Gone Outdoors

How to Line Up the Sights on a Rifle

by Peter Timm

Using rifle sights correctly depends on two factors: sight alignment and aiming point. The proper alignment of the front and rear sights with the desired aiming point---where on the target you are pointing the weapon---is called the sight picture. There are two varieties of sights on rifles: open sights and peep sights. Open sights feature a notched rear sight and a post front sight. These sights are common on hunting rifles. Peep sights feature a round rear sight with a hole in the center that you "peep" through and a post front sight. These sights are commonly found on military rifles.

Peep Sights

Look at your target through the small hole on the rear sight. Your eye should be positioned so that you can see the entire hole.

Determine the desired aiming point on your target.

Align the top of the front sight with your aiming point and center the top of the front sight in the hole of the rear sight. When all three are aligned, you will have a correct sight picture and should hit your target.

Open Sights

Line up your vision with the notch in the rear sight and look at your target.

Pick the desired aiming point.

Align the top of the front sight with your aiming point and line up the top of the front sight so that it's centered in the notch of the rear sight. When all three are in line, your sight picture is correct.

About the Author

Peter Timm has been writing since 2002 for both print and online publications. Timm earned a Bachelor of Arts from the New York Institute of Technology in 2008 and emerged a technically astute writer.

Photo Credits

  • sport shooting image by Kostyantyn Ivanyshen from Fotolia.com