The Secret History of Offset Sights

By John Paul

Backup sight systems are such a basic part of AR configurations now, it’s hard for many shooters to remember a time before they’d caught on.

If I step into the “way back machine,” I remember a customer that came into my retail store back in the mid-80s. He brought with him is Browning BAR hunting rifle looking for the best of both worlds.

He wanted the variable-power scope for range but realized the limitations. When hunting whitetail here in Minnesota, many of the deer will be within 25 yards and on the move through dense brush. Even at 3x, a 3-9x scope was way too much.

The solution to that was the original Aimpoint sight the customer already had. He was hoping I could coble something together to let him use both.

After giving it some thought, I added another set of rings to the scope mounted upside-down. I mounted these to the bottom of the Aimpoint, which rested on top of the variable scope. This way, he just had to lift his head slightly to use the dot sight.

Needless to say, this was a heavy setup but it got the job done.

When we first mounted a JPoint microdot sight on top of the Trijicon ACOG, I can trace the thought process right back to this customer. It was all about keeping the rifle from being limited by its own optics.

Of course, the mounting solution was only part of it. We also had to crack the tolerance stack-up issues, which required shimming the sight to ensure the ability to zero on all weapons platforms.

The combination of the ACOG and JPoint with a protective winged mount made for a combat-hardened setup. It proved the most effective system in the Mideast conflicts for years. Soldiers could handle close-range threats while maintaining the optical precision and capability of one of the best combat optics ever.

I can only hope that many of our soldiers came home safe because of this idea.


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