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**This is something I had previously posted on another forum that I have since abandoned. I hope that the folks here will appreciate it.**

In the middle of November, 2019, I decided to remove all my optics. I wanted to shoot only iron sights for an entire year. I have always enjoyed fixed sights, and am of the belief that no matter the enhancement, be it an optical sight, tuned trigger, etc, there will always be someone who can outshoot me (or you) with a bare-bones carbine or pistol. Now, a year later, I have completed the objective. And I recommend everyone try it.

To address any nay-sayers, there was one caveat. If I was shooting with a friend, and they wanted me to try their rifle, or I wanted to try their rifle, and irons couldn't be used through a powered-off optic, or around the optic, or their rifle lacked irons entirely, that instance was excepted from the rule. This happened no more than three times for the duration of that year. None of my guns were fired with an optic for the entire year.

So, the big take-aways from the experience are:

-Hooded front sights are far quicker and more precise than unhooded.
*The hood makes the front sight easier to acquire when snap-shooting, and gives you more reference points when striving for perfect, repeatable alignment during precision shots.
*The hood is superior to wings found on AR rifles, and beats the snot out of no shielding at all. In terms of protection and usability.
*The shade provided by the hood is also extremely helpful in certain lighting conditions.

-The SAN 55X front backup sight is a true backup sight. Like in the emergency sense of the term.
*This sight is quite unusable in anything other than an emergency context. Extremely hard to pick up. Too thin.
*The rear popsicle that so many people complain about is actually just fine. I replaced all my front backup sights with proper hooded fixed front sights, and that combined with the rear popsicle is excellent. Once optics are re-installed, it is no different than an AR with the A-frame front sight gas block. It's there, but it's not an issue.

-With practice, you will outshoot your red-dotted friends.
*My friends and I shoot the same practice session every time we shoot. I currently have the fastest recorded time in two events. They had dots, and I shot irons.

-Optics will always win the day.
*Since I have reinstalled optics on a few guns, and shot a couple times, the advantage is unmistakable. Of course that wasn't ever a question. In my experience overall, (and this is reinforced by this experiment) as long as your eyes are good and you know your holds, you can make hits on a "man-sized" target at up to 400m pretty consistently with irons or an unmagnified dot. A magnified optic shows it's true worth when the range exceeds that 400m mark, or the environment and/or target makes target identification difficult at all ranges. Depending on the context of your practice, and your mindset as a shooter, the target may not always be a white paper or orange steel plate.

Any and all thoughts and feedback are welcome. I hope some of you find this useful or interesting.

*Of course a magnified optic will make you more efficient inside of 400m as well, but I don't think it's a necessity. This write-up is not an argument against optics, nor am I saying irons are just as good with the right amount of practice. I suppose my bottom line is they are damned enjoyable to shoot with, practice with them will give a shooter more confidence, and progress made while practicing with irons will make a shooter more efficient with optics as well. Knowing that you're damned effective with your "back-up" sighting system is good thing.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: KSGM,
 
Posts: 255 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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KSGM,

Nice write up and observations. However, I think this is dependent on your shooting intent and environment to some extent. Such as shooting irons in low light conditions as an example vs. full sun. You didn't mention those conditions in which you shot under. I remember my grandpa telling me as a kid that hooded fronts were terrible because they blocked light and would snag on branches. He hunted a lot when he was younger, but unfortunately I never got the opportunity. I do agree that AR irons are good sights and I have a small peep aperture on my RRA NM with a thin blade front sight. If you look at any Anschutz match rifle they always wear hooded front sights with a rear aperture...one I was drueling over the other night had a 27" barrel in .22 LR.

As for RED DOTS, I am not a big fan because to me they look more like a read smear. For close up work they are OK, but for long range forget it I can't tell where the center is at. I have a Redfield, an OLD Redfield (1980's) reddot and my buddy has an Aimpoint Patrol, to me optically they look the same...that reddot just dances around.

Optics have come a VERY LONG WAY in the past 20 years. The glass today is 10x better than it was years ago and the competition between manufacturers is driving down prices and keeping quality high which I am loving. There are a lot of scopes below the $600 range that 5-10 years ago would have cost you well north of $1,500. The options are endless as well, the new 1-6x, 1-8x, 1-10x are perfect for hunters and I assume a lot of tactical users since that it what they were designed for in the first place. Again, the prices keep coming down.


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“Nobody can ever take your integrity away from you. Only you can give up your integrity.” H. Norman Schwarzkopf
 
Posts: 3374 | Location: OPSEC | Registered: July 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Of course you're right, much of it is application and environmentally dependent. I can see a hooded front sight being problematic in low light, where it lacks a contrast against the target and/or environment, and ambient light can't reach the post, which could be beneficial. However, in daylight I think it's preferred, and no light is perhaps a wash, as either will contrast against the illumination of a white light. I agree on a potential snag hazard, with the hooded sight. It's also worth mentioning that my shooting is done in the "tactical" context, which is why I very much disliked the fine blade on the 55X rifle's BUIS. It was hard to pick up, when bringing the gun on target, and it's lack of hood or wings exacerbated the issue. The lack of wings or hood also made it more difficult to shoot at longer ranges too, with good consistency. A fine post with a hood would be much better.

The appearance of a red dot depends largely on the quality of the optic, in my experience. I have seen some that have the star or smear effect that you refer to. An Aimpoint micro, has a clean dot with very defined, crisp edges. Of course it will bloom a bit if you crank it up really bright; you just gotta try to tune it to your current environment.

I personally don't care much for a LVPO. I am big fan of the Elcan Specter though, which is the same concept, but executed differently.
 
Posts: 255 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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For those of us with astigmatism, making red dots virtually unusable, I might suggest going with a prism optic. You get the benefit of a rds without losing the clarity of the reticle. If your battery dies on a rds, it's useless. On a prism, if your battery dies you still have the etched reticle, just not illuminated.
I can still use rds fairly well. I just put the small "grapes" on the target & shoot but prism optics have clarified my shooting exponentially.
For the record, I've always disliked a hooded front sight. It's my main beef with Chinese AK's & one of a few with my Galil.


Rom 13:4 If you do evil, be afraid. For he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
 
Posts: 479 | Location: NW Ohio but Montana is always home. | Registered: September 30, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Delta-3:
For those of us with astigmatism, making red dots virtually unusable, I might suggest going with a prism optic. You get the benefit of a rds without losing the clarity of the reticle. If your battery dies on a rds, it's useless. On a prism, if your battery dies you still have the etched reticle, just not illuminated.


Are holographic sights such as Eotech's similar to prism optics, a projected red dot, or are these a different class altogether? I really only ask because I have never looked through one.


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“Nobody can ever take your integrity away from you. Only you can give up your integrity.” H. Norman Schwarzkopf
 
Posts: 3374 | Location: OPSEC | Registered: July 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This article explains it better than I could.

https://opticsmag.com/red-dot-vs-holographic-sights/


Rom 13:4 If you do evil, be afraid. For he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
 
Posts: 479 | Location: NW Ohio but Montana is always home. | Registered: September 30, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A prism sight has the limitations of 1x on an LVPO: eye relief and eyebox constraints. If that doesn't bother you, or it's a worthwhile sacrifice considering your astigmatism, then great. I don't care for those factors. Have you tried different red dots? And what is your experience with Eotech sights? You linked an article, but didn't give any of your own feedback.
 
Posts: 255 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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