think?

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Master Blaster
May 17, 2006, 03:30 PM
One advantage of open sights is that its easier to lead a moving target when that target is at a distance.

I perfer apperature sights because they help my eyes focus on the front sight and I shoot better with them.

JMHO YMMV

Ash
May 17, 2006, 05:03 PM
As I understand it, the tangent rear sight is actually a more accurate means of firing, but much more difficult to train soldiers with. The arpeture is capable of less refined accuracy, but is very natural with the eye and so is easier to train soldiers to use effectively.

Ash

DMK
May 17, 2006, 06:39 PM
1) Arperture sights don't block your vision. You look through the rear sight with your eye up close to it. If you even notice the rear sight at all, it's a transparent fuzzy gray ring. The only thing blocking your vision is the front sight and that's the same with both designs. Both eyes open!

1.5) Perhaps the sights stick up more. But some, like the M1 carbine, M1 Garand and M14 are pretty darn low.

2) Maybe a K98's sights could take some more abuse than a Garands, but both are pretty darn tough. I guess if you dropped the rifle straight down and it hit the corner of a concrete ledge right on the rear arperture, it could shear it off. It's got wings to protect it from that though and you could break any sight that way.

3) No way. Arpertures are definately faster. All you need to do is line up the front sight with the target. Bigger rear arpertures, like ghost rings, are even faster with a slight tradeoff in precision. With a tangent sight you need to consciously get three things lined up.

4) That depends on the rifle design more than the sight type.

5) The bottom of the rear arperture does not have to be any higher than the bottom of the notch on the rear tangent sight. It is on some rifles, but rifles like the AR15/M16 would have sights 2.5" over the bore no matter what type of sights they used.


Perhaps tangent sights can be more accurate, but that's splitting hairs. Arperture sights give you a longer sight radius which helps effective accuracy. Many high power shooters have done incredible long range precision shooting with M1 Garands, M14/M1As and now AR15s. Tighter arpertures really help (NM rear arpertures gave me a big improvement on my M1 and FAL), but do inhibit low light shooting.


People that have trouble with arpertures, tend to try and conciously line them up. Don't do that. Just get up close to the rear sight, look through the hole and focus on the front sight. Ignore the rear sight.

Greg Bell
May 17, 2006, 07:08 PM
1) Arperture sights don't block your vision. You look through the rear sight with your eye up close to it. If you even notice the rear sight at all, it's a transparent fuzzy gray ring. The only thing blocking your vision is the front sight and that's the same with both designs. Both eyes open!

Hmm, I notice a distinct difference in my ability to survey the field with my right (dominant) eye when I use an aperture sight. I just confirmed it on an HK91 and a Spanish FR-8 I have. The FR-8 is interesting because it is a Mauser converted to an aperture sight. No matter how close or far I get away a certain portion of the visual field is blocked that isn't with opens.


No way. Arpertures are definately faster. All you need to do is line up the front sight with the target. Bigger rear arpertures, like ghost rings, are even faster with a slight tradeoff in precision. With a tangent sight you need to consciously get three things lined up.

Clearly there is a difference of opinion here. I am beginning to wonder if folks who like peeps are faster with peeps and people with opens are faster with opens. John Farnham, respected gun guru, argues that open is faster (but likes apertures for other reasons).


The bottom of the rear arperture does not have to be any higher than the bottom of the notch on the rear tangent sight. It is on some rifles, but rifles like the AR15/M16 would have sights 2.5" over the bore no matter what type of sights they used.

I agree with what you say about the bottom of the rear aperture. The problem is that most of the designs have quite a bit of stuff that is higher up than the bottom of the hole.


People that have trouble with arpertures, tend to try and conciously line them up. Don't do that. Just get up close to the rear sight, look through the hole and focus on the front sight. Ignore the rear sight.

Well, you certainly have to center the front sight in the hole, so you can't really ignore the rear sight (except, to some degree, with ghost rings).

GHB

browningguy
May 17, 2006, 09:19 PM
By actual count and survey 99.35% of shooters perform better with peep sights!

OK, for those of you who can't take a joke maybe I made that up, but maybe it's still true. I firmly believe that accurate aimed fire is much quicker with a peep. Maybe if you're young and have 20-10 vision you'll be close, but if you learn to shoot with a peep I just don't see how you can fail to be faster and more accurate. And for accurate we aren't just talking about shooting tiny little groups, I'm talking about 100-200 yards hitting an 8" plate as quick as you can.

As for accuracy, how many open type sights do you see on the 200 or 600 yard line at matches? Even for rapid fire events?

Maybe you lose a little peripheral vision, but the improvement in accuracy more than makes up for it.

mete
May 17, 2006, 09:57 PM
It also depends on exactly how the sight is made . I prefer pistol type Patridge sights with front post 1/8" square and rear 1/8" square notch. .I'm more comfortable wit these than the peep . The peep for me should have a 1/8" square post and 3/16" ghost peep rear.Both are fast and accurate !!

wrangler5
May 17, 2006, 10:12 PM
Ash wrote: As I understand it, the tangent rear sight is actually a more accurate means of firing, but much more difficult to train soldiers with. The arpeture is capable of less refined accuracy, but is very natural with the eye and so is easier to train soldiers to use effectively.


It has been a few years since I shot NRA Hi Power matches, which are iron sight matches, but ALL match guns I ever saw, whether service rifles or bolt guns, used aperture rear sights. Now admittedly a lot of us were beyond our best visual acuity years, but if there was an accuracy advantage to a tangent sight you can be sure somebody would have been using them.

If the match director ran a 600 yard any-sight match as part of the program, the scope shooters usually had at most a 1-2 point advantage (out of 200) over the iron sight shooters. These are national champion level shooters I'm talking about. It's hard to imagine how there could be much improvement in the accuracy of iron sight shooting by using a tangent sight, but again, if there were one these guys would have been all over it.

cracked butt
May 17, 2006, 10:26 PM
I agree with DMK on all counts.

The only disadvantages I can see about apertures is that they become difficult to use in low light and the aperture can appear to close up if the sun shines on it.

Hmm, I notice a distinct difference in my ability to survey the field with my right (dominant) eye when I use an aperture sight. I just confirmed it on an HK91 and a Spanish FR-8 I have. The FR-8 is interesting because it is a Mauser converted to an aperture sight. No matter how close or far I get away a certain portion of the visual field is blocked that isn't with opens.

That's why your creator or evolution gave you 2 eyes.

Well, you certainly have to center the front sight in the hole, so you can't really ignore the rear sight (except, to some degree, with ghost rings).


If you try to center the front sight in the rear sight, you don't understand their concept and are using the aperture sight wrong. You look through the rear sight, not try to lighn it up with anything.

Terrierman
May 17, 2006, 11:23 PM
For me, on a rifle, aperture sights are so much better than open sights as to make the debate a non-starter. And better in meaningful ways, to include speed, accuracy, intuitive ease of use, ease of adjustment, repeatability. And where not better, they're not worse either. Ruggedness is plenty good for apertures and there is no need for them to be any higher above the bore than open sights would need to be. So far as I can tell, opens might be a better choice in the backup to scope sight role, but that's about it IMHO.

I happen to have a M38 Swedish Mauser. Issued and purchased with open sights. Retrofitted a MOJO aperture sight to the rifle (MOJO's install in the same spot as the factory sight and are not a permanent modification). To me, the difference is remarkable and made a usable hunting rifle out of a nice but otherwise only range fun gun.

Andrew Wyatt
May 17, 2006, 11:31 PM
gun fit is important. either system will be slow if you have to hunt around for the sight.

aperature is fater, hands down, provided the gun fit is correct anf the aperature is close to the eye.

rangerruck
May 17, 2006, 11:36 PM
the only one i can agree with here without reservation, is number 5. all others i tend to disagree with you.

eghad
May 17, 2006, 11:47 PM
on the M16A2 on the pop up ranges I always lifted my cheek off the stock and scanned over them for targets. Just lowered it back to the stock to fire. Keep the cheek on the stock for follow through, then go back to scanning mode.

carebear
May 18, 2006, 02:00 AM
On my FR-8 the aperture sight was a (approx) 3/4" disk with various sized and height holes in it. That did block quite a bit of FOV with my eye up close. I was always planning to drill one out into a ghost ring or mill off the sight and replace it with an aftermarket adj. peep.

My M1A and the others have the loop of metal attached just at the bottom. There isn't much metal in proportion to the hole. No real blocking of the FOV. I use an old Redfield receiver sight on my '03 without an aperture disc screwed in and it makes a nice adhoc peep/pseudo-ghost ring.

My match Anschutz air rifle in highschool used double apertures.

In fact I probably am just more used to that style but I do find peeps faster and more accurate, for me, than the other open sights I've used.

Swampy
May 18, 2006, 07:03 AM
As I understand it, the tangent rear sight is actually a more accurate means of firing, but much more difficult to train soldiers with. The arpeture is capable of less refined accuracy, but is very natural with the eye and so is easier to train soldiers to use effectively.

If this were true then long range target shooters would use tangent sights as the best means possible of acheiving high scores..... but they don't. Go to ANY long range rifle event. You'll never see a single rifle with tangent sights.

Also note here that there is a distinct difference between SERVICE RIFLE events, where shooters must use US Military rifles, all of which have aperture sights (the '03 Spfld is no longer legal as a Service Rifle in NRA events), and in MATCH RIFLE events, where shooters can have any sights they can buy, or dream up and have built to their specs. In the case of MATCH RIFLE, all you find are apertures.

Just my thoughts,
Swampy

Garands forever

owner Swampworks Inc. / JLK Bullets
http://www.swampworks.com

wanderinwalker
May 18, 2006, 07:23 AM
I agree with the others RE: Tangents versus apertures. I have NEVER seen a match rifle, either Highpower or Smallbore, without aperture sights. The Walther KK-100 .22LR my brother used to compete with was scary accurate at 50 yards. Anything more than a tear in the paper was YOUR fault. It was equipped with aperture front and rear sights.

Some apertures clutter your FOV. Some don't. The sights on that Walther included a blinder to cut your left eye out. An M-1 Carbine doesn't have big sights at all.

I can shoot most apertures with both eyes open, switching focus from the front sight to "out there" with pretty quick ease. I don't really notice a difference in periphery vision, but maybe that's because I have to focus so hard on buckhorn/tangent type sights it negates any FOV advantage.

The only thing I've found I like equally as well as an aperture for two-eyes open shooting is a red dot. It's even easier to hit with! Just focus on the target and go.

Greg Bell
May 18, 2006, 08:26 AM
cracked butt,

"That's why your creator or evolution gave you 2 eyes."

And with those two eyes you can see more if one isn't blocked by a chunck of metal.


If you try to center the front sight in the rear sight, you don't understand their concept and are using the aperture sight wrong. You look through the rear sight, not try to lighn it up with anything.

Apparantly then, neither does John S. Farnam, director of the Defense Training Institute, former combat veteran with three purple hearts, Major in the Marine Corps, and Author of "The Farnam Method of Defensive Shotgun and Rifle shooting":

"The shooter should be focused on the front sight, so the rear peep hole will be blurry. It is important to get the top of the front sight post in the exact center of the blurry hole. Just because you can see the post through the hole doesn't mean the sights are properly aligned."




Note to the others, I have never said the pistol type sights were more accurate, I just wondered whether they had some advantages over peeps.

I think one of the main reasons apertures are more popular is because they are much, much easier to teach.

Swampy
May 18, 2006, 08:51 AM
If you try to center the front sight in the rear sight, you don't understand their concept and are using the aperture sight wrong. You look through the rear sight, not try to lighn it up with anything.

Apparantly then, neither does John S. Farnam, director of the Defense Training Institute, former combat veteran with three purple hearts, Major in the Marine Corps, and Author of "The Farnam Method of Defensive Shotgun and Rifle shooting":

"The shooter should be focused on the front sight, so the rear peep hole will be blurry. It is important to get the top of the front sight post in the exact center of the blurry hole. Just because you can see the post through the hole doesn't mean the sights are properly aligned."

Greg, I don't think the two statements above are mutually exclusive. Both are correct..... just stated in different ways.

Using a rear aperture quickly and efficiently demands familiarity and practice. With this comes a subconscious alignment as the eye will naturally center the rear sight on it's own without conscious effort. While it may be natural to do as a part of learning how to use aperture rear sights, intentionally "looking" at the rear aperture as a constant part of sight alignment technique is unnecessary and counter productive to efficient use of the system.

You have to learn to avoid "looking" at the rear aperture....... Look THROUGH it, not AT it. I believe that is the concept the previous poster was trying to get across.... The eye will naturally center the post with a little familiarity.

Just my thoughts,
Swampy

Garands forever

Swamppworks Inc. / JLK Bullets
http://www.swampworks.com

Greg Bell
May 18, 2006, 09:04 AM
I agree that you should become familiar enough for it to become second nature. But the fact of the matter is that the front sight must be centered. I was just correcting this...

If you try to center the front sight in the rear sight, you don't understand their concept and are using the aperture sight wrong. You look through the rear sight, not try to lighn it up with anything.

If you do "not try to lighn it up with anything" you will be less accurate. If you become familiar enough with the sight that you do not realize you are lining up, that is another matter.

Obviously, the sights do need to be properly aligned. Some folks think that if they can see the front post that it is aligned, and that is simply wrong. The aperture is not magical, you must align the sights properly. What the aperture does is minimize your opportunity for error. I guess if your aperture was small enough you might be able to ignore alignment entirely, but that peep wouldn't be useful for much.

MechAg94
May 18, 2006, 09:45 AM
I think it partly depends on the sight. I have found the open sights on the K31 to be very precise and easy to shoot accurately with. The aperture sights on my M1A are very good and precise also. Very wide open sights like those that came on my Winchester .44 mag lever gun are difficult to use accurately in my opinion and will require more practice to shoot with reasonable accuracy.

Personally, I think the open sights can be better for a field gun, but require more practice and familiarity to use accurately. I can't imagine using aperture sights on my Marlin 39A. Kentucky windage, manual sighting adjustments, or whatever you call it, are easier with tangent sights.

However, I think aperture sights are a more natural to the eye and work better for people with less than perfect eye sight. I think they likely have more upside on the accuracy since you don't have to consciously line up two sights.

NineseveN
May 18, 2006, 10:17 AM
If you do "not try to lighn it up with anything" you will be less accurate. If you become familiar enough with the sight that you do not realize you are lining up, that is another matter.

Obviously, the sights do need to be properly aligned. Some folks think that if they can see the front post that it is aligned, and that is simply wrong. The aperture is not magical, you must align the sights properly. What the aperture does is minimize your opportunity for error. I guess if your aperture was small enough you might be able to ignore alignment entirely, but that peep wouldn't be useful for much.


Hmmm, you still don't seem to get it. You don't try to line it up, you allow your eye to do what it wants to do naturally, which is line it up for you. That's the gist of effective peep/aperture sight use.

You don't do anything specific except focus on the front sight; your eye, based on the design and purpose of that type of sight, should line it up correctly. If you are actively= trying to line the sights up, you're just not doing it right (match shooting not always necessarily included).

If you find that your eye cannot line the sights up naturally all on it's own then your hold or form may not be correct, your rifle/sights might not be mounted or set-up correctly or there may be something wrong with your eye (damage, age, dominant eye issues etc...).

The point is, you don't line the ring and post up, your eye does that, you just have to get out of the damn way for it to work. I think that's the point that is trying to be made to you.

Greg Bell
May 18, 2006, 10:30 AM
O.K., now we are down to Yoda talk. "There is no try, do or do not, there is no try." Feel the sight flowing through you like all living things. jk

Anyway, I know perfectly well what they are saying. Of course, what is being said keeps getting a little less impressive. Now, if the center post doesn't line up correctly without any correction relative to the rear sight then your form is off. Well guess what? If you have perfect form every time you don't need a rear sight at all, because you are a human machine rest. Anyway, for lesser mortals, who occasionally find that the front sight is not perfectly aligned the moment they shoulder the gun, alignment is necessary as Mr. Farnham said...The shooter should be focused on the front sight, so the rear peep hole will be blurry. It is important to get the top of the front sight post in the exact center of the blurry hole. Just because you can see the post through the hole doesn't mean the sights are properly aligned."

DMK
May 18, 2006, 01:22 PM
LOL at Yoda. It really is like that. You sort of have to feel it.

I have a lot of rifles that came with arperture sights and I've put them on a few more (the Williams arp. on my 39A rocks!). Once you just relax and concentrate on the front sight, it will line up. In my experience, I have to consciously try to get them out of alignment.

If you are having trouble being accurate with precision fire, smaller targets, or at longer ranges, then you need smaller rear arperture and/or a narrower front sight. Like I said earlier, the finer National Match sights on my Garand did wonders.

Greg Bell
May 18, 2006, 01:37 PM
Yeah, and let's not forget, I am not saying, and never have said that open sights were more accurate than peeps. I do like apeture sights better, I just thought there were a few interesting attributes that open sights have that are rarely mentioned.


Something I wonder about is how things become "standards." The charitable interpretation is that, through a process of elimination, people vote on what is best and that becomes the standard. The cynical interpretation is whatever is popular is whatever is popular. I am afraid the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Z_Infidel
May 18, 2006, 04:43 PM
I struggled with getting good, consistent results with aperture sights when I first started using them. My problem was trying to make sure the front and rear sights were aligned correctly. I had no problem with allowing the ghost ring to become a blur, but I was still concerned that if the top of the front post wasn't directly in the center of the ring my aim would be off -- so I was somewhat concentrating on the rear sight.

One day I decided to throw caution to the wind and listen to what everyone else had been saying about how to properly aim using an aperture. So practiced just putting the front sight on target and pressing the trigger. Well, the first few shots were high. Problem? The sights needed to be zeroed. Okay, easy to do. Made some adjustments and kept at it. The point is that once the sights are zeroed correctly the technique works if you let it. If the sights are set up right and you use good form it should be as simple as putting the front sight on target and bang! Ignore the rear sight althogether. No matter how unrealistic it may sound, it works for me consistently with my lever guns, my Enfield, and the AR-15 I used to own. And with both eyes open there is no obstruction.

Shrinkmd
May 18, 2006, 07:45 PM
I had fun with this trying out my AR after many range sessions with a Mojo'd mosin. Practice makes better. With the Mosin it comes naturally to my shoulder, and the sight picture just pops into place. Without a benchrest, my shots were going where I wanted them almost as fast as I could work the bolt (actually when I got a rhythm going and just did it unconsciously they were better than when I hesitated and "tried" to focus, concentrate, etc.) The more you think the worse you do.

Anyway, I need to practice with the A2 sights, because brother I had trouble even hitting the paper at first. After putting my face right up to the rear sight things started to improve.

It is funny how some shooting skills are transferrable to whatever equipment you are using, and yet the "one gun" theory also holds true. Your mind seems to remember and adjust to whatever you shoot most. As much as I love practicing with a .22, it isn't the same.

wanderinwalker
May 18, 2006, 10:00 PM
Shrinkmd,
Very true. Most people can learn to shoot many different firearms, but if there is one that you practice with the most, it becomes the most "natural" to shoot. (My team coach from Perry would argue that there is nothing natural about shooting a firearm, but I can't, ahem, repeat his words. ;) )

The trouble with apertures is indeed "sight picture refinement." Too often, when tired, a little dehydrated and burned from a day under the sun at a match, I lost easy points at 600 yards with my AR. It was due to trying too hard to line those sights up. If I just relax and shoot, everything goes as planned. Spend time focusing and making the picture "neat," well, all bets are off brother.

And shooting the aperture sights on an AR is completely different, IME, from shooting most other aperture sighted firearms. The rear wants to be where your eyeball is almost, no somewhere a few inches away. Kind of disconcerting to some.

nv665
May 19, 2006, 10:16 PM
IMO, There is nothing better than peep/apiture sights. You shoot with both eyes open. The rear apiture is a "ghost" and does not block your view. Your eye will center the front sight in the "ghost" ring. I shoot all rifles better with a peep/apiture sight. It gives an additional 5"-8" or more of sight radius depending on the gun.

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