The AR-15 Iron Sight Drum

Hot off the heels of speaking on the superiority of red dot optics over that of iron sights… I will now post about how to use iron sights.

Specifically, MrGunsandGear’s new video on the rear 6/3 and 8/3 drums of the M16 and M4 series of rifles in the AR-15 Iron Sight systems.

There are a series of rear sight options, some are fixed distance backups while others are range adjustable. I like the range adjustable variety, myself. However, when someone is using optics primarily, the lack of adjustment is a non-issue and a solid fixed distance zero will work perfectly well.

Magpul adjustable MBUS Pro LR AR-15 iron sight.
Magpul MBUS Pro LR, Adjustable

Irons have a simplicity to them, a robustness that feels as solid the rifle itself. This robustness and a literal centuries long track record of successful use contributes greatly to their continued reliance. They also don’t suffer from the both true and false frailties of electronic and glass optics. Despite the proven solidity of modern optics they still have a lingering reputation as ‘fragile’.

I still use and recommend the use of backup iron sights, I am leaning more towards offset options in conjunction with LPVOs here in recent times. Having a set of confirmed zero’d iron sights means that, in the event of dead electronics or broken glass that doesn’t also disable the weapon, the rifle can keep on chugging.

Now, good optics today are as unlikely to have an issue as the iron sights or rifles that they sit upon but we all know that doesn’t equate to perfect function. The unobtrusive presence of a redundant system, even if often considered superfluous when paired with something like an Aimpoint, is how I want to run my stuff.

Now on the topic of offset optics and irons, I think that given current and near future sighting technology it offers the best of all practical options. The AR-15 Iron Sight system has evolved in purpose from the primary method of engagement out to potentially 800 meters distance to a worst case scenario or extreme close distance aiming solution so that the primary optic, increasingly LPVOs, can take care of the shooter at the majority of distances.

Keith Finch
Keith is the Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. A Certified Instructor since 2009, he has taught concealed weapons courses in the West Michigan area in the years since and continues to pursue training and teaching opportunities as they arise.