A Guide on How to Use Iron Sights: Improve Your Shooting Accuracy

How to Use Iron Sights

Back in the day, rifle scopes were like the bling-bling of the hunting world. Or a golden ticket to hunting maybe? Most shooters dreamt of owning a fancy scope like the classic wear 4 x 32mm, but not everyone could afford it. So, what choice did they have? Nothing but to stick to their trusty iron sights.

Although, nowadays, modern optics are like a cool breeze on a hot day, many shooters still opt for old-school iron sights. To them, simplicity is plain cool!

If you prefer old-timey charm, let me tell you something: While these original hipsters of the aiming world might be old, they have that timeless wisdom. I mean, just think of them as ‘OG’ glasses for your firearm, not the fancy VR headset.

So, put on your best ‘I am super serious about shooting’ face, and let’s dive into the simple realm of ‘How to use iron sight’ – where we turn every bullseye into a punchline!

What Are Iron Sights?

what is iron scope

Iron sights direct your bullets to the dead center. If we talk about its structure, you have got front sight, the star of the show, and the rear/back sight, its trusty sidekick. Together, they are like an old-school comedy duo, working hand in hand for the perfect aim.

Unlike red dot SIGHTS or optical sights, iron sights use two metal blades that are aligned to the target, allowing the marksman to aim with precision. Peering down the barrel, you are in hot pursuit of getting your aim right.

Because, let’s face it, if your sight is not on a first-name basis with the bore and the barrel, you risk playing a wild game of hide and seek with your target. Trust me, they are champions.

Just so you know, mastering the art of iron sights is more than just about lining up two metal doodads for target shooting. It is more like tuning an instrument – a little tweak here, twist there, and bravo! You are hitting notes like a pro.

Types Of Iron Sights

types of iron scope

However, iron sights come in many shapes; there are basically two main types of Iron sights: open and peep (aperture) sights. Let’s find out what exactly differentiates one from the other.

Open sights are the basic kind. You will notice such types mostly on rifles, shotguns, or most handguns. It has a front blade and rear sight with a notch or gap. This gap allows for front post visibility and convenient alignment between the rear blades.

On the other hand, aperture or peep sights comprise a small circular hole in the rear peep sight and a front sight post. Only correct sight alignment will get you through the night.

How to use iron sights

There are several factors new shooters need to take into account for successful shooting, and that’s exactly what I am here for! So, without further ado, let’s educate you on iron sights, aiming fundamentals to get you start shooting!

How to use iron sights

 Align the Sights

Alrighty, folks, now let’s talk about the ‘sightseeing’ in the universe of iron sights. Proper sight alignment is just like setting up your sights for an Instagram-worthy shot- critical in order to nail those dead centers. It is all about getting into that shooting form and lining up the barrel of the gun with its target when looking down at it.

If you want to rock sight alignment, here’s the secret recipe for success: equal height and equal light. Why? Because it has to do with the relationship between the eye of the shooter and the iron sights – front and back sights. So, better make sure the front sight is placed like your favorite celebrity on the red carpet, standing level with the rear sight.

Equal height means the top of both front and rear sights should be perfectly level, like a well-made bookshelf. By equal light, I mean that the gap on either side of the front sight and the peep is the same.

You also need to make sure the front sight sits right in the middle of the rear sight/peep sight while both of them are placed at the same level.

 Align the Sights

Not just this, if your iron sights have dots, picture them as a perfectly aligned singing trio. You know, the trio should be hitting notes just right.

Now, if the rear sign is V-shaped and the front sight is round, keep that front sight in the middle of the V for accurate shooting – just like it is the star of the show in the ‘Hollywood of Accuracy.’ Remember, it shouldn’t go higher than the top of the rear sight.

Sight Picture

After you are done with aligning the sight with the target, you will get to see a sight picture. So, what makes an ideal sight picture? What is a proper method?

First of all, identify your target and shift focus to the front sight. Front sight focus will result in blurriness of everything else. Besides the front sight, everything else doesn’t matter right now anyway. Forget about the rear sight!

It should look something like this: The front sight sits in the very middle of the rear sight, but you can still look past it, I mean, the target in the background can still be viewed.

Below are three illustrations for you to understand the positions many shooters prefer while using target sights. It includes combat hold, center hold, and six o’clock hold, which I will explain later.

tips of using iron sights

For accuracy and precision, make sure you keep that sight picture consistent throughout the shooting process. Repeatedly achieving a well-aligned sight picture will help you shoot accurately.

If you are into scopes, you can find information here How to sight in a scope regarding sighting in a scope.

Body Position

Now, let’s talk about your stance a little bit. Your stance should be sturdy yet relaxed, with your feet shoulder-width apart for balance. You are also expected to lean a bit forward into the firearm for a comfortable posture.

Do not forget to relax your upper body/torso, as stiffness will not allow for smoother recoil management. Just so you know, the rifle springs back in the opposite direction when you fire it – a process known as recoil. Maintain proper distance and proper alignment of the eye with the rear sight, then hard focus on the front sight for accuracy.

 Maintain Breath Control

Now, this is a key factor in boosting a shooter’s position with iron sights. Before you fire your first shot, just take a deep breath and pause briefly before you slowly exhale and reach the end of your natural breathing pause.

Do not forget to keep moving air and breathing normally. I mean, nobody wants you gasping for air while shooting, so get enough air.

 Maintain Trigger Control

Before you stake a shot, confirm your aim, maintain a perfect sight picture while focusing on front and rear sights, and confirm a proper trigger finger placement.

It is also one of the most crucial elements of shooting. So what do you do about it? You practice ‘dry firing.’ Yes, Andrew, even the slightest movement in your hand while you are pulling the trigger can throw the shot way off target.

Trigger control is all about applying only a specific amount of pressure on the trigger without disturbing the sight picture before you fire the shots. Well, it might be the most difficult of all the steps, but it is the only one that is getting dinner to your table at the end of the day.

So, this final mechanism demands you to put your index finger positioned on the trigger while being supported by other fingers like the middle and ring fingers. Try this hand position and dry fire until you consistently achieve the task.

Follow Through, Call The Shots

It is the completion of your first shot after you have squeezed the trigger and the bullet has gone on its merry way. But the story is not over yet.

Now, this is exactly where you channel your inner Master. After firing the shot, keep your focus on that front sight. Besides that, keep the supporting actors also in line-sight alignment, stance, grip, and form. Call the next shots while freezing the sight picture in your mind.

Aiming With An Open Sight

Although rear open iron sights come in all sorts of shapes – U, V, and whatnot, the rules for them are like the rules of dating. They are pretty much the same for everyone.

Your front sight should always sit in the middle of the rear sight and at the same level it is. While you are aiming, the front sight should be right in the middle of the target – dead center/bullseye. Many shooters do things differently sometimes and let the target sit on the top of the front sight when they aim with iron sights.

tips of using iron sights

Aiming With A Rear Peep Or Aperture Sight

Now picture a round hole, like a doughnut, because the aperture iron sights have it in them. Look through the hole and see the front sight and your target as well.

The trick here is to put the top of your front sight in the bullseye and keep it in the middle of that doughnut hole. Now focus hard on the front sight and score well!

guidlines of using iron sight

Aiming With A Rear Peep And Front Aperture Sight

Now, here is a quirky twist in the world of rear peep sight! Some sights come with a front sight hole instead of a front sight blade and a rear peep. These fancy ones are mostly the choice of target shooters who know the exact distance and size of the target.

Iron Sight Adjustment

It is ideal to read the manual to better understand the specifics of your sighting system. However, there is one rule that stands applicable to most issues while adjusting them:

You are required to move the rear sight in the same direction you want your bullets to fire in. In addition, you are expected to move the front peep in the opposite direction that you want the bullets to fire in.

Why Should You Choose Iron Sights? (Advantages and Disadvantages)

Why Should You Choose Iron Sights

Before we move on to the conclusion, let’s do a little comparison of scopes and iron sights. Iron sights are ideal for close-quarter shootings where you expect to engage targets at very close range.

They prove reliable in adverse conditions as they do not rely on batteries or other electronic components. Besides less weight, iron sights work on simple aiming systems that render them user-friendly and less complex.

Iron sights also make excellent backup sights in case you lose a primary optic i.e., a scope. Last but not least, most iron sights are low maintenance.

On the contrary, scopes are best for long-range shooting. As the scopes swank excellent magnification and adjustability systems, they are best suited for extended distances.

Scopes are the high-tech gadgets of the shooting world. They have those fancy zoom buttons and illuminated reticles. Scopes have a lot to offer, like low-light shooting, accurate shooting, precision hunting, etc.

If you want to learn more about scopes, then check our article how to zero a scope.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, you need to ace sight alignment, breath control, trigger control, and consistent body position in order to nail shots like a pro. Remember that with practice, you can turn your sights into a symphony of accuracy. Happy shooting!

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