While much of the casual shooting market has moved away from iron sights for economical reasons, competitive and occupational shooters know the value of a good set of back up iron sights (BUIS).  Ultradyne has upped the ante, producing BUIS that are designed to be both rugged and precise.  Today we’re talking about the Ultradyne C4 precision front and rear sight set.

Ultradyne C4

There are a few aspects of the C4 BUIS pair that sets them apart from the crowd.  First are the shape and design of the sights themselves.  From Ultradyne’s website:

The Dynalign sight picture provides more accurate and faster target acquisition, using a purely concentric sight picture that is similar to that used by Olympic target shooters.  Unlike red-dot or holographic sights, this sight picture does not obscure the target and actually enhances visibility due to the optical characteristics of apertures.

Most BUIS systems utilize a sight picture that is non-intuitive.  The brain’s visual systems are asked to align a circular rear aperture with a rectangular front post shape while simultaneously ignoring the “ears” that protect the front sight post.  Dynalign’s circle-within-circle sight picture allows for faster sight picture acquisition.”

The second feature to push the C4’s from the pack is the unique and interchangeable front sight post.  The one installed in my T&E set wasn’t your usual flat-topped, it has a rounded ball at the top, with a hole bored through it.  Using this aperture sight, you can line up a far more precise bullseye at distance.  Without it, there would be no way I could center up on a 2″ orange pastie at ~190 yards.  There are bigger and smaller apertures available, in 8, 10, 12 & 14 MOA varieties (as well as a standard post).  Similarly, the rear “ghost ring” can be had in .05″ and .07″ sizes.

Ultradyne C4

While the front sight is adjustable for elevation, the rear is adjustable for elevation and windage.  The whole system has 46 MOA of vertical travel (28 front, 18 rear) and 80 MOA for windage travel (40 front, 40 rear).  The rear sight has an elevation compensation knob.  While your barrel/ammo combo may not match the precise set-up this is calibrated for, it’s still going to keep you much closer than holding over while the target is obscured by the front sight.

Ultradyne C4

The units themselves are machined well and are tangibly tough.  Made from 4140 CrMo steel with a salt-bath nitride finish as well as 7075 aluminum, the bodies are durable without being brick-heavy.  In fact, the front and rear sights come in at 2.2 and 2.5 ounces, respectively.  With positive-detent lockup, these are one-hand operable and have no buttons or levers.

So how do they shoot?  To find out I brought V Seven’s Enlightened AR-15 to the range with two types of match ammo.  Although it’s built at a 4-pound heft and has a lightweight fluted barrel, the Enlightened is a very accurate rifle.  To start with, I shot a few groups at 50 yards.  I then pushed the target back to the far end of the pit which ranged in at 190 yards.  I was shooting at 2-4″ orange pasties, which were barely visible to my (20/20) naked eye.  If I had to cover any part with a front sight post, I would have lost visual contact entirely.  Thanks to the peep aperture in the C4’s front sight, I was able to line up and keep the group as tight as I possibly could expect to, using iron sights of any kind.

Ultradyne C4
5 rounds @ 50

Using Black Hills 50gr V-MAX and Hornady Match 75gr BTHP rounds, I shot a handful of groups at 50 yards to get started.  With groups between 1.1″ and 1.84″, that ranged me between 2.1-3.4 MOA.  Deciding this rifle liked the 75gr round a little better, I took that to 190 yards.  My groups averaged 4.09″, which felt terrible until I did the math.  1.99 MOA.  I shot better at a little circle 190 yards away that I could barely see than I did at the 50 yard zero targets.  Maybe I needed to warm up my mechanics a little more before getting started @ 50, or maybe I improved with more time behind the C4 sighting system.  I have no doubt with more practice (and the available smaller apertures) I could refine this a bit more.

Ultradyne C4
Two different groups @ 50 after making a zero adjustment between strings of fire

When Ultradyne talks about the shape of the C4 set drawing the eye in and naturally centering it, they aren’t spouting marketing fluff.  The sight set uses circles inside of circles, which my mind automatically works to keep centered, much more effective than the standard M-16/AR-15 front sight post where the ears are bent out and you’re trying to center a squared off post.  With the C4’s, the rear sight is a circle, the front post is circular inside of it, and the peep aperture is a circle inside of that.  The mind is naturally working to align all of those, leaving your conscious energy free to focus on lining up that peep aperture and squeezing the trigger.  When I shot for single round accuracy rather than a group, I had even better success.  Arnold Palmer below might agree!

Ultradyne C4
Two rounds in a golf ball @ 50

While my groups aren’t as pretty as with a red dot or a magnified optic,  this is by far the best I’ve done with irons sights in a long time.  Sure, I need to practice that more and with better results out of the gate thanks to the C4 sighting system, that is more likely to happen.  These are robust enough for duty use and accurate enough for competition.  At $129 for the front sight and $154 for the rear, they aren’t cheap.  If you’re settling for “good enough”, keep walking.  If you want next-gen type quality, check out Ultradyne‘s C4 sighting system.

Rex Nanorum

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