Down the Sights of Historical Firearms

War History Online has posted an incredible set of of photographs of old rifles and their sight pictures. The gallery includes classics like the Thompson SMG and BAR with a few notable firearms including the British Lancaster and even the M2 Carbine with a paratrooper wire stock.


Click the photo to be taken to the gallery.

What do you think was the best sight picture of the old firearms?

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • These are from the C&Rsenal point-of-view gallery, by our own writer, Othais.

    • Haunted Puppeteer

      I think C&Rsenal is far more deserving of a link. Especially, you know, being the source.

  • These are Othais’ photos. He has been posting here for years.

    • Othais

      No, it’s cool. I got this.

      • Giolli Joker

        Great photos as always!
        How do you get everything on focus?
        Do you superimpose photos with different focal points?
        (I’m far from being a photographer, please keep it at kindergarten level, no need to go much into details 🙂 )

        • I would imagine he has to superimpose the photos. 🙂

        • Othais

          Yep, several shots and lots of editing. Good estimation!

  • Shawn

    I’d have to say I like the Lee Enfield sight on page one the best.

    Neat Pictures!

  • Riot

    That grease gun sight is horrible, its tiny for a smg and the post takes up most of it! the Thompson is far clearer.

    • MrEllis

      From the hip!

    • TVOrZ6dw

      Doesn’t matter, the grease gun won’t hit way it’s pointing at anyways. It will mow-down most anything sitting next to your target though…

    • Some Guy

      I was kinda surprised by how many of these went with the tiny aperture / fat as hell front post approach, especially on the rifles.

  • Squirreltakular

    Judging from the photos, I’d have to go with the 1917 or 1903A3.

    • Anonymoose

      You know, I never the original 1903 sights were so vestigial…

  • Gabe

    FYI, the link on the pic is pointing to page 2 of the source article.

  • UCSPanther

    M1/M14 sights rule.

    • Anonymoose


  • Azril @ Alex Vostox

    Judging from the photos, I wonder how many video games series get it right.

  • MrEllis

    I love this kind of thing, thank you.

  • Just Sayin’

    Finnish M39 has my favorite sight picture of all the WW2 era firearms. They nailed it.

  • JamesH

    How many M2 Carbine Paratrooper models were made? I can find no information on them!

    • Othais

      Good catch. That piece is a mystery from a local museum. Since it was never for sale it’s hard to imagine fakery. The gun is definitely an M2 and the stock is definitely an original paratrooper. Quite the oddity.

  • Anomanom

    Wow. The Lee Enfield and the 1917 were okay, the rest of them were pretty rubbish.

    • J-

      Peeps rule. Mid barrel notch sights are ok on the range. Useless for speed. The military switched to peeps on the 1917 and never looked back.

  • J-

    M14 FTW. The M1917 for a close 2nd.