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I Have Optics, Do I Need an Iron Sight? Part 2

I Have Optics, Do I Need an Iron Sight? Part 2

November 20, 2017

Raise your hand if you have some sort of sighting assistance on your AR 15. Accuracy matters no matter what you use yours for, so most of us have invested in some level of help for sighting in. Whether you’re hunting with your AR or you’re a fan of shooting competitions, your eyes may not be enough to sight successfully, especially when you have a setup made to improve your range. Of course, your usage will determine just how much additional assistance you need sighting in, which will help you narrow which optics will be most beneficial.


When we talk about sighting-in, there are more options than just the high-tech mountable optics that you’ll commonly find at any sporting goods store. Though many of us forget about the option, there are still iron sights, which can also help you with your accuracy. In order to really get to the bottom of which sighting-in options are best, it’s important to know the benefits of both the traditional and modern sighting options. If you’re just now joining us here at the Rail Scales blog, be sure to check back to part one of our little blog series, for a more in-depth look at the differences between a fixed iron sight and modern optics, as well as the bigger question: whether you even need an iron sight.


Technology Shifts Toward Precision

It used to be pretty common for many firearms to simply come with a fixed iron sight built straight into the design. In fact, the M16—the military-specific firearm design that the AR 15 is based on—was originally designed with an iron sight built into the carrying handle. So, if an iron sight, fixed or not, used to be so important that it was built into many firearms, what happened? Well, the short answer is: technology. As modifications and alternative parts for the AR expanded and changed the distance capabilities, a fixed iron sight wasn’t always quite enough. And, on top of that, many AR owners didn’t want to have to take the time to futz with iron sights when a scope provides magnification and quicker target acquisition. As technology improved and became more widely available, most firearms owners have made the switch to a scope, a red dot sight, or some other assistive optics option.


Why Not Both?

So, with such a heavy shift toward more powerful optics, why does something as simple as a fixed iron sight still hang around? Because, despite being older technology, they’re still a useful option to help your accuracy. Whatever your optics setup, we definitely think there should be space for a fixed iron sight on your AR—though, that’s not a necessity so much as it is a helpful suggestion. It may feel like arcane technology in comparison, but there are a couple of reasons an iron sight can still be a great little accessory to have on hand. First, and foremost, a fixed iron sight is small. Odds are good you’ll be able to fit something as small as a low-profile iron sight into your setup in addition to whichever optic option you choose.

The bigger reason you’ll want to have an iron sight on hand? Accidents happen. Sure, most optics are designed to be rugged and durable, but if something happens to your scope, well, you can imagine what will happen to your accuracy. Also, keep in mind that some climates can really affect the visuals of any optics with class components. You know how glasses will fog up if there’s enough humidity and a swift change in temperature? The same thing can happen to a scope pretty easily. Instead of being entirely without sighting-in assistance, a set of fixed iron sights can be swapped out pretty easily and provide you a bit of help.


Add a Backup Without Bulk

We understand the desire to have a backup sighting-in option that won’t impede your views or any other accessories that you might have attached to the rails. If you’re looking for a secondary sighting option, try a fixed iron sight made to attach to your laser sight. At Rail Scales, we’ve created a durable, lightweight fixed iron sight that works with PEQ15 and DBAL laser sights. Learn more here and grab yours today from Rail Scales!