Iron sights have become the powder horns and ramrods of the modern Army. Today’s warfighter is issued an M4 and trained to use a close-combat optical sight for the simplest and most obvious of reasons: Optics produce more accurate hits. When the Army first got serious in the 1990s about testing what are generically, although inaccurately, referred to as “red dot sights,” it found that soldiers fired significantly higher qualification scores. The result was the awarding of a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract in 1997 to an innovative Swedish company whose name is virtually synonymous with the whole category of close-combat optics: Aimpoint.
It’s important to understand the Army’s core motivation of improving accuracy as the underlying reason for issuing a close-combat optic (CCO) in the first place. Combat marksmanship is no different than Olympic target shooting in its two fundamentals of trigger control and sight picture. You just do it a lot quicker! Certainly trigger control is by far the more important of the two components of accurate shooting, however, you can’t buy skill. From an overall operational standpoint of improving a soldier’s marksmanship, the Army realized it couldn’t buy good trigger control, but it could buy better sights.
Iron sights have become the powder horns and ramrods of the modern Army. Today’s…
by Ralph Mroz / Jan 1, 2008