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0027-23 Quick Tip - Measuring and Adjusting Iron Sights_Thumb

Quick Tip: Basics of Measuring & Adjusting Iron Sights

Author Caleb Savant
one year ago
As red dot sights continue to get smaller, they are appearing on more and more firearms, both handguns and long guns. But a lot of guns still have traditional "iron" sights, including pistols, revolvers, and lever action rifles. It's more than likely that at some point you'll need to adjust iron sights to change a gun's point-of-impact. Brownells Gun Tech™ Caleb Savant is here to give us some basic "mission-critical" tips on adjusting iron sights, which are also often called open sights.
A KEY DIFFERENCE: If your gun has fixed sights, the only way to change the elevation of your groups on the target is to get a front sight of a different height. In order to figure out the new sight's height, you need to measure the height of the front sight currently on the gun. The tricky part is that pistol and rifle front sights are measured differently!
The height of a PISTOL front sight is measured from the top of the sight to the top of the slide. But the height of a RIFLE front sights is measured from the top of the sight to the bottom of the dovetail. These rules are important when you measure your current sight so you can determine what height you want the replacement sight to be.
ADJUSTING THE SIGHTS: This tends to trip up new shooters, but a couple rules of thumb will help you avoid mistakes. Let's say you've shot a few groups and discover you need to raise the gun's point of impact. If you have an adjustable rear sight, you just raise that rear sight. If the rear sight is fixed, you'll have to LOWER the front sight to RAISE the point of impact. Basically, the front sight has to be moved in the OPPOSITE direction from where you want your groups to move. If you need to move the point of impact to the left, for example, you'll need to drift the front sight to the right. Kinda counter-intuitive, isn't it?
K.I.S.S. RULE: Whenever you can, adjust the rear sight to change the point of impact. That keeps the process simple and makes it a whole lot easier.