SoldierMod.Com :: Soldier Modernisation
  SoldierMod Volume 12 - December 2013
Volume 12 Articles

Ring Sights logoA Shot in the Dark, and Everywhere Else

Soldier Modernisation talks to Shaun Elliott,
Managing Director of Ring Sights

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Shaun Elliott, Managing Director of Ring Sights
Shaun Elliott,
Managing Director of Ring Sights

Ring sights is the world leader of unit power sights and zeroing devices for military and law enforcement uses.

Q: Give me a brief evolution of gun sights. Over the course of that development what have been the specific challenges in designing/manufacturing sights for assault rifles, pistols, RPGs, and the full spectrum of other weapons used by Ground Troops and Special Forces, and what has Ring Sights done specifically to meet those challenges?
A: As long as there have been military rifles, there have been sights. Our eyes just cannot focus precisely at great distances. In its simplest form the original iron post gunsights allowed the eye to “sight” down the gun barrel and line it up with the target. But using a traditional iron sight requires the eye to try to focus on a near and far object at the same time, something else it wasn’t designed to do. Modern optical gunsights or telescopic “scopes” were designed to compensate for these limitations of the human eye, and through the history of warfare, and especially over the last half-century or so, many technologies have come forward to make targeting more accurate, and marksmen more lethal.

Q: Taking that one step further, what are the specific needs or challenges when designing gun sight technology for the kinds of weapons used by today’s modern warfighters and the weapons they carry?
A: The ‘boots on the ground’ warfighter today is not looking for anything all that different in a rifle sight than the troops during World War II. It needs to help you see and hit your target as accurately as possible. The biggest challenge is evolving with the needs of the warfighter to engage the enemy any time of day or night, and across any kind of terrain or environment. As gunsight manufacturers we have to evolve with the complexities of an ever-changing battlefield.

Q: Tell me a little about the history of Ring Sights, and the background of your two founders.
A: In the seventies, Ray Budden (SPSO retd. - Royal Naval Scientific Service) and Fraser Scott (Brigadier retd. British Army) started to develop unit power sights. We started with Air Gun sights that were designed for BSA (copied by Norinco of China) and Daisy (the Point Sight still being sold). Our first patented solid glass sight was the P90 which incorporates a solid glass ring sight, hence our name. Now there is a wide range of solid glass sights for calibres from 4mm to 40mm. In military fields, sights were developed for the UK LAW 80, the .50” Machine Gun and the 20mm Oerlikon; these sights continue in service. The NLAW shoulder launched missile system produced by SAAB – BOFORS has our RC12 – NLAW sight fitted which is specifically designed for the launcher system. Being NVG compatible, this sight enables the end user to operate at night and provides all round capability.

Q: What is a “unit power site,” what makes it unique, and what are its advantages over other types of sights?
A: A unit power sight or Ring Sight, is a reflex collimator sight which projects an aiming mark optically which is focussed on the target. The firer looks through the sight, the position of the eye does not matter, and puts the aiming mark on the target where he wants to hit and pulls the trigger. Firing is ordinarily done from the shoulder since the eye must be more or less in line with the sight. Since the sights are “unit power” i.e., have no magnification, both eyes can be kept open.

LC30 grenade sight. Photo ©: Ring Sights.
LC30 grenade sight. Photo ©: Ring Sights.

Q: Within what you are at liberty to discuss, what types of weapons do you provide sights for?
A: We provide Ring Sights for a full range of weaponry from cannons and grenade launchers, to pistols, rifles and riot guns. There are also lasers/illuminators and range finders designed for certain sights.

Q: Let’s talk a little about compatibility. Are your sights compatible with all accessory rails, NVG equipment, etc, and how easy are they to be used?
A: All Ring Sights are NVG compatible. Ring Sights, since they are small and practically maintenance-free, can be most useful as a built in collimator or optical lining up device. Though only unit power, when aimed at a suitable target, the alignment error with a Ring Sight can have a standard deviation of only half a minute of arc, so Ring Sights can act as alignment datums. They can be potted in permanently in production aligned with launcher rails, an aerial, an optical datalink, or indeed anything in need of alignment. The Ring Sight acts as a check against misalignment of the device, or its sight, as a trouble-shooter and as a diagnostic tool. In addition, it is not always necessary to view the Ring Sight from behind. Our RC range can be set to be viewed from behind, above, either side or below.

Q: What are the relative advantages, disadvantages of current gun sight technologies, and with that in mind why has Ring Sights chosen to focus on the optical technologies it has?
A: All Ring Sights are solid glass optical sights. They are unit power i.e. no magnification. They are all NVG compatible. They have no moving parts. No seals to leak, no internal misting up. No purging. We pride ourselves on our proprietary customized graticules that are capable of being adapted to fit various weapon systems.

Q: As you see it, what challenges remain in creating the “ultimate” gun sight for today’s warfighter, and without revealing anything proprietary, what is Ring Sights doing to surmount that challenge?
A: Ring Sights continues to innovate with an ongoing development program of new products, the latest of which is the Ring Sight LC30 grenade sight, a unit powered reflex sight that provides first hit probability to the ballistics full range.

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