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The Best Gadgets for Your Guns

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from frequent contributor R. Ann Parris.  If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today. Contest ends 4/18/16.


Let me start by saying this: I am not a fan of hanging fifty-million things and a coffee maker from my AR or upgrading a $200 10/22 with $1K worth of furniture. It’s just not my style and I’m of the mentality that the more things any item has, the more things there are to snag and break. Especially when I’m looking at firearms for home- or self-defense or hunting, I want to eliminate potential disasters.

That said, there are a few things on the market that I and some of my partners and buddies now have, but we don’t really see often on the ranges, blogs, or forums. I consider some of them game changers. So today, I’m going to point out offset sights, optics with integrated sights, and a specific type of single-point sling adaptor that could change some minds about the best gadgets for your guns.

*The links are only examples. There are others available. Please shop around and find additional reviews and pricing options.

Offset Sights

Offset sights like these are intended to be used in conjunction with an optic or scope.

Quickie refresher: Scope – dedicated crosshair aiming aid, adjustable or fixed magnification using lens refraction (no battery for many/most); Optics – either all lens-based aiming assistants; or battery-powered light-up aiming aids, regularly with multiple types and-or colors of dots and open- or closed-ring reticules to choose from and additional choices like red dot versus holographic. I’ll use the more disparate definitions this go-round.

In some cases, offset sights allow a shooter to switch between a longer-range target appropriate for a medium- to high-magnification optic or scope, and a close-quarters target by simply tilting the firearm a bit. In other cases, they allow a shooter to have a backup sighting option in case their optic has a really bad day at a really bad time (dead batteries, solid smack, cracked lens, blowing snow, sprayed mud).

American 45 Degree Offset Rapid Transition BUIS Backup Iron Sights For AR15

They’re also useful as a way to avoid switching between optic types or colors that perform better in varying light and background conditions, although that crops up more  regularly with competition and smaller game shooting.

Co-witnessing standard iron sights and optics or scopes is certainly an option. There’s a little fiddling at times to get height right, but an MBUS rear sight is hardy and fast to pop up even in freezing weather and gloves or sweltering summers with slippery hands, and you learn to let the front sight blur in front of your crosshairs or optics just like you learn to switch between a front sight focus and target focus when you hunt with a pistol and a bead-sight shotgun. Still, I really like the ease of just tilting a firearm.

Up to a .223/5.56, anyway.

AR-10’s, SOCOM .308’s, and the other 7.– platforms are a little more than I can comfortably handle for more than a couple of shots tilted, even being 6’ in heels and 200# in winter gear. It’s also harder for me to keep the firearm under control when it’s angled with larger calibers. That’s where the second nugget comes in.

Optics with Integrated Iron Sights

Manufacturers of optics with integrated iron sights like the Bushnell AR Optics 1x MP Illuminated Red/Green T-Dot Reticle Riflescope or the Aim Sports 4X32 Tri III. Scope with Fiber Optic Sight seem like they have missed a really, really big advertising and searchable description point to me. I had never heard of having more than a blade front sight centered on an optic or scope until fairly recently. The ability to actually adjust an iron sight as a backup to a scope is huge for me, and having it all be in one single piece without the need for extended or additional rails or attachments totally blew me away. You’d think they’d be singing from the hilltops about what they did. Instead, our groups see them very rarely and they tend to be unknown when people notice us using them at ranges.

I have the Bushnell for several guns, but its irons aren’t adjustable. Aim Sport apparently started manufacturing some of its models in the U.S. and fixing some of the import and manufactured-for-domestic-assembly products recently, so we jumped on a couple because they do allow us to adjust both the optic and the irons.

Gun Gadget - Bushnell dual optic

Bushnell AR Optics 1x MP Illuminated Red/Green T-Dot Reticle Riflescope, 1x32mm

We’re pretty happy with the Aim Sports in the households that went there, but nobody’s had them much more than a year and I tend to want a little more history or a standing reputation for quality before I’m willing to give an unqualified recommendation. Mine holds both optic and iron-sights settings well in hard-times practice, banging around in a pickup bed in transit, and at 3-Gun and 100-yard Modern Sporter competitions. It’s not so hot as a shoulder-holstered or chest-carrier handgun optic. The Bushnell is a reasonable hunting handgun optic, although finding a holster for it is funtastic and I still have point-of-aim adjustments for certain rounds.

The joy with these is that while you do loose cheekweld, it’s not a tremendous adjustment, and you can still keep a firearm shouldered squarely. Too, with little to no movement of the gun, it gains a bit of speed. There are times when fractions of heartbeats matter, a lot.

As with the offset irons, the AimSport with adjustable iron sights can also be set up with one for <10-25 yards and one for 100-200+ yards. Another bonus is allowing me to shoot ammunition that performs very differently due to powder loads or specific projectile weight or shape easier. Instead of painter’s tape marked with point of aim differences on the firearm, I can set up a single optic for the two most common sets.

Buying fancy optics & irons

It’s not a totally inexpensive investment, but considering what we seem willing to pay for optics as a general shooting crowd, they’re not unreasonable. There is at least one other dual-sight optic manufacturer out there – possibly more, since they seem to be totally dropping the ball on marketing these puppies as a be-all solution for backups, lighting, evil match designer, or variable distances. Again, research is our friend.

Aim Sports 4X32 Tri III. Scope with Fiber Optic Sight

Aim Sports 4X32 Tri III. Scope with Fiber Optic Sight

Single-Point Sling Adaptor

I found a single-point sling adaptor like this one http://store.israeli-weapons.com/iweapons-velcro-rifle-sling-adapter-for-ak-galil-size-buttstock-green-by-israeli-weapons-ltd.html with the intention of using it just for 10/22’s and airguns for practice. Then I decided it was fan-tab as a lanyard adaptor for a couple of my hunting or creak in the night handguns. And then we started testing these buckle varieties (which we mostly like better than the Velcro):

http://www.otsupplier.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=63_95&product_id=77

http://www.blackhawk.com/Products/Stocks-Long-Gun-Accessories/Long-Gun-Accessories/Sling-Mounts/Single-Point-Sling-Adapter.aspx

We’re pretty pleased.

I now have these or similar on a fair number of firearms. Don’t run them through a trigger guard or anything crazy like that, but most guns have somewhere they can get snugged. *We have yet to find one that works with M16A1 or A2 stocks; they block the charging handles. Skeleton or adjustable stocks only.Gun Gadget - combo attachment sheet

The straps do loosen up here and there as you go along, but a loaded Benelli Nova has been hanging from an unused belt (ahem, “sling”) with extra rounds in an attached purse (ahem, “ready bag”) behind a closet door for a couple of years. It’s been tightened maybe 4-8 times in its life now, and we’re talking about the gun that gets to go to the range and practice being a master key and LTL to lethal crowd and varmint control, then get dropped for a handgun for clearing and precision work. I use the same adapter on my 3-Gun shotgun and rifle.

It rolls around some, but I don’t consider the rolling to really be a bad thing, either. I live with and practice with a couple of lefties. It’s not a big deal in gloves, but for the ones who don’t practice “adaptably” as much as some of us, the buckle can be distracting and having to clip a sling to their shooting hand side is sometimes problematic. In a situation where they need to transition, a stock hanging up in the sling because it’s on a dedicated ring to one side can cost some precious heartbeats. The universal bands slip enough to eliminate that problem for us.

The other joy is that these things are $5-10, and require no tools or skill to install. Zero – an otter could do it. That means that while some do live with a sling attached, I can afford to put them on absolutely anything that might ever be grabbed in a hurry or needed in a defensive situation.

Now, instead of having dedicated rigs to account for various chest and height measurements from 24” and 5’6” up to 52” and 6’4”, everybody has a sling with their grab gear. They can then exchange firearms or grab whichever firearm is most appropriate for a situation, clip it, and roll. With person-specific slings instead of slings dedicated to firearms, a big, tall shooter doesn’t end up with a necklace or snagged as they “swim” into a sling, and a shorty doesn’t end up dragging even an 18.5” barrel’s front sight over the gravel and through the grass (both make it harder to shoot accurately; the latter may cause shouting from the gun owner during practice).

Gun Gadget - shooting offset-sights comparison - reddotsights_us

Slings (and sling clips) are one of those things I don’t see on firearms as often as I really should at the range. Being able to sling a firearm can be pretty invaluable. My household and partners like single-point slings best for defense (single-point slings are not really ideal for hunting – just saying). There are worlds’ worth of slings and adaptors out there, and they merit some research and a decent investment. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with picking up a sturdy 48” or 52” belt at Goodwill for $2 and a $2 clip at ACE to go with a $7 adaptor until you’re ready for that investment.

As mentioned, the really nice thing about those buckle-on single-point sling adaptors is that they’re so inexpensive, and adaptable to so many different types of firearms. Saving money on a sling and clip may let us get in some practice that makes us more effective or – over a household – might save enough money to invest in some solar-powered motion-activated lights that let us immediately locate an intruder of either the coyote or human type. That’s pretty invaluable, too.

How much should you spend on gadgets?

There are lots of tools and gadgets that make our lives easier or drastically increase our effectiveness and efficiency, but as with anything else, prioritize purchases. Make a list of goals, needs, the things that are most likely to strike personally and locally or regionally, and what’s already in the toolbox and junk drawer. Be creative as you look around, and visualize things that are already in-house as blank slates that can be adapted to other uses. A $15 lunch bag or laptop bag works just as well as a $25-75 range bag.

If something else works for now, until you’re better set, use that.

Do buy quality products when it’s something like a defensive firearm or its furniture (or smoke detector). That doesn’t mean you have to pay more for a manufacturer’s label and advertising costs. When it’s a $1K-$2800 HK versus a $500-700 S&W AR, get a S&W. It does mean that if something’s built for airsoft or paintball or costumes, you might want to consider the weights and abuse limitations. It’s usually worth it to spend more on something sturdier.

With the reminder that I’m just not big on hanging fifty million things from my firearm, there are a few choice gadgets that make a big difference and are worth some investment. A universal sling adaptor and the ability to engage targets accurately at multiple distances or if an optic craps out are two of the things that make my list. Hopefully even if they don’t make yours, something in this article gave you something to think about.

If you liked this article, please rate it.

  • BobW

    I’d advise anyone considering a combo optic that includes integrated back up sights on this: When the optic is INOP from anything but a cracked/broken lens, your back up sights are also compromised. In good times, this setup can save weight, and function well. In bad times you would risk losing all immediate means of accurately shooting the rifle.

    I’m a big fan of separate optic, and back up sights. I’ve looked at the canted backup sights, but passed in favor of optics mounted on co-witness capable risers with independent back up sights for simple redundancy. I think the 45′ cant has a lot of merit, but for the majority who don’t hit the range with weekly regularity, the system takes repetition to gain confidence and get comfortable with the unique setup.

    If two is one, and one is none, having your optic and your back up sights integrated means you really only have one.

    A side note on ‘go fast’ goodies for modern rifles: The current rage seems to be fully free floated barrels with receiver mounted fore grips. The benefits in potential accuracy are nice, but if you are really planning for a SHTF scenario, a more milspec system should prove more reliable in sub-optimal conditions. Stay with me here. Private firms build rifles that are sexy. The military builds them to be reliable IN COMBAT. The generally maligned ‘A-frame’ front sight and gas block assembly of the M16s and M4s is made to survive harsh environments. Its been proven reliable over the past 50 years.

    Soft, lightweight aluminum free floating fore grips are light, sexy, and cool. They can also bend, tweak, and provide zero rigidity to the barrel in harsh conditions.

    On AR platforms, when I owned one, I really liked the inexpensive Nikon fixed power 4x optic. As one with failing eyes, the maginification was sufficient to clearly see the target down range without adding the cost of variable magnification. I never installed a quick release optic mount, but if I was to buy one again, I would certainly invest in quick release mounts.

    • R. Ann

      You mention you’re no longer running an AR platform. Mind if I ask what you chose to roll with?

      And why, unless that’s prying too much?
      -Rebecca Ann

      • BobW

        Sorry for the delay in responding. 3-day internet outage was fun. Kids got to see our struggle from the day.

        After all those years of owning guns, I realized that while I like reading about whats new, I don’t care for shooting, and honestly, got some good scratch for them.

        If I got back into the sport, I’d definitely go old school. I’ve become partial to the 1903 and M1. With a modern barrel they produce excellent accuracy.

        • R. Ann

          If you’re interested in picking up something relatively inexpensive in the meantime, there’s the K98. It’s one of the ones I learned to hunt on and keep going back to, even though it’s not a NATO/domestic production caliber.
          Sporterized is the way to go for me, because full length it snags and is HEAVY, but the ones we’ve had are built like tanks and it’s haard to get a good deer-bear gun for <$200 these days.

          I wasn't here to have read your reply anyway, but sorry about your outage. I was working somewhere where I think dial-up was that newfangled thing and somebody might have actually been sending packets with a keyer. Forget getting onto these sites. 🙂 But I had fun.

    • R. Ann

      Back from starting dinner for this one:
      “I’d advise anyone considering a combo optic that includes integrated
      back up sights on this: When the optic is INOP from anything but a
      cracked/broken lens, your back up sights are also compromised.”
      It depends on the optic and whether the sights are also an optic, such as holo or stubby running off the same battery, whether the primary optic is running off a separate battery, or whether your integrated backup sights on an optic are old-style wires or a front blade or post and a rear notch or aperture.

      If there’s no battery to run a backup, you only lose your backup if you lose the rail or mount, or somehow lose one of the “iron” sights. A cracked lens, smear, or electric malfunction of any kind taking out the primary doesn’t affect you. If your backup is on a separate battery, that’s straight, too.
      Even the Bushnell mentioned above isn’t terrible. When mounted OC, it shoots point of aim to a barrel laser and a couple of us. The rest of us … well, back to the painter’s tape (or just knowing the gun) – which is why several of us have been so pleased with the AimSports that actually allow you to dial in (and hold that aim point).

      You should stress test everything, always, and have a plan for Murphy, absolutely. We love ours because they do eliminate the old combo optic issues. Others may not love theirs.

      Most of the time I see combo optics, I see a short range and a long range.
      Losing a battery or the optic for either could be bad news, since your best accuracy is restricted to the remaining setting.
      On the other hand, if you lose an optic on a combo unit, and you don’t have offset or cowitnessed sights, at least you do have one or the other.
      🙂

      -R. Ann

      • BobW

        R. Ann,

        My point was about simplicity and redundancy, not an attempt to disparage anyone or their views.

        Co-mounted main and back up is a recipe for disaster in a serious situation. If the optic gets whacked, both are potentially out of alignment. Its that simple. Ruggedized or not, any hunter knows that the right ding and the right angle, and that trophy 10-pointer is ghosting through the woods.

        As I said, I do like the idea of the canted sights, but think its something that would require a lot of practice to be second nature under stress.

        As for the design of the integrated optic/back ups shown, take a look at the sight radius of both the Bushnell and Aim SPorts back up sights. From my untrained eye, thats about the sight radius of a Beretta or 1911. Those would be useful at very close range, but honestly, I’d like to see more folks training in point of aim skills, that focus on having an up close and personal relationship with their weapons of choice. Additionally, notice how thick those front sight posts are. They look like bad handgun sights (especially the bushnell) with the gloss finish, and the rounded edges.

        I’ve seen RMRs mounted on ACOGs. This is a very sexy setup, but it still requires boring old BUIS mounted on the rail to ensure ‘combat redundancy.’

        I don’t want to take anything away from the great work you are doing here. I was hoping to add to the conversation about ‘go-fast goodies’ for black rifles. If I haven’t done that, I am sorry for my mistake.

        • R. Ann

          Fair enough point on a single mount. After all, I trashed my M4’s front sight in a major fall once, and I didn’t realize a handgun sight had been bent after a car accident.
          But I’ll keep them anyways, as an option, because they work really well for us.

          I’m cool with a focus on primary skills. Far, far, far from everything even has a scope or optic on it at my house, although as some of us get older, hunting guns do more and more, or we pass on more shots.
          For that matter, when they first started migrating from the sports
          fields to the military, I was one of the Luddites who disliked the
          Eotechs and Aimpoints and listed all the negative virtues, from tech to
          training. Exposure on that one changed my mind (eventually). But I’m
          super glad re-qual still teaches basic marksmanship and I totally endorse not allowing any type of optic in NRA classes.

          The fiber optic AimSports sight is short, but it does a pretty good job out 100-250 (paper plates at 200 yds for all of us, experienced or not, even without cheekweld). Some of us shoot straighter with that sight at 100 than the dot, but acquisition for fast body shots outweighs that accuracy.
          The Bushnell is like looking at the sights on the NP Trail Benjamin pistol, without fiber optics or dots. Since it’s not adjustable anyway, it’s always close-close range – like, <50. And or a lot of us, if we use more than one primary platform and ammo load, we mark them. The finish doesn't actually shine as much as expected, overall or any little spots. Something about the finish shows light away from it, but looking down, you don't get that as much – no more than regular pistol sights.

          I don't think anybody in our groups has a plan for their OR-only primary firearms to be the ones that go in a truck or scabbard if we have to leave our primary location for a last, frantic time, truthfully; and that's something that should be addressed. I think we plan for packing offsets and optics at the most, but that's something we'll address. My .22-combo revolver has regular sights as well, and I know the guy who shoots mini-mags to subsonics has them, both with thumb latch removals, and we 50-50 plan to take those – the dual short-range optics are there because our ammo differs so much in flight.

          I don't mind discussion. I don't mind debate. I appreciate your kind words about previous contributions.

          I don't need us to all agree – or to ever be agreed with (and no offense intended, but especially online – and online, demos of varyng experience and skill … just not possible). I don't actually want a "discussion" that is only bobbing heads of agreement. They're kind of useless. I'd have to look at the article again, but most of mine point out that there is never one right answer, no true one size fits all. For many reasons, what works for one won't for another – mindset, skill, temperament, physical ability, whatever.
          You've always been respectful in the comments I've seen, agree or disagree with the OP or article.

          🙂

          • BobW

            Thanks. You are exactly right, in that there is no one set up for all people or all situations.

            In full disclosure, I spent a good amount of time looking at optics for the old AR before I went with the Nikon. I looked hard at the Bushnell ACOG knockoffs. I’ve never been displeased with their glass. Had an old 3-9 Bushnell on a Rem700 in .30-06. Even with the scope turned 3-5 degrees from vertical (my laziness), it sighted in well, and proved a solid contributor.

            Anymore, looking at the ‘arms race’ in optics is kind of crazy. Seems like the big brands don’t market anything less than $1k anymore. Finding solid, functional alternatives in new names is important for the frugal types, like me.

            Many of the no-name brands are very much clones of accepted quality brands, like Leupold, Trijicon, and Aimpont, with some odd-ball change to not violate patent.

    • Bolofia

      Bob,
      Regarding your comment: “The military builds them to be reliable IN COMBAT. The generally maligned ‘A-frame’ front sight and gas block assembly of the M16s and M4s is made to survive harsh environments.” I’m with you on that. Other than a single-point sling attachment and a dedicated rifle scope with MOA calibrations, all other doodads are potential single points of failure.

      • BobW

        Bolo, I honestly think everything depends on situation. On a pistol/SBR/shotty for home defense, I think a mounted flashlight should be mandatory. You just can’t hold the light and the rifle safely very easily if it is honestly serious.

        I’d consider having a rail capable flashlight & mount, for certain situations, but certainly not everyday use.

        I do like a good sling. Whether a single point, or a two-point, as long as the user is practiced with it, it provides value.

  • Robert

    “but we don’t really see often on the ranges, blogs, or forums. I consider some of them game changers”
    There is a reason for that! Off set sights are for comp not combat. You should have iron sights that co-witness with a quality red dot. You are providing advise based on your experience in 3 gun for self defense. That is a dangerous leap. We are talking self defense here not 3 gun, so co-witnessing is the way to go. Not sure who runs a magnified scope on their home/self defense gun. I guess some who gets their training from blogs and forums!!!

    • R. Ann

      Wow.
      Training: 3x USMC Deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, 2x Horn of Africa, several 29 Stumps forays, and assignment at Yuma with regular forays out to YPG; since 2006, 5x Thunder Ranch, 3x Gunsite, half a dozen or so smaller groups out of Va, Maryland, Arizona and Florida (I’d have to look up some of the receipts for all the names).
      Not sure if you want to count my NRA credentials as training, as so much of that is painfully static line shooting.
      I’m also lucky enough to work with a former LAPD SWAT member (who
      intro’d us to the offsets about 6-8 years ago) and a couple of guys who
      have the pale spots on their beards and well down their necks for unit
      pictures and events here and there (should that mean nothing to you, you
      never worked with them), as well as some somewhat more “humdrum” cop
      and military types, not excluding a couple of grunts.

      I shoot competitions because they’re either entertaining or an
      inexpensive way to move and fire, draw and fire, and transition firearms
      in between renting kill houses and fields or attending training.

      Your home/property defense gun and your self-defense gun are two entities – primary and sidearm. If all you have is one…? Middle road it, I guess, and have really good interior walls.

      I worked with an awful lot of magnified scopes in the deserts (vice A2 front sights and red dots).
      I’m surprised someone with that much vehemence about couch commandos didn’t.
      The Marines didn’t limit them to snipers. Most ground units to include QRF and ASF had/have DMs with somewhat modified rifles compared to the grunt platforms at the time. Some of the deployed MP units provided for a DMR at varying intervals and levels as well. Not sure if that’s standard across the board or not.

      If you don’t need a magnified scope to maximize your DM’s potential at defending that property, hat’s off to your/his/her eyes.
      If your DM is okay carrying only a sidearm with a scoped rifle, okay.
      I deployed with a 9mm for the middle excursion. If I don’t have to carry a camera for my primary shooting, I’d rather have something with more reach and oomph in variable scenarios, and only need a sidearm as a backup or for clearing a house . Your DM or equivalent may be happy with just a self-defense gun and no chance to roll a 20-30 rnd vest puncher. To each their own.

      Since I can get hits in the same T and triangle at 25-50 yards in the same space of time angled or straight – as can most of my partners – we’d rather have a setup that allows us to engage with any set of eyes out to 500 and reengage at <100 and <50.
      Our DMs tend to be able to hit those marks with irons, just like the jarheads all did when young, and use their scopes to further reduce the chance we'll have to close on someone close enough for us to be chewed in return.

      I can also use my offset sights effectively while removing prairie dogs and grundhogs – or to take deer, varmints, or vittles from surrounding fields, and have them or the integrated iron sights for that purpose as well – or have one set for .22LR and one set for .22Mag in the case of one revolver, or my lighter rounds, heavier rounds, or drywall-friendlier rifle rounds by carbine and rifle. I really love something called stacking functions, so being able to multi-purpose makes me happy.

      – R. Ann

      • BobW

        Ouch.

        I think the important thing to take away from all this is to train like you intend to fight. Or however that saying goes.

        I imagine from Robert’s comments, that not everyone sees ‘home defense’ the same. For me, there are three distinct functions, and three distinct responses. 1. In the house: pistol with flashlight mount. 2. At the door: meet Mr. 12-gauge. 3. Outside the house: optic equipped rifle. If they are not at your door, you had better damn well be sure its not the local Lions club asking for used glasses before you shoot. The optic enhances vision, and hopefully adds clarity to the situation. It also helps those with aging/defective eyeballs in shot placement if it comes to that.

        • R. Ann

          Ouch?

          • BobW

            Guy was coming off the third ring rope, and you smushed his argument with direct experience.

            No reason for a guy to get all up in arms on assumptions. People seem to want to ignore the fact that hundreds of thousands of women have served in combat zones over the past 15 years. To that end, there was no front line in any of the AORs, and everyone had to expect enemy contact wherever they were.

            Thanks for your service, R. Ann.

            • R. Ann

              I didn’t actually take it as a chick thing. I hadn’t gotten that impression from previous posts. Let’s not put that on him until beyond all shadow of doubt. Presumably he would make the same absolute “you should have” rec and assumption if it was Robert Alan instead of Rebecca Ann.

              It’s only been a few days and we know for fact that 2/4-5 commenters were out of comms. There are some who only check these sites from public places with lots of intenet accesses and some who only do it from work (or only from home). It’s also garden prep, planting, birthing, and in some places short-run fishing seasons (and speeding into “last
              chance to camp/pack comfortably before the mosquitoes near pterodactyl proportions).

              Lots of reasons to not come back yet and present, hopefully civilly. But if not, hey, I’ve *heard* worse and I will again.

              And for that matter, while I listed a thumbnail of service and experience in my first article, it’s not with this one. Plus, I’ve pointed out before, service does not mean “be all, know all” –
              all deployments and deployment positions are not created equal, either.

              He does display some ignorance in military materiel and skills development, which may be why he’s willing to be derisive of sporting field to front line evolutions, and he may just put his
              faith in the fact that Big Army Knows Best. We don’t. We look at histories and cycles and fine tune, and we’re lucky enough to have some guys with some really interesting experience. The first rail sys. PIP took place in the 70s or 80s with some soldiers and Canadians both scratching their heads about that carry handle and the Weaver mounts, but it took decades – the latter of which, rails in competitions and used by the military marksmanship “civilian-goodwill and marketing” units were super prevalent. Some of the first to get sandy were civilian-side purchases when somebody saw them used.

              It’s not as relevant to the specific points raised, but he ignores that the RDS started as a civilian speed-gunner “toy” before being picked up by civilian police and special operations types, and that it took another decade+ for even that sys. to migrate to general infantry linemen, let alone outward to the other go-fasters (admittedly, I thought it was a bad idea when it was first becoming more common). In the 2000s, especially, AMU 3-gunners were coming back with gear of all kinds, ways to handle gear and train for expedient muscle memory for go-fasters and grunts (like the tragedy of injuries and near-deaths for sure and probably deaths from peacetime training constant positive mag retention instead of hasty and quick changes), and sitting down with grunts and cops and feds to figure out how best to approach the new wars. You also had the beards-and-sneakers types going out there and grabbing gear intended for/born from sports or sports-to-cops and modifying it, and lo and behold…

              That stuff all started making a big difference for the 0300 club husbands, just like the RDS’s and rail systems.
              But, fast as the military was/is moving with some of the tech and gear, it also lags sometimes still, too.

              (***If it was the Brits on the original Weaver-to-standardized Pic. rail with the U.S. instead of the Canadians, somebody please correct me – I think they were in concert or
              concurrently working on one of the later attachments or systems but I’ve been wrong before.)
              🙂

              • R. Ann

                Digging in and thinking of it, there may be reasons he’s served yet is unaware of overwatch as property and personnel protection and DM/DMR’s. He may have…
                – Gotten out before diggies and M4s (or before they were common), and rail sys. & a cowitnessed RDS is already
                a stretch, or was such a game changer its obvious to him that maneuver and fire gear has hit its zenith, no others need apply
                – Spent only a short period in, and be unaware that with some exceptions, there is DM/sniper/50 cal overwatch in city streets or nearby — but we’re not going to be able to call in CAS, arty, or the 50 (I’m not, anyway)
                – Been non-grunt Guard, Civ Air Ptrl, one of the armed shipboard MOS’s, or door-kicking cop/fed, or be learning from them, in which case only select units most likely routinely operate with overwatch or a DM and he may not apply that to defending his own AO/personnel (yard and fam/self)

                There’s probably others where it’s *never/always* a certain rig with no room for a magnified scope in home/personnel defense because there’s low exposure to other positions/tactics in use and testing, although even junior NCOs and officers on the service side of the 0300 club tend to be fairly aware of at least some of the gear and tactics being fielded in theater and exercise tests, so you’d think DMs (and the magnified scopes some/many of them used) would have filtered in there somewhere along with sniper overwatch. That awareness may be a jarhead thing and other service might not push it so much, though.

                He may also be young/healthy eyed enough to still get head and heart shots at 500, not the great big oval, so it’s really all HE needs (still).

                You nailed another.

                He may consider his home/property defense beginning and ending at his doors and ECR, or possibly his porch, and have
                such limited visibility around him, no, he never needs magnification, and would have to hike hours and miles to get somewhere with 300+ shooting yards.

                We have times when – justifiably in courts of opinion and law – we can foresee the use of overwatch, distance tactics, DMs, and the need/usefulness of magnification, but where 300-1K turns to 5-50 (or vice versa) without a lot of time, and we’d like the DMs and DMRs to have some built-in or just-tilt options besides chin/point shooting a rifle that will go through American construction pretty easily.

                In that case, to each his own, but it reverts back to what you and I (and others) agree on: one size doesn’t fit all.

                🙂

      • Robert

        I assure you as a LEO firearms instructor, SWAT officer, and host of other that a boy trainings, LAPD SWAT does not run off set sights on their rifles. I assure you none of the training facilities you cited run off set sight CQB rifles, because I have been to their trainings. I appreciate your service, but deployments to theater do not equate to combat. I am also very familiar with YPG, do not think they tested any small arms with off set sights, so correct me if I’m wrong. With all those claims of experience and trainings it begs the question. So, why would you even ask the question of off set sights on a CQB setup? So I standby my statement as a experience instructor and SWAT operator, that your providing bad information.

  • Thomas Paine in the butt

    I picked up a couple used Aimpoints, still had sand on them, for my AR15s and run offsets as well. For me co-witness BIUS won’t work as I have giant head and run 1″ riser plus the high base on the Aimpoint. With all that just to get a comfortable cheek weld, for me, a combo sight would put the irons too far above the bore. It’s funny I think of the dot for <100 and the irons out to 250yds.

    On my AR10 I just have a Nikon Prostaff 3-12x with the BDC reticle, great budget scope IMO, for longer range. I don't have BUIS on this rifle. It doesn't have top rail on the forearm at present. Throwing myself under the bus again, I have a quad rail sitting on the shelf for it.

    For slings I braided really long survival bracelets. Who doesn't need an extra 70-80' of paracord anyway, right?

    I'm not a fan of of hanging everything from an optic to chest freezer off my rifle either. The most I'll add is a pistol grip and foregrip with storage for a boresnake and small bottle of RemOil. Possibly an IWI buttstock with extra mag to hold a bit better cleaning kit.

    • R. Ann

      “It’s funny I think of the dot for <100 and the irons out to 250yds." – That's about where we run, optic and offset. When it's a magnified scope, it reverts the other way, because the scope is for distance and precision shots, and the offsets are for a non-9mm/.45 hi-cap close-quarters backup.

      "For slings I braided really long survival bracelets. Who doesn't need an extra 70-80' of paracord anyway, right?" – Like it!
      Remember those braided leather belts that were all the rage somewhereish in the late 80s-90s-maybe early 2000s? We use them as slings for hunting guns when they pass weight tests. My Pops started it so if he gets out and needs a short length, he can cut 1 or several and still have a rifle sling, without having to cut up a rope or in case he doesn't have cord right there.
      Do the 550 cord slings work the same way, or if you cut one segment, would the whole thing kind of unravel as you go?

      Surefire and somebody else – I forget who – are/were working to develop a NATO-standard forward pistol grip that will contain the batteries for accessories for military contracts. I think Canada is involved or running a concurrent development with it this time, too (just can't remember), but I think there's 2 civ-based companies along with the military on the U.S. side.
      So that buttstock pocket … 🙁 Yeah, future you's might need that for non-pouch, non-pocket goodies again one day.

      • Thomas Paine in the butt

        The sling is backup for knot of cord in my pack. But if you had to cut a length you’d just tie it off on the stringers. Its also about 1.25″ wide. I used an old clip from an ILBE assualt pack.

        Side note, you jarheads get the best personal gear while us AF we got the ABU. Is there anything more useless than slate blue tiger stripe for support troops?

        • R. Ann

          Sorry for the delay – working out of town and the internet/cell was … caveman level.
          I’ll try not to mention slowly taking apart those braided belts again – but, hey, awesome skills! I love watching the guys work on leather gear.

          The best gear they ever decided to go to had nothing to do with patterns or how we carry our kicthen sinks (although a shorter rifle was nice). The absolute best upgrade: The pullover zip-neck wick-away deployment shirts and fleeces. Godsent, I tell you what. 😉 I think it makes up for all the years we got equipment after the AF and Army decided it had no more useful life.

          On the other side of uniform upgrades: Dude, the navy Bravo/Charlie lookalike service uniforms, really? Did they specifically find a cloth you can’t tell is black or green (ever, in some light) so we’d all be automatically saluting chiefs again like boots? : ))=
          – Rebecca Ann