Accuracy and Optics Placement

rail placement

Accuracy by volume is a great concept; however time is working against you with that process. In order for us to be efficient little gunfighters we need true accuracy; accurate with each shot. This all starts with us the shooter. We need a good foundation of the basics to be able to function efficiently and accurately. Through training and practice we can increase our accuracy, efficiency, and overall speed. We can get the most accurate weapon and give it to someone who is not trained and efficient and they will not perform as well as one who is trained. When I mention efficiency I’m referring to effective weapon manipulation and sufficient speed of getting on target, pressing the trigger and providing follow up shots as needed and doing this all while still making accurate hits on target.

Once we iron out our performance issues then we can focus on weapon improvements. Some of these deficiencies we can address immediately while we train. A weapon’s accuracy is a combination of ammo, the weapon itself, whatever sighting system it uses, and how those last two components are put together (mounts). If we have an quality firearm but a cheap optic you have negated the benefits of your quality firearm. If you have an quality firearm and a quality optic but use a subpar mount you might as well use hobby level weapons and airsoft optics.

When we have our quality weapon, good quality ammo, and quality optic working in conjunction due to a quality mount you have a complete system. Pair this system with a trained and efficient shooter – you have an outstanding combination. There is still a facet of this system that needs addressing – where to place the optic. With magnified optics eye relief is the largest factor to consider. Without proper eye relief the scope is not set up in an optimal fashion. When using a magnified optic, you should place the optic far enough from your eye to be able to clearly see all the edges of the ocular lens without any blurriness or obstruction of what you are aiming at.

With red dot sights (RDS) you not have the issue of eye relief. People put red dots all over weapons. Unfortunately some of those placements are subpar. When you think about the firearm, specifically the AR-15 platform, you need to place optics were there will be the least amount of free movement. That place is on the actual upper receiver. Personal preference plus additional equipment is going to dictate where exactly you want to put your optic on the upper receiver. Rear backup iron sights, magnifiers, night vision all take up space on the upper receiver if you use them. Ultimately it is user preference on where one will place their optic on the rail of the upper receiver. With so many variances in peoples’ facial structure there is no specific right place to put an RDS. Some prefer the RDS forward on the receiver while others prefer is all the way back on the receiver. You may want to experiment with all the potential mounting areas before making a decision.

When using any type of optic, a solid mounting area is mandatory. Again, this optimal area is on the rail of the upper receiver. Placing an optic on an area of the weapon that may move independently of the barrel removes any accuracy the combination of weapon and RDS may have provided (that hobby gun plus airsoft optic again). Placing a red dot on handguards is not a good idea unless you are running a monolithic upper receiver manufactured by a quality company, *there still may be movement that is not obvious based on pressure you place on the handguard. A monolithic upper receiver is both the upper receiver and handguard all in one piece. Free float handguards just mean the hand guards are not in contact with the barrel and attaches at the receiver – they are not monolithic and still have movement. From 1 to 7 yards you may not notice a difference, the further the distance to target the more dramatic the variance. I have heard shooters defend mounting their RDS on their handguard rails saying they are faster this way and they prefer an unobstructed view – obviously at the cost of accuracy.


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