Ever have a hard time picking up your front sight in low light? The AR15/M16 series rifle has developed into an excellent system with more accessories supporting it than any other weapon on the planet. For good reason. With the correct barrel twist and bullet (sadly, something, the military has turned away from with it's 1:7 twist), it's highly effective and reliable. Still, there is always room for more and Ned Scheer of Mounting Solutions Plus has recently patented a new front sight called the SIGHTLINK, Part no. FOS-070-MS1, that will, I believe, prove to be a great success. Based on the fiber optic sights one might find on rifles and shotguns, Ned has gone the extra mile and made an AR15 specific sight that not only adjusts for elevation as the original, but can then be adjusted again so that the blade of the sight aligns properly. This special feature is what sets it apart from all others and is what generated the patent. Most fiber optic sights can only be adjusted in 180 degree rotations, which makes it impossible to exactly set your front sight without having to readjust your rear sight. In other words, as is typical of National Match sights and fiber optic sights, you would normally only be able to get "close" to the perfect zero, but then you have to diddle with your rear sight until you get your actual Center Mass or Six O'clock hold as desired. On the AR15A2 with Match sights, this is only a minor inconvenience, but on the A1 it is a total washout. An AR15A2 with a standard rear sight also presents a problem, as it does not have the fine adjustability of the A2 Match sight.
Ned's solution was to create a multi-position front sight that has twice the number of detents as the standard AR15A2 (four clicks) or the AR15A1 (five clicks). His front sight has a total of eight clicks, which provides a very fine and precise adjustment. He was able to do this by creating a way to rotate the sight blade to the correct position once you have your proper and exact elevation dialed in with the front sight. This is possible WITHOUT effecting your elevation. The detent is held in place as normal, but the sight blade itself is pinned in a manner that allows 360-degree rotation.
This unique rotation feature allowed a second equally unique feature to be worked into the design. Once your elevation is set, you now have a choice of two diameters for the fiber optic dot. A large diameter dot is available for low light or quick acquisition of your target, or a finer, smaller dot for precise aim in prone position or better-lighted situations. A simple rotation of the sight blade and you now have a choice not available with any other sight on the market.
My first question as I examined this feature was "how well will the blade stay in position during rapid fire". The answer is: perfectly. It doesn't move. The resistance to rotation is high and it would take an intentional effort to rotate the sight blade. Mounting Solutions Plus provides a sight adjustment tool with the kit. It's similar to your standard A1 or A2 front sight adjustment tool, only designed specifically to work with the double layer of the SIGHTLINK front sight. It will also work with a standard A2 front sight, but I would reserve it for use only with the SIGHTLINK.
Mounting Solutions Plus also provides a few more goodies in the kit. First is a tool that makes perfect sense and once you use it, you wonder why you've not cobbed up something like this yourself. Then you realize this is so much nicer than what you would have done. One of the most annoying and troublesome issues with front sight adjustment on the AR15/M16 series is depressing the spring-loaded detent block into the front sight base so that you can rotate the sight. The military teaches using the tip of a projectile. We all now how well that works. Sight tools themselves are designed to depress this block, but often fail if you do not have them aligned properly. Ned tossed in a handy little tool which acts as a depressor. It appears to be a small diameter Allen wrench with a rubberized tip with which you can depress the detent block and easily rotate the front sight.
The second tool is, as mentioned, a well-designed sight adjustment tool similar in design to the standard A2 adjustment tool, only specifically designed to work with the SIGHTLINK. It is machined with a high level of finish and quite sturdy.
Also included are three, 3.75" long stands of fiber optic rod. Red, Green, and Yellow. The sight itself comes with a Red fiber optic rod already installed, but the additional rods may be used to experiment with color to find the one that works best for you. The sight blade itself is 1/4" long, so you have, in effect, an additional 11 to 12, 1/4" rods in each color. Figure 12 replacement rods if you are not too sloppy at cutting the rod into segments. Changing out the rods is explained in detail in the fully illustrated instruction booklet provided with the kit. The manual is a glossy full color booklet, a far cry from some of the black and white Xeroxed instruction books I've become accustomed to seeing.
The sight I reviewed was a Mil-Spec width for use on combat weapons and in general purpose use. Its blade thickness is .070" with a .040" diameter Fiber Optic rod. It stands out well against dark clothing. Also available, and more to my own liking for obvious reasons (this is a website about precision shooting after all) are two other thickness options. A Standard Match front sight is available in .060" width with a .030" dot. Also available for those with good eyesight is an Ultra-Match version with a .050" blade thickness and a .020" fiber optic rod. Choose yours according to you needs. If you are working a 16" Entry weapon, the obvious choice would be the Mil-Spec width sight. In practice, it snaps onto target quickly and it is very easy to acquire. My eyes are now 41 years old and yep, the wider, brighter front sight is a blessing. Getting old sucks. I love the life's experience, but hate the failing body parts!
Installation of the SIGHTLINK is simple. Simple remove the original front sight. Remove the standard detent block. Mounting Solutions Plus provides a replacement detent block designed for use with this sight. You will reuse the factory detent spring. Install the new sight per the instructions and head to the range. Set your rear sight for your chosen zero range and then adjust the front sight for elevation until you are on zero for elevation. It's that simple. As you adjust the front sight for each click in search of your zero, it's a simple matter of realigning the front sight blade to line up with the bore of the rifle. Each click of the bottom notch on the SIGHTLINK is 5/8th M.O.A., or 5/8ths of an inch at 100 yards. Mil. Spec. is a whopping 1.25 MOA per click. So you can see the immediate advantage.
Listed Retail for the kit is $49.95. This seems high until you consider the completeness of the kit. Fiber Optic rods run approximately $10 a foot. Sight adjustment tools $15.00 and standard front sights anywhere from $11 to $15. In addition you are getting a fully adjustable fiber optic sight, a detent wrench and a replacement detent block. Not to mention the obvious improvement in sight acquisition.
In this day and age of optical sights like the Aimpoint Comp M2, Eotech, C-More and the rest, iron sights on the AR15 sometimes seem redundant, a back up tool if anything, but when you need them, you need them at the worst possible time and lighting conditions. Fiber optic technology has given us a bright and easily acquired front sight. Now Mounting Solutions Plus has given us a fully functional, multi-position front sight that allows precise adjustment and bullet placement. Well done Ned Scheer!