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So here's my problem with optics on an AR-15.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by stevekl, Jul 12, 2009.

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  1. stevekl

    stevekl Member

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    This is my logic:

    The iron sights on most firearms sold today are awful. They are really just pathetic. Most of them are plastic and, if you're lucky, they require adjustment by screwdriver.

    My ideal iron sight is 100% steel and adjustable by hand. How many firearms manufacturers can claim to make sights like this? Not many. I think the ONLY new commercial rifle I have ever owned is the CZ 452, which comes with excellent all-metal finger-adjustable iron sights. I am so glad to own this rifle, just because the sights are so good.

    And then I look at the AR-15. I own an AR with Plain Jane government style rear sight and front sight. And you know, these sights are just glorious. They are so much better than anything offered commercially today.

    So how come 90% of the AR's I see have red dot or optical scopes? I don't get it. The sights on these rifles are the filet mignon of iron sights. Do you REALLY need a scope?!

    Maybe some people want a red dot scope. but for me, I enjoy the hell out of my regular ol' A2 system with its regular ol' iron sights. Because it's the best iron sights available on a new commercial rifle today, and I think it's foolish to replace it with anything else.

    Just my 2 cents!
     
  2. browningguy

    browningguy Member

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    Since almost everyone is faster and more accurate with red dots//scopes than irons why would you limit yourself to irons? Seems to defeat the purpose of a HD/SD rifle.
     
  3. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    On a target gun, iron sights are great. On a fighting/defensive gun, though, a 1x optic is not only marginally faster at most ranges, but (more importantly) is as usable in mediocre light as it is in daylight. Iron sights are hard to use effectively in some lighting conditions.
     
  4. COMPNOR

    COMPNOR Member

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    Is it really a problem? Seems more like you simply prefer iron sights. More people may prefer red dots. For me, my preference is Red Dots.
     
  5. ThePunisher'sArmory

    ThePunisher'sArmory Member

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    With a red dot one can acquire a target having both eyes open offering a better field of view for clearing rooms in a cqb engagement. Use irons for long range target shooting.:)
     
  6. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Member

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    Magnified iron sights are pretty difficult to find. :neener: I find a optic to be much easier (even if only 1x) on nearly every rifle (not to say that the same optic is appropriate for all arms/uses). :)
     
  7. FlyinBryan

    FlyinBryan Member

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    some folks just want to hit things of certain sizes, and at certain ranges, that the human eye simply cant detect without help.

    try hitting a penny at 200 yards, for that matter, try seeing a penny at 200 yards.
     
  8. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    I agree with you in saying that the sights on an AR-15 are very nice as-is. But, I use my AR-15 as a duty weapon, and have added an Eotech holosight to that setup. My rationale behind this choice is because:

    1) The Eotech is faster than iron sights.
    2) The Eotech performs better in low-light environments than the iron sights.
    3) The nature of that optic provides me with better situational awareness while clearing rooms with it (in other words, I feel like I can scan a room better while still focusing on my sight picture).
    4) The Eotech sight still provides me with the ability to shoot at long ranges as well as short ranges (note: "long range" is a relative term... I have effectively trained out to 300m with this sight, which is MUCH longer than any shooting I'd ever be involved in as a police officer. I have to be able to identify the target I'm shooting at, and I doubt I'd ever even have the opportunity to shoot beyond 70 yards or so in my urban environment)

    But, despite the advantage, I still shoot every qualification with the Eotech on, then again with the Eotech off. I typically score the same in qualification with either sighting system, though I am usually faster with the Eotech, and produce slightly smaller groups with the Eotech. To each their own, but I'll take every advantage I can get when I'm shooting at a target that is shooting back at me!

    Irons are great in their simplisity and durability, but the Eotech is a superior sight for me, for my purposes with the weapon.
     
  9. SHvar

    SHvar Member

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    I have both, an A3 sight, and a T-dot reticle scope with no magnification. I even have the option of a 3-9X40 if I really feel like mounting it.
    In the dark my Bushnell MP scope allows me to see what I cant see with the naked eye (great optics for low light conditions), target aquisition is fast, but I do like the sights on my Bushy alot.
     
  10. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm member

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    Depends on the role. My fun guns wear iron sights but my longer range rifle wears a rifle scope. I prefer my sights to not have batteries that fail. Give me a set of solid irons and a good sling and I'm all set.
     
  11. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Member

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    I do.

    Pretty much has already been said by other posters -- I'm not shabby with the irons, but I'm faster with a red dot and my target acquisition and engagement times at longer range are much better with an ACOG or similar optic.

    In good lighting shooting at clearly visible targets without a time limit the difference between irons and improved optics is less notable, but when you start talking about combat shooting (or quality training for the same) iron sights quickly get relegated to that "back up" status.
     
  12. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Member

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    ...and rightly so, their [strike]biggest[/strike] only advantage IMO is unfailing durability. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2009
  13. cameron.personal

    cameron.personal Member

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    I have noticed a distinct predilection towards the curmudgeon posts on THR and TFL recently I am not sure what it is. Anytime someone posts about a decent semi auto rifle with a nice optic someone pipes in and derides the rifle and optic usually maintaining the only thing one ever needs is a .30-30 lever action or a mosin nagant with iron sights. I think it is more posturing rather than a measured serious response.

    Yes, most everybody here knows that is vital to becoming skillful with a rifle that one becomes competent with the iron sights. Yes, it is harder to use irons than a red dot, and I am sure there are some here that will never acquire the skill of using irons because they threw a red dot on and called in good. It is just that this dogged insistence that iron are all y'all will ever need, is getting a little tiresome.

    A red dot sight is superior to iron sights. It is that simple. While I personally cut my teeth on a rifle more than two decades ago with iron sights, I will admit a quality optic DRASTICALLY improves the overall potential of a rifle. Parallelex free red dots are an amazing advantage to a rifleman from 3-300m, similarly a magnified optic is a huge advantage in target acquisition, identification and accuracy.

    Cameron
     
  14. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    "A red dot sight is superior to iron sights. It is that simple."

    Well, in a nutshell, it's not that simple. You've made a sweeping generalization.

    I hate red dots because I don't see red very well. At least I'm not totally color blind like my late uncle.

    John

    Edited to add: www.toledo-bend.com/colorblind/aboutcb.asp

    "Color blindness (color vision deficiency) is a condition in which certain colors cannot be distinguished, and is most commonly due to an inherited condition. Red/Green color blindness is by far the most common form, about 99%, and causes problems in distinguishing reds and greens. Another color deficiency Blue/Yellow also exists, but is rare and there is no commonly available test for it.

    Depending on just which figures you believe, color blindness seems to occur in about 8% - 12% of males of European origin and about one-half of 1% of females. I did not find any figures for frequency in other races. Total color blindness (seeing in only shades of gray) is extremely rare.

    There is no treatment for color blindness, nor is it usually the cause of any significant disability. However, it can be very frustrating for individuals affected by it. Those who are not color blind seem to have the misconception that color blindness means that a color blind person sees only in black and white or shades of gray. While this sort of condition is possible, it is extremely rare. Being color blind does keep one from performing certain jobs and makes others difficult."
     
  15. Still Too Many Choices!?

    Still Too Many Choices!? Member

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    Don't forget about sight offset at close ranges( read as under 25 yds/m). I have to aim really high with irons at home defense ranges... With the eotech, I just place the lowest point at the bottom of the reticle on target and squeeze. Much easier than aiming with the gas block:)!!
     
  16. cameron.personal

    cameron.personal Member

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    JohnBT I suppose by that rational blind people cannot see iron sights and they are effectively useless.

    You are an anomaly, and really it doesn't change that fact that a red dot on a carbine makes putting rounds on target easier.

    Cameron
     
  17. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Hmmm... I have no problem using irons with both eyes open.

    Red dots have their merits, but this is a practice/skill problem, not a sight problem.
     
  18. happygeek

    happygeek Member

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    I'm pretty sure I saw an ad for an optic in some magazine or other that was offered in multiple colors other than red. I've used at least one sight, the Elcan SpecterDR that has a black, I'm not sure how to describe it, almost like a T. It also has a red dot you can turn on that obviously needs battery power, the black T doesn't require power. The sight has a lever on the side for switching between 1x and 4x. It's a really nice sight in my opinion, just costs a lot.
    http://www.elcan.com/ELCAN_Business_Areas/Sighting_Systems/Products/Day_Sights/SpecterDR.php

    As to people using optics on an AR, it's mostly a CQB thing, as aforementioned. It seems they started out with the military/LE and quickly gained popularity in the civilian market. Magnification is always nice too. Iron sights are usually still there with the Army, they're just used for backup in case the optic should fail. I personally have had an EOtech go screwy on me, luckily it was just on the range. The Army still trained M16A2s with iron sights in basic last time I saw.
     
  19. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow member

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    Others have espoused the 1x ESD (alleged) advantages, which I agree with.

    But in addition to that, a magnified optic with a medium-large objective lens is even *better* than an ESD in low light conditions, which makes it much much better than iron sights, particularly as the eyes age. Having a good scope add 20 minutes on both ends of the legal hunting day, dawn & dusk, relative to iron sights. A magnified optic also allows you to see the target better, and see intervening objects better which might be in the way (small twigs, etc.).

    And there's the whole lining up two points is easier/faster than lining up 3 points - but that's no different an an ESD, and was already thus covered.
     
  20. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    "JohnBT I suppose by that rational blind people cannot see iron sights and they are effectively useless."

    That's it? That's the best you can do? Blind people? BWAHAHAHA.

    __________
    "JohnBT I suppose by that rational blind people cannot see iron sights and they are effectively useless.

    You are an anomaly, and really it doesn't change that fact that a red dot on a carbine makes putting rounds on target easier."
    __________

    An anomaly? Hardly. Go back and read the info at the bottom of my post. Here...

    "color blindness seems to occur in about 8% - 12% of males of European origin"

    It is not a rare condition at all. At. All.



    "that was offered in multiple colors other than red."

    Wouldn't be a red dot then, would it? :)

    He said, ""A red dot sight is superior to iron sights. It is that simple.""

    And as we see, it's not that simple.

    John
     
  21. GTSteve03

    GTSteve03 Member

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    So John, would the red dot disappear, or just appear as a different color, such as white?

    If it only appears as a different color, then it is no less useful than to a person with normal vision.
     
  22. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    well, it's that simple for 88-92% of the population

    i agree with cameron, though i'm becoming quite fond of the 1-4x offerings
     
  23. cameron.personal

    cameron.personal Member

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    It really is that simple. Optics improve hit probability. You have funky eyes and nothing helps you... I'm sorry but I guess you are **** out of luck, like the other guys said try a reflex sight that has a green reticle maybe that will help. For the vast majority of the rest of us an optic, either reflex or magnified improves the utility of the firearm. Make semantic arguments and pedantic assertions about some minor end of the bell shaped curve all you want it still wont change the facts.

    Cameron
     
  24. cameron.personal

    cameron.personal Member

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    taliv, I ran some drills comparing an EOTech and a Leupold SPR 1.5-5 illuminated scope at close range (10-15yards), and I have to say I was extremely surprised how close the times were. The 1.5 setting and the SPR reticle appeared to be very nearly as fast as an EOTech.

    Both rifle are 16" carbines set up exactly the same and weigh nearly the identical amount, same LMT 2 stage triggers and my time differences was in the 100ths of seconds.

    Leupold MK4 1.5-5x20mm SPR
    01SPR.gif

    EOTech 552
    01HBAR.gif
     
  25. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Member

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    CP, first of all those are horrible pics...you need to have someone hold them for a better angle. ;) Secondly, how do you like the flip down objective cover on the top rig? I have been considering doing something similar. :)
     
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