View Full Version : Zeroing your Weapon.

John Lindsey
16th October 2007, 13:46
How often do we need to zero our rifles? I have noticed that many people make it a habit to zero every time they go to the range, often making only slight adjustments. For this discussion we are going to limit ourselves to fixed sights and red dots such as the EOTECH and the Aimpoint.

First of all, make sure the red dot is firmly mounted to the weapon. Most problems I see with zeros is that the scope becomes loose, or is of such a poor quality that it canít take the abuse.

If you have to adjust your irons every time, then the odds are that you are not shooting the same, possibly not placing your cheek weld in the same spot.

If you are doing bulls eye target shooting, then you may want to adjust them. Tactically speaking, we are interested in hitting two legged creatures. You should do an initial zero with a new scope or anytime you change to a significantly different ammo. Besides this, you should never have to touch it. Every time you shoot, the environment will be slightly different. You must acknowledge this, and realize that tactically it doesnít matter that much. You can not get confidence in your weapon if you get in the habit of fiddling with the zero each time you go shooting. Leave it alone.

I zero when there is no wind and leave it. This is my true zero. If next time the wind is up, then I would adjust using point of aim. If you keep changing the zero due to climatic conditions, you are loosing your true zero and thus the point of reference to adjust from.

Earlier this year in Iraq, one of the Brits in the company I worked for expressed concerns that he was issued a rifle that was not sighted in to him. Support personnel such as watchkeepers, clerks, G2 are not issued weapons, but are loaned weapons when they go outside the wire. This person was concerned that he may have to use it, and not only miss his opponent, but possibly hurt a non combatant due to the fact that it was not sighted in.

My team heard about this complaint, and I could see that some of them may have thought this was a serious issue. So, the next time we went out to the range I had to prove to them that it was not a valid concern. Using steel plates the size of someoneís chest as targets, I moved the team back to over 200 yards away. Using their own weapons, I had them shoot the steel. No problems were observed. Then, I had them trade weapons with the person next to them. I could see that some of them thought it would not work at that range, but it did. Then they traded weapons again. In the end, each person shot 11 other rifles with either iron sights or red dots that were not their own zero. They proved to themselves that you donít need a perfect zero to kill at such ranges.

If you can do that at 200, why do you need to worry about 50 yards? At 25 yards you should be able to point shoot a rifle. Why? Because red dots do break, do fall off, or generally go tits up at the worse movement.

Next time you go out to shoot, turn off your red dot and try it. What if someone is breaking into your house and you forget to turn on your EOTECH, and you only find out after raising the weapon up to engage the armed intruder? Are you going to stop and turn it on, or our you going to shoot? With the EOTECH, if you forget to turn it on or it fails during a fight, do what we called "shooting the window". Simply continue to look through the glass and place your target in the center.

You must have confidence in your weapons and your skills.