Optics vs Irons

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by CATO, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Would I depend on optics? Sure, and with my old eyes I really need them for seriously accurate shot placement. But as always, I like backup, thus I have the irons.
  3. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    BUIS, a necessity
  4. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    It is an interesting write-up, but I do not share the same perspective as its writer for every opinion and philosophy he writes. I guess it goes to prove that all it sometimes takes is a, "I'm right because I say so", and "You're wrong because I said so" to debunk a well accepted routine. By 'well accepted', I mean used by many thousands of people, successfully, even in combat. I am certain some people of this modern era would like to believe their expensive optics will vastly improve upon their lack of skill with a rifle just by the default investment alone. Certainly, it must make you a better shot for all that money, else why would it be so darned expensive? Maybe it's the video game culture, who have learned through their massive expanse of online gaming experience, that a plain-jane M4 carbine is no match against a horde of enemies compared to a fully automatic M249 with optics and maximum effective range of 1000 meters, which really comes in handy for those close quarters fights...

    Iron sights do have limitations, I won't argue that. At night, and in low light, you're pretty much at the mercy of mother nature, with the only caveat being tritium to assist in target acquisition. With the military's heavy role at using night vision, an iron sighted weapon cannot be integrated with the infrared technology, either. When it comes to close quarters combat in rural settings, where a soldier must enter a poorly lit domicile, navigate hallways and enter unknown rooms, a quick-acquisition red dot sight could vastly improve effectiveness. Aside from these three reasons, I personally see no need to try and extrapolate different ideas and theories, nor attempt to discredit traditionally accepted facts.

    I remember basic infantry training at Ft. Benning, GA in the early 1990's. At the rifle qualification range with my M16A3 and two, twenty round magazines, I somehow managed to miraculously nail all 40 of my targets, which extended up to 300 meters away. The only sighting system I used was the standard iron sights. Now, does this mean the iron sights are all that will be required in an urban combat setting? I would say no. I also have experience with various optics and weapon platforms, and for every one of them there is a reason and an optimum setting as well as a potential weakness or fault. At the end of the day, it all comes down to a mixture of personal preference and individual skill level as well as the proper application with whatever is being used. There is no one, perfect sighting system, and no single, all encompassing role for any of them. It's obvious, however, that a quick acquisition CCO or ACOG may improve performance in some ways, but the trade-off may sometimes be a dependency upon those types of sighting systems. In many cases, the user may not even need a proper cheek weld or hone their technique to be effective. Every person should ask if this is important or not.

    I will say this -- have you ever seen a younger guy try to use iron sights? How about their cheek weld, breathing techniques and trigger discipline? Do they know how to combat zero a rifle for their own use? I still remember my settings to this day, more than twenty years after I learned it. Two down, four right. Every aspect of fire control should be analyzed and carefully considered in order to be well-rounded. This is because there is no certainty (in combat) that you will always be using your very own, personalized rifle with that expensive optic and all the bells and whistles. A soldier sometimes has to make due with what he/she has at their disposal. Adapt and overcome, complete the mission, and carry on.
  5. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I don't think a week goes by that a customer doesn't call and ask "if I buy "x," will it improve my groups?" My stock answer is "it might but what will improve them more is practice." I have similar feelings about optics. Scopes are a tool than can be used to your advantage but to rely on a tool to replace skill is foolish.
  6. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I remember being on the firing range in Iraq, not too long ago, helping a newer soldier sight in his M68 red dot. He ended up having to take it off since it was faulty, so he had to make due with iron sights. He didn't have the slightest clue. At first, he wasted a few minutes trying to sight the rifle in, but I came over to him after he asked for help. Before I did anything, I took note of his general iron sight adjustments, knew he was right handed and already calculated (very simply) what he did wrong. The first thing I asked him, was to hold the rifle in the firing position to his cheek. I took note of his weld and holding technique. I asked if this was how he always used his rifle, and he said, "yes" and asked why. I told him, it's not good because he's got his face over the top of the butt, like he was looking for some dust on the barrel. He was holding an off-weld because there was no CCO on the rifle any longer. Funny how that happens. He had no idea where to adjust the sights. You can generally see if a soldier is right or left handed and what their weld is just by the iron sight settings. That is, if they have a basic understanding and use the iron sights at all. I went by his weld, adjusted the sights for him, and within a few shots he was at a good zero.
    Finster, RightHand and kellory like this.
  7. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    As I was raised as a hunter, I was taught to never take a bad shot, and never waste ammo. You may run out, before the hunt is over.
    My Father hunted before school, and traded the rabbits he got for more shells in town for hunting dinner after school. If he missed, they went hungry.
    This man taught me to shoot with iron sights. i have guns with scopes, but for quick, accurate shooting, I prefer iron sights.
    Finster likes this.
  8. shamrock75

    shamrock75 Hangin in monkey

    I think optics can maximize the potential of your gun,but if you only plan on doing shorter range shooting iron sights are fine.From a survivalist standpoint you'll want to stray from anything lighted that requires batteries and spend the extra money for a quality mount.Of course my lust for oddball cold war era semi autos limits me to using the iron more often.
    Finster and Yard Dart like this.
  9. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    This I have learned:
    Optics will help one see the target but only practice will help one hit the target.

    Personally I run a 2x red dot with BUIS deployed and co-witnessed.

    The only way to roll. [coo]
    Finster likes this.
  10. fmhuff

    fmhuff Monkey+++

    BUIS for sure. Red dots make hitting targets MUCH easier at closer ranges. Magnified optics are very useful at longer ranges. I've found with my 1-4x scope I only use one or four.
    Finster likes this.
  11. Gunny Highway

    Gunny Highway Hard Work and Sacrifice blessed by God's Grace

    Peep sights have been my favorite since before my eyes started to go. With my red dots there is ALWAYS a co witness front sight. Meprolight and other tritium posts are my choice.

    Batteries fail and I have family and friends I DON'T WANT TO FAIL if push comes to shove, they fail the Arsehole test and need an unnatural hole placed in them STAT- so better to have 'em and not need, than need and not have
    Yard Dart and Brokor like this.
  12. Gunny Highway

    Gunny Highway Hard Work and Sacrifice blessed by God's Grace

  13. jcms

    jcms Monkey

    have both there are perfect reasons for either in certain circumstances
    a rifleman today should be able to use both equally well only thing that irks me is
    people who buy a inexpensive scope and mounts / rings and complain or use
    the excuse that it caused their poor marksmanship.
    Yard Dart likes this.
  14. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    Great posting @CATO !!

    Like many here, my experience in the service relied on shooting and qualifying with iron sights.... if you don't have the shooting basic's down pat with iron sights, you will always have a significant handicap, regardless of the scope or red-dot you are currently using... and that could cost you dearly at some point.
  15. Georgia_Boy

    Georgia_Boy Monkey+++

    I like what I see at 3-gun runs, for the rifle (Colt 6920s) a scope in the normal position with BUIS or a red dot mounted 45 degrees. I am always switching from my removable carry handle to some scope or red dot. Never satisfied. Maybe a decent 1-6 power scope w/ a red dot at 45 . . . .
  16. I run them the same, EOtech cowitnessed with my front sight, flip up rear for when the battery dies!
    Finster likes this.
  17. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    Anything made by the hands of man is prone to failure. I have a good optic, but I still have BUIS. I learned to shoot with aperture sights, and so will my children.
    fmhuff, Finster and Yard Dart like this.
  18. Finster

    Finster Simplify, I'd say more but this says it all.

    I like the article. I like Iron sights even as I age and CSS (can't see stuff), I have BUIS on my carbine, and my SPR is iron sight only I use it for CMP competition at 200 and 400 meters and usually put every round in the black. Scopes are fine if you are trying to figure out how many points on a deer, but you might should maybe know that before you throw up a rifle, use binoculars.

    I have a Strikefire on the carbine (cowitness perfectly with Magpul BUIS), and several scoped rifles but mostly use my M1 Garand and M16 class target rifles with Iron sights only.
  19. Darwin

    Darwin Monkey

    First guns I ever hunted with was a M16A1 and a M1 Carbine. And never new there was a different sight until I was about 14 haha The only Rifles I do not have BUIS are the Long pokers, when I train or hunt with them I always carry a short shot gun with a bead or a 45-70 GBL with goast ring. I have never done real well with dovetails at any sort of range since I find at longer ranges the rear sight blocks a lot of my target.
  20. Umilik

    Umilik Monkey

    It's iron sights for me. My 12 gauge has iron sights and it's like an extension of my body. I just don't get the same feeling with optics. In my area, glass fog is a big issue in the cold weather. Also, if you knock the scope on a tree and it moves, it's useless.
    I can shoulder my 12 and take an accurate shot in a split second just off feel. Heck, I've got some meat in the freezer that I dropped at 65 yards on a dead run. Don't get me wrong, I have optics on all my rifles and I love them but, in survival mode, I'd trust my instincts over anything else.
    DarkLight, kellory and Yard Dart like this.
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