Proper sight picture for peep-hole sights


September 5, 2007, 04:24 PM
Well, I finally got to take my AR to the range for the first time today. It was definitely fun to shoot. Even with .223 it had more pop than I was expecting. An older gentleman came over to ask if he could have my brass. I said he could, he thanked me and we got to talking. Before I left he gave me a copy of the New Testament (he's a Gideon). Quite a little red-state moment there :)

Anyway, my question is on the proper alignment of the peep-hole type sights on the AR. I was trying to center my target in the rear (hole) sight, with the front sight on a 6 o'clock hold. It shot good groups, but low. So I move up the rear sight a few clicks. Same sight picture, same result. Still shooting low, and in the same place.

Am I using the proper sight picture? Is my sight adjustment messed up?

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September 5, 2007, 04:30 PM
Put the tip of the front sight post in the center of the rear sight "circle", align with the target, and focus on the front sight. I think the problem may be the 6 o'clock hold . . . try just putting the front post in the center.

Here is a pretty decent read on zeroing as well:

September 5, 2007, 04:34 PM
Forget the peep is even there. Just focus on the front sight. You'll just look right through the rear sight as if it isn't there. The rear becomes a fuzzy ring.

That is the key to peep sights, ignoring the rear sight totally. Your brain will center the front sight post.

September 5, 2007, 04:48 PM
First, its an "aperture sight", not a peep sight, and certainly not a peep hole sight, but I forgive you.

Technically, you can use any sight picture you want, so long as its the same every time. In all matters, it is consistency that counts in marksmanship. What you're describing (six o'clock hold on a round bullseye) is called a "bullseye zero". Its a very good way to aim consistently at a round bullseye because you don't have to guess at where the center of the bull is (you hold exactly at the bottom of the bull every time) but it applies only to specific targets. When aiming at other targets, you have to estimate the hold while visualizing in your mind where to hold, based on your memory of how you hold on your "standard" bullseye.

For all-around shooting, something closer to a "Combat Zero" is usually better. That means you have adjusted your sights so that the Point Of Impact (POI) is right on top of the front sight post. Some people like to aim with the top of the front sight just below POI because is obscures less of the target that way. Again, its a matter of personal preference only and it is consistency that matters.

You don't think about "centering your target in the rear sight" because with an aperture sight you merely focus on the front sight post and position it on the target. Your eye will naturally center itself with the aperture, because that's where you get the best visual acuity.

You can, but the intent is that you don't zero your rifle by adjusting the rear elevation-- that's mainly for range settings. Instead, you set your rear sight at the desired distance and then adjust your front until you achieve the desired zero at that indicated distance. Here's the short version from my web site:

With an A2 style rear sight: Set your rear sight range indicator to at least 300 meters and adjust the front sight until point of impact corresponds to point of aim at the indicated distance when firing standard ammunition on-paper. Now your rear sight range settings will be meaningful.

With a rear sight that either has no elevation adjustment or has no range calibrations: Adjust the front sight until POI equals POA on-paper at the desired distance (usually 200 or 300 yards or meters) when using your preferred load.

September 5, 2007, 05:01 PM
Focus on the front sight. It will automatically center itself thru the peep.

September 5, 2007, 05:09 PM
Yep, I bet that's what my problem was -- not focusing on the front sight. Thanks for the advice and for correcting my terminology!

September 5, 2007, 05:15 PM
Pretty much everyone I know calls it a peep sight. I wouldn't worry about that one.


September 5, 2007, 05:20 PM

This link might give you a picture to help

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