Diamondhead USA is gearing to launch a polymer version of their unique backup iron sights. These new sights maintain the same diamond shape that the company is named for but use a composite polymer instead of steel for their construction.
Probably the biggest difference polymer sights offer is a much lower price. Diamondhead expects to give these an MSRP of $120, less than half of what some of their premium diamond sights go for. The sights are spring-loaded and deploy with the push of a button and simply fold closed and will lock in the flattened position.
The strength of the design is that the eye uses the angled aperture to quickly and instinctively make a tight sight picture. Many Diamondhead users will testify that their design is draws out their accuracy for tighter groups and faster shooting. And while the AR family of rifles generally have good sights to begin with, Diamondhead knows there’s always room for improvement.
The use of polymer over steel for much of the sights’ construction also adds a level of durability over steel. While steel is likely to withstand a majority of abuses, when it does get damaged it’s likely to be unusable afterwards. Polymer sights are often thought of as lesser cheaper alternatives but in truth they bounce back after heavy blows that would permanently damage metal sights.
There are two drawbacks to polymer sights. The first is that they do not function well on railed gas blocks. The heat from the gas block alters the polymer composition and makes it become brittle or otherwise unstable. This is a non-issue when used with railed handguards.
The other problem is that they tend to be a little less finely- or precisely-made as machined parts. They have to be built a little chunkier than metal parts and often show signs of flashing from the casting process. Still, the unique aperture of these sights will more than make up for the (slightly) more crowded sight picture.
Diamondhead’s polymer sights will include photoluminescent — glow-in-the-dark — inserts. While unpowered like tritium lamps, the inserts are less expensive and can be charged with a couple of pulses from a flashlight. They can also be used as a very wide three-dot sight for speedy up-close target acquisition.
Arms Collective has recently posted a preview of the sights which will be launched at SHOT Show in January 2014. “These sights are built with advanced polymer/composite construction for strength, lightweight and exceptional durability,” reads the review.
Stag Arms has already developed two AR-15 packages that will feature the polymer Diamondhead sights, the Model 3T and the 3T-M.
In addition to the polymer sights both rifles feature Diamondhead free-floating modular handguards. The extended handguards have a smooth textured lower half for a comfortable, “cheese-grater”-free grip and reach out nearly to the end of the barrel. They can be modified with extra sections of Picatinny rail for mounting accessories to the sides or bottom of the handguard. Diamondhead offers full-length as well as short rail segments.
While functionally identical, the 3T-M differs from the 3T with furniture upgrades. The 3T-M comes with a Magpul ACS buttstock and MOE pistol grip instead of the standard AR/M4 stock and grip.
Both of these are particularly affordable rifles considering their upgrades. Stag will set their suggested retail prices at $999 for the 3T and $1160 for the 3T-M. Like many Stag Arms products, both will be offered in left-handed models for just $20 more.