The Different Types of Weapon Sights & Scopes

The Different Types of Weapon Sights & Scopes

Jun 21st 2023

Even though using a firearm shouldn’t always be the go-to option for a police officer, having precise aim when using one is critical. If you’re even a little off, you could miss your target or hit something you shouldn’t have.

While practice at the range is, by far, the best way to improve your aim, having the right attachments for your weapon of choice will help you out as well. For this post, we’ll focus specifically on sites and scopes since they will be the main component that’ll help you line up shots.

With so many options to choose from, though, it can get a bit overwhelming, and you’ll want to make sure you get the right kind. Fortunately, we’re here to go over the different types of weapon sights and scopes so you can get the kind that works best for you and your firearm of choice.

Iron Sights

Let’s start this list off with the option that comes preinstalled on every gun you own: the iron sights. While not made of iron anymore, these sights typically use steel or polymer plastic and can be shaped in several different ways. Regardless of the design, the goal is usually to line up a defined point at the front of the firearm with a groove at the back. Once you do, your shot should precisely hit the intended target.

However, this method isn’t always the most accurate, especially at longer ranges. You can purchase iron sights for your weapon that are easier to see or have adjustable configurations. But if you want to see your targets better, a different type of sight or scope will be necessary.

Reflex Sights

The first upgraded option on the list is the reflex sight. This replaces the iron sight lining up method with a simple red dot that’s projected onto the glass. You can adjust the dot’s placement to help your shots be more accurate at certain ranges, but these sights are typically best on weapons tuned for close range.

This is because reflex sights don’t have any magnification options. They use a single piece of glass that acts as a window for the red dot to project onto. While some people might choose to save their money and stick to their iron sights, reflexes give you the added benefit of being able to line up your shots quickly. That benefit is very useful to an officer in the line of duty.

Holographic Sights

If you like the idea of a reflex sight but would like to have more customization options available, you should check out holographic sights instead. These sights don’t magnify your target, but they allow you more control over the reticle options. For example, you can change the reticle to be more than a simple dot, making it easier to line up shots. You can also adjust the opacity, making visibility through the reticle a bit easier.

Due to these extra features, holographic sights are much more expensive than standard reflex sights, but having those options is worth the money to some users. Regardless of whether you want one, it’s hard to deny that the technology behind this design is quite impressive.

Prism Sights

So far, all our sight options have been ones that don’t have any form of magnification, a feature that’s necessary for long-distance precision. The prism sight is the first option to utilize this feature. By using a prism-like system of glass, these sights allow you to zoom in a fair amount when looking through them.

While this magnification is typically set at a fixed interval, it’s the only way to achieve this feature in a smaller sight. Normally, you’d need a full scope to do this. Because of that, using a prism sight is the ideal way to have a sidearm with magnification on it. While this isn’t something many officers feel like they need, it’s nice to have the option.

Telescopic Scopes

Let’s move on to scopes, the primary way to achieve magnification when you aim. Scopes are much longer than any of the other types of sights on this list, so they’re best used for many of the rifles police officers carry. However, that length comes with a long list of benefits. For one, there are many adjustable options that’ll make your shots more accurate—most importantly, variable zoom. With the ability to change your level of zoom, you can effectively make your rifle a close- or long-range weapon.

However, the number of options also has a downside—aiming might take a bit longer than usual. If your rifle is set for long range and you suddenly need to use it for a closer target, you’ll have several adjustments to make to fix the scope. In most scenarios, switching to your sidearm will be much faster.

Night Vision Scopes

Even though these are similar in style and build to a telescopic scope, we decided to give night vision scopes their own category. As the name implies, these scopes allow you to see your target in low-light environments. Although these scopes are most popular among hunters, the built-in infrared illuminator has many uses in law enforcement. You’ll just want to ensure you have alternative aiming methods when using your rifle during the daytime.

Laser Sights

Even though the final entry in our list of the different types of weapon sights and scopes is labeled as a sight, it doesn’t really qualify as one. However, the laser sight is still a useful tool for aiming a firearm, which is why we’ve included it. Unlike the other types we’ve talked about, you don’t look through a laser sight to aim since it attaches to the side or bottom of your barrel. Instead, you use it to line up your shots by looking at your target since the laser marks the spot you’re aiming at.

This allows officers to aim more precisely without having to aim down sights. While aiming down sights is still the best method for ensuring an accurate shot, a laser sight allows you to aim from the hip when fast reaction shots are necessary.

Which One Should You Get?

In all honesty, the best option is simply what works best for you. Some officers prefer something with some level of zoom, while others want a sight that allows them to aim their guns more quickly. Whatever method you prefer, you can find your sight or scope of choice through our online store. We have all kinds of Trijicon optics for sale, so you’ll be able to find the exact type you’re looking for, whether it’s improved iron sights or a fully-kitted scope.

The Different Types of Weapon Sights & Scopes