Ashley Performance AR-15/M-16 Front Sight

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For your consideration, a front sight post replacement with a twist. We know there are still iron shooters out there, but this may fit your flip-up BUIS too. Mad Duo

 

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 Ashley Performance AR-15/M-16 Front Sight

by Nate Murr

 

Everyone has their personal preferences when it comes to setting up their rifle. Some prefer magnified optics, others use red dots. Some like magnifiers, others see no use for them. People obsess over back up iron sights, and others don’t even have them on their gun. Depending on your individual application and intended goal, some setups might be better than others. But one thing is common to most shooters: most learn to shoot on irons and will use them throughout their shooting lives. Since military peep sights have changed so little over the last hundred years, I thought there was little room for improvement. But after shooting the new Ashley Performance AR-15/M-16 front sight, I realized that might not be true.

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The classic old front sight blade, which can be hard to acquire in low light or against dark backgrounds.

The Ashley Performance Front Sight is a one-for one replacement of the military style screw-in post blade. Found on just about every issued M16, M4 and M4A1, the famous A-frame front sight tower guards a thin blade which controls the weapon’s elevation corrections for gaining a good zero. There have been many replacement front sights made over the years by a plethora of companies. You can find front sights that feature tritium, fiber optic tubes, even miniature cross-hairs. But very few have achieved a very important, specific goal: to enable both speed and accuracy.

Many civilian AR-15s still have the traditional front sight, even though fold-down sights have become increasingly popular over the last decade. Several of the modern designs retain the original front sight blade due to its familiarity, ease of adjustment and availability. Recognizing  that the design still has merit but needed an overhaul, Ashley Performance set out to make a better front sight.

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Ashley Performance sight, left. The new sight provides good contrast on both light and dark colored targets, and a precise aiming point at the tip.

The new front sight features a .040” wide white stripe on a .100” black steel blade. This provides high contrast for most targets, and as I would find during this test, that fabled blend of speed and accuracy. The white stripe extends all the way to the top of the blade, providing a true aiming point for an exact zero. In the event that you would have to shoot a white target, (such as a dirtbag in an oversized, baggy white T-shirt) the black border still allows for easy aiming. The special paint used on the sight has been engineered to avoid fading from harsh UV light, and is surprisingly easy to pick up visually even in low light. This is partially due to the 30° slope of the front blade, which catches light much like a ramped revolver sight. 

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1/2 MOA adjustments for absolute point of aim/point of impact makes the sight at home with recreational as well as service firearms.

The Ashley performance sight comes in two models, one for the M4 length sight radius and one for the M16 length. To accommodate the difference in these two lengths,the company offers a 13-position version for the M4-length sight radius (14.5” barrel) and a 10-position version for the A2-length sight radius (20” barrel). Both models have a fine 1/2-MOA adjustment for a dead-on zero at the distance of your choice. Each kit comes with the replacement front sight and a handy tool to install and zero it. Install took about five minutes, and then I was ready to take it to the range to try it out. 

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On the Range

Because I installed the Ashley Performance front blade on a fixed-style Troy industries front sight, I figured a classic 25-yard military zero on the carbine would be appropriate. The sight is easy to acquire on both cloudy as well as sunny days, making zeroing the firearm easy. As mentioned, the white stripe provides great contrast on darker colored targets, and the black body of the sight helps guide the tip even when shooting on a light colored backstop. I achieved several tight shot groups while zeroing, arguably better then I usually do with standard M16 style blades. What I really noticed was the speed gained when shooting rapid strings of fire. This was accomplished with ease, and gave tighter shot groups than expected! 

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Our best 3 shot group, 25 yds supported from a bench. Ammo was 55 grain FMJ, target is a 1″x1″ square.

ADM 1

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Rapid is a relative term…this shot group was our best from the standing, firing one round every few seconds. I used the same 55 grain ball ammo on the 1″x1″ target.

Iron sights still have a place on rifles. And for certain competition shooters, Law Enforcement Officers and even some military units, irons are your only option. The steel sight would be as at home on a service gun as it would be on the recreational range. The design is simple, but effective.

I think Ashley Performance has cracked the code on this one; it definitely provides an advantage, particularly in low light and for aging eyes. The ability to quickly pick up the front sight blade and acquire a clear, crisp post outline is crucial to accuracy. You can certainly do this with the Ashley front, but it comes at a price. Each steel sight is meticulously hand-painted, which likely adds to its steep price of $75 MSRP. This might turn some shooters off, but understand the tiny piece of steel has to be precision made and high quality, which leads to its accuracy. The sight comes with a limited 5 year warranty, and is made here in the states. There is also 10% discount for active, active reserve, and retired military, as well as full-time and reserve law enforcement. The company is a pretty young enterprise, and I look forward to seeing more products released by Ashley Performance. You can learn more about this sight here at the company website.

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Primary: Subscribe to our newsletter here or get the RSS feed.

Alternate: Join us on Facebook here or check us out on Instagram here.

Contingency: Exercise your inner perv with us on Tumblr here, follow us on Twitter here or connect on Google + here.

Emergency: Activate firefly, deploy green (or brown) star cluster, get your wank sock out of your ruck and stand by ’til we come get you.

Mad Duo Nate Murr-NerfAbout the Author: Nathan “Mad Duo Nate” is a former USMC Sergeant who recently transitioned to being a nasty civilian. He lives largely on nicotine, whiskey and hate and can be frequently found orating Kipling poems to frightened hipsters. A graduate of the Camp Lejeune School for Wayward Boys, he was a Marine NCO, Infantry Platoon Sergeant and Scout Sniper team leader. He is a fully qualified American Jedi, handsome badass and world-renowned field barista. He has numerous deployments to the Middle East and Africa and is something of an idiot savant when it comes finger-fucking stuff to make it work better. Nate only chain smokes when he’s drinking and only drinks every day. We reckon he is probably best described as a sociopathic philosopher with vestigial cutthroat (though poetic) tendencies. Thus far Murr’s writing has appeared in such places as here on Breach-Bang-Clear, on Military.com, in field shitters and portajohns on at least 3 continents, in RECOIL Magazine and of course Penthouse letters. (Grunts: vestigial)

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One thought on “Ashley Performance AR-15/M-16 Front Sight

  • April 17, 2015 at 10:05 am
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    It’s good to see the mind of the legendary Ashley Emerson at work again …

    Reply

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