The rear sight is a U- or V-shaped cutout at the rear end of the weapon or the barrel, the front sight is a punctiform, round or angular elevation at the end of the barrel near the muzzle. When aiming, the weapon can be brought into a line of sight with the aim over three points - rear sight - front sight - target .
Most rifles have an adjustable rear sight that allows the target distance ( ballistics ) to be corrected. The correct target point is set using an adjustable rear sight and / or adjustable front sight. Military, police and hunting weapons sometimes have an additional night visor.
Laser sights are based on irradiating the target with a focused infrared or a visible laser beam. This sight is not permitted in Germany for hunting or sport shooting , its possession and use are illegal for civilians.
Sights for assault rifles , submachine guns , pistols, bazookas and machine guns are largely comparable with the sights on civilian weapons, but adapted to the military requirements or the respective weapon.
Sights of long-range guns must take ballistics into account based on the target range. In the past, reticles (reticle), scissors telescopes or a distance measuring base were used for precise measurements . Today's devices have an active range finder for this purpose, for example by means of a laser ( laser range finder ) or radar . In aviation, the results of the target search system (target search radars, optical systems) are shown on a transparent display which is at eye level with the pilot ( head-up visor ).
Sighting by means of target lighting is not a classic sight, but serves, similar to radar, wire or radio control, to guide a guided weapon . A target is illuminated with a laser beam , the encoded scattered radiation of which serves as a point of orientation for the missile. The laser beam emitted by the aircraft, vehicle or drone is automatically tracked to the hit after the target has been recognized; alternatively, the guided missile switches on using its own target recognition ( fire-and-forget ).
- Rolf Wirtgen (Ed.): Catalog for the special exhibition “100 Years of Visor Developments”. Supplemented with data sheets on the telescopic sights of the special exhibition "Precision Rifles" and on the optical aiming devices of the current permanent exhibition . Federal Office for Defense Technology and Procurement, Koblenz 2003, ISBN 3-927038-63-6 .
- Wilhelm Riistow: Military hand dictionary. Edited from the standpoint of the latest literature and with the support of experts. and redigirt, Volume 1 A - K . F. Schulthess, 1858, p. 257 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
- Wilhelm Riistow: Military hand dictionary. Edited from the standpoint of the latest literature and with the support of experts. and redigirt, Volume 2 M - Z . F. Schulthess, 1859, p. 257 ( limited preview in Google Book search).