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Open and collimator hunting sights: a short course

Conventionally, hunting sights can be divided into two categories: purely mechanical devices and devices based on effects in optical glass – prisms and lenses. The first includes open and diopter sights, the second – collimator and optical sights. The latter, because of the huge species diversity, deserve separate consideration, only the main types of grids are a good dozen.

Collimator sight
Collimator sights, despite the sufficient complexity of these devices, are related to open devices in the field of application, covering short shooting distances, in particular, on corral hunts. There is also no image magnification, adjustment of its multiplicity, dioptric adjustment to the features of vision, which is typical for most optical sights. But the wide field, the lack of parallax, and the ability to change the viewing angle make them an excellent option for shooting at moving targets.

Collimators are divided into passive ones, which do not require a power source, and active ones, in which the sighting mark in the form of a bright point is additionally highlighted and does not depend on the level of external illumination. For aiming, it is enough to combine it with the target, while the angle of view is absolutely not important, the main thing is not to lose sight of the target.

collimator sight

When the pupil is shifted, the sighting mark is also visually shifted, in reality remaining at the point of aiming. This makes the shot accurate even when the animal suddenly appears and shoots offhand without the correct tab.

Collimators are open and closed types. It has only one lens, and the light source is located at the base.


They are characterized by an excellent overview, small weight and dimensions that do not violate the weight distribution of weapons.

A special type of open collimators are holographic sights, in which a hologram located on a special reflector acts as a mark.

holographic collimator

With higher accuracy of these devices, they are subject to a kind of” illumination ” of the image from bright lighting sources. Besides, they cost a lot more than their fellows.

In a closed collimator, the light source that forms the label is located in a sealed case and, in addition to the front lens, there is also an eyepiece.


Among the main advantages is the ability to resist the effects of the environment. Expensive devices from well-known manufacturers are originally designed for harsh operating conditions.

The image of all three types of collimators is also formed differently.

the image in the collimator

In recent years, the capabilities of collimator sights have expanded even more. So, there were devices with variable magnification multiplicity, usually 1-4x. in the basic mode, they act in their usual role, when changing the multiplicity, they turn into an optical sight-beater. Some models can work with night monoculars, which brings their capabilities closer to the much more expensive PNV.

Open sight
It is already more than one hundred years old, but finally the combination of the rear sight and the front sight is not going to pass. In the simplest version, the target is stationary, and the front sight can not be adjusted. Basically, such devices have been preserved on smoothbore weapons and are quite successfully used for shooting at short distances. Frame sights as a more advanced version allow you to step or smoothly adjust the angle of sight for long distances, which are divided into sectors in the hundreds of meters.

open sight

1. Sight pad. 2. Sector. 3. Sighting bar

For obvious reasons, sector sights have found their main use on rifled weapons, including army models.

The very technology of aiming is extremely simple and intuitive, but it implies strict requirements to the state of vision and in General to the” physics ” of the hunter: it is one thing to keep the optical mark on the target, and quite another – to keep the front sight located strictly in the center of the slot of the rear sight.


The figure shows the method of aiming the bull’s-eye target, there is the option under “Apple”, but used it mainly for pistols and its features are due to purely military use of personal weapons.

The most simplified version of open devices is the sighting bar. It is most popular on shotguns, designed mainly for shooting in flight, when it is almost impossible to confidently combine the front sight with the sight slot. In this case, the plane of the bar itself sets the line of sight and allows you to confidently work with the choice of the lead.


Basically, there are monolithic and ventilated sighting bars. The latter are, rather, a fashion statement, since they provide a more attractive appearance to the weapon.


Rapid cooling is necessary when you have to do a lot of shots in a row, for example, for bench shooting. In hunting practice, beautiful curly slits only serve as an additional mud collector, which is already enough for weapons. The slats themselves are flat and with a groove, narrow and wide (mainly on sports guns).

In recent years, the classic front sight for open sights has often been replaced by fiber-optic structures. Their light-absorbing properties allow the shooter to concentrate as quickly as possible, in addition, they are high-contrast and give additional advantages in low light conditions.


The main drawback is the low mechanical strength, and guns that were not originally intended for them also have incorrect independent installation in most cases. At the same time, due to additional fasteners, the front sight goes up, and the gun begins to noticeably “lower”.

The good old open sight, constantly being upgraded, is not going to die in the near future. Moreover, many mounts for optics on hunting and especially army weapons are made in such a way that you can use the regular rear sight and front sight, for example, when the OP fails. There is another type of mechanical device-dioptric (ring) sights.


They did not find much distribution in hunting, mainly limited to the military and sports spheres. According to the technique of aiming, when it is enough to combine the front sight with the target without focusing on the rear sight, they remind the heroes of the next review.

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