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11/19/2004 Archived Entry: "KNS Precision Crosshair Rifle Sight Review"

Blogispondent Ian here again. Thought I'd share a range report of an interesting product written by the TCF forum's own Alton Speers. The product is a replacement rifle front sight that uses a crosshair design rather than the usual post or bead. So without further ado, click 'more' to read his report...

Range Report
KNS Precision Inc.
Front Sight

by Alton Speers

A few weeks back I was at a range that had among the others a 225 yard range. A distance well-suited to sighting rifles for cartridges like the venerable Remington 7mm magnum. Which I took advantage of for one of my bolt rifles. As usual I also brought along my FN-FAL variant StG 58. Since the hundred yard range was in use I figured I would shoot the FAL at the 225 using the target I had up for the 7mm. The target was of a fluorescent green poster board that I had cut off for use as a target that day. This made the target slightly larger than a regular piece of 8 x 11 notebook paper. Being prevented by vanity from wearing glasses and facing a fairly steady 25mph wind out of the north, my eyes were giving me more than the usual grief that day.

After I positioned myself to shoot from prone I brought the FAL to my shoulder to draw a bead on the target. I was not amused. The front nearly obscured the entire target. I shifted and fidgeted around thinking I might getter a better view. No dice. I rubbed my eyes a couple of times thinking that I may have been getting some added blur from the wind or the distance to the target. Again, no dice. I impolitely pointed my rifle at the targets of other shooters thinking that angles, size of targets or something was causing the target to be obscured, all to no avail. Well, if it wasn't my eyes and it wasn't the targets themselves the only thing left was the rifle and more specificly the sights on the rifle. Bingo! The front sight on the FAL is a simple, but kind of thick, round post. This sight post is fine for 100 yard shots, that is, assuming that you are not trying to shoot holes in anything smaller than a 4" diameter circle. So I emptied the mag into the target area and put the target in the trash as it was not a keeper.

Later that evening after I got home I bemoaned my experiences on the net. After recieving some good advice and indulging in some commiseration a thought struck my mind. I generally try to avoid them since they usually cost me some money but, I couldn't duck this one. Prior to this latest range outing I was drooling over the Midway USA wish book ( that's a catalog for you kids out there) and I noticed this hooded front sight for a FAL that looks like a duplex reticle from a scope. The manufacturer, KNS Precision Inc., had figured out a way to make a sight using wire to form a crosshair reticle inside a round hood. Even better they made one as a direct replacement for my FAL variant. I liked the idea so much I even suggested it to a shooting buddy for his rifle. After my disappointing day at the range I figured it was time for me to order one. See! Thoughts do make me spend money! It was ok though since I had to order some more ammo boxes for reloads.

The sight arrived in two days (Shameless plug - this is why I order from Midway USA, FAST service!). I could tell when I pulled the sight from it's little bad that it was not steel. I know the crosshairs are made of heat-treated beryllium but, the body of the sight was a lighter metal. I later discovered that the body is brass.. Anyway, as advertised, it was a direct replacement. I removed the original sight and the new threaded right in without a hitch.

The finish on the new sight appears to be similar to a powder coat done in a semi-matte black. The original sight has a series of detents in it to lock it against the sight spring. It allows a great degree of fine adjustment for the height of the sight. The design of the new KNS sight allows only for coarse adjustment in the sight height because you are sighting, essentially through a reticle, therefore you only have a sight picture every 180. Fortunately, the detent on the KNS sight is placed correctly and it locks as it should giving a perfect sight picture every 180.

In dry-fire tests the new sight was amazing. The design draws your eye making it easier to focus on the front sight. I couldn't wait to get to the range and try it out. That day finally came yesterday.

It was a bad day, weather-wise. We're under a heavy murk alert! Dense fog with sporadic heavy mist. I couldn't even see fluorescent orange shooting clays at the 100 yard backstop. I did have a piece of that green poster board at that I used earlier at the other range so I put that up. Yeah! We could see it. Couldn't make out any details due to the fog but, we could see the target. I positioned myself at a bench with the FAL, deployed the bipod legs, put in a magazine and chambered the first round. I drew a bead and it was good to see that old poster board. I squeezed the trigger and BANG! I saw the target shiver. Again, BANG! The target shivered again. My face felt like it had this permanent evil grin taking root. I finished out the mag and my friend and I went down to the backstop to inspect the damage. Oooohhh! I was a happy camper. Every shot went right in the target. Not bad for seeing no detail on a murky day. Still I wanted to see detail to get an idea of just how small I could aim. The furthest backstop that I could see clearly was a 50 yards.

We proceeded to setup some 16oz water bottles which were nice and skinny and had a medium blue label which made them difficult to see. We also set some shards of some shooting clays that were left at the backstop by some previous shooters. these were broken shards and noe were larger than half a clay. I again positioned myself at the bench and put in a fresh mag. I drew a bead on the first water bottle on the left side of the backstop, squeezed the trigger and BANG! Houston, we have lift off! Launched that bottle about 15 feet into the air. OH! This was too fun! I aimed at the bottle in the middle and BANG! It just sat there then I saw a rivulet of water flowing down the backstop.COOL! Feeling cocky now I aimed at the white cap on the last bottle and BANG! It, too, had been launched bit the cap was still attached to the bottle. Oh well. 2 out of 3 ain't bad. Time to shoot the clays. BANG! BANG! BANG! Down they all went and I still had 14 rounds left in the mag. This was almost too easy. Being lazy and not wanting to put up any new targets I decided to shoot at the shards of orange that were about a 1 inch square. I figured I wouldn't have to set up any new targets and these little squares would be an adequate challenge. BANG! BANG! BANG! I was wrong. They weren't a challenge. After finishing off the mag we went to inspect the damage again and pick up the water bottles. The one where I aimed at the cap got hit about 1 inch below the cap. I figure one more half turn of the sight will put me right on the money.

What an improvement over the original sights! Absolutely an incredible difference. I am well pleased with the results so far and the sight still isn't dialed in 100%.

After getting past the raw excitement of being able to both see and hit a target I will note that I do have a couple of concerns, First off is that the body of the sight is made of brass. I have questions about how well this will hold up when running through the woods where sticks and branches will reach out and try to break my new sight of worse yet, poke out those heat-treated beryllium crosshairs.

The second is the finish. It is not as durable as I would hope. When installing the sight I rigged up a little tool I made from a scrap of wood. I designed it to fit over the sight hood but cut it a little tight and I didn't smooth the insides of the jaws. When I applied the tool to the sight hood it was a little tight and I chipped the finish which exposed the brass. Thankfully, a Magic Marker restored the black color and unless you're looking hard for it you won't see the chip in the finish. Though chipping the finish is definitely my fault I have to wonder about a finish that is easily damaged by a piece of wood.

Despite these minor concerns I would say that overall this is the best and least expensive method of wringing out every bit of accuracy from your rifle's current configuration. I found that the improvement in performance to be nearly astounding.

KNS Precision Inc. makes these sights for the following rifles:
M16/AR1
M14/M1A
Garand
FN-FAL
L1A1
Israeli FAL
H&K 91, 93, 94 SW89
AK47
Ruger10/22
Check KNS Precision Inc. website for other models and configurations. KNS PRecision Inc. also makes other parts, accessories and gear for the M16/AR15 family of rifles and other rifles.

Posted by Ian @ 09:50 PM CST
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