Iron sights, in one form or another, have served hunters, soldiers and officers for as long as the rifle has been around. They are rugged, simple, reliable and always there. The better you are with iron sights, the better a shooter you can become.
Iron-sighted shooting requires the operator to build solid basics. The best way to increase accuracy with an optic is proficiency with iron sights. It really should be the first order of business when learning to shoot a rifle. Optics help you see better—they do not make you or the rifle any more accurate.
Sighting systems come in several variations these days. Combat iron sights really break down into three systems. The first type, used for years, is a blade sight. Generally consisting of a blade, post or bead as a front sight, they consist of a notched blade at the rear. Most commonly seen on AK-based systems, they are rugged, pretty fast and allow for excellent precision.
Next is an aperture sight. The front sight may still be a blade, bead or post. It may be covered or protected, or may sit out in the open. The rear sight is a ring. These may also be called “lollipop” sights. These can vary in diameter and have been the battle sight of choice on American-issue rifles since the early 20th century. They are most commonly seen on the M1A/M14 and AR-15 rifles. Although they can be accurate at longer ranges, they are also very fast at closer distances.