If you are new to shooting sports you might be left feeling slightly bewildered by the sheer number of sighting options available to you. In this article I will aim to cover them all briefly in order to give new shooters a better idea of what they might require and and explain some of the complex terminology used by manufacturers.
Iron sights or “irons” as many call them are the most basic form of sight. Basic does not = bad. Iron sights are reliable, easy to understand and use, rugged and cheap compared to the alternatives. The term “iron” is an old one and not exactly relevant anymore as many sights of this type are made from polymers and other durable, lightweight materials. In the most basic terms iron sights have a rear piece (usually a notch or circle) and a front piece (usually a blade). Generally the rear sight is adjustable for windage (left/right) and elevation (up/down). On some set ups the front sight is adjustable and on others no adjustment at all – you just have to aim off.
Iron sights are generally very cheap. They often come on the gun by default. They are light and do not take up much space. They are easy to understand and use. They are very durable and can take a knock or two. They give an excellent field of view if you are engaging multiple targets. They can be used for targets which would be to close for most optics.
If you have bad eyesight (like me) then they do not help when shooting at something a long way off. Saying that even with my bad eyesight I have made a couple of 1000yd shots with irons. Regular contributor Turkish Raf has made many long distance shots using irons and he thinks they are awesome. As mentioned some irons lack adjustment and then it comes down to Kentucky windage (aiming off) which is greatly dependant on the skill of the shooter.
Telescopic sights are not new, in fact they were documented in use as far back as the early 1800s. The idea was to mount a telescope like device onto a gun. A reticle or dot was added as the aiming point. Although many innovations have occurred since then the key concept remains the same – the shooter is able to see a greater distance and thus shoot accurately at greater distance.
Telescopic sights have now become a very complex industry with every company competing with one another and introducing new ideas and features. Below I have listed a few of the terms that are commonly used in conjuction with Telescopic sights.
Allow you to see long distance targets “close up” and thus place more accurate shots. Offer a ;