What lessons from Ukraine can we learn as Americans? First and foremost, it certainly seems that knowing how to use a rifle with iron sights matters.
Ukraine’s Most Common Rifle has Iron Sights
When we talked about the guns of the Ukrainian army, we noted that their standard issue rifle is the AK-74. There are thousands of these rifles in the country, along with thousands of older AKM rifles. What do all these rifles have in common? Iron sights. We’ve now seen countless photos of Ukrainian soldiers and citizens with these rifles, and there is nary an optic to be seen. So if we’re interested in learning lessons from Ukraine, it would seem that iron sights still matter.
Optics are Still Better
Here’s why this matters. In the USA, optics on rifles are ubiquitous. Because of this, I’ve heard well meaning instructors say that they don’t even bother to teach people how to aim with iron sights anymore. The logic is that basically any rifle they get is going to have an optic.
And to be fair, in the United States that’s probably a fair assumption. But as we’re seeing first hand on Twitter, that’s often not at all true in the rest of the world. And it likely wouldn’t be true in a hypothetical future situation where batteries aren’t available, or America’s status as a first world nation was no longer intact.
Regardless, as we see from Ukraine: learn to use your iron sights. You never know when you might need them.