The Anatomy of a National Match Sight

The Anatomy of a National Match Sight

I received my Armalight National Match sight in a few days ago. This will be the sight I use for my AR15A2 project… but with a few modifications. Let’s look at a box stock NM sight.

Overall the unit is a very well machined rear sight.

National Match Threads

The Armalight NM 1/2 x 1/2 MOA national match sight is head and shoulders above the typical A2 rear sights found on most upper receivers. One thing I noticed is that more and more A2 sight assemblies are cast steel.   The cast steel assembly looks very rough in comparison. The stock assembly on an A2 has an aggressive thread pitch for a 1 MOA per click elevation adjustment. The finer adjustment of the NM sight will aid my shooting during the CMP / High Power matches I want to try this year.

Standard A2 Rear Sight

Of note is that the lower drum  assembly only differs in thread pitch. The upper  drum  assembly is marked for meters on the stock A2 rear sight where as the NM model is numbered in 1/2 MOA clicks.

National Match Wheels

The NM sight came with a threaded hood assembly. The aperture is absolutely tiny. I know that the small aperture is a great asset in target shooting, but as a defensive sight is absolutely sucks. Hard to acquire. Not its job you say? The AR15 is a defensive rifle that just so happens to be good at target shooting. Not the other way around. I will be running an aperture that closely resembles the military aperture.

National Match Armalight

Another feature of the NM rear sight can be noted to the left of the sight assembly. The left edge of the assembly protrudes ever slightly from the face of the assembly. Most A2 and carry handle sights I have seen are slightly canted due to the ball bearing pushing that edge away from the receiver. Since the NM assembly has a bit more material opposite the ball bearing assembly it should exhibit a straighter stance than the stock unit.

National Match


  • The NM A2 rear assembly will not fit into detachable carry handles. The threaded area is too long.
  • If you have a detachable carry handle, you already have a 1/2 x 1/2 MOA adjustable sight.
  • The rear peeps long tube assembly occludes your sight if your eye does not look at it dead on.
  • The upper drum assembly is not threaded. In theory you could buy an A2 NM 1/2 MOA sight and swap a carry handle 6/3 drum in its place. Then you can shoot Xm855 and have the proper markings out to 600 yards.
  • Or you could simply swap a carry handle sight into the A2 upper receiver… but you will lose unmarked elevation.

I will be swapping the hooded peep assembly for a same plane battle aperture and zero the AR15 at 100 yards. This should give me a great setup for practical rifle competitions and and still allow me to shoot reduced course high power matches. From that zero, according to KAC Bullet Flight, I should be able to reach 600 yards with my 69gr SMK with 33 clicks elevation.

Overall the quality of the Armalight unit is many steps above the stuff that came with my A2 upper receivers. Really nice piece of gear.

Written by lothaen


  1. mcthag · March 15, 2014

    The few A2 sights I’ve had have not had a canted aperture even with a canted rear base. It’s not surprising since it’s a known angle; you’d just have to set your jigs up to account for it.

    As for the rough “cast” appearance, that’s likely metal injection molding (MiM) in an application where it’s entirely appropriate.

    • lothaen · March 15, 2014

      I’m not sure what you mean. The sight base itself in my A2 and detachable carry handle are twisted off to one side ever so slightly due to the ball bearing and spring applying tension to the assembly. True this is cosmetic in nature, but it was a nice touch by Armalight to put a bit more material to let the assembly track straighter.

      As for the MIM yes the A2 sights are thick and I’m not fearful of them breaking any time soon… But the step up in quality with the NM unit makes me really happy. I hope to have it installed by next week once I get my Schuster rear sight tool. I’m tired of using Popsicle sticks to try and compress that spring. I want a tool that will make the job easier. 🙂

      • mcthag · March 22, 2014

        What I mean is what you mentioned, the rotation of the rear base is entirely cosmetic and it’s accounted for in the design. Just like the apertures are just slightly offset to account for the movement along the threads (if the aperture is made right; many aren’t) when you flip it.

    • Shawn · April 25, 2014

      its not MIM its cast

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