This may be an amateur question but I am an amateur so please bear with me. Do people use red dot optics together with rear iron sights often?
Every picture I can recall seeing of a rifle with a red dot optic on it shows the rear sight out of the way so I assumed shooters all either used the optic alone or at most the optic over a front iron sight. I got my very first red dot today and set after putting it on my rifle I noticed that at the distance my eye is from the rear sight and then to the optic, the rear sight (while in the lowlight setting) frames the optic perfectly. So after playing with it a little I wondered if there really was a need to ever flip it down out of the way. Then I was looking online and came across a video of Larry Vickers shooting his rifle with a fixed rear sight through the red dot.
Do a lot of shooters use both iron sights and the red dot? Is it a personal preference thing? Are there advantages or disadvantages to either option?
With my astigmatism, looking through a rear aperture sight into my red dot sight changes it from a peanut shaped comet burst to a nice distinct round dot.
The diameter of the aperture is a consideration.
Wide aperture for speed of acquisition; narrower, if I need the help to focus.
One thing that bothers me, is why put backup irons in line with a red dot sight if the red dot is not on a quick detachable mount?
If the red dot is occluded by snow, mud, salt spray, blood, etc, the BUI's won't help.
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For me it all boils down to personal preference. If I can keep the rear sight out of the way that's what I do. Remember, some of the first RDS's were mounted on goose neck brackets and you had no choice but to look through the irons to use them.
'I'm pretty fly for a white guy'.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't see the point in using a red dot if you're going to look at the dot through the rear sight aperture. Just get a fiber optic front sight.
Usually when people mount a red dot on a rifle with fixed iron sights, they mount the red dot with "lower 1/3 cowitness" - in other words, when you are looking through the iron sights, you're looking through the bottom part of the RDS, and when you're looking straight through the RDS, you're looking OVER the iron sights.
Thank you for the replies. Maladat I never knew a setup like that existed so it is totally possible that Larry Vickers was shooting with that setup and not how I thought. And good point RichardC about if the lens is obscured, or I assume seriously damaged enough, backup irons won't do much good.
After spending some more time playing with the rifle I think my first impression that there was no difference for me was incorrect. Using the red dot without the rear sight seems to work better than with it. I need a lot of shooting to really know but thanks for the replies so far.
I have a Magpul folding rear BUIS on my M4 knockoff. I rarely use it, just enough to keep my hand in with it. I find it distracting if I leave it up - I think I spent too many years shooting iron sights in Highpower and can't overcome the instinct to line up the irons even when I'm only using the red dot. So I keep it folded down most of the time. And my red dot is on a QD mount, so if it gets busted to the point that the irons won't work I can take it off in just a few seconds.
I have an absolute co-witness setup on my 3 gun shotgun - adding the red dot, same as it did for pistol, helped me a lot in maintaining sight picture/focus in quick target transitions over the irons alone.
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Canadian Coast Guard - Retired
Again, all personal preference, but don't forget that when using irons it's front sight, front sight, front sight.
With a red dot it's target, target, target. You really shouldn't focus on the dot.
For people with astigmatism, what works sometimes is keeping the front cover closed, on an Aimpoint for example.
With both eyes open, the dot magically is still on target, and can be much clearer.
Off finding Galt's Gulch
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I've been to a couple carbine classes where if you have a red dot and flip up sights they direct you to shoot with the sights flipped up. Their reasoning is that if you are in the middle of shooting and the red dot dies then the sights are already there for you to continue using uninterrupted.
I can see their point but I personally prefer to keep the sights down with a red dot as they block much of the sight picture, thus decreasing one of the advantages of a red dot. The chances of a quality red dot dying on me at the wrong time, in addition to me not having the ability to flip up my irons, are very very slim.
I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious.
Whether the sights are up or not, you should not be looking through the irons, it complicates things and defeats the purpose of the dot.
It may seem fine on a range in daylight from a static position, but start moving and shooting from non-standard positions in the dark and it would be nearly impossible to do that.
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Lower 1/3rd for me. I use the Daniel Defense fixed sights front and rear, which are very well made. They fit any rail. I use a non-battery Trijicon red dot with NSN number -- not very handsome, but mil-spec and first quality.
NRA Life Member
My opinion is that if I’m close enough to an active target that I don’t have an opportunity to seek cover and raise the sight(s) in the event of reticle failure I will center the target in the optical tube and will continue to deliver effective fire. What I don’t believe is that we should plan for a very unlikely event by adopting a practice that can very likely degrade our performance unless it’s the only way that we could be effective at all.
“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
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I don't even run a rear sight. I have a front flip up only.
If I have an optic failure, I flip up the front, and use the tube as a big ghost ring. Good enough to deliver head shots at 25, and body shots out to 100.
"Make it a shooting, and not a gunfight" LSP552 02/19/2011
Thanks again for all the replies. As is usual actually shooting the gun helps answer a lot of questions. Once I was able to get to the range it was clear that using the red dot without the rear iron sight was much better. Unfortunately, or fortunately for trainings sake, my red dot did fail and I finished the mag without flipping up my rear sight. I found that as jljones said, I can use the optic as a rear sight and still get hits on target at 50 yards.
I did have better results using the rear iron sight so I removed the optic and finished the day with irons only.
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