woman holding sniper

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Whether you’re decking out your rifle for hunting or target shooting, you have one thing in mind — accuracy. And the type of sight that you use is critical. Some sights are geared more towards close-range shooting, while others are for consistently hitting targets at distances far away with pinpoint accuracy. When choosing a sight, most beginners want to know which type of sight is most accurate.

What Type Of Sight Is Most Accurate And Gives The Best View Of The Target?


For long-distance viewing and accuracy, telescopic sights are the best choice. Telescopic sights are on telescopes that are within the sight. How powerful and functional the telescopes will determine your shot’s precision once you have sighted in’ or calibrated your aim. Telescopic sights often referred to as ‘scopes’ as in ‘telescopes’, have been around for over 100 years and keep getting better with new technological advancements.

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Just like how some high-powered telescopes allow you to see the moon clearly and in detail, others may just allow you to see a city skyline a few miles away in the distance. Different scopes have different ranges that you are able to magnify your targeting with. 2X magnification would be 2 times what you are able to see with the naked eye, 4X is 4 times, 10X is 10 times, and so on.

Alternate Sights For Accurate Shots At Closer Ranges

marines holding riffles

While Telescopic sights are best for long-distance accuracy, they can be bulky and difficult to transport, setup, and calibrate.

The types of sights below are not capable of the range and distance that telescopic sights provide, but they can be ideal for closer range firing, such as use for self-defense, hunting, or target shooting under about the 100-yard mark.

Open Sights

Since rifles were first invented, the most basic sight has been the ‘open sight’.

Open sights are still common today on most firearms and rifles. They are mostly used for close-range shooting, and/or for those who still prefer an old-fashioned, more ‘natural’ approach.

The open sight works by lining up small notches on the front and rear of your rifle barrel. There will usually be 2 notches at the rear, and then 1 notch at the front of the rifle near the muzzle, where the bullet exits. When aiming and looking down the top of your rifle, you prepare your shot by seeing the notch at the end of your rifle line up and come between the 2 notches closest to you at the rear of your rifle.

While this type of sight helps you visualize where the bullet or pellet is going, it does not provide a good view of the target, as our eyes need to constantly readjust.

Because there is no telescopic vision as with more advanced sights, the shooter will need to have a good long-distance vision when using open sights to fire at targets at long distances.

The Aperture Sight – Also Known As Peep Sights Or Iron Sights

Named after a peephole, peep sights help you improve your shot by attaching to your rifle and giving you a small hole to look through that allows you to adjust your focus more towards the notch at the front of your rifle.

Similar to open sites, peep sights are a good choice for shorter distanced shooting. They are not bulky, and they can always be attached to your rifle for easy transportation and setup.

They are not a good choice for long-range, accurate shooting because they have no telescopic enhancement.

Dot Sights

Dot sights use optical fibers and other types of electronics to create and project a glowing dot (typically red) at the center of the lens, at the rear of your rifle. Dot sights can be with or without telescopic features and can be fairly similar in concept to peep sights as a basic added form of targeting to your scope.

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The advantage of dot sights, over open sights and peephole sites, is that it is easier to focus your vision on the target. Instead of having to focus on tiny notches or through small holes, with dot sighting you are more easily able to look through the sight, see where your dot is focused on, and take your shot.

As with other types of sights, you will need to calibrate your sight to make sure that as you fire, the bullet or pellet you are using is hitting at the exact spot that your dot was aimed at. Different adjustments can be made to your sight based on how far away your target is, wind, velocity, and more. Each sight will come with instructions to help calibrate and set up the sight for the best accuracy. The process for setting this up is referred to as sighting-in your rifle.

Dot sights can help your accuracy with shorter-range targets, but accuracy at long distances over 100 yards will not be optimal—as compared to different types of telescopic sights.

Choosing The Best Telescopic Sight


While types of more basic sights such as the open sights, peephole sights, and dot sights are good choices for close-range firing, they aren’t ideal for accuracy at long distances.

Telescopic sights provide long-distance accuracy for hitting targets over 100 yards. Telescopic sights are the most accurate aiming device for most hunters and target shooters today.

Telescopic sights consist of the telescope that magnifies your vision, as well as an aiming device, referred to as the reticule or sometimes cross-hairs.

Telescopic Sights–Better For Your Vision

When using open sights, peep sights, and even dot sights, you are looking at multiple things at once. Your vision is focused on the actual sight, the notch at the front of the rifle, and the target. This can cause strain with the eyes having to frequently shift focus, and can be difficult to manage with moving targets.

Telescopic sights allow you to just focus on one thing–the target–through the scope without having to readjust your vision to the notch at the front of the rifle, or the sight at the rear, as you would with the other sights.

Telescopic sights allow for less of a strain on your vision and allow you to focus on targets for long periods of time. When aiming, all that is necessary is to align the reticule with the firing target. Telescopic sights are easier for the eyes and much more accurate than other sights when calibrated correctly.

Be Careful With Magnification

Scopes allow you to fire your rifle more easily and help see the magnified target more clearly. When it comes to magnification, more is not always better. When you focus on a target very closely or use a lot of magnification, it is not always a good thing. When you magnify too much, you have a smaller field of vision.

man using rifle sniper

Higher magnification can lead hunters to take shots at distances that their rifle is not capable of reaching. A 4X-6X scope can work just well for beginners, and a 3X – 9X magnification is a good choice for all-around shooting at targets at different distances. Hunters do not go through the process of recalibrating their rifles every time they take a shot, so using a scope that has a variable range can be ideal for not having to make a lot of adjustments – especially when you are just beginning.

‘Sighting-in’ your telescopic sight is done in the same manner as with open sights, peep-hole sights, and dot sights. However, telescopic sights have adjustments knobs that show you the direction that they should be turned in order to align your shot and make sure your crosshairs are accurately taking your bullet or pellet to the desired target.

Something to consider

For example, let’s say you fire at a target that is 100 yards away. You should be able to clearly see this target in your scope. If you have the exact target clear in the crosshairs but the actual strike is a few inches away from where you were targeting, then you will need to make some adjustments and continue to test your shot until it is hitting the exact target.

Each scope will have different settings for how much you can adjust, and at what distance, but in general, for a 100-yard shot, each ‘click’ on your adjustment knob will usually be about ¼ inch.

Conclusion: Which Type Of Sight Is Most Accurate?

Which type of sight is most accurate and gives the best view of the target? Hands down, the Telescopic sight allows the best accuracy while still giving you the best view of the target. Open sights, peep sights, and dot sights are all good for close-range firing, but telescopic sights are as well when magnification is adjusted, and you are careful with not using too much magnification.

Last update on 2021-08-30 at 01:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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