How do combat sights work?

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Probably more geared toward a shooting website but I think relevant enough seeing the mods that feature them.

I know it sounds like a stupid question especially coming from a gunnut such as myself, but I still do not understand them. And googling has yeilded no satisfactory explanation, other than 'Its better'

My understanding of firearms is based on iron sights,
Whereas a front sight is lined up with a rear sight to create a range, whereas (in most cases) the bullet will hit the central area corresponding the image created.


By that logic, holosights and aimpoints make zero sense.

They create a 2 dimensional illuminated image of which can be thrown off by varying angles of the eye's approach with nothing to align it to, thus throwing aiming off entirely.


I have, however, seen certain sights being used as a replacement for rear sight posts, such as AR 15, where the goal is to line up the image with the front sight posts to create your range. That much makes sense to me. 


I however see moreoften times they are used as primary sights entirely such as the C-More type which are virtually a looking glass with a reticule in place of sights.

This seems impractical, even for a handgun.

Scopes are a different animal altogether I'd imagine as they often do have calibration settings and are typically always viewed from the same angle due to the narrowness of the scope lens to see through it, you're less likely to view it from a skewed angle. 

Can someone explain to me the physics involved here? 

How do these optics help or even make you shoot straight?

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  • 1mo
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    The first thing you need to understand, is that it's not like some picture of red dot drawn on the chunk of glass. Basically, these sights are laser sights without visible laser

    The basic principle goes like this: the holographic image of the red dot is projected on the surface you're aiming at. If you turn the sight a bit, the image of red dot will stay on the same place, or (in some cases) will disappear

    Anyway, you may want to read some Wikipedia articles about this technology. I think, they're nice and informative, at least, they will explain the basics:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_dot_sight
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collimator_sight
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflector_sight
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_weapon_s...

    You may also see some YouTube videos, i think, pretty much every video will do. Just type something like "how does holographic/red dot/anyway sights work", or maybe just "anyway sight". There is a video called "Reflex sight comparison", which i see pretty often

    I'm not a weapon expert, sadly, so i can't say anymore than that (for now, at least). I think, that "they're better" because, unlike with iron sights, you don't need to line rear and front sights. The point itself is projected on the target, which is simplifying the aiming process

    And, here's some pictures for you:



    I hope, this information was helpful!
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