The .303 Lee Enfield is a bolt-action, magazine-fed repeating rifle. It was the main firearm of British military forces from the late 1800s until about 1955.
During World War I, around 70,000 British soldiers were protecting the Belgian city of Mons. They occupied the town as 160,000 German troops advanced on it.
When the Germans arrived, they launched an attack against the outnumbered British troops, but the British soldiers held their ground at first.
One reason they were able to hold, was that the British were armed with the Lee Enfield rifles.
They were well trained on the rifles and could fire 15 rounds, from 300 yards away, in under 60 seconds.
The British soldiers hit the advancing Germans with heavy rifle fire.
British Cpl. John Lucy said…
“Our rapid-fire was appalling, even to us, and the worst marksman could not miss, as he had only to fire into the ‘brown’ of the masses of the unfortunate enemy, who on the fronts of two of our companies were continually and uselessly reinforced at the short range of three hundred yards.”
It’s rumored that the rifle fire was so intense that the Germans believed they were fired upon from machine guns.
The Lee Enfield has a fast bolt action. It has a 10-round box magazine and was not affected by the dirt and mud on the battlefield.
Most importantly, the rifle has a powerful round that could kill a person up to 400 yards away.
But the great features of the rifle didn’t matter if the soldier couldn’t accurately shoot.
The Lee Enfield #4 version was equipped with an aperture sight. When the sight is flipped flat it has a large aperture, commonly called a battle sight.
When it’s flipped upright, it has a small aperture adjustable sight.
Some models came with a flippable large battle sight and a smaller aperture sight that was not adjustable.
The Lee Enfield aperture is mounted on a “ladder” style sight, and can be adjusted to different ranges by moving the dial for different ranges.
When the ladder is lowered, a rear aperture flips up and acts as a standard sight.
The Lee Enfield rifle was built for longevity. It was used in the First World War and is still carried by Afghan tribesmen.
Because of its reliability and accurate shooting, it has stood the test of time.
Now, many rifles first used aperture sights, but some shooters prefer to use ghost ring sights on their rifles.
An aperture sight is a round plate shape with a small hole in the middle.
A ghost ring is more of a ring style. The hole in a ghost ring is much larger than the tiny hole on an aperture sight.
So, with that understanding, here are a few advantages of an aperture sight compared to a ghost ring.
The aperture is a tried-and-true sight.
The rear aperture sight is a disc with a hole in the middle of it. The shooter lines up and centers the front post of the rear aperture.
It’s a simple design.
The aperture is also called a peep sight because the shooter peeps through the rear hole.
The front sight and the target are more in focus compared to the rear sight.
Oftentimes, the rear sight will look blurry to the shooter. But our eyes center the front sight in the blurry circle.
Many military and civilian rifles use aperture sights.
The advantage of aperture sights is that they are accurate at long distances because of the smaller hole.
The downside to aperture sights is that because of the small hole they can be difficult to use at close range.
Ghost ring sights are similar to aperture sights, with the difference being that the hole or opening is much larger.
The larger hole on the sight makes it faster and easier to use, so you can line up your shot on target quicker.
A ghost ring sight operates the same way as an aperture sight. The shooter centers the front sight post through the ring.
One of the biggest advantages of a ghost ring is that they are faster to use in low light conditions.
So, if you are using a rifle for home defense, a ghost ring could be a great addition.
Also, if your eyesight is not the best it can be difficult to see through a small aperture sight, but a larger ghost ring won’t be as restrictive to your vision.
The downside to a ghost ring is that the sight is not as accurate as an aperture sight.
While a ghost ring is a good option at close range, it’s not the best if you are shooting beyond 200 yards.
Which one should you use on your rifle?:
If you are using the rifle for home defense, in relatively close quarters, then a ghost ring is the way to go, since it can be faster on target and better in low light.
Another option is to get a sight that offers both.
For example, Magpul sells an aftermarket sight that is a ghost ring, but there is a small insert in the ghost ring of the sight that makes it an aperture sight.
All you do is flip the insert down and it opens into a ghost ring.
If you have an AR-15 for home defense, I would choose a ghost ring over an aperture.
But, if you live on large property and do long-distance shooting, then an aperture is the best choice.
For a shotgun I would always go with a ghost ring, since shotguns are close-quarter weapons, and a ghost ring will be plenty accurate.
Aperture sights and ghost rings both work very well, but in different scenarios. How you use your firearm will determine the best option for you.