I understand the importance of check weld when using iron sights or especially magnified optics (medium/high powered scopes). But what baffles me is the importance some place on check weld when mounting and using unmagnified red dot or holo-sight optics (especially on A1/A2 ARs).
My understanding (and how I actually use these types of sights) is that these optics were designed to be used with both eyes open (focused on the target) and with a “heads up” stance. In fact, it is the ability to use this type of optic in this manner that makes it such a valuable asset to the shooter. A big plus is that with this type of optic, as long as you can place the “red dot” on the target, you are going to hit it, regardless of where your head/cheek is in relationship to the optic or the weapon. I think that this capability is most important in a combat situation where while “shooting and scooting” you may have neither the ability nor the desire to make sure you have a “proper” shooting stance or a “proper” cheek weld.
I read (almost daily) posts that deal with the concern of how to mount unmagnified optics in order to get the best cheek weld. In fact, I believe that an inordinate amount of time and effort is spent on searching for this “holy grail”.
Some good examples of useful optics setups that basically don’t allow for any cheek weld (or at least a proper one) would be the PK-AS line of Russian black dot/red dot optics designed for the AK series of rifles.
PK-AS Black Dot/Red Dot Optics:
Standard offset version of PK-AS on the left - High mount, centered version on the right.
These optics either sit offset, left of the centerline of the barrel or extremely high above the centerline of the barrel. I use this type of optic on some of my AKs. As soon as you get over the concern of where the optic is mounted (in relationship to “conventional” locations), it takes very little effort to use this optic and consistently hit targets.
Handle Mounted Red Dot Optic:
My wife's RRA 9mm carbine with a Burris XTS-135 mounted on the A2 upper.
Though my wife has been shooting for some time, she still is not a “seasoned” marksman (or markswoman? ). To be quite frank, I doubt that she knows the term "cheek weld". But she has no problem reaching out and consistently hitting the mark with her handle-mounted optic.
I would be interested in other’s thoughts and opinions on this topic.
While certainly less important than for magnified sights or irons parallax free sights are not parallax free... they are reduced parallax and if you desire precision you should remember that. Being able to index the rifle to the same point for irons or dot sights means you dont have to think about about it and you can deploy irons through the dot sight if needed. Then there is the issue with NV units behind the dot sights or magnifiers behind dot sights. These need correct optic height as well. Finally, we have the height over bore issues. This will change your hold overs if the optic is too high and create more need to offset the optic height for shooting up close. There are many reasons a dot sight should not be too high on an AR.