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Aperture Sights / peep sights how superior are they to iron sights

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by raven11, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. raven11


    Jan 27, 2009
    i'm thinking of getting a .22 rifle and I can get a new model with iron sights or a used model with factory Aperture Sights for the same price.

    I have never used aperture sights and my plan for the rifle is to use use in lieu of my centerfire rifles when ammo gets scarce, plinking, and teaching new shooters how to shoot

    here is a picture for reference

  2. collim1

    collim1 Shower Time!

    Mar 14, 2005
    I like aperture sights. Generally they have a much longer sight radius. I shoot them much better than traditional sights that most .22 rifles come with.

    I had a Marlin 336 several years ago that I put Williams sights on rather than scope it. It was great little woods gun, and more accurate than the sights mounted on the barrel it came with.

  3. I've read that a shooter can cut their group size in half going from iron sights to a peep setup.

    I've also read that a shooter can align a peep faster than irons. I know I find it easier to align a post in the center of the aperture than to keep a post level with the top of the rear sight, centered in the notch,
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  4. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    I like apertures better, provided they aren't peep-and-post types. Peeps with a bead front are much easier for me. Either way, they are typically faster have the ability to offer much more precision.
  5. method


    Mar 27, 2002
    Cleveland, OH
    Aperture sights are iron sights. I find them to be faster and more accurate than u-notch rears. I have a few guns with aperture rears...10/22, Saiga 12, K31, Marlin 512, 870, Sub2K, SU-16... only the two KelTecs came with them stock.

    The smaller peep openings can be a bit troublesome to use in dim lighting, otherwise, I love them. If sticking with iron sights, they're the way to go.
  6. janice6

    janice6 Silver Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    I wonder if the peep sight advantage is that they work like a "Pinhole Camera".

    "Within limits, a smaller pinhole (with a thinner surface that the hole goes through) will result in sharper image resolution because the projected circle of confusion at the image plane is practically the same size as the pinhole."
  7. method


    Mar 27, 2002
    Cleveland, OH
    I think the advantages lie in a (typically) longer sight radius, and the fact that our eyes have the ability to find the center of a circle automatically. There's no thinking or effort involved in attaining a sight picture with an aperture rear, it just happens.
  8. raven11


    Jan 27, 2009
    Thanks for the advice everyone, sadly I lost the auction but I did learn a lot about peep sights so I guess it wasn't a total loss
  9. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    Peep sight is iron sight.
  10. A properly mounted peep is close to the eye (as opposed to the Mojo, or more forward mounted type), and you really dont align the sights, your brain just does it automatically. You dont really "see" the rear sight, you look through it and focus on the front sight and your brain does the rest.

    I find the peeps are slower to use for fast CQB/snap type shooting compared to the traditional military/hunting leaf type. A big open notch, something like the big notch in the HK sight barrel of the G3's, or even buckhorn type hunting sights, are much more effective.

    If you have to have a peep, then a "ghost ring" aperture is a better choice for a rifle thats actually going to be used for something other than target shooting. You get the same basic result, just a little less precision. What you lose in precision, you gain in speed. A lot of the older Williams/Lyman type sights added later to many old hunting rifles, are best used with the screw in aperture removed, and kust using the remaing threaded hole as a ghost ring.

    The smaller apertures are primarily target type sights, and not the best choice for a working type gun.

    One other downside to peeps is lighting, and/or lack of it. Bright sun or light coming in low from behind tends to draw the eye to to the rear sight, instead of it focusing through it. You can force your brain to see through it, but it is still distracting. Lower light can also be a issue, especially with the smaller apertures. The ghost ring is again the better choice here, in both cases.
  11. No comparision, A proper peep will always be better, For bad,poor light---use a larger aperture---Merit makes an iris that is field adjustable.

    As I've gotten older, peeps are the only way that I can shoot irons.

    Check out Williams, Lyman, NEGS,

    BTW, the Brits, in the early 1900's, found that a 1/4 inch aperture (ghost ring) allowed for fast shooting in poor light, and almost as accurate as a smaller peep at combat ranges, seems like the tests were at 100 yd.
  12. Haldor

    Haldor Retired EE

    Oct 22, 2006
    Central Arizona
    Plus there is no switching the focus between the front and rear sight. This alone makes them faster than traditional leaf or buckhorn sights.

    I put a Williams 5D aperture sight on my Winchester 94 30-30. Out to 100 yards it is the equal of a scope and it is more robust and faster to use.
  13. I think a lot of the speed issue depends on the type of peep youre using. The ghost rings definitely excel here, but I still find the traditional leaf type are faster for close up work. As the distance opens up, and time is less of an issue, the peeps do offer more precision. If youre trying to shoot, small aperture, NM type peeps (M1/M14, etc) close and quick, its a lot slower and almost to the point of distraction. I think its actually easier to just shoot over the tops of them then, instead of trying to actually use them.

    As far as the older receiver type sights, Ive had both Lyman and Williams receiver sights on a number of rifles, and while they work well (best for me with the aperture removed), I dont think they are as robust as some of the newer ghost ring type sights (or even my Aimpoints) for rifles that get used for things other than the bench, target range. They were pretty much the only game in town up until around the 80's or early 90's, and then things like AO/XS started showing up, offering a better alternative.

    One thing that has always annoyed me about the older receiver sights, is the way stuff gets caught up in them when youre crawling through stuff. They arent exactly "snag free".

    Another thing I discovered with the newer guns, like Winchester lever guns, they no longer drill and tap the side of the receiver for those older type sights, and require a gunsmith to accommodate them. The older Winchesters Ive had/have, came ready for them. Now days, the little ghost rings use the rear set of scope mount screws on top of the receiver.
  14. DPris


    Mar 3, 2006
    A proper aperture sight will not ALWAYS be better. :)
    I find I can't use them as well as a correctly designed combination of front blade/post & rear U notch any more.
    The front post presents a double image through an aperture. The post & notch now provides the clearest sight picture for me.

    There are no absolutes. :)
  15. For target shooting a peep with a front aperture sight works better.

    For hunting I much prefer a scope or regular open sights.

    Sgt Alvin York felt the same way.
  16. DPris


    Mar 3, 2006
    For YOUR eyes, maybe.
    For mine, as I said I get a fuzzy double front post with an aperture & it's hard to get any decent accuracy.
    I'm not the only one.
    For most, an aperture works fine, but not ALWAYS. :)
  17. MoNsTeR


    Aug 24, 2003
    Lakewood, CO
    With the aperture/globe sights on my Anschutz, I can shoot 1" to 1.5" at 100 yards with moderate-cost .22 ammo (e.g. Wolf MT). No way I could do that with notch-and-post sights.
  18. Wurger


    Oct 9, 2010
    Not superior. Grew up on traditional open sights (i.e. Not peep sights). I find the opens sights are faster on target and do not block as much of my sight picture. I find that I have to work more to maintain the sight picture with the front sight centered in the round view of the peep. And yes, I have 5+ rifles with peep sights of various size aperatures. As I grow older I find that the open sights are getting harder to see. My theory is that most established gun writers in the popular magazines are older, they like the peep sights more and as a result put them in a more positive light.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  19. Wurger


    Oct 9, 2010
    Good point!
  20. DPris


    Mar 3, 2006
    While this one IS older, I don't like apertures more, for the reason I stated & don't put them in a positive light. :)

    If the front post or blade is the right thickness to match up correctly with a single-level rear notch that's not too wide, for me that notch clearly defines the post & eliminates the double-blurred affect the apertures create.

    Something about the way light transmits around the post in the notch. If I raise the post up out of the notch, blurred & doubled. Lower it back down into the notch, clear as a bell.

    I've seen other shooters express the same preferences.

    For most, the aperture's better.
    Just not for all :)
    If it works for you, use it. If it doesn't, use what does.