Posted by Aaron Rice on Jul 10th 2024

Choosing the Best AR-15 Sights: Red Dots vs. Iron Sights

When it comes to optimizing our AR-15s, the debate between red dot sights and iron sights often takes center stage. Both options offer unique advantages, and understanding these can significantly enhance our shooting experience. Whether we're seasoned marksmen or just starting out, choosing the right sight can make all the difference in accuracy and performance.

In this article, we'll jump into the key differences between red dots and iron sights, exploring their benefits and potential drawbacks. By the end, we'll have a clearer idea of which sight suits our needs best, ensuring we're equipped with the right tools for any shooting scenario.

Understanding AR-15 Sights: Red Dot and Iron Sights

AR-15 enthusiasts often debate the merits of red dot sights versus iron sights. Understanding the unique attributes of each can help shooters make informed decisions.

The Role of Red Dot Sights

Red dot sights enhance rapid target acquisition by projecting a red dot onto a lens with no magnification. These sights allow for quick alignment without the need for perfect eye relief, making them ideal for dynamic shooting scenarios like home defense or competitive shooting. Their battery-powered illumination minimizes the time to acquire a sight picture, boosting speed and efficiency. The Trijicon MRO and Aimpoint PRO are well-known models that utilize these benefits.

The Importance of Iron Sights

Iron sights serve as a reliable backup or primary aiming system, especially valuable in situations where electronic sights may fail. Their durability ensures functionality in adverse conditions since they don't rely on batteries. Iron sights also encourage a fundamental understanding of marksmanship skills. Our Ozark Armament models, such as the Carry Handle Rear Sight and A2 Front Sight, provide robust and accurate aiming solutions.

Choosing the Right Sight for Your AR-15

Choosing the right sight for your AR-15 involves assessing your specific shooting needs and preferences. We'll look at the key considerations for both red dot sights and iron sights to help you make an well-informed choice.

Considerations for Red Dot Sights

When selecting red dot sights, several factors need attention. Red dot sights like the Trijicon MRO and Aimpoint PRO offer rapid target acquisition due to their illuminated reticles. These sights are parallax-free, meaning the dot remains on target even though slight head movements. Battery life is crucial; some models, like the Aimpoint PRO, provide up to 30,000 hours of use.

Durability is another critical factor. High-quality red dot sights stand up to harsh conditions and heavy recoil. Co-witnessing capability, where the red dot aligns with iron sights, is beneficial.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Iron Sights

Iron sights, like those from Ozark Armament, are valued for their simplicity and reliability. When choosing iron sights, consider the type of shooting. Fixed canted iron sights offer a stable aiming solution without adjustments. Backup Iron Sights (BUIS), like our Battle Sights and HK Style BUIS, flip up when needed, making them ideal for dynamic environments.

Material quality impacts longevity. Iron sights made from robust materials withstand extended use and rough handling. Adjustability is another key factor. Models like the A2 Rear Iron Sight enable easy windage and elevation adjustments.

Keeping these options in mind will ensure you choose a sight that enhances your shooting effectiveness, whether it’s a red dot or iron sight.

Benefits of Combining Red Dot and Iron Sights

Combining red dot and iron sights on AR-15 rifles offers several advantages for shooters of all skill levels. The synergy of both sight types enhances overall shooting performance.

Enhanced Accuracy and Versatility

Mixing red dot and iron sights boosts shooting accuracy. Red dots like the Trijicon MRO ensure quick target acquisition, even in low-light conditions. For long-range accuracy, iron sights from Ozark Armament, such as the Carry Handle Rear Sight or A2 Rear Iron Sight, provide precise alignment. Together, they create a versatile aiming system adaptable to various shooting scenarios, from close-quarters to extended-range engagements.

Situational Adaptability

Iron sights and red dots complement each other well in diverse shooting situations. Use red dots for fast-moving targets or quick target transitions. In contrast, iron sights like the 45 Degree Flip Up Backup Sights or Battle Sights (BUIS) serve as reliable backups if the red dot fails or the battery dies. This combination ensures you maintain sight alignment and accuracy regardless of the situation, enhancing overall shooting confidence and performance.

Maintaining and Adjusting Your Sights

Proper maintenance and adjustment of your AR-15 sights ensure optimal performance and accuracy. Regular upkeep for both red dot and iron sights guarantees they remain reliable in any shooting scenario.

Tips for Maintaining Red Dot Sights

Red dot sights like the Trijicon MRO and Aimpoint PRO require regular cleaning and battery checks. Clean the lenses using a microfiber cloth to avoid scratches. Keep the unit dry and apply a silicone cloth to the body for protection. Check the battery regularly, especially before an important session; replacing it biannually can prevent failures. Adjust brightness settings based on ambient light conditions to conserve battery life. If submerged or exposed to dust, inspect the sight immediately to ensure no elements have penetrated the housing.

Best Practices for Iron Sight Alignment

Iron sights from Ozark Armament, such as the A2 Rear Iron Sight or 45 Degree Flip Up Backup Sights, demand correct alignment for precision. Initially, ensure the front sight post is centered when the rifle's level. Adjust the rear sight windage and elevation to zero at your desired distance, typically 100 yards. Make incremental adjustments and test fire to validate changes. For consistent accuracy, periodically verify alignment, especially if the rifle has been dropped or heavily used. Regular cleaning and lubrication of movable parts prevent rust and ensure smooth adjustments.

By following these practices, we can ensure our AR-15 red dot and iron sights remain in top condition, providing dependable performance in any situation.

Wrapping Up

Choosing between red dot and iron sights for our AR-15 rifles eventually depends on our specific needs and shooting scenarios. By combining both types we can achieve a versatile setup that enhances our accuracy and reliability. Regular maintenance and proper alignment are crucial for optimal performance. Following expert recommendations and staying diligent with cleaning and battery checks will keep our sights in top condition. For those looking to make an well-informed choice OpticsPlanet offers valuable insights into selecting the right sight for any situation. With the right approach and tools we can ensure our AR-15 sights deliver consistent and reliable results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use a red dot and iron sights on an AR-15?

Yes, combining a red dot sight with iron sights on an AR-15 offers enhanced versatility and reliability, allowing for improved shooting accuracy in various scenarios.

Where is the best place to put iron sights on an AR-15?

Position the front sight at the foremost position on the Picatinny rail and the rear sight as far back as possible. This setup leaves room for additional optics.

Should my red dot line up with the front sight?

Yes, in a proper co-witness configuration, the red dot should align with the tip of the front sight when using iron sights.

Should you run iron sights with a red dot?

Yes, having iron sights as a backup to your primary red dot sight ensures reliability in case the red dot fails, which is common practice among operators and enthusiasts.

What range should I sight in a red dot on an AR-15?

The best zeroing distances for a red dot sight on an AR-15 are 25, 50, and 100 yards, depending on your specific application.