I published my original no BUIS article back in 2013. Turns out it wasn’t a fad. And here’s why.
I was browsing m4carbine.net and spotted this post by none other than Jeff Gurwitch, who is something of a guru to The Reptile House Blog, and many others.
Have a read about why the no BUIS look isn’t a passing trend. Jeff’s forum name is Stukas87, BTW:
To expand on why the lack of BUIS. While confidence in current optics (which I mentioned), the mission (night ops), the ability to transition to a pistol are all factors. The biggest reason I think is the institutionalization of optics as the primary method of aiming a rifle.
On the Army side of the house starting in basic training soldiers train and qualify with an Aimpoint red dot. Iron sights are seen as back up. This has been the new norm for at least the last 5 years or so. The benefit of this of course Soldiers are much more proficient shooters with optics. The down side of course is shooting skill with irons is becoming lost. And not just the skill but I hate to say this but the confidence in iron sights that you can shoot well with them is something not present in the mindset in a lot of the current crop of soldiers.
Has this created a reliance on optics with the current soldier? Unfortunately to some extent I would say yes. Have there been some instances where not running a BUIS has bitten some soldier in the ass, I am sure it has happened. What has replaced a BUIS in a lot of soldier’s minds? Running a backup optic. Lets face it we are in a digital age, one where our youth see things differently. Our 1-4 Elcan sights are issued with a MRDS. In a lot of soldier’s minds if you have two optics on your rifle that is plenty of back up for Murphy’s Law. I have to say I agree with this reasoning, (and I am from the generation that for a time only had iron sights.)
Optic reliability, my experience. I have had a optic only go down one time. Back 2005 Iraq I tripped on a curb slamming my Aimpoint CompM2 on the concrete (zero gone). I did have a BUIS. Now had I not had a BUIS, then I would have just shot through the tube. Used the lens tube itself as my rear sight and lined it up with my front sight post. (Works well enough for CQB distances.) This trip, I fell slamming my rifle on a pile of rocks during a op. My Trijicon VCOG did not drop it’s zero at all.
So trust in reliability of modern optics based on the culture level (institutionalization that Optics are the only way to go), along with the capability to run dual optics, (really three with IR/visible lasers I think are the biggest factors in the decision not to run BUIS.
Is it wrong? Traditionally speaking many would say yes. But having experienced the current trend first hand. In 15 years of operating I have only used a BUIS one time, luckily modern optics are only getting stronger and battery life longer.
In the end I think it all boils down to the confidence the shooters has in his equipment and what is viewed as a back up. And this view with the modern soldier is changing.