Wood AR-15 Build: Iron Sights
Back Up Iron Sights: Troy Industries M4-Style Folding
Are iron sights necessary?
We mulled over this question for a fair amount of time before eventually deciding: yes, they are. The die-hard survivalists or toughest-rifle-possible builders will say that iron sights are of course required because your main optic (in our case an MRO) will eventually run out of battery or break. Our rifle is meant to be a demo rifle, not a Red Dawn Part III gun so we seriously considered not adding iron sights. Our eventual "yes" decision however, was based on two main factors. The first was that any minor amount of vision through the MRO that would be obstructed by the iron sights could easily be avoided if we installed flip up, rather than fixed sights. The second was that, in light of the flip away feature, the only downside to having iron sights would be weight and as we have mentioned many times, we aren't hyper-concerned about adding an ounce or two here or there.
Now, which iron sights to choose. As with several other components of the the build, the first decision we faced for sight selection is one regarding materials. "Iron sights" are available in plastic and at least two different metals as well as a variety of finishes and colors. We didn't like the idea of plastic on such small moving pieces so we quickly narrowed in on black anodized aluminum options.
The next decision was regarding the sights' mounting and aperture style. To stay true to its M4 heritage we wanted the rifle to have M4-style sights (as opposed to HK or other commonly styled rear and front sights). Offset sights weren't an option for the same "M4 heritage" reason as well as the fact that we wanted the iron sights to co-witness with the MRO.
With these criteria (M4-style, black anodized aluminum, flip up iron sights) we quickly narrowed in on Troy Industries’ sights. Troy has a number of options within our criteria and we selected a few of the "upgrades" they offer on the traditional M4-style sights. The first upgrade we selected was a tritium front sight post. Many modern pistols come with similar night sights and the additional "glow" of front sight post will help to quickly get the rifle on target. The second upgrade is a di-optic rear sight aperture. Troy’s di-optic aperture replaces the standard M4-style circle aperture with a diamond-shaped one. The diamond shape is intended to enable quicker centering of the front sight post on short range targets by referencing each corner of the diamond. Sounds like a good idea but we will have to spend some time on the range to decided how effective it is. The rear sight has two of these di-optic apertures, one for up to 200 yards and the other for up to 600.
Manufacturer: Troy Industries
Price: $119.00 (Rear) $144.00 (Front)
Material: Black Anodized Aluminum
Component Material: Stainless Steel
Folded Height: 0.460 inches
Adjustments: .5 Minute of Angle
Troy makes a variety of firearms components and has a very good reputation across their product lines. Within their iron sight line, they have many options for fixed and folding, M4- and HK-style, micro and regular size, tan and black, as well as offset or not. We knew which specific type of sights we were looking for so many of these options didn’t matter to us, but the manufacturing quality of our sights is excellent and we are sure Troy’s other options are as well.
Troy sponsored both the front and rear iron sights for this build, and we are very grateful for their support. Since this is our last post on Clark Armory about this build (the wood furniture and range testing results will be located at www.BlackWoodUSA.com) let us pat ourselves on the back for a second… the time we put into researching each component really paid off. We have been impressed with each of the components, including Troy’s iron sights, and we are very glad that we didn’t cut any corners or shoot for lower quality products. We are very excited about finally seeing the wood on the rifle and taking it to the range. These iron sights are the last rifle component for the build and are great and purposeful icing on a pretty sweet cake.