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View Full Version : Can a Red Dot replace iron sights?


novabrian
07-01-2010, 10:23 PM
I have an AR that I built for my wife and I am trying to figure out what to do about sights.I have a red dot I can throw on but can that completely replace any sort of iron sights?

BNuge
07-01-2010, 10:33 PM
Yes, with a red dot there is no need of iron sights. Many people go with a red dot and some type of back-up iron sights if the batteries go dead or the red dot fails for some reason. If the gun is mainly for the range and you're not worred about self defense etc then just a red dot would be fine and dandy. Getting flip up iron sights is not a bad idea though if you have the cash at some point or you intend the rifle for multiple purposes. Hope this helps.

upinflames2400
07-02-2010, 1:12 AM
my rifle currently right now does not have any iron sights just an eotech. just bring spare batteries in your ammo box. magpul has front and rear flip up BUIS for 80$ i think that work fine if you want them for just in case.

AlliedArmory
07-02-2010, 2:00 AM
For my rear BUIS I usually just put a MBUS on it. Cheap enough and why not?

ChrisTKHarris
07-02-2010, 2:21 AM
Yes

thevic
07-02-2010, 2:24 AM
they just look so damn good!

http://i868.photobucket.com/albums/ab248/vpsmedeiros/arsenal/5c8b2d60.jpg

C.W.M.V.
07-02-2010, 2:56 AM
NO WAY!
There are Infantrymen in the Amry right now that have never had to qualify/shoot with iron sights and its disgusting!
All optical sights will fail at some point, the only failing an iron sight has is rust! With practice you can be just as effective with a good set of irons as with a red dot. The only advantage optics have is low light/night shooting and you really need a paq2 for that anyway if your shooting distance.

For me iron rule the day. Optics are cool, but every m68 or acog i ever had failed in one form or another, that's why I went back to a carry handle on my old issued M4.

Omega13device
07-02-2010, 12:22 PM
NO WAY!
The only advantage optics have is low light/night shooting and you really need a paq2 for that anyway if your shooting distance.

That is not true at all. There are many other advantages to using a red dot sight.

Irons require proper sight alignment and sight picture. An RDS does not, which makes it faster (for most people), significantly easier to shoot on the move, and far superior for shooting from unconventional positions where you cannot get your eye close to the sights.

An RDS is easier to shoot with if your vision makes it difficult to focus on the front sight. Add stress, distant targets, movement, etc. and the difficulty becomes compounded.

An RDS is used with both eyes open, giving you a better field of view, especially towards your support side.

Can you be just as fast/accurate irons if you practice? Absolutely. Are there significant advantages to red dot optic? YES. If you don't see a benefit for your own use case that's fine but that doesn't invalidate the real-world benefits for others.

Corbin Dallas
07-02-2010, 12:32 PM
For me iron rule the day. Optics are cool, but every m68 or acog i ever had failed in one form or another, that's why I went back to a carry handle on my old issued M4.

Now I like irons as much as you do but how did you get an ACOG to fail???

C.W.M.V.
07-02-2010, 2:10 PM
That is not true at all. There are many other advantages to using a red dot sight.

Irons require proper sight alignment and sight picture. An RDS does not, which makes it faster (for most people), significantly easier to shoot on the move, and far superior for shooting from unconventional positions where you cannot get your eye close to the sights.

So your saying that aside from "unconventional situations" irons simply require a trained shooter. Imagine that. Ive also noticed that frequent/long term use of RDS's tends to make young soldiers forget their PMI (IE lazy shooting habits), so when their battery runs out or the sight gets damaged they are combat ineffective because they cant shoot worth a damn with iron sights. So using your own arguments what would you rather have, a well trained rifleman with irons or an average shooter with an RDS? Ill take the trained rifleman every time.

An RDS is easier to shoot with if your vision makes it difficult to focus on the front sight. Add stress, distant targets, movement, etc. and the difficulty becomes compounded.

Ill give you that, people with bad vision need something more than traditional irons give. That being said I have never traind or fought with someone with cataracts!:D
For long distance shooting though the irons are superior. A RDS similar to the M68, as issued to soldiers now, has a dot that covers nearly the entire target (e type) at 300 meters. Iron sights allow much more precise shooting at that distance.

An RDS is used with both eyes open, giving you a better field of view, especially towards your support side.

So can irons after a good amount of practice. At the distances most engagements are had in Iraq (less than 100 meters as far as I know/in my experience) simply focusing on the front sight is sufficient to get hits on and near target. Again this requires training beyond basic rifle PMI.

Can you be just as fast/accurate irons if you practice? Absolutely. Are there significant advantages to red dot optic? YES. If you don't see a benefit for your own use case that's fine but that doesn't invalidate the real-world benefits for others.

The only benefit I see a red dot giving is the above mentioned advantage for bad vision and low/no light, and for an ill-trained shooter. For the vision aspect Ill admit I don't see an alternative aside from surgery, but for the shooter practice! If you can be good with irons and establish rock solid good shooting habits you'll be that much better with optics. That being said on a combat rifle the most important thing is reliability and irons are far more reliable than any form of optical sight for the simple fact that they are solid steel and they don't need batteries.

Now I like irons as much as you do but how did you get an ACOG to fail???

Alot of the problem with the Acogs we were issued was the attachment system. The two big screw knobs came loose frequently and required "eternal vigilance". I would have just used lock tite but our armorer frowned on it. Aside from that cracked glass from IED impacts and shrapnel. I will say this though it was WAY tougher than any aimpoint sight I had (68's).

Black Majik
07-02-2010, 2:51 PM
I'm going to say no, a RDS cannot replace iron sights for two reasons. 1) Red Dot sights require batteries, iron sights do not 2) Most red dot sights are 2 MOA or 4 MOA. Eotechs are 1 MOA IIRC. That is not precise enough.

For general plinking sure, red dots are fun. However, learning proper fundamentals, and building marksmanship require iron sights.

MrSlippyFist
07-02-2010, 2:55 PM
IMO a rifle should have iron sights first, red dot second (not counting rifles designed to be scoped only. This isn't because the red dot is ineffective, but because you should have a solid backup.

novabrian
07-02-2010, 2:57 PM
This is just to have some sort of sights on it.I don't have the money to buy any iron sights.I have a rear LMT but it's missing the mounting piece and they wont sell me it.

tacticalcity
07-02-2010, 3:46 PM
There is a lot of arument about this. Let me tell you I learned first hand you want iron backup sights on there. No matter how good your optic is, it can fail.

My Aimpoint T-1 Red Dot Sight is arguably the finest sight on the market. Aimpoint has an amazing reputation. While only a month old during a not-inexpensive firearms training course that I had been looking forward to all month long, it failed. It happened during the sight-in portion, the very first shots of the day. It cut out on me and died. Without the proper tools I had no way of fixing it without screwing up the sight. Not something I wanted to risk doing since it is still under warranty, but they would not fix the finish for me if I jacked that up. Thankfully I had iron sights and was able to finish the course. It was a little more difficult, but great practice incase it ever happens in real life.

A fellow student was running an EoTech and no irons. The circuit board on his EoTech popped out and was flopping around inside his sight. He could shake it back into position and it would work. But a few shots later it would pop back out again. Thankfully somebody (possibly even him) brought a backup rifle and he completed the course as well.

So two examples in one day of how critical it is to run backup iron sights with a red dot. Both sights were the real deal, high end models and not cheap knockoffs. Yet both failed completely. His more permanently than mine.

Now, if you had a tritium non battery/non electronic operated sight, you would have a better argument for not running irons as the only way it would fail is if the glass broke completely. However, I would not risk it.

In my opinion any argument in favor of running a battery powered red dot without backup irons simply means you have not been around long enough to know better. Sooner or later, you will see one fail. Everything electronic eventually fails. Don't risk your life like that. Run backup irons. Me, I keep mine flipped up just in case. The only time I lower them is when running magnified optics and not doing so would leave them in the way physically.

EXCEPTION: If this is just a short term fix until you can afford some backup iron sights. Sure, no problem. Just try and budget for them and add them down the road. If it is a bench rest gun, never to be used in self defense and if it goes down so what? Then sure, why not? Who cares? Right? But if her life or your life depends on it. Or you are going to spending money on a training course, get them on there first so you don't risk your life or your money on sight that could very easily fail on you.

IN EXPENSIVE OPTIONS: I am not a huge fan of Magpul MBUS Sights. But they are VERY affordable and definately better than nothing. Midwest Industries offer a little more expensive but still affordable option as well. Given a choice, those are the least expensive sights I would run. My personal favorite are Troy sights. But they are pricey and a little overkill for most people's needs. They have some great design features that make them worth my spending more for them, but those features are not life and death necessary. They are a luxury. I don't carry them, but I am told YHM makes nice sights inexpensive as well.

CSACANNONEER
07-02-2010, 3:59 PM
Can a jet ski replace an airplane? They might both get you to the same spot but, they are not dirrect replacements for each other. They both have advantages and disadvantages. It's up to you to decide what is best for you in your situation.

tacticalcity
07-02-2010, 4:11 PM
For my rear BUIS I usually just put a MBUS on it. Cheap enough and why not?

They aren't the easiest things in the world to use. The diamater of the hole is off and it usually is not a perfect circle. Its just plain hard to use.

Another major downside to them is the break often. Had two break on me before I said screw these things I'm sticking with metal sights. And I am pretty mechanically inclined and gentle with my gear. So it they will break on me, they'll definately break on somebody who is hard on their gear. If they have not broken on you, that just means you've been lucky. Give it time. The base of those things are cut way too thin, cause a weak point where the largest part of the rail inserts into them the deapest. It is a HUGE problem. They snap off not only during installation and removal, but when your rifle gets smacked against something at the wrong angle. Which lets face it, if you were using it for more than a range whore could easily happen.

I would be a much bigger fan of them if the A2 sight itself was metal and the base that slips onto the rail were metail. The rest could be plastic and it would not have the issues they have.

Not saying they are the worst option out there. Just saying they have 2 very major flaws.

They are a big seller, but they do break a lot on my customers. Thankfully Magpul has a warranty, but that is always a hassle and I always feel bad for my customers who have to deal with that.

I tried to stop offering them, and I literally got hate mail from people. They want these things, and they want them badly enough to call you jerk if you don't offer them. They don't care that a decent percentage of them break. That want them and that is all there is to it. So I offer them. Who am I to argue, right?

There is lot of irony surrounding these sights that I have witnessed first hand and figured I would share with you since you are plugging these sights which while affordable, are far from perfect. But you are not alone in liking them. Lots of people do.

JaeOne3345
07-05-2010, 10:07 AM
This is just to have some sort of sights on it.I don't have the money to buy any iron sights.I have a rear LMT but it's missing the mounting piece and they wont sell me it.

I have a mint set of MI flip up sights. The rear is the standard ERS and the front is the HK style. They have been used for less than 500 rounds. We could work something out for a good deal. I am out in the Chino/Corona area.

SVRider
07-05-2010, 11:26 AM
There are Infantrymen in the Amry right now that have never had to qualify/shoot with iron sights and its disgusting.

Seriously? That is troubling at best. I can't believe that they would qualify without irons.

They are the only sights that will always work no matter what. All the new electronic stuff may be nice to have and allow faster shooting, but all are prone to failure and usually at the worst possible moment.

I can't believe that they would have people qualifying without being able to do so with irons.

Just sad...

Chester
07-06-2010, 4:45 PM
I went through basic at Ft. Knox around 2003 with a bunch of other Cavalry with brand new A4's and scared to death to even mention red dots as a replacement for our irons for fear of being in the front leaning rest for the next hour. But then I found out our drill sergeants got demoted for being too hard on us too, so whatever.

The guys that never qualified on iron sights were probably the same cooks and mechanics I saw get requalified as 11B's, fast-tracked through a 3 week training course, and SNAFU'd over Iraq later that year.

Pisses me off actually...

45R
07-09-2010, 11:54 AM
Irons and RDS have their place. RDS are typically good out to 300 yards although with practice and knowing your hold overs you can extend the range of your RDS. I run a T1 and a RAC 600M rear on my rifle.

mif_slim
07-15-2010, 8:10 PM
I don't think a rds can ever replace iron sights. I have plenty rds around but I only use them for plinking. shtf, I would never use a weapon equipped with rds only. it has to have iron.

for me, it's either iron or scope. rds is just for fun.

gatopardo
07-15-2010, 8:33 PM
I have an AR that I built for my wife and I am trying to figure out what to do about sights.I have a red dot I can throw on but can that completely replace any sort of iron sights?

Can it completely replace the iron sights? completely is a dream come true, just put the rifle in front of your face and start shooting.
but just a warning, been there and done that, conclusion; Dad loves red dots, wife likes iron sights:chris:
What happened to the red dots? they are back in their boxes lol.

GM_77
07-15-2010, 9:35 PM
Second post pretty much nailed it since I think you were looking to use it as a range rifle.

Fyathyrio
07-16-2010, 4:05 AM
Use the K.I.S.S method...

Which does your wife prefer? That's what you should go with since it's her weapon. If she does prefer the red dot...easy day, get the flip up iron sights when you can. If she prefers iron, then she'll have to wait until you can get them for her.

HCz
07-16-2010, 10:47 AM
For plinking only, RDS itself is fine, but I'd rather get both. I also experienced dead RDS(EOTECH) on the first day of the class. Thank god I had BUIS.

tacticalcity
07-16-2010, 11:14 AM
This is just to have some sort of sights on it.I don't have the money to buy any iron sights.I have a rear LMT but it's missing the mounting piece and they wont sell me it.

I've seen lots of people have this problem. I suggest posting a request for help in the gunsmithing section. Several members here have machine shops in their garages. They could machine you the missing part. Most do that sort of thing for fun. Just buy them lunch or kick them a few bucks to cover their expenses. Make a new gun buddy for trips to the range on Saturday.

They'll appriciate the project. You'll get a sight you can use.

turbogg
07-16-2010, 8:58 PM
An RDS is easier to shoot with if your vision makes it difficult to focus on the front sight.

That is so true. That's why I got my Eotech. BUIS are always a recommended way to go, that way you're GTG no matter what.

Gallows
07-21-2010, 6:36 PM
Never in my military career have I used optics. Every time I qualified, it was with Iron Sights. So optics are a new animal to me. Putting one on my first AR build along with irons so I'll see how that goes.

The first time I heard of people using ACOGs and EO-Techs to qualify literally had me doing this :eek:

Donk310
07-21-2010, 7:15 PM
NO WAY!
There are Infantrymen in the Amry right now that have never had to qualify/shoot with iron sights and its disgusting!



HAHAHA. Not in the Marine Corps!! Oooorah!