Now a days there are many different types of iron sights for your AR 15 rifle but for this paper we will focus on two, the A1 and A2 sights. The A1 type’s rear sight only supports windage (right-left) adjustments, and the A2’s rear sight has both windage and elevation adjustments. Because it is less complex, the A1 sight system is more rugged and less likely to be knocked out of zero but in theory has less granularity in adjustments.
To set mechanical zero run the rear sight in one direction, left or right, until it stops. Count the number of clicks in one direction, then again going the other direction until it stops. Divide by two. Then count that number of clicks in toward center. Record this. For the A2 turn the elevation knob to the 8/3 position and then 1 more click clockwise. Adjust the front sight until it is level with the sight post. You are now at mechanical zero.
Fire groups of three shots at the zero target from a distance of 25 yards. Find the center of your groupings and measure from there to the central vertical and horizontal lines in order to determine how far you need to adjust the sights. Lines on zero targets are in 1” increments from the center of the bullseye. To move your groupings to the left, turn the windage knob on the rear sight to the left and to the right to move your grouping to the right on the target. Looking from the top of the sight, the front sight post will need to be turned clockwise to raise groupings and counter-clockwise to lower them as they appear on the target. Repeat until you can consistently hit center mass.
Now that your Iron sights are at setup, let’s briefly discuss how to choose a scopes. First you need to decide what you want the scope for, Home defense, plinking, competition, or long range? With those questions in mind, consider the below:
1. A more expensive scope is usually made better.
2. A larger objective lens, the glass facing your target, can gather more light.
3. A larger scope allows more light transmission and usually enables more adjustments.
4. There’s really no reason to buy a scope that can outrange the ammo you’re shooting.
5. Lower magnification means wider field of view, which means it’s easier to acquire your target and keep on top of the situation around it.
Red dots can enhance you scope or be used alone. When used alone they allow you to remain focused on the target with both eyes opened. These sights allow you to point and shoot by placing the “dot” on the target and pulling the trigger. Red dot sights offer maximum available light transmission and wide fields of view. They are considered the fastest sights for target acquisition and also offer unlimited eye relief.
Let’s talk about the most common mount for your red dot and / or scope, Picatinny rails. The Picatinny rails are military standard MIL-STD-1913 (AR), which was adopted on February 3, 1995. They are the most common rails on modern AR-15 rifles. The recoil grooves are consistently spaced allowing manufactures to provide consistent and secure mounting hardware.