Iron Sights


February 5, 2011, 10:10 PM
I had a discussion with my brother in law regarding iron sights. Both of us are new to rifles but not new to firearms. We've been mostly pistol guys until recently.

I told him that he should learn how to use the iron sights before placing optics on his AK, which is what I'm doing with my AR. He said that it doesn't matter, which I replied what are you going to do if your optics fail?

What are your opinions. Is it really necessary to learn how to use the iron sights first or am I making more complex than it really is?

Most of our shooting is less than 100 yards.

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February 5, 2011, 10:45 PM
Necessary ... no. Many people never learn to shoot with irons. I learned with irons, and I believe it has taught me dicipline when shooting, but it doesn't make you any better of a shot. It is easier to get small groups with a scope, but I get less satisfaction doing it.

Ky Larry
February 5, 2011, 10:49 PM
I would think you would have to train with iron sights on a regular basis if you want to be good with them.This would probably entail removing the glass and remounting and rezeroing it or using some sort of see-thru mounts. Due to age and diabetes, iron sights at 100 yrds are pretty much just a memory to me.

February 5, 2011, 10:55 PM
What scythefwd said. Personally I love using irons and get more satisfaction when I manage a good group, but I dont think it's completely necessary.

February 5, 2011, 10:57 PM
Rain, fog, snow, dead battery, broken glass or crosshair...carry a spare scope or learn to use the irons. On the second day of a five day long range course, I saw the whole top turret launch out of a scope. He was lucky I had a spare scope or he'd a been done.

February 5, 2011, 11:04 PM
Ah, thanks for all of the quick replies. As much as I hate losing my discussions with my brother in law, I'll conede to him.

I guess I prefer using iron sights over optics and it affected my discussion.

February 6, 2011, 12:45 AM
IMHO, any serious shooter should be proficient with iron sights. If you're proficient with iron sights, you can shoot just as well with an optic. The opposite does not hold true.

General Geoff
February 6, 2011, 12:46 AM
It's kinda like driving stick... :)

February 6, 2011, 12:55 AM
GOOD optics in GOOD mounts will hold up almost as well as iron sights. BETTER than most of the cheap iron sights put on most hunting rifles.

I think everyone should be able to use both, but quality optics have proven they can take an awful lot of punishment. I've actually had more iron sights fail in the field than scopes.

February 6, 2011, 12:55 AM
It's kinda like driving stick... :)
I like that analogy :).

February 6, 2011, 01:15 AM
I think learning with irons also helps you learn to use the proper stances. When you have a scope there's a tendency to shoot for the scope from the bench, rather than getting up and shooting to make yourself a better shot. Time and again at the range, the only ones off the bench are those with iron sights.

February 6, 2011, 01:27 AM
Irons are nearly indestructible if designed and sighted properly, ie: use locktight if no indents are present on the adjustment controls. Are they as accurate or quick as a quality optic? No......but they work just fine when/if you know what hits the fan. sight them in for 100m and practice at that range working for quick COM hits. I wouldn't have an anti-personel or dangerous game rifle without them. Be quick and concise, one shot one kill!

Pete D.
February 6, 2011, 07:05 AM
"necessary"? Not necessary. But, if a person does not know how to use iron sights then they are not a fully skilled marksman. I suspect that some will take exception to that but a truly skilled shooter will be able to use all the options available to him or to her.
Note that there is a difference between "know how to use" and "use". For many of us, as we grow older, the option of using iron sights becomes less and less possible or even practical.

35 Whelen
February 6, 2011, 09:34 AM
What Pete said. I can't imagine NOT learning to use irons. I personally don't own or have use for an AK, but I shoot with a kid who has one. He put a scope on his and it's an absolute joke. With it mounted to the top of the receiver, he sometimes manages to hit the paper at 100. Irons would be much better.
I guess my point is if you're BIL is going to scope an AK, he may wind up having to use the irons anyhow!

February 6, 2011, 10:16 AM
Its all about the scope and the mount on the AK.
There are a lot of cheap mounts for the AK and lots of cheap scopes put in these cheap mounts and the problems multiply with accuracy, before long someone is very unhapp with the rifle and feels the failure is there.
An Ultimak and a quality red dot scope are very handy and very fast along with some practise.
In other words you get out of it what you put in to it with $ and practise time.

February 6, 2011, 12:59 PM
The BIL already knows how to use iron as he has shot pistol. I believe a good pistol shooter can transition to a rifle easier the a rifle guy to a pistol. I tend to break the process of shooting into idividual parts. Trigger control is trigger control. Sight alignment is Sight alignment. That is just the way I approach problems.
What I have found is that shooting both iron sighted and scoped rifles compliment each other. Don't ignore position with either. I have one guy that says "Scopes don't make you shoot better, they help you see better". I have also found shooting a bunch of .22lr handgun hones the sight/trigger portion of the equation pretty well.
Becoming proficient with both iron sights & scopes is the ultimate goal.
In that statement it is meant that iron sights could be any type and scope includes optics of any magnification.

FWIW I have shot iron sights to 600yds. So I am pretty well sold on the effectiveness of them. Most of my errors are not sight alignment but shot execution. The less I blame my eyesight and the more I work on my shooting the better my results. When I shoot at short range and the same holds true at short range.

Your BIL will may just want to use optics first since it is a new thing. If you want to convince him you might have to prove it to him. Do your thing with irons for a while and let him do his then switch up rifles. You both might come away with a new take on the matter.

Tech Sights makes something fo the AK !!

February 6, 2011, 02:41 PM
I started with irons in the first half of the last century....and did quite well until the mid seventies/early eighties. Now, with astigmatism and age, I use scopes a lot. I do have a few iron sighted guns around, mostly with Williams 5Ds or Lyman 57s. I have a 94 Win set up with a 5D on the rear and a Lyman 17 front with the post. I can see that post through the peep and get a good sharp picture.

Back around 1970 we were shooting black powder cartridge rifles here and with a similar setup on a RB 45-70, but with an aperture front also, I could get inch groups at 100 and 4" at 200.

I widened the notch on a couple of my Smiths so I can still see light on either side of the front. I also moved the rear about ten inches forward on one muzzle loader so it is still somewhat sharp.

There are ways to make irons work and I do like to have them available as scopes can lose their seal, fog up, or just plain get loose (like cheap ones do on 10-22s) inside.

February 6, 2011, 03:26 PM
Ah, thanks for all of the quick replies. As much as I hate losing my discussions with my brother in law, I'll conede to him.

I guess I prefer using iron sights over optics and it affected my discussion.

The AR has good iron sights. The AK... not so much. In my opinion at least. So, that could explain why you have no issues, while he does.

February 6, 2011, 05:37 PM
Thanks for the answers and it makes good sense. I guess I prefer irons.

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