Just One More Step on the New Rifle


This project is almost in the bag…or in the safe. Whatever.

I ordered the wrong size triangular hand guard cap by mistake. I didn’t check if the Colt one I purchased was for .750 or .625 barrels. I needed the latter, but ended up with the former. Not a big deal, since it’s a $3 part and already ordered the correct one from BCM.

Once I have that, the upper is off to West Coast Armory for pinning the FSB and final assembly.

I am very happy with the mock up pictured above. I assembled all the parts without final torquing, and it handles beautifully. Balance is right at the rear of the magazine well. The Rainier Arms upper and lower receivers have the tightest fit I’ve ever seen, and the whole thing just feels solid. I expect this may be a new favorite.

Not much longer until it’s off for a trip to the range.

General, Reviews

Initial Impression: Faxon 18″ Gunner Barrel


I received this in the mail over the weekend. It is a Faxon Firearms 18″ Gunner barrel. Here are the key stats from Faxon’s web page:

  • Barrel Type: Button Rifled
  • Barrel Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Barrel Twist: 1:8
  • Barrel Length: 18″
  • Barrel Profile: GUNNER Light Hybrid
  • Barrel Gas System: Rifle Length
  • Inside Finish: QPQ Nitride
  • Outside Finish: QPQ Nitride
  • Muzzle Thread: 1/2-28 TPI (Threads Per Inch)
  • Gas Block Diameter: .625″
  • Gas Port Diameter: .093″
  • Gas Block Journal Length: 1.9″
  • Barrel Extension: M4
  • Magnetic Particle Inspected!
  • 11-degree Target Crown
  • Weight: 1.44 lbs

This is part of my KISS walk-around rifle concept, which I wrote about a while back. The intent is for a lightweight iron-sighted rifle that would make a great companion for walking around in open areas, or handing off to someone as an introduction to marksmanship. This is my original mockup done through Gunstruction.


I already have the lower assembly complete, which leaves the upper receiver, operating parts, and final assembly.

This barrel makes a very positive first impression. The QPQ/Melonite/Nitride coating is a nice even black. While not as flat as a parkerized barrel, it is not really shiny, either. The machine work appears very clean, with no sharp edges or burrs in the threading. I don’t have a bore scope or lathe to check for runout or rifling quality, but the buzz on the internet was that both have proven to be good.

The profile is the most interesting part to me, though. Notice that it continuously tapers from chamber to the gas block journal (which is sized to accept a standard .625 FSB), and then continues the taper down to the end. The muzzle end flares out a bit again to allow for solid contact with a muzzle device. The section in front of the gas block journal might be one of the thinnest profiles I’ve seen on an AR.

I happened to have enough spare parts on hand to get a better mockup and play with weight/balance a bit. I grabbed my old Spikes stripped upper, standard barrel nut, Samson/Rainier Evolution rail, and a birdcage flash hider and slapped it together (nothing fully torqued, of course). I borrowed a BCG and charging handle from another rifle.


I’m not going to lie, this feels pretty damn nice. I’m almost tempted to mount a gas block, torque it all down and call it good. The rifle feels very spright in the hands, with a good rearward balance at about the middle of the magazine well. The Samson/Rainier rail weighs 11 oz, not including the standard barrel nut. The Mapul MOE Rifle handguard I will be using weighs just a bit more, at 12.2 oz. I also have to include another .8 oz for the handguard cap and delta ring assembly, which I don’t have mounted here.

In any case, a bit more forward balance by a few ounces would still leave a very nice handling rifle. I still need to order a few more parts, and then send it off to have the FSB drilled and taper pinned. I will probably have final assembly done at the same time.

The more parts that come in, the more excited I am to have this project complete.


On Iron Sights and Optics

I’ve been a pretty staunch advocate of the fixed front sight base, even if one plans to run a magnified optic. That’s not to say that I’m absolutely married to the idea of keeping it in all circumstances, because I’m not. I do, however, think that most people are discounting them these days because they see a lot of pictures of rifles without them, they look cool, and there are a lot of folks out there talking about the inherent benefits of low profile gas blocks.

In this post, I simply want to discuss the relationship of optics and iron sights on a rifle. There are really three ways to look at this: 1) Cowitnessing, 2) Sight shadow, 3) Necessity.

Cowitnessing is the practice of getting a sight picture with the irons while looking through the optic. This only works on non-magnified red dot sights that are mounted in alignment with the irons. The intent here is that the user can quickly align the irons in the heat of the moment in case the red dot sight fails. Some people also use cowitnessed iron sights as a quick way to check the zero on their red dot (I do not agree with this practice, for reasons I will get to). Cowitnessing is further divided into two general categories: absolute and lower third. With an absolute, looking through the irons will align with the red dot right in the middle of the optic. Everything is aligned in a straight line. With a lower third, the optic is mounted slightly higher than the sights. This latter configuration provides a slightly less cluttered sight picture for the red dot, but allows the shooter to drop his or her head slightly lower and still get an iron sight picture through the bottom third of the red dot sight. Larue Tactical has a good depiction of the two methods using their mounts.


I mentioned that some folks will check their RDS zero by seeing if it aligns with the iron sights, and that I do not like the practice. The reason I don’t like it is because the sight’s zero can move slightly as the dot moves around the window. I know red dot sights are often sold as being completely parallax free, but it is not true. It is best to zero the irons and zero the red dot separately. When you do that, you also have the option of choosing different zero distances for each system (if it makes sense for you). That might mean a bit more mental work and practice up front, but could offer some more versatility later.

However you choose to do it, you absolutely need to zero your irons. Red dots can and will fail you. Rain, fog, mud, battery failure, and other factors will all disrupt your sight picture through a red dot. To be fair, such occurrences (except for battery failure) will also limit your ability to use the cowitnessed iron sights, so I suggest keeping the RDS on a mount that you can quickly remove, if needed.

As I previously said, cowitnessing only works on sights that have zero magnification. As soon as you introduce lenses that bend light, cowitnessing is no longer an option. As much as it may appear that you can cowitness through a 1x-4x sight set at 1x- you cannot. This is a picture through my TR24 set at 1x behind a the rifle length FSP on the Musket.


“Well, that looks pretty cowitnessed to me!”

I assure you, it doesn’t work. The reason is that the TR24 is still bending light in such a way that the sight appears to have no magnification. The image is still being taken at the objective end of the scope, a full twelve inches in front of my eye, and about eleven inches in front of where a rear sight might be. The way light moves through this arrangement is simply not the same as how an RDS or bare sights work. If you attempted to cowitness (assuming you could fit a rear sight behind the scope), you are really just aligning the rear sight to a picture rather than a physical front sight.

This is where people start recommending ditching front sights with magnified optics. In truth, a physical front (and rear) sight serves no purpose when you are employing a magnified optic. They exist only as backups. Furthermore, as you can see above, the front sight will be somewhat visible through the scope. How visible it is really depends on the field of view of the scope, though. This is the same configuration, but with the scope set on 4x.


From this perspective, you really can’t see the front sight at all. That is because the TR24 has a fairly narrow field of view. This next photo is on the same rifle but with my fixed 4x ELCAN, which has a much wider field of view that better includes the front sight.


This is for illustrative purposes only, and is not definitive. In actual use, the front sight is not that visible through the ELCAN. Your eye focuses and captures light differently than a camera lens, so the blur at the bottom is much less obtrusive in actual use than this picture would have you believe. That said, it is still there and quite detectable if you are looking for it.

Here is another photo I found through an ACOG that is closer to how it appears through the ELCAN.


The important thing to remember is that if you are doing your job and focusing on the target, you will hardly notice the dark blur. The higher the magnification goes, and narrower the field of view goes, the less visible the front sight becomes. At 10x, as with my 2.5-10x scope, I don’t see the post at all.

That said, a fixed FSB can sometimes reflect light back into the objective. When I’ve run 10x scopes behind an FSB, there are some circumstances where reflected light briefly distorts my sight picture (though not enough to actually cause a problem). For most users, under most circumstances, this simply isn’t something to worry about.

That brings me to necessity. Do we actually need backups? When you see optics mounted behind fixed sights on military rifles, it is because that is how the rifle is issued to the user. Military users don’t have much leeway on how their rifles are configured, so they “make it work.” On civilian rifles, it is mostly done either because the user purchased a complete rifle with FSB and just ran with it, or they are copying the look of military weapons. For most people choosing a configuration with a lot of leeway, going without fixed sights (or even backup) will probably work just fine. For new users, the uncluttered sight picture offers a slight boost in speed.

I will readily admit that I prefer using optics without FSB shadow (both RDS or magnified), but I’ve come to accept the trade off. The fixed front sight tower is simply the strongest front sight solution available. If I choose to move back to irons, then that sturdy front sight will be there for me. But that is me. 

Just because you see everyone slapping backup sights on optically-sighted rifles doesn’t mean you need to as well. Analyze your situation, your needs, and make a decision. If you have an optic that has short eye relief, like a TA31 ACOG, it is okay to delete the backup sights in order to position the scope for comfortable shooting. As far as I’m concerned, backup sights are a nicety, not a necessity. I’m sure some will argue with me on that, but it really comes down to personal preference.

As always, look at how you actually use your rifle and what your needs are.


Range Reports, Shooting Analysis

EIC Match After Action Report

Today was my go at the EIC course of fire. It was day two of the overall match, and I was in the second relay. I attempted to do this same event two years ago, when I first started this blog, and ended up showing up on the wrong day and missing my time slot. Not today.

I arrived at the Combat Arms Training & Maintenance (CATM) facility a solid twenty minutes early. The halls smelled of coffee and CLP, and the dark spots on the carpet could have been either. After being herded into the training room, I selected an M-16A2 off the back table and picked a seat. The rifle was well-worn, with shiny silver spots on the slip ring, brass deflector, bolt release, and other areas. The FN-marked receiver was covered in little scratches and nicks. I can’t say what this rifle’s history was, but I’m sure it’s gotten around.

I immediately noted that the chamber was absolutely filthy, and the bolt was dry. I would never run my own rifles this way, but this wasn’t my rifle. This combination of buildup and dry bolt would cause me concern during the course of fire. As far as the training session went, it was just a quick safety brief, function check of the rifle, and a description of the match rules. We then headed out to the range.

I was given five 30 round magazines (haven’t played with those in a while! Thanks, California…), 60 rounds of M855 green tip on stripper clips, and a stripper clip speed loader.

The first 10 rounds were loaded into three magazines, 4-3-3, to be used for zeroing. I shot the first 4 from a supported prone into a tight little cluster that was a bit low and right. I made the adjustments and fired the next 3 into a very tight cluster just a bit high. The last three made another tight group right across the middle. Shooting off of a barricade would later prove problematic; I should have zeroed from the unsupported prone. While checking targets, I happened to notice I was producing much tighter groups than my fellow competitors.

The match itself consisted of four stages, all at 25 yards:

  • 1 minute to shoot 10 rounds offhand
  • 1 minute to shoot 10 rounds kneeling
  • 1 minute to shoot 10 rounds sitting
  • 1 minute to shoot 20 rounds unsupported prone

There was about 30 seconds before each stage to load and get into position. All of my practice really paid off here, since I could drop into a comfortable low kneel, crossed ankle sit, and prone relatively quickly and adjust to a good NPOA. No shooting aids were allowed for the match- no slings, gloves, jackets, bags, mats, or anything else.

The event was very rapidly paced; we did not pull and check targets between stages. Only hits in the 7, 8, 9, and 10 ring would be scored. Anything lower was counted as a miss. Nearly all of my shots ended up in the 10, 9, and 8 rings. There were and handful of 7’s from the offhand and kneeling, though.

My final score was 427/500. As far as I can tell, the only shooter who outscored me during my relay was the Security Forces commander, who scored 430. Scuttlebutt is that someone scored a 451 the previous day (the high score), and that there was another 440’s score as well. It appears nobody else in my relay broke 370.

The top 10% of all competitors over the two days are considered the “winners,” and receive an Excellence in Competition rifle badge to be worn on the uniform. Scores will be released later in the week, so we’ll see where I stacked up.




Now, some things to note for the future. By zeroing my rifle from supported prone, I think I did myself a disservice. For nearly the entire match, my shots tended to cluster high and left, which is direction I adjusted my sights during the zeroing phase. Had I not made those adjustments, and zeroed from unsupported prone, the sights may have worked better for me during the match.

Secondly, my rifle was on the verge of malfunctioning for two of the three stages. At one point, as I hit the bolt release during loading a d the bolt carrier nearly hung up before slowly sliding into battery (I had to use the forward assist). I suspect lubrication and a new action spring would help. An Army officer in my relay was not so lucky, and malfunctions cost him valuable time and points.

Overall, I felt pretty good. I had a good practice session recently, and I went in with a good positive mindset. I really hit my groove with sitting where I fell into a perfect rifleman’s cadence. Prone was good, but felt rushed by the need to fire twenty shots in a minute (not to mention the distraction presented by the other rifles tightly packed under a small space). I did surprisingly well with kneeling, and I attribute it to the physical therapy I had on my ankle- I felt no pain and could better focus.

Offhand will still require some work.


AR-15 Sights and the ‘Z’ Notch

As I was perusing the Army’s new Rifle & Carbine Marksmanship Manual, TC 3-22.9, I noted something interesting about the iron sight description. On page 3-9, the description of the iron sight, it mentions that the sight’s elevation should be set to the 300 setting plus one click up for a 25 meter zero.

This got me thinking about my post on the Revised Improved Battlesight Zero (RIBZ) from way back. It also brought to mind some things I didn’t account for back when I first got started, namely the ‘Z’ setting on the carry handle rear sight.

Z setting

On a detachable 6/3 style sight (the most common today), this “Z” setting is two clicks above the 6/3 marking. On the older 8/3 sight, it is one click up. What exactly is this setting for, you ask? Well, if you haven’t figured it out, the “Z” stands for “Zero,” particularly at 25 meters. However, whether or not you use the setting depends on the configuration of your rifle.

You see, due to the higher velocity and longer sight radius involved with a 20″ rifle barrel, the angles involved in sighting devices are slightly different than with a shorter M4 Carbine. Since the detachable 6/3 sight gets used on both the carbines it was developed for as well as the M16A4, a compromise had to be made. Traditionally, if used on a M4, the sight was left on 6/3 for a 25 meter zero. If used on a rifle, the sight was clicked two notches up to the “Z” for a the same distance. Once zeroed at 25 meters (for a rifle), the sight was clicked back down to 6/3 and confirmed at 300 meters. That is something I left out of the original RIBZ post, and I will probably go back and add it.

Of note, the new marksmanship manual appears to “average” the two different procedures and tells the user to click one notch up, right in between “Z” and the 6/3 setting for both carbines and rifles. Interestingly, for the MaTech BUIS, 3-22.9 says to zero a M16 on the white line, while a carbine should be left on the 300 setting. I cannot say the reason for this difference, but it is interesting.

As for me, I will continue sighting the Musket in at 25 meters using the “z” whenever I use the carry handle sight (which, honestly, isn’t very often these days).


New Army TC 3-22.9: Marksmanship

You may have seen it published on a few sites, but it looks like the Army released a newly revised marksmanship training manual. The previous edition, FM 3-22.9, was released in 2008. The newest one appears to have made some welcome changes.

Note: Don’t get wrapped up in the terminology of FM (Field Manual) and TC (Training Circular), they are effectively the same thing.

Firstly, at 236 pages, the new manual is nearly half as long as the old one. This means that someone figured out that efficiency and ease of reference are valuable qualities. The new chapter structure is more intuitive and geared towards the practical employment of the M4/M16 platform. The first few chapters (1-4) are about the weapon system itself, the various accessories, and their usage. The remaining chapters (5-9) are about the employment of the weapon, with each chapter focusing on the elements of good marksmanship. What follows is a quick breakdown of each chapter. I highly recommend checking out and saving the complete document. I plan to revamp sections of my marksmanship skills posts (which remain unfinished) with portions of this publication, as I find it just that useful.

Chapter 1: Overview

Chapter 1 details several fundamental elements that will be built upon in the remainder of the manual. The chapter details safe weapons handling (Cooper’s four rules), as well as common terminology for weapon condition and employment (i.e. weapons hold, weapons tight, and weapons free). The chapter also introduces descriptions and effects of items such as overmatch, engagement range, visibility conditions, and terminal ballistic performance.

Chapter 2: Rifle and Carbine Principles of Operation

Chapter 2 is a fairly detailed description of the M4/M16 platform’s various components and a description of the firing cycle. The diagrams here are actually very useful, much more so than the 2008 edition. Of note, this new manual has a section dedicated to how the weapon cools itsel  and how the dissipation of heat will affect the shooter’s sight picture. As you will see below, Chapter 2 of this publication stripped out all of the accessories discussion of the previous edition and turned them into their own chapters and appendices.

Chapter 3: Aiming Devices

Chapter 3 details the various sighting methods available for the M4/M16. In particular, it focuses on Iron Sights, Optics, Thermal Sights, and Lasers/Pointers. There is a very good description of both Minutes of Angle (MOA) and Mils, as well as useful diagrams of the various reticle types commonly found on combat rifles. There is a much better description of the electromagnetic spectrum than the previous manual, as well as how ambient conditions (rain/fog/smoke) will affect the ability of thermal/image intensifiers to function in their respective spectrums.

Regarding optics and sighting devices, the chapter has detailed descriptions and tables for the various iron sights and optical devices. These sections have pro/cons for these sighting system  as well as reticle descriptions. With red dot sights, there is a useful diagram for holdover reference. 

Chapter 4: Mountable Equipment

Chapter 4 is a quick overview of other mountable equipment such as underbarrel grenade launchers, shotguns, bipods, vertical foregrips, and white lights.

Chapter 5: Employment

Chapter 5, in my opinion, is where the rubber really starts to meet the road. The chapter describes the expectations of each individual rifleman in regards to making hits count. It talks about the shot process and the supporting elements of it: stability, aim, control, and movement- each of which have their own chapter. There is also a section talking about target detection, identification, and prioritization. Included in this latter section is a paragraph concerning identification of friendly forces.

Chapter 6: Stability

Chapter 6 is lengthy, and has many elements to it. It starts with a description of steady hold factors and all the components that make up a good shooting position to include relaxation and natural point of aim. The chapter also describes various weapon carry positions and their associated advantages/disadvantages.

What is really interesting in this chapter is the description of the firing positions. Each has a nice diagram describing the various elements of the position. Of note, the new manual brings back the squatting position, or “rice paddy prone.” The new manual also includes all three sitting variations, as well as both traditional and reverse kneeling positions. The previous edition only included standing, kneeling, and four variations of prone (unsupported, supported, roll-over, reverse roll-over). This, in my view, is one of the most visible indicators that the new manual is more about successful marksmanship in the field and not just about passing the qualification course.

Another interesting tidbit in this chapter is that the details of unsupported prone position note that the rifle magazine can be rested on the ground as a monopod for added stability, and that doing so will not result in malfunctions. This is something that we’ve been hearing from instructors for years, but the Army never caught on. It appears that oversight has been corrected.

Chapter 7: Aim

Chapter 7 begins with listing the elements and actions that the shooter must keep in mind to make a successful shot: weapon orientation, sight alignment, sight picture, point of aim, and desired point of impact. It also discusses the importance of aiming for the center of visible mass (CoVM), which may appear as a head popping up over a wall or be an entire torso.

The remainder of the chapter covers each of the above elements in more detail, to include various sight pictures for each of the different aiming devices listed earlier. It also covers common aiming areas, aiming under adverse conditions, and weapon orientation. There are also many tips on using sights for rangefinding and windage correction. This chapter is actually very useful, and much more thorough than its predecessor. 

Chapter 8: Control

The emphasis of Chapter 8 is essentially what the shooter can influence themselves in order to make a successful shot. These include trigger control, breath control, workspace management, rate of fire, follow-through, malfunctions, and even transition to secondary weapons (if present).

Chapter 9: Movement

Chapter 9 is relatively short, and covers walking forward, back, laterally, and turning.

Appendix A: Ammunition

This section is exactly what it sounds like. It details the various components of an ammunition cartridge, as well as different bullet designs. There is a lot of detail about each of the issued 5.56 cartridges, their usage, and how to distinguish between them.

Appendix B: Ballistics

This section is actually a very good discussion of both internal, external, and terminal ballistics. The diagrams and discussions are much more detailed than the previous publication- particularly terminal ballistics and effects on various materials at range.

Appendix C: Complex Engagements

This section builds upon items originally covered in Chapter 7 by giving examples of circumstances that make good hits on target more difficult, and then working through solutions to those problems. Subjects include determining lead on moving targets, windage, angle of attack, adverse weather, and range correction are all covered.

Appendix D: Drills

This section opens with a discussion of mindset, something completely left out of the previous edition. It then goes on to discuss drills designed to enhance a shooters mindset, efficiency, tactics, and flexibility.

Appendix E: Zeroing

This last section is a very thorough explanation of the zeroing process. Additionally, this section talks about coaching of shooters.


Shooting Nose to Charging Handle…or Not

Paul Howe shooting Nose to Charging Handle (NTCH)
Paul Howe shooting Nose to Charging Handle (NTCH)

It is difficult to read any discussion concerning proper head position when shooting an AR-15 platform rifle without coming across the acronym “NTCH,” which stands for Nose To Charging Handle.

Some will proudly declare that shooting NTCH is the only proper way to fire an AR-15. These individuals have almost always been trained by the military, or by someone who learned in the military. They will talk about stretching your neck up and forward when mounting a rifle, which provides better recoil control. The Appleseed shoot I went to last year also preached this “turkey neck” method as a way of getting consistent cheek weld in the same spot each time. They did it with a Ruger 10-22, but the principle should remain the same on an AR.

I have not experimented with the recoil management component of this position. Rather, it is the consistency that is really important to me. Army Field Manual 3-22.9 Marksmanship states in paragraph 4-41 (emphasis mine):

Through dry-fire training, the Soldier practices this position until he assumes the same cheek-to stock weld each time he assumes a given position, which provides consistency in aiming. To learn to maintain the same cheek-to-stock weld each time the weapon is aimed, the Soldier should begin by trying to touch the charging handle with his nose when assuming a firing position. The Soldier should be mindful of how the nose touches the charging handle and should be consistent when doing so. This position should be critiqued and reinforced during dry-fire training.

Placing one’s nose so that it just touches the charging handle is an easy way to teach individuals to develop and keep a consistent head position every time the rifle is aimed. The relatively short eye relief of military issued ACOGs (TA31 variants) is rumored to be out of a desire to encourage military shooters to keep the same head position they use when trained on iron sights, with the nose to the charging handle. 

It is my belief, however, that this rule is not absolute. More advanced shooters familiar with the fundamentals of marksmanship have a bit more freedom to find a position that is more comfortable and still yields a consistent head position. In my view, it is more important that the shooter’s neck is relatively relaxed and free of tension. This belief is shared by many a top level competitive shooter and instructor who will readily mention the role of fatigue in decreasing accuracy over a shooting session. But this “put it where it’s comfortable” idea only works as long as the head is in the same position relative to the sights every time.

With the widespread use of optics with varying eye relief requirements, the importance of NTCH is further diminished. Some magnified optics, with eye reliefs in the 3” to 4” range, may not even allow the use of such a position. In these situations, I have seen some shooters put some kind of tactile marker, like an embedded ball bearing, on the stock to know when they have reached the correct position. 

When I first started shooting ARs with a TR-24, my natural head position was a good half inch to full inch behind NTCH. This never caused me any problems, and I competed well with it. If this works for you, then run with it. However, as I started shooting more and more with a shooting sling, I found that the rifle was naturally tucking into my shoulder further, practically forcing me to shoot NTCH. I’ve done it that way for the better part of a year now, and find it to be quite comfortable. I recently experimented with backing off from NTCH shooting and using a more rearward position (about a half inch), adjusting my optic mounts accordingly. I quickly found that the sling tension still pushed me into a NTCH position, causing my eye to get too close to the ocular and creating problems with scope shadow. I was constantly trying to uncomfortably scoot my head backwards, which violates the rule of comfort. 

A bit of an exaggerated position, with the nose smashed into the charging handle rather than just touching it.
A bit of an exaggerated position, with the nose smashed into the charging handle rather than just touching it.

Today, even when shooting without a sling, I find that my head just naturally falls to a NTCH position when bringing the rifle up. As far as optics mounting goes, I ascribe to the practice of mounting the scope in the best position for shooting prone with a sling (where accuracy is the most attainable). All other positions are compromises. I find that mounting my SpecterOS in this manner gives me the best sight picture in prone and sitting, with good picture in kneeling/squatting, and an acceptable picture in standing. This reflects how I generally use my rifle, especially with a magnified optic.

If your priority is speed from standing, then a more upright position that allows for the quickest sight picture is appropriate. You will probably be further back on the stock, and that’s OK. Some modern squared-off shooting positions also encourage this type of head position. 

Standing off from NTCH using a more modern position and iron sights.
Standing off from NTCH using a more modern position and iron sights.

The underlying rule is that you should do what works best for your needs. Analyze your 90% usage, being honest with yourself, and set up your weapon to suit your needs and body mechanics. It’s fun to configure a weapon just like DEVGRU might use on a direct action snatch-and-grab CQB mission. But that is just playing at fantasy if your 90% is actually hunting, mid-range target shooting, or general practical marksmanship. If your priority is accuracy, then taking the extra fraction of a second to attain consistent cheek weld is entirely appropriate.

If you want both speed and accuracy, then practice practice practice.