A Trip Down Memory Lane

Triple Aught Design, maker of high quality clothing and accessories, posted this link on their Facebook page. It is the sight picture from over 100 C&R firearms through history. I found it quite interesting for a few reasons.

First, it was cool to see how the sights evolved in through the same generation of firearms. The Springfield 1903, for instance, has a very different sight picture compared to the 1903A3. The 1903A3 is very close to the M1 Garand, which is similar to the M-14, which is similar to the M16. The same was true of generations of other rifles, like the British Lee-Enfield.

Here is the original Springfield 1903 sight picture:  springfield-1903-rock-island-pov2

And then the 1903A3, which changed to the familiar peep style:


Note that this design evolved further into the M1 sight:


I believe, at some point, there was a ladder type sight system as well within the 1903 (and 1917) rifles, but they didn’t have pictures of those.

I also noted something else interesting. I recall reading all about Paul Howe’s CSAT sight system. Now, I was under the impression that his idea was all new and innovative. Basically, the rear aperture sight has a notch cut into the 12 O’clock position for use in CQB situations. At close range, the shooter would use the notch rather than the peep to align the front sight, basically like a handgun sight. This method is faster, and helps account for the height over bore and ballistic offsets of a 100 meter zero being used at very close ranges. It sounded like a great idea, and then I saw a picture of the Thompson M1A1 sight:


That is pretty much identical to the CSAT system. Now, whether or not it is intended for the same purpose, I don’t know. But I thought it was neat to see a similar design on an old weapon.

The other thing I liked about this page is the memories it resurrected. It takes me back to the very first day I ever went to the range. I was with my best friend and his brother. Their father, a vet, took along his collection. He taught us the fundamentals of safety and a little bit about marksmanship. He let us shoot a 10/22 for a while to get the feel of it. I remember the recoil being low, and I remember thinking that shooting was easy! Then he put a 1903 in my hands. I remember struggling to get a good sight picture with those little notch sights. I didn’t even think about recoil.

Then I squeezed the trigger. The old rifle lurched backwards, bounced off my shoulder and cracked me in the jaw. It hurt for days. But I was hooked. It was a long time before I got to go again, but I knew that I had found a life long passion. I’m glad that I’m taking this trip down memory lane to remind me where I came from, and how far I’ve gone.


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