Clip-On Weapon Sight (WS) technology was deemed an interim solution by the US Government for use until integrated and fused (day/night multi-sensor) Weapon Sights (WSs) were developed/fielded. Clip-On has now become the solution of choice by Users, Warriors, Soldiers and the US Government. SWaP-C (size, weight and power –cost) has been improved through progressive advances in Clip-On Image Intensified (I2), passive thermal, LL-CMOS and fused technology. Clip-On Weapon Sights are now no longer mounting position sensitive. Now they maintain aim point boresight, so they can be used for longer ranges with increased capabilities while utilizing the existing zeroed weapon and daysight optic.
Active illuminated low-light level (both analog I2 and digital LL-CMOS) imaging is rightfully a real-world technology, proven to deliver daytime and low-light level identification confidence. Passive thermal imaging is also a real-world technology, proven to deliver daytime, nighttime and all-weather (including dirty battlefield) target detection confidence. Image processing detection algorithms with intelligent analytics provide documented promise to improve confidence by reducing Users, Warriors and Soldiers’ work-loads and improving overall system engagement solution outcomes. In order to understand the future of Clip-On in-line weapon sights, addressing pros and cons, this paper starts with an overview of historical weapon sight applications, technologies and stakeholder decisions driving milestone events that helped shape the Clip-On weapon sight industry. Then, this paper systematically reviews current attributes of integrated multispectral wavelength electro-optical imaging systems that successfully (and sometimes unsuccessfully) shape today’s Warrior, Soldier and User’s net-capabilities. Finally, this paper explores the evolution, pros and cons, of future Clip-On weapon sights, from a manufacturing and real world applications perspective for tomorrow’s military soldier and paramilitary first responder.