The Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sight (TCCS)
Recently I had a Springfield Armory M1A in for evaluation. Somehow, this military classic (civilian semi-automatic version of the M14) just insists that you use iron sights.
Got me. But I’ve waffled more on the scope / iron sights decision more than Eric Holder in his Fast and Furious testimony. Some weeks the scope mount goes on and others its back to iron sights. Right now, it’s iron sights, and I think I’m going to stick with those – at least until Honey Boo Boo gains another 5 pounds.
Actually I’ve got even more incentive to stick with irons for a while. Recently I picked up a Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat front sight for the M1A / M14.
As you can see, the front sight post is noticeably wider and not tapered like the standard M1A front sight post. This sight is intended for low visibility, close quarters use. Don’t take it to the National Matches! Here’s why…
Let’s consider the sight picture at 100 yards. My particular Springfield Armory M1A sight is just about .055 inches wide on the shooter side. It’s tapered and therefore narrower than that in the front. This helps create a really crisp and precise sight picture. Many other M1A’s use a National Match sight blade, which is .062 inches wide, so your particular mileage may vary a bit. Keep in mind that numbers will float around depending on exactly how far from the front sight post you place your shootin’ and aimin’ eye. In my case, it’s about 34 inches.
On the other hand, the Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sight has a post that measures just about .093 inches wide.
What does this mean if your shooting at a target 100 yards away? Let’s do some fancy math and find out…
So, solving that equation, dividing by the number of times John Boehner visits a tanning booth and carrying the one gives us the following sight pictures:
My Standard M1A Front Sight post covers a 5.82 inch wide target at 100 yards. With this fancy new match, that means a standard military 20 inch wide target would exactly match the width of my front sight blade at 343 yards.
The Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sight post covers a 9.84 inch wide target at 100 yards. Not trusting my math, I eyeballed this at the range. Close enough. To make a similar military target ranging comparison, the Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sight would match the 20 inch target width at about 203 yards. That’s kinda handy for ranging a man-sized target at distances us older folks you can actually see with the naked eye.
So, for long targets, you’re going to lose some precision with the Smith Enterprise Tritium Combat Sight. But that’s by design. This sight is supposed to be easy to see in low light conditions. With it’s built-in Trijicon tritium vertical bar, you can’t miss it.
This front sight upgrade also makes a great backup scenario if your M1A or M14 is scoped. Many (maybe most?) M1A / M14 receiver mounts have a half-tunnel cutout that allows you to see the front and rear iron sights under the scope. Smith Enterprise makes an M1A / M14 mount configured this way.
Front Sight Installation
If you have a standard M1A with the factory muzzle break installed, installation is simple.
|The standard front sight is a reverse dovetail setup where the sight itself has the female dovetail cut. It’s held in place by a hex bolt. Just loosen and remove that.|
|The front sight will slide right off. Perhaps a gentle nudge will be required to get it moving.|
|Save that hex bolt. You’ll need it for the replacement front sight!|
|The Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sight installs exactly the same as the standard sight. Don’t apply any Loctite – yet. First, you’ll want to bring your hex driver to the range with you for zeroing. If you zero for windage by drifting the front sight, then you can have your rear sight mechanically zeroed too. Just place the rear sight at it’s zero windage point, shoot, and adjust the front sight side to side as necessary. Once you’re happy, go ahead the tighten everything up.|
Initially, I tried out the Tritium post version of the Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sight, but they also make one with a round tritium dot, also provided by Trijicon. I’ll be trying that one in a few weeks to see how it compares.
I really like shooting with this configuration. Given my aging eyes combined with iron sights, it’s not hurting my practical accuracy either.
You can find the Smith Enterprise Tritium Close Combat Sights at Brownells