Gain the Edge: Tips and Techniques for Aligning Iron Sights

Have you ever struggled with aligning your iron sights? It can be frustrating when you can’t hit your target, even though you’re aiming directly at it. The good news is that with some expert tips and tricks, you can improve your accuracy and hit your target every time.

Iron sights have been used for centuries as a simple and effective way to aim a firearm. However, they can be challenging to use if you don’t know how to align them properly. This is especially true for beginners or those who haven’t used iron sights in a while.

Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or a beginner, mastering the art of aligning iron sights is crucial for improving your accuracy. In this article, we’ll cover some expert tips and tricks that will help you align your iron sights like a pro. So, let’s get started and improve your shooting skills!

Understanding Iron Sights

Iron sights are basic mechanical devices incorporated into firearms to assist the shooter in aiming. They typically consist of a front post and a rear peep sight or notch. The objective is to line up the front post between the two points of the rear sight and focus on the target beyond.

Types of Iron Sights

Iron sights come in various types, but two most commonly used types are Open sights and Peep sights. Open sights, also known as notch and post sights, consist of a front sight and a rear sight with a notch.

Peep sights, also known as aperture sights, works same as the open sights, but it has an aperture or a hole in the rear sight that blocks all unnecessary peripheral vision that makes focus easier.

Components of Iron Sights

Iron sights are composed of a front sight, a rear sight, and a notch. The front sight is usually a post or bead shape and is situated near the end of the barrel. The rear sight has a notch or an aperture and usually has two reference points. One at the top, which aligns with the front post, and the other on each side, which help to line up the front sight.

Tools Needed for Aligning Iron Sights

Before you start aligning your iron sights, you’ll need some tools to get the job done. Here are the essential tools you’ll need:

  • A sight adjustment tool: This is a specialized tool that is designed to adjust the front and rear sights without damaging them.
  • A vice: A vice is used to hold your gun steady while you make the necessary adjustments to the sights.
  • A bore sighter: This is a device that is used to align the sights with the bore of your gun.

Factors Affecting Sight Alignment

Eye Dominance

It’s crucial to determine your eye dominance before shooting with iron sights. The dominant eye is the eye that your brain prefers to use for visual information. In other words, the dominant eye will pick up information better than the non-dominant eye.

Proper Stance and Grip

A good shooting stance is essential to aligning your sights correctly. You need to get in a stable position with your upper body leaned forward a bit and your feet shoulder-width apart.

Additionally, your grip should be firm and consistent. You need to grip the gun tightly with both hands and make sure your wrists are straight to reduce recoil.

Distance and Target Size

The distance between the shooter and the target and the target’s size can also impact sight alignment. The farther the target and the smaller it is, the more difficult it will be to line up the sights correctly.

Tips for Aligning Iron Sights

Front Sight Focus

When you’re aiming with iron sights, the front sight should be the focus, not the target. The front sight should be crisp, sharp, and aligned with the rear sights. When you focus on the front sight, it helps you align it correctly with the target and the rear sight, which can improve your accuracy.

Centering the Front Sight

You need to ensure the front sight is horizontally centered between the rear sight notch or aperture. You can do this easily by moving the top edge of the sight to align with the top edge of the rear sight.

Aligning the Rear Sight

To align the rear sight, you need to ensure that the top of the front post is even with the top of the rear notch. You should also focus on the front sight and ensure that it’s in the center of the rear sight aperture.

Tips for Aligning Iron Sights

Now that you have the necessary tools, let’s discuss some expert tips and tricks for aligning your iron sights:

Understand your shooting range

Your shooting range will significantly impact how you align your iron sights. If you’re shooting at shorter distances, your front and rear sights should be aligned differently compared to longer distances.

Adjust the front sight post

To adjust the front sight post, you’ll need to use your sight adjustment tool. If your shots are hitting too low, you’ll need to raise the sight post, and if they’re hitting too high, you’ll need to lower it.

Adjust the rear sight

To adjust the rear sight, you’ll need to use your sight adjustment tool to move the sight up or down and left or right. If your shots are hitting too far to the right, you’ll need to move the rear sight to the left and vice versa.

Take your time

When aligning your iron sights, it’s important to take your time and not rush the process. Make small adjustments and test your gun at different distances to ensure that your sights are properly aligned.

Use a bore sighter

A bore sighter is an excellent tool for aligning your iron sights. It allows you to align your sights with the bore of your gun, which can save you a lot of time and frustration.

Consider windage and elevation

Windage and elevation are essential factors to consider when aligning your iron sights. Windage refers to how left or right your shots are, while elevation refers to how high or low they are hitting. Make sure to adjust your sights accordingly.

Practice makes perfect

Finally, the key to becoming an expert at aligning iron sights is practice. The more you practice, the better you’ll become at making the necessary adjustments and hitting your target accurately.


Aligning iron sights is crucial to shooting accurately. By understanding the type of sight, the components of iron sights, and the factors affecting sight alignment, along with the tips and tricks for improved sight alignment, you can shoot with greater accuracy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between an open sight and a peep sight?

An open sight consists of a front sight and a rear sight with a notch, while a peep sight, also known as an aperture sight, has an aperture or a hole in the rear sight that blocks all unnecessary peripheral vision.

How do you know if your iron sights are properly aligned?

The best way to determine if your iron sights are aligned is to test your gun at various distances and see if your shots are hitting where you aim

Do I need to use both eyes when shooting with iron sights?

Yes, it’s important to use both eyes when shooting with iron sights. This allows you to maintain your field of vision while focusing on the front sight.

What is windage, and why is it essential when aligning iron sights?

Windage refers to how left or right your shots are hitting. Adjusting windage ensures that you hit your target accurately.

Can I install fiber optic sights on my own?

Yes, fiber optic sights can be installed on your own if you have the right tools and knowledge. However, it’s always best to consult with a professional gunsmith to ensure it’s installed correctly.

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