TACTICAL TRAINING: Maintain the Ability to Shoot With Iron Sights


During some pre-deployment training I was going through for a gig some time ago I had to qualify at the range with a pistol and rifle along with a group of other guys.  None of the guys I was with were worried about not qualifying, they were all ex-‘this and that’s’ so doing a simple “loot and shoot” weapons qual was a 'no biggie' for them.

That is until we go to the range, and 30% of them flunked the rifle quals like a mo-fo, I am not talking about not qualifying by a few rounds – most of their targets looked like someone blasted it with a shotgun full of buckshot from the hip.

Even after retrying a couple of times less than half of them passed, the other half, took the “slow plane of shame” back home while waving bye-bye to a six-figure job. And the guys who passed on the first try didn’t do a hell of a lot better; about a quarter of them still had targets that looked like Helen Keller was shooting at it.

Like I said above, all of these guys were former military, law enforcement, contractors and a few greener guys with some solid weapons training under their belts.

So why did they do so miserably at the range?

Simple – Iron Sights

Most of these guys have been using some sort of optic for so long they had completely forgotten how to shoot with iron sights – and when they had to run and gun with iron sights it was just pitiful.

You should have seen the looks on some of their faces when the instructors started handing out M-4’s with straight-up factory iron sights. The mumbling started right away; “open sights, are you serious?” and “fuck man, I didn’t know we weren’t using optics”, one guy even asked “who’s issuing the ACOG’s?”

Not much more I can add to this article except these two things:

1. If you are considering a career in security contracting learn (or re-learn) how to shoot without optics. As Bubba M. would say “there are no golden connex’s in the suck” so don’t expect to get issued a rifle with a shiny new EoTech.

2. Even if you are not planning a career in security contracting you may want to spend some time on the range or in a training course shooting from open sights. Just saying.

And how did I do? Well, I have never used optics on my rifles so “top of the class on the M-4 baby”


~James G Founder - Editor in Chief

James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long; he has traveled to over 50 countries chasing fortune and glory. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns with iron sights and writing poorly written articles