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Thread: Explanation of Co-Witness

  1. #1
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    Explanation of Co-Witness

    Now, I have around this business for a bit now, on both ends of the spectrum, from the .mil side to the industry side.

    I think there is common misconception on what Co-Witnessing really is, as to a true definition. Now I am going to put it to the people without my 2 cents and see what the public says Vs what the operators and shooters tend to say (and I will say that there are Tier 1 Operators that do not agree also on this very topic).

    This term is thrown around so loosely without a true "text book" definition.

    So here it is:

    Co-Witness is -

    A - Having the ability to be able to align your Iron Sights or BUIS through your Optics / Red dots (where it locates in the glass it does not matter {middle / bottom 1/3}), leaving your red dot Zeroed.

    B - Sighting in your Optics / Red Dots and then bringing your Iron Sights or BUIS to align with the Red Dots.
    Last edited by Jay Cunningham; 07-21-08 at 03:28. Reason: spelling
    Brett W

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    Brett-
    No argument with you ... "but" ... what I normally hear folks say is that they've zero'd their irons and have now "co-witnessed" their optics/red-dots/etc to their irons or visa-versa.
    I take this to mean that their Dots & Irons will be POI/POA together.

    ... make sense?

    My default is quite different .... my Dot is where it is; my Irons are where they are - because they are different systems.

    Erick

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    I zero seperately and then check. If they align I'm good to go. So far they've always aligned, so I'm not sure what I'd do if they didn't.

    I tend to use "co-witness" to verify that the sights and dot are both still zeroed. If I pick up the gun and look through the iron sights and optic at the same time and find that they line up, chances are about one in a million that they both got knocked out of alignment to the exact same point.

    At the end of the day though I'm not sure that it matters what you call it or what you use it for as that's really just a matter of semantics and personal preference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Erick Gelhaus View Post
    I take this to mean that their Dots & Irons will be POI/POA together.
    I am relatively new to optics on anything. I keep thinking my eyes are young enough to still use irons (on that account, I am mistaken). Anyway, what Erick says is the way I understand it, regardless of whether the top of the front sight post and your red dot are visually coincidental, or located in different quadrants/thirds/whatever of your field of view.

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    Choice A is the definition I use.

    I do the zeroing backwards from you guys. I zero with irons, then put the dot on top of the front sight post, almost like a boresight. I then shoot just optics to verify or set the optic to shoot same POA/POI as the irons.
    Nemo me impune lacessit

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    I've always considered "co-witness" to indicate that the optic's red dot is co-located with the aligned sight picture, that is, your red dot is on top of your front post when the sights are aligned.

    Co- means together, and witness is a reference to what you see, and I take co-witness to mean that your sighting indicators (aligned sights and red dot) are together (in the same place).

    My irons and my EOTech do not co-witness, because I run a LaRue EOTech riser. Of course, I can still use my irons through the EOTech window, but my aligned sight picture is not in the same place the red dot is.

    I'm not calling anyone else wrong, just explaining how I use the term.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SinnFéinM1911 View Post
    Co-Witness is -

    A - Having the ability to be able to align your Iron Sights or BUIS through your Optics / Red dots (where it locates in the glass it does not matter {middle / bottom 1/3}), leaving your red dot Zeroed.

    B - Sighting in your Optics / Red Dots and then bringing your Iron Sights or BUIS to align with the Red Dots.
    Option A is what I refer to when I use the term "co-witness." It just means that you can align your front and rear iron sights though the optic, should the optic fail, eliminating the need to remove it in order to transition to irons. Normally, the irons would sit in the lower 1/3 of the FOV.

    Option B is something I have heard referred to as "absolute co-witness" in order to distinguish it from Option A.

    Like Erick said, my dot (or reticle) is where it is and my irons are where they are, because they are different systems. I zero the two separately. If I'm using an optic (in my case an EOTech + LaRue mount) the iron sights might as well be invisible to me. I should be seeing only on the reticle and the target. If I am using irons, the optic is either off the weapon or inoperable, so there is no reticle in my FOV. That approach seems to work for me, but I have limited experience and am a long way from being an expert. If I am mistaken or misinformed, please let me know.

    Derek
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