I have searched Google, THR.org, and this website for the answer to my questions, but I have not found good answers for all of my questions so far. I am hoping you can help me!
Regarding front sights, what is the best method?
1) Stock front sight as it appears on M16A2.
2) Folding Front Sight on gas block
3) Folding Front Sight on foregrip rail
Now, to explain what I mean by best. In my mind (and others, I suppose) the stock sight is quite sturdy and cheap. While I value this, and like the way the standard front sight looks, I am looking to build a rifle that has as much flexibility as possible.
The real answer I am seeking is between numbers two and three. Which one would be the most reliable? For example, using the same sight, which setup is more likely to lose its zero due to movement and such?
Please ignore my ignorance, as I know nothing about weapons and how to efficiently use them, but it seems to me that a sight that is attached directly to the barrel (via the gas block - or directly by some other method) would provide the best results.
Now, will someone please school my young ignorant behind?
What kind of rifle set up are you running? Long range precision? KISS truck gun? Are you running optics or just iron sights?
Thanks for a reply!
I am not running any rifle at the moment. What kind of rifle do I want to run, you ask?
I envision a 16 incher with mid-length gas system with a CompM4. For recreation and self defense (let's hope I never have to use it for that though.)
I am also debating on using rifle length handguards on the 16 inch. The extra space is nice, but I am guessing the barrel exposed directly to the air cools faster. I also might want to play with a bayonet one day (I doubt it.)
For your first rifle I'd personally recommend getting something with the A2 sights. And then if you want to later you can swap them out for a flip up front sight. Or you can just do what most of us do....and build a whole new rifle
Most stable. No moving parts. usually pinned to the barrel. Will be in the FOV of CCO types. Will "ghost" in low power magnified optics.
If you are referring to the units that are still basically one piece with a gas block, but the sight tower folds down, this will be the next step down from above. A rail mounted sight on a railed gas block would probably be close enough to be almost identical, but it will be two units and could suffer from stacked tolerances. This assumes you are buying quality gear and not low-bid stuff. Some of these are clamp-type, and depending on how well they are installed (dimples for set screws, etc) they may or may not hold up to real world use. Not a problem for safe queens or plinkers.
Least reliable in terms of holding zero, especially in free float tubes. By nature of being free float, the tube (to which the sight is mounted) will drift when force is applied to it. This could be from a bipod, sling, rest, or simply holding it. Since this force will likely not be uniform, your sight will drift accordingly. If you keep in mind that these are largely BUIS arrangements and that they are by definition back ups or to be used in emergencies and at relatively close range to shoot minute of bad guy, it will be fine. If you expect a BUIS to give you NM results regardless of reality, this set-up might trouble you.
Not sure that I'm tracking on how the fixed FSB loses flexibility.
In terms of reliability and being idiot proof, pretty much.
ETA: You mention using longer guards/rails on carbine barrel. If you use a model that has a cut-out for the FSB you can use a fixed FSB. Otherwise you will need a rail mounted sight, a low-pro block and rail mounted sights (for the gas block), or you could have someone install either a non-function FSB/gas block with sight forward of the rails.