Israeli fiber optic sighting system keeps sharpshooters on target
Like many Israelis, Tiberias insurance company owner Yigal Abo owns a pistol for self defense. But unlike most insurance agents, Abo is on the cusp of an innovative combat pistol sighting system that could help SWAT teams and rescue units save countless lives...
The NET tactical pistol rear sight system utilizes a red fiber optic sight housed inside a case at the rear of the pistol. When the shooter can see the entire fiber-optic sight as a complete red circle superimposed over the target, then it means he`s ready to fire!
How did the mild-mannered Abo become involved with the creation of the simple, but potentially groundbreaking sighting system with weapons industry insiders clamor for in development deals?
"I had nothing to do with gun expertise or the military, I`ve been running an insurance agency for the last 27 years," Abo told ISRAEL21c from the company`s bustling office in downtown Tiberias. "But I do own a gun and every year as part of your license renewal, you need to go to the shooting range - which is where I met Yaacov."
Yaacov Sneh, a shooting instructor who owned the shooting range patronized by Abo, had developed an idea for the sighting system. As the two became friends over the years, Sneh showed Abo his plans on paper for a sighting system he had developed, with the intent of looking for investment.
"I liked the idea so much, though, that I convinced him to let me develop it," recalled Abo.
He described the patent-pending system as "the light at the end of the tunnel."
"If you`re exactly on the same line with your target, you can see the whole light. If you`re not standing exactly right, you might only see a half moon, or a quarter. That`s how you know if you`re aiming correctly - the fixed diameter of the dot."
"Today, when most people shoot they have a standard front-and-rear sight setup. It`s very difficult to do. You need to relate to three points - the front, the rear, and the target - all at the same time and do it quickly. Now you just have one dot to deal with - you match it to the target and it`s done simply and quickly."
Abo and Sneh spent the last couple of years working on prototypes and with the fourth version in use, they were ready to present their sighting system. They approached North East Technologies, Ltd.(NET), a veteran Israeli weapons company that consults for Israeli and foreign military and law enforcement agencies.
"I thought that their concept could be revolutionary," said Gil Elharar, NET`s director of marketing and business development. "It`s the first time someone has developed a site for a pistol that really shows some new technology. We think there`s great potential in it," he told ISRAEL21c.
In an effort to help Abo move into the production phase of the system, Elharar took the prototype to the annual National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Small Arms Symposium held earlier this year in the U.S.
There, industry website DefenseReview encountered the system and found it "somewhat revolutionary" and "interesting."
"It`s actually very fast and intuitive to use. The circular red dot was easy to pick up quickly in the well-lit room we were in when we tried it," wrote the DefenseReview expert.
With endorsements like that it`s only a matter of time before Abo`s system is scooped up by a major American manufacturer. But words don`t count when a sharpshooter needs to take down a terrorist, which is why the system is being tested within the Israeli military, according to Abo, who couldn`t get more specific.
"Special units in Israel are checking it and like it a lot - they`re working with us on its development and the improvements that it needs before it hits the market," he said.
The only thing that surprises Abo these days is that nobody had thought of the idea before, leaving it to the insurance guy from Tiberias to bring to the world.
"It`s so simple but I guess it`s a matter of habit - not much has changed with aiming and shooting in the last 200 years," he said. "I came into from the outside - I`m an insurance agent, not a shooter or instructor. It`s a very different perspective."
What would he do if the Abo-Sneh sighting system becomes a big hit? Would he give up his profession?
"I wouldn`t mind giving up the insurance company but I have a lot of employees to take care of. So I think I`ll be staying put."