03 Mar

Chuck the Vet’s AR Fixed Front Sight Chop

Steven K. Ledin,

Chopped front sight

My friend Chuck the vet's M&P 15 came with a fixed front sight. I put on a Diamondhead VRS handguard that I had that wasn't a free-float, so it was a direct replacement for his fore-end without rails. I also installed a low gas block that I had. The manufacturer said it would work in the place of a standard A2 front sight, including with the use of the fore-end cap. It didn't mate up exactly, apparently, because the gun didn't reliably cycle. The gas hole must've been just a bit off. It looked ok, but it used set screws instead of taper pins, and it had to be the reason for some failures to feed. If I had a free-floated handguard I would've used it, but I was trying to save him some money. A floated handguard would've given me the extra sliver of room I needed. As it was, I pushed the low-profile gas block tightly against the handguard cap like the manufacturer said, and it didn't work.

By the way, the most important tool to remove a factory tapered-pin sight is a baby sledge. And sometimes they are tight, and I mean beat the living crap out of it tight. This one certainly was. Make sure you have a solid, non-marring rest for the barrel and upper, and use good punches. Cheap ones will bend immediately. Use tape for scratch protection, and hold the punch with vice-grips until the pins start to move. Then they come right out.

Anyway, I decided to chop the top off his factory A2 sight and reinstall it with the taper pins I prefer. After a smashed finger and bird cage removal it slipped off again just fine. I put it on my band saw with the proper height rest for a straight cut, and the darn thing wouldn't cut worth a darn. And I didn't have another blade.

Band saw front sight

So, plan two. Whip out the old Dremel with reinforced cutting discs and a good vice. Those discs will cut anything. That disc just walked through that hard metal like nothing. I wanted to use the band saw for a straight cut and less sanding and grinding, but it only took a few extra minutes with power tools, and it turned out very good after a few light swipes with a file.

Vise front sightCut sight

I sprayed it with some high heat paint and reinstalled it with his Nikon 1.5-6 illuminated M-223, my favorite scope of last year, and our 2014 product of the year. Really a superb product. It's resting nicely in a 30mm non-QD Burris PEPR mount.  I boresighted it with our OPMOD boresight, then matched the green laser from his LaserMax Unimax to the red illuminated dot in his Nikon Scope. The Unimax is installed on a Diamondhead accessory rail on the right side of his fore-end. The left side rail holds an easily detachable Streamlight Game Spotter with remote, and the lower rail has on it a GG&G bipod adapter and is for his Champion Targets Pivot Bipod. This is my current favorite all-around bipod. It swivels and pans and rotates and locks easily. It's light enough, sturdy, and reasonably priced.

Chuck's M&P

Chuck sighted in his gun and laser and it ran like a champ. It shoots very well helped a lot by his CMC trigger.

Aim hard.


About Steven K. Ledin

Steve has never not known guns. Before motorcycles, money, or girls, they have always been part of his life. He was tenured as General Manager of one of the country’s largest gun stores and ranges, a buyer in a big box sporting goods store, and is currently OpticsPlanet’s Director of Product Intelligence. He was a US Navy gunners mate, and is an NRA certified instructor in ten categories, as well as an Illinois CCW instructor. He shoots competitively and has hunted from Alaska to Africa. He thoroughly loves life with his beloved wife, Shirley, and their three wildish dogs Tinker, TranRek (pronounced “Train Wreck”), and Crash Almighty. He is a stubborn stage 4 cancer survivor not yet ready to cash in his chips.

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