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Ghost Ring Vs. Rifle Sights

by Scott Friedman
Sights on a rifle help the shooter aim with greater accuracy.

Sights on a rifle help the shooter aim with greater accuracy.

One of the most essential parts of any firearm is the sight, and a shooting enthusiast has many options when it comes to choosing sights. The rifle sight, otherwise known as an open sight, is the most simple form of sight. The ghost ring sight is a form of aperture sight developed more recently for use with firearms.

History

The first man portable firearm with rifle sights was the Arquebus, invented in the 15th century. Some of the first innovations in firearms involved developing some form of aiming device to allow for greater accuracy. As firearms innovation progressed through the Industrial Revolution, so did the use of increasingly accurate sights, which were made from iron just like the firearms themselves. Eventually, aperture sights came into use as a more accurate alternative to open sights. One of the newer innovations in aperture sights is the ghost ring sight.

Types of Sights

There are many factors that add to the accuracy of firearms. Among them are the quality and length of the barrel, the type of bullet used and the type of sighting system utilized. The progression of sighting systems for firearms starts with open rifle sights, which are the least accurate, but also the simplest and most reliable. Next, the aperture sights are the most accurate of all iron sights but are also slightly more fragile. Telescopic sights allow shooters to accurately strike targets from thousands of meters away; however, these complex and expensive scopes are extremely fragile compared to open iron sights.

Function

Open rifle sights usually consist of a rear sight with a V-notch or square cut out in the middle and a front sight post meant to rest in that notch or cut out. When a shooter sees the front sight within the rear sight cut-out placed in the center of the target, he has a good sight picture. The aperture sight makes use of a hole or ring at the rear and a front post, which should be placed in the center of the ring. A ghost ring sight uses a very thin ring at the rear sight that almost disappears when the shooter looks through the ring up close, which is why it has been dubbed the "ghost ring" sight. This sight allows the shooter to simply look through the ring at the target while keeping the front sight post in the center of the ring to acquire a good sight picture.

Significance

Rifle sights are known for their timeless reliability and their accuracy in the hands of a skilled and experienced shooter. Ghost ring sights are considered iron sights and are therefore just as reliable and more accurate than traditional open rifle sights. Both of these forms of simple iron sights require a certain level of skill that isn't necessary when using advanced telescopic sights. When the more complex systems fail, shooters must be capable of falling back on iron sights as an alternative in order for their firearm to function.

Misconceptions

Aperture sights are used on many different firearms, including several military models; however, ghost ring sights are usually used on combat shotguns or submachine guns for close range battle. Although aperture sights are more accurate than rifle sights, most ghost ring sights use a large aperture with a thin ring, which allows for excellent point and shoot accuracy at short ranges. Ghost rings sights are not recommended for use with high-powered rifles for long distance shots.

About the Author

Scott Friedman is a writer based in Bend, Ore. Friedman was a technical writer for a USAID contractor and a community health system. He writes for various magazines and websites while running a proposal development firm, BDC International. He holds a B.A. in international affairs from George Washington University.

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