Yeah, I know this is an Optics Blog, but we often overlook the basics that have been around forever. Seems like all we talk about is the newest scope or the newest red dot sight, or even the newest spotting scope. But what about simple old "iron sights"? I was looking through some of my old gun parts recently and numerous metallic sights that I had either used or replaced over the years.
When I was a younger shooter with better eyesight, I wouldn't think of putting "glass" on my long guns. Not to mention that I often shot vintage lever actions and other "old school" stuff and I didn't want to modify or change the aesthetics with modern optics. Many of my old rifles we outfitted with tang sights or receiver sights. Even my ribbed shotguns wore easily removable iron sights from companies for the Midwestern deer and turkey seasons. Some of the older scopes were not built as well as today's optics and were know to fail when they were needed the most. Because I was young and foolish, I oftened scoffed at the thought of any scope – but that was then!
Still, I am a huge fan of many iron sight offerings on the market today. With the advent of fiber optics and tritium inserts, iron sights can be even more functional. Of course, the military well knows the benefits of iron sights as back-ups or BUIS on AR's and other battle rifles. We often hear about co-witness which refers to utilizing iron sights in conjunction with a non-magnified optical sight like a red dot. In the event the optical sight fails or is damaged, the back-up iron sights will keep the firearm functional and – most importantly – zeroed in!
The majority of my training with firearms was largely done without the benefit of today's high quality scopes and other sighting devices. I feel that always striving for a proper sight picture helped to make me a better shooter as well. So naturally, I stayed with iron sights as long as I could still see them sharply – plus I like the way many of them look and function on certain long guns. Don't overlook the possibilty of installing good quality iron sights on some of your favorite hunting guns, you might be surprised at the results!