Will my red dot and irons hold their zero?

Discussion in 'AR Forum' started by Alexy, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. Alexy

    Alexy Well-Known Member

    Oct 30, 2016
    I have an AR with a carry handle sight. I wanted to know if it will stay zeroed if I take it off and use a red dot for a little bit then put the carry handle back on?

    So long as I put it back in the same position it originally was in on the rail, I presume it would keep the zero, weather I use a red dot or the carry handle.

    Same with my red dot. If I zero my red dot, remove it and then reattach it, will it keep the zero?

    I assume it would?

    Just want to know what everyone thinks of this.

    Thank you!

  2. RN47

    RN47 I'm just here for the gas. Supporting Addict

    Feb 22, 2018
    Bottom line answer- no to both. You will need to re-zero, or confirm your zero each time you physically remove a device used for sighting (irons or an optic).

    My two cents; the carrying handle is an anachronism on modern AR platforms (unless you're going for a certain look). Mounting a red dot or other optic coupled with back up iron sights gives you the flexibility should your primary method fail. You can zero both to the same weapon without physically removing either.

    Others may have different experience/takes.
    Babboonbobo, UBOATDOC and limbkiller like this.

  3. Alexy

    Alexy Well-Known Member

    Oct 30, 2016
    Oh? I've removed my carry handle a few times and haven't noticed and change, but I've only shot it at an indoor 25 yd range.

    And I didn't use the targets that are for 25 yd zeroing, so that it will zero it for all distances.

    My gun shop told me the red dot can hold the zero. One guy said he liked to switch between rifles and it would hold it still.

    I value your input, however I'd still like another opinion. But from what you say I might have to check the zero on my AR.

    And I actually am going for a certain look. I love the classic AR look but I'm torn between a flip rear sight and the carry handle.

    The backup sight and the red dot combo sounds enticing, but I can't decide!:confused:
  4. gaijin

    gaijin Well-Known Member

    May 18, 2015
    Gunshop guys are generally fountains of mis-information.

    The chances of switching RD/optics/irons between different guns without re-zeroing is absurd.

    Zeroing a long gun at 25 yds will be imprecise .
    It’ll get you close, but 100/200 yds is a better test.

    While there are mounts designed to hold zero after removing and replacing on a gun, I would also verify zero for any use but coarse shots (full body to 100+ yds).

    In other words; if you remove, then replace a carry handle and expect to make a 100 yd headshot-that you could make prior to removing handle/sight- you will probably be disappointed.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
    july19, UBOATDOC, Alexy and 2 others like this.
  5. WWB

    WWB Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator Supporting Addict

    Apr 11, 2015
    ^^^ This exactly. And your better off with the backup sight for sure over a carry handle
    RN47, gaijin and limbkiller like this.
  6. Alexy

    Alexy Well-Known Member

    Oct 30, 2016
    I don't know about a 100 yd headshot. I do suppose zeroing it at 100 and then removing and replacing the sight could change the POI. It is pretty finely tuned at those distances. I don't want to risk that.

    My gun shop has some pretty good staff. Most are instructors, but I will still trust your word.

    It's been hard finding a 100 yd range where I live, but I suppose it couldn't hurt. I just like to change the carry handle to a flip sight, then back every now and then... guess this is problematic if I want it to hold zero.

    So I should always confirm it holds zero when changing rear sights? (I plan on using a red dot only under 100 yds, wouldn't be too accurate father out, so I don't think I'd mind if it wasn't too accurate at 100+)

    PS: no hard feelings are intended. I value everyone's input & appreciate your advice very much!
  7. DPVY

    DPVY Previously DPCC

    Dec 1, 2017
    The right optic and the right mount will hold zero. I have an Aimpoint with their ratcheting QD mount that I can take off, throw against a tree, put it back on my rifle, and will hold zero just fine.

    You can also zero rifles at 25 just fine.
    For example; all of my .308's are zeroed at 25... because 25 is the same as 200. From 200-300, it is four minutes of adjustment, from 300-400 it is another four minutes, etc etc.

    If you're needing that carry handle, and it sounds like you are, there are some old school optics mounts out there that will let you mount it directly to your carry handle. A proper cheek weld is pretty much a non-option at that point, but it is another solution.
    Alexy likes this.
  8. Whiten

    Whiten Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2017
    You could also set up another upper and swap between the two. one with RD/BS and other with carry handle
    Alexy likes this.
  9. Alexy

    Alexy Well-Known Member

    Oct 30, 2016
    It sounds like it depends on a few factors. I know I shouldn't just go along with I want to hear, so I keep an open mind. I'll see if I can confirm it's zeroed next time I shoot.

    Would you know why exactly it might not hold zero if removed?
  10. Rathos

    Rathos New Member

    Nov 29, 2018
    Possibly, but you can never be sure until you shoot it. What is this gun used for? Is it simply a range toy or a defensive weapon? If it is a defensive peace then buy a back up iron for the rear and leave the red dot all the time. If it is a range toy then it isn't going to be a much of a deal, but you might have to re-zero wasting ammo.


    Apr 5, 2015
    Remember that in the US Military, the carry handle is never used to carry the rifle. It does give a certain "look" to an AR, but I am getting more used to seeing them with flip sights, scopes, optics.
  12. bamashooter

    bamashooter Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2013
    I really can't recall anyone not carrying with the carry handle now and then; especially running like hell with it.
    UBOATDOC likes this.


    Apr 5, 2015
    I was more quoting “the proper use per the gunny sgt” I slung my M4.
    bamashooter likes this.
  14. RN47

    RN47 I'm just here for the gas. Supporting Addict

    Feb 22, 2018
    We all have different experiences I guess. For roughly 10 of my 22 years in the infantry we had M16A2s before being issued M4s. And I never, I mean NEVER saw anyone carrying their weapon by the carrying handle.

    I distinctly remember a Drill Sergeant in Basic saying you can carry your M16 at the low ready, right or left shoulder arms, but let me catch you carrying at 'Samsonite' arms-- and I'll smoke you until you die. "It ain't a briefcase, Privates. It's a weapon."

    My .2 cents
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  15. Karsten

    Karsten Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2013
    Just set it up and forgot it. The BUIS will most likely co witness with the Red Dot. If need be get a rear flip up BUIS should the battery die in mid session.

    Anything 4x and over glass will also look right past the front sight as though it wasn't there.

    I have EOTechs, Aimpoint PRO and another on both AR Platforms as well as a Keltec KSG shotgun and no problem even with the recoil of a 12 Gauge.

    UBOATDOC likes this.
  16. bamashooter

    bamashooter Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2013
    Understood. Same here. Once the boots hit the ground overseas, it then became a primary way to carry at times; many times.
    UBOATDOC likes this.


    Apr 5, 2015
    Yep....same thing in FMSS. Along with some other helpful "camping" tips.

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