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First standard/common issue rifle with night sights? Login/Join 
Bolt Thrower
Picture of Voshterkoff
posted
The earliest that comes to mind is the STGW-57, a rifle that never knew the meaning of budget. Of course there are WW1 examples that weren’t mass issued. There are also a few AK(M) clip on night sights, that I highly doubt were ever widely issued. Is there anything I’m missing?
 
Posts: 9665 | Location: Woodinville, WA | Registered: March 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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That's a good question. In all my firearms history reading and research, I don't know that I've ever seen any definitive statement of "XYZ is the first rifle with standard issue night sights".

As you noted, luminous sights using radium were available during WW1, but not standard issue. (And not even especially popular, with them mostly fading back out of use for several decades after WW1.)

No WW2-era rifle that I'm aware of had standard issue luminous sights.

They start popping back up as an option/accessory after WW2, but not necessarily standard issue.

So your suggestion of the Stg. 57 is a solid guess. Other rifles that first come to mind as having standard issue built-in luminous sights, like the Yugoslavian SKSs and some of the non-Russian AK variants, date from later than 1957.

It seems like most of the effort from the major powers in the post-WW2-era was being put towards night vision scope technology as a night sighting solution, with luminous sights being relegated to some of the minor powers as a "cheaper and potentially better than nothing" option. But even then, they weren't all that widespread among the various world militaries.
 
Posts: 30380 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
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Looks like luminous clip-on sights were standard issue accessories for the Swedish Ljungman AG-42B model, introduced in 1953 as an upgrade to the AG-42 that had been around since 1942.

So those standard issue AG-42B luminous sights appear to predate the Stg. 57 by at least a few years.

(Still not necessarily the "first", but at least we're making progress moving backwards through the timeline. Wink )
 
Posts: 30380 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of powermad
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Didn't Galil's have them?
 
Posts: 1274 | Location: Portland Oregon | Registered: October 01, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
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quote:
Originally posted by powermad:
Didn't Galil's have them?


Yep, but the Galil was adopted in 1972. So compared to 1953/1957, it's nowhere near the first.
 
Posts: 30380 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bolt Thrower
Picture of Voshterkoff
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You’re right about the major powers focusing on night vision. Not that it was widely issued until say the gulf war for the US. And for Russian forces, apparently still not standard issue. Unless I’m mistaken, the US hadn’t adopted night or illuminated sights as a standard until night vision was already standard. A bit crazy that Yugoslavia had a better night fighting rifle than the US for a couple decades.
 
Posts: 9665 | Location: Woodinville, WA | Registered: March 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
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Not quite. At the time the Yugoslavians were building SKSs with luminous sights, the US already had stuff like passive Starlight scopes and infrared Snooper scopes.

Keep in mind that night sights alone aren't useful if you can't see/identify your target. That's still true today.

And the flip side is there's much less need for luminous sights for the average soldier if you have access to copious amounts of mortar/artillery flares that can light up the battlefield like daylight, as was US doctrine.





And when needed, the US also had access to early red dot optics in that era:
 
Posts: 30380 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bolt Thrower
Picture of Voshterkoff
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Unless I’m mistaken, they were far from standard issue.

Also interesting that for the moment Sweden is the earliest. I bet that encouraged the inclusion of a night sight on the M62 Valmet.
 
Posts: 9665 | Location: Woodinville, WA | Registered: March 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
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No, not standard issue. But the US still had access to the "better night fighting rifle" at the time, due to that additional technology.
 
Posts: 30380 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bolt Thrower
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Oh definitely better, if you get one. Any clue how common night vision was in the Grenada conflict?
 
Posts: 9665 | Location: Woodinville, WA | Registered: March 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
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Likely more common than Vietnam, but still not standard issue for the average grunt. Seems to have been mainly used by Rangers and helicopter pilots.

 
Posts: 30380 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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