Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Red Dot Failure

With the quality of red-dot sights available now it’s rare you see one fail, except for battery problems. However, we know Murphy’s law is in effect at all times, and if your sight does go down during a confrontation you need to have plan “B” to fall back on.

The answer to a sight failure is to use your optic’s window as a rear sight aperture in conjunction with the rifle’s front sight. Using this technique you can get accurate hits, within the body of the target, out to fifty yards or so. But in order to pull this off there are a few of things you have to figure out in advance.

First, make sure you have a front sight to use. If your rifle is equipped with flip up sights I recommend running it with the front sight in the up position at all times. During a confrontation you won’t have time, and possibly not the mental capacity, to flip up the front sight. With it in the up position it’s ready to go, and when using the dot with both eyes open, the way they are designed to be used, the front sight doesn’t block any of your view visually.

The next step is to figure out where the front sight should be indexed or positioned in the window of your optic to give you proper alignment for gettin’ hits. To determine where the front post should be turn on your dot, aim in on target, and acquire a cheek-weld on the stock so the red-dot is positioned with its center even with the top of the front sight post. Now take note of where the front sight is positioned in the window of the optic. The height or spacing of your optic mount will determine where the front sight post is located. Normally the front sight will be located in the bottom third or quarter of the optic’s window. With some mounts the sight post will be right in the middle of the window.

Now turn the dot off, position the front sight post where it would be aligned if the dot were on, and fire a few shots using some type target where you have an exact aiming point to work with. I recommend starting at about three or four yards, and then working your way back five or so yards at a time to see what type accuracy you can get. (Remember at close distances the offset between the sight and barrel.) I’ve found that most shooters can obtain pretty good results out to fifty yards or so, which is way past the distance most of us would be engaging a threat.

The key to this technique, as with all other fighting skills, is to practice in advance. As Clint Smith says, “It’s hard to acquire new skills in the middle of a fight.” Work this out on the range, so if needed you’ve got this technique in your toolbox. When it comes to fighting, as with most things in life, prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and you’ll be ready for anything.


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February 13, 2011 - Posted by | AR-15

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