Critical look at collimator sights

The problem of weapons tuning from year to year all the more captures the minds of most gun owners. Handles, butts, target designators, sights, countless extras and accessories.

Having plunged into this world, you involuntarily recall a brilliant markete trick with a Barbie doll. They started making and selling dolls hundreds of years ago, but the idea of ​​making parents buy a house for them, a horse and a life partner really turned the industry around.

Thrust to the tuning of weapons is international and knows no boundaries

Naturally, gun tuning – these are not just toys. Most of the items have a clear, clear purpose, but this fact often disappears under a hail of arguments, for example: “so much cooler!”, “I saw it with“ Alpha! ”,“ But suddenly it will come in handy ”and finally“ well, I don’t know, I like that more convenient”.

It’s impossible to describe the whole variety of tuning in one article, so today I would like to touch on just one point – the installation collimator sights on the modification of the Kalashnikov.

Opinions are particularly polar on this issue. One group of experts says that without collimator sight modern weapons are unthinkable, and that only with them you can shoot quickly and accurately.

Another group, with no less enthusiasm, claims that collimator sight – creations of the devil or at least of the American special services, created solely in order to break the combat readiness of our army in the coming confrontation with the soulless west.

One of the leading specialists of the second group, a brilliant speaker and a gifted writer, went further in his rhetoric.

In a personal conversation, he argued that “with collimator sight it’s impossible to get anywhere, “because collimator sight there is nothing like the front sight and the rear sight, brought together and painted in red .. In this situation, it was logical to invite the speaker to stand up to the targets and come under fire from a machine gun, but I restrained myself, because I was visiting and on important business.

Of course, the opinion of such recognized authorities should not be questioned. But I still, on the basis of personal experience, will express my non-expert opinion

First you need to understand why you need collimator sight and what are its real advantages. Usually, the question “why do you need collimator?”People respond” you can shoot faster with him. ” This is not entirely true. Competitive practice of the sport “practical shooting” is an excellent measure of speed and accuracy of shooting.

If you analyze the protocols of the karabiner competition, look at how the arrows of the “standard” and “open” classes go through the exercise, and shoot yourself in both classes, it will become obvious that the difference in shooting speed, especially at short distances, is quite small.

Why, then, need a collimator sight?

The answer to this question comes when you have to shoot away from a clean and beautiful, well-lit army shooting range, with neat trenches and slender rows of elevators stretching into the horizon.

1. Shooting under reduced visibility

I remember my first “moment of awareness” on this topic many years ago, when I first had to shoot a machine gun at night. Seven years of bullet shooting, the Moscow team, a bunch of medals – all this ceased to matter at one moment, when I realized that I don’t see the fly, and the target is barely visible, and only if you don’t take your eyes off it.

Of course, you can tie a fly with a whole white thread, smear aiming devices with luminous nail polish, seek out the notorious radioactive nozzles or, as recommended by the instruction, look for bright spots on the battlefield, so that, as recommended by the official instruction, on a light background and take a flat fly, then, moving the machine gun, lead the aiming line to the middle of the silhouette and open fire. “

But collimator sight solves this problem more effectively. Focusing on the target, a simple aiming mark is perfectly visible in the dark. Test shots time after time show that with collimator sight trainees are much more effective at hitting all types of targets in conditions of limited visibility — and you don’t need to be an academic to understand why. Of course, in complete darkness, infrared laser and night vision devices will be more effective, but this is a topic for another conversation.

2. Shooting at moving targets

All experienced instructors know how hard it is to organize classes with shooting at moving targets. Movements with lifts on the shooting ranges are few, they are far and do not work well. Self-made designs of matches and acorns are unreliable and often fail. And the radio-controlled robots, as usual, were not delivered, and the authorities are twisting their fingers at the temple on the proposal for such a purchase. Radio-controlled machines, tracked robots taken from sappers and the most ancient mechanism — a target on a stick, waving by an instructor or an unlucky employee — are used.

Several years ago, at small competitions for regional special forces, we managed to build one moving target. And again, I remember the moment of a sudden realization of the scale of the problem, when both I and well-trained employees missed time after time, disbelieving themselves. It is clear that after a small workout, everyone began to fall, but it is impossible to ignore the fact that we are shooting at an unacceptably small amount of moving targets.

But here collimator facilitates the task again. We cling to the target, instantly let down the aiming mark – the result usually does not keep itself waiting. Of course, with mechanics you can get, the question is in the amount of time spent on training.

3. Shooting from uncomfortable positions

Combat shooting, as is known, is characterized by the fact that the shooter also wants to live. And therefore it is necessary to shoot from behind cover. Breaks in the walls, from under the car, between the wheels of armored personnel carriers. It is not always possible to provide the perfect tab and clearly see the mechanical sighting.

A few years ago there was an opportunity to learn from American instructors. I went to a distant country on a tactical course, and now …

In the photo – the author of the article before the meeting with the rotten sedan. The weapon is too high for shooting from under a regular car, even if you change the shoulder.

We work in pairs, we cover each other, we leave, the command sounds — shoot from behind the car. I smirk inwardly, thinking – “right now, I will show them how to do it, I did it a thousand times,” I fall on my side, hide behind the wheel and suddenly realize that I am aiming exactly at the threshold of the car. And again, “the moment of awareness” – every time before that in Russia, I shot from under an SUV, and here a rotten sedan with sagging shock absorbers, whose clearance is less than two times. I had to get out – the machine gun on the concrete, arched, stretched its neck, I saw a point on the very edge of the sight, I was shooting.

In such circumstances, the presence or absence collimator sight determines whether you can, in principle, make an aimed shot or not.

4. Training beginner shooters

The analogy here is very simple. Collimator – as an automatic transmission, facilitate the process of elementary education at times. Instead of pulling gears, squeezing the clutch, you simply turn on the “drive” and turn the steering wheel. The same with shooting. Instead of the mysterious pillars and flies, the recruit of the generation of call of duty sees a red dot and can quietly learn to work with the descent and other aspects of the initial infantry training.

The same machine

Then, of course, it is imperative to teach a person to work with mechanics, without this he simply will not be a shooter, but the initial training collimator simplifies. If we are talking about working with sane people, with brains and normal vision, then it’s worth starting with mechanics, but the current caliber recruiting contingent sometimes leaves no choice.

The same in work. I remember during the first trip as part of the PMC we were given four machine guns, only one of which was with collimator. After deliberation, the most fashionable machine gun was given to the least experienced employee, because the rest will cope, and so on. collimator obviously help compensate for the lack of skill.

It is because of the numerous “moments of awareness” that I had the opinion that collimator sight – This is a necessary and important thing to use.

“What kind of crap is that?”, The attentive reader will ask. Why then the article is called “Collimator sights – critical eye“. After all, this is just another traitor-podindosnik advertises enemy toys, which enemies will disconnect from the satellite, and not disconnect – so they will burn out electromagnetic radiation !!!

And the sight is the best, and the mount seems to be reliable. One problem – the collimator is backwards.

“Wait a minute, wait a minute” – may I answer an attentive reader. We have not reached the most important. Namely, until the moment when dreams of collimators tragically often broken about reality. And that’s why.

In order to collimator sight was effective, three factors must be observed:

  • The sight must be of high quality.
  • Mount sight must ensure the preservation of the TAP (mid-point hit) in all conditions.
  • The shooter must know the ballistics of the ammunition and understand where he needs to aim at each of the distances.

We analyze each item in more detail.

Reflex sight must be of high quality

By the will of fate, I had to use a lot of different sights. A quality sight, in my understanding, works on one battery for several years, withstands all the same tests for survivability as weapons (throws from a height, +50, -50, shooting a full weapon resource in extreme modes and much more). Therefore, my rating of quality sights looks like this:

  1. Aimpoint

It so happened that for eight months I watched the passage Aimpoint sights through a full, qualified tests with weapons. Deserts, mountains, snow, mud, frost, shooting for a resource and much more. There was an opportunity to talk with representatives of the company, work together and learn more deeply how scopes are created, manufactured and tested. The approach to each of the stages is impressive. For example, soon Aimpoint will release a new sight. But they do not carry it on exhibitions. They carry it through trials all over the world, test it in an atmosphere of complete secrecy to see to the end that the thing turned out without flaws.

But there are also disadvantages Aimpoint. Not once did my batteries die much earlier than the promised five years. Have Micro T-1 STF seriously goes away depending on the position of the point of the sight relative to the edge. This effect is beautifully described by M. Degtyarev in the magazine “Kalashnikov” 11/2015 year. With the next model, T-2, this effect no longer exists.

Trijicon MRO appeared recently and while statistics are not enough. RMR on the machines I have not tried.

All details about EOTech are here.

Eotech I do not like for a long time. Especially strong after the new EXPS2 with a fresh battery just picked up and passed out on my AK 103 when firing a queue. It was fun. Sportsmen always complained that the brand will fade with time. For a few respected people, it just broke down.

And then for Eotech the hour of reckoning has come. On the Russian Internet, this miraculous phenomenon was not particularly noticed, so I’ll tell you about the details. First, the US Special Operations Command issued an official warning about the problems of these scopes. With a serious change in temperature, the STP went to 5-6 MOA. The company manufacturer struggled with this very interesting way – they removed from the instruction manual information about what temperatures the sight was designed for. As a result, the manufacturer paid 25.6 million fine to the state, and ordinary civilians sent their sights to the manufacturer in cars for a refund.

And even if it hadn’t happened, Eotech in itself is relatively heavy, the time of work on one battery is insufficient, it is extremely difficult to ensure alignment with mechanical sights.

Very well lately products of firm show themselves Holosun, but they have not yet gained the necessary credibility. So far, the tests show excellent work time, excellent reliability, but it is psychologically hard to get confidence in the Chinese sight.

The mount of the collimator sight should be reliable

Welcome to the unique and wonderful world of hundreds of ingenious devices designed to mount optics on AK. By itself, this topic pulls into a separate dissertation, so we consider only the most general points.

The issue of mounting optics is not really unique. The same problems are experienced by owners of Czech VZ 58, old G-3, FN FAL, and in general, all weapons of the Cold War.

The realistic options for attaching a collimator to a rifle are as follows:

  1. on the gas tube (trunk pad),
  2. instead of the aiming bar,
  3. on the receiver cover,
  4. on the side bracket.

1. Fastening on the gas tube

Gas tube from the company “Ultimak”

The most deserved option here, of course, is the gas tube from the company “Ultimak“. A small company with an awkward site, from barely noticeable on a map of Moscow in Idaho, has created one of the most effective ways of attaching collimators on the Kalashnikov rifle.

pros everyone knows – STF does not go away, the weight of the weapon practically does not increase. At failure collimator in its lower part, the mechanical sights remain visible, which allows you to continue aimed fire.

Mount the collimator to the gas tube

Minuses also obvious. Not every sight can be comfortably mounted on a gas tube, it will have to be cleaned without removing it. “Scout” mount sight far from the eye is not convenient to everyone.

And most importantly – the gas tube inevitably heats up, heating collimator. Depending on various factors, this can lead to the failure of the sight.

Various handguards – thousands of them, have the same set of problems. Not all have sufficient rigidity and almost all of them are slightly higher than the “ultimak” and its copies, so that the rear sight with the front sight collimator no longer visible.

2. Instead of the aiming bar

Mount instead of standard sights

We are talking about strips like “Nomad“. A very interesting and logical solution. Mounting the sight on the block of the aiming bar makes sense – this part is not removed when disassembling and fixed on the trunk and front insert of the receiver. The sights are securely fastened, the STP does not go away if everything is properly secured. Not everyone gets it right the first time.

The problem of such an attachment is obvious – the shooter deprives himself of the opportunity to use regular aiming devices. For sport, this is not a problem; for other situations, the reason is at least to think very seriously.

3. On the receiver cover

The most logical installation of the sight looks somewhere near the receiver cover. But, as we remember, AK the cover is removable, and often has a backlash. I met a group of specialists at one VPK enterprise, who claimed that this was not a problem at all and that they simply welded the picatini bar onto a regular cover. This is an interesting concept, but in general, most people want something more reliable.

Mount the collimator on the receiver cover

So far there is no universal, unambiguously proven solution in this area. Cover fromZenith“It shows itself well, but for its installation it is necessary to put a handguard, which for example I absolutely do not need.

Cover off Fab defense it looks interesting, but no one has yet seen the results of full-fledged long-term trial operation.

Prospectively look new versions of kits from Caa, but the price of many stops.

Polar opinions are expressed about the Texan Dog leg. In some, it doesn’t hold a stop at all, others swear that the human mind has not yet created anything better. But if you look at things objectively – by installing this cover, we again completely lose our staff pillar. Is it not easier then to install one of the options “Nomada ”which is six times cheaper?

4. On the side bracket

Fixing on the regular places – “dovetail”

Actually, the only option provided by the manufacturer. This is his main plus. No modifications, file hours, and boss frowns trying to understand what you did with the standard weapon.

The drawbacks of the side bracket are obvious – the weight of the weapon increases, the butt cannot be folded, the side slats on the machines often play, and not all machines have them. Now on the market a lot of manufacturers of brackets, there is no point in listing all.

In general, the meaning is very simple – if you do not have a reliable and proven mount of the sight on the weapon, the best collimator It will not just be useless, but harmful. The sudden withdrawal of STP is a very unpleasant event, akin to unexpected sexual impotence.

And finally, the third condition for the effectiveness of your collimator

The shooter should know the ammunition ballistics perfectly.

It is important to know the ballistics of the ammunition well and clearly understand where to aim at each of the distances.

Suppose that the stars were formed so that you had a quality sight in your hands, you reliably installed it on a weapon, shot it, tested it in your program and were completely satisfied. Fine. The last thing left is to shoot the sight at all distances and understand where you need to aim at each of the possible distances.

Ballistics and zeroing – the topic of at least a separate article. Just remember that until all your colleagues have figured out where they need to aim at 25, 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, 450 and 500 meters, a complex of arrows-weapons with collimator will be less effective than the shooter with a conventional machine.

A simple and efficient table that Aimpoint completes with its products.


Only if all three factors are observed, namely: a high-quality sight, reliable mounting and full knowledge of the ballistics of ammunition, you will achieve an increase in the effectiveness of the fire. And if you ignore any of these points, collimator on your weapon will not even be useless, but simply a dangerous toy.

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