I have seen many arguments online about the necessity of back up sights on a rifle using optics. The general concensious seems to be that they are needed on military rifles, but not on civilian rifles. This is not the case.
In the military people work in teams and are almost never alone. Should a rifle go down it is not really an issue as you still have many other people capable of continuing the fight. For the civilian and the police officer this is often not the same. If someone wakes up in their home and finds the battery dead in their reflex sighted rifle it helps to have iron sights. However if a Marine’s optics fails, he is only reducing his squads fighting ability by 1/13 its firepower.
So do you need back up irons? First needs to consider if the rifle is a toy, or a tool for fighting. If it is a toy, back up sights are not necessary. If it is a fighting tool, look at its role and how it is set up. If you are running battery powered optics or magnified optics on quick detach mounts, I would suggest back up sights. So if you need to use a wrench to remove your optic, back up sights may not be practical for you and you may be better off switching to a different weapon.
“Damn, the batteries are dead.” Is not an uncommon saying at the range I work at. Not only among cheap optics with poor battery life, but often about Eotechs. Batteries discharge, cheap batteries and cheap optics drain even faster. Even the best optics can be broken. On the range this is just an annoyance, for the Soldier or Marine it means that their buddies will have to take up the slack. However if you, as a lone civilian or law enforcement officer, have this happen in the fight, the results can be costly.
I highly recommend back up sights on the individuals fighting rifle. If you are fighting by your self, being able to keep your weapon in the fight is crucial.
On that note, also make sure to keep your back up sights zeroed.
This video is a reminder of the results from not being ready for a fight when it happens, and not making sure to always keep your side arm in condition 1. Not only did the would be hero get shot, but he lost his gun to the bad guys and if they got away its likely they will use or already have used it on some one new.
Today an Out Of Battery (OOB) failure, in a P22 with Remington ammo, broke the frame and sprayed debris into the shooters face. Fortunately the boy who was shooting this pistol was wearing his eye protection.
Today I got to try shooting a .308 FN SCAR. Recoil was pleasant in that light rifle. Sight picture similar to an AR15s, the rear sight resembling a KAC 2-600m rear sight.
Much to my surprise, the owner of the rifle (new out of the box) was not on paper at 100 yards. When he set up a target at 25 meters we had to nearly bottom out the front sight to get it to zero. Once zeroed, the owner of the rifle had no other issues with it.
For rifles like the AR15 I prefer to have my optics on quick detach (QD) mounts. These are useful for a number of reasons including, the ability to quickly remove a damaged optic, quick access to iron sights, and being able to switch optics for different roles. Accessories also benefit from being QD so I can add and remove bulky bipods, lights, forward grips easily. The only real downside to quality QD mounts is the price. For me, the price is easily justifiable when I can take off the Aimpoint from one of my AR15s, and put on an NightForce scope and a bipod, and retaining my previous zero.
For optics mounts, I recommend LaRue Tactical. Their mounts have worked well for me. Recently I have been using ADM mounts on my bipods and while I find I have to adjust the mount to fit each rifle’s rail each time I move it, it works well. I didn’t like the new Surefire throw lever on their newer lights as I would accidentally bump it and it would come loose. I do not recommend ARMS mounts due to their being either too loose or too tight on various brands of uppers.
Every so often on firearms forums I see people talk about how great the L85/SA80 is, and how much of a shame it is that no one sells them in the United States. They then proceed to claim that if someone were to offer a semi-auto version, they could make a fortune off all the guaranteed sales.
To put it bluntly, they are wrong. When I was in the Corps, I got to cross train with the Royal Marines. They got to try out our M16A2s, and we tried their SA80s. We have the better rifle. Most of the appeal of of the SA80 is due to our not being able to buy one. Other then that, it is crude, heavy, bulky. The SA80 is around 11 pounds unloaded with SUSAT optic. While it balances well when shouldered, that is still plenty of extra weight to carry. This rifle isn’t all that good looking too, the design is rude and crude. Mag changes are slow and awkward, more so then other bullpups. If these were to be sold in the U.S., some people would buy them for fun or collection, but most would turn it down due to its weight, poor appearance and controls, and the higher cost of a less common rifle.
While not gun related, I would like to take a moment to thank WordPress for making it so easy to start a blog. The process has been quick and they have good guides to get you started. Changing and editing settings, getting a domain, and all these other little things are handle simply and efficiently. If you are thinking about starting a blog, look into WordPress.com.
Now that the magpul DVDs have been out for a while and it seems everyone has seen them, I have noticed a few common ideas about them people seem to have especially on internet forums. A lot of people I talk to about them seem to miss some of what I think is the real point and value of them. they obviously can not substitute for real hands on training, but they do have some real benefit despite what some say. Mainly I think the point lost on a lot of people is the video really help with weapons handling and manipulation. Even if you are a long time AR15 user, you can learn some pretty good stuff, even if you do not adopt their procedures it gets you thinking ( if you have enough brain) about cleaning up your own sloppy actions.
If you do choose to use their version of each operation its still some good stuff. Its in style now to rag on them and make all the useless and pointless tier 1 jokes in a worn out attempt to be sarcastic, but in doing so, some real chances to learn are lost. I for one have become a lot smoother with my weapons manipulations and have even modified some of what they teach to better fit me. You do not have to do it exactly their way but it is a great starting point for basic manipulations and smoothing your own self out.
Another thing people seem to get the wrong idea bout is speed, or how fast they can put 5-10-20 whatever rounds out. We have seen a lot of guys shooting at ranges who seem to think the point is to get the mag half empty in 3 seconds even if they hit the dirt 5 feet in front of them!! The videos do not demand 1 MOA groups on target, but a balance between speed and accuracy that is good but not slowfire at the NM good. But it seems that because it is so cool to see those two guys dumping rounds on target in seconds people just forget you also need to actually hit with those rounds. The more the offender seems to blaze away at a break neck speed, the worse they were at just plain marksmanship to start with. The idea being forget precise shooting I will just do a mag dump! Few seem to want to train smooth a slow so they never gain the speed that comes through the repeated movements done correctly.