Sunday, June 10, 2012

An Advise Bleg

Got an AR-15 information request.

Right now, my homemade AR has a very nice scope - a Nikon Monarch - on it for long range shooting.  It's fine for that, but I'm thinking of putting something on it for closer range, more like CQB than benchrest 200 or 600 yard shooting.  Problem is, I'm at that point of not really wanting to spend more than the rifle on the optics, like I would if I put a Trijicon ACOG on it.  Or even a good EOTech holographic sight.  Being an older dude with a constant need for glasses, a couple/few power magnification would be good. 

So what's out there that works OK and doesn't cost an extremity?  Any recommendations for a CQB optic for, let's say $200 and under?  If you have a favorite at under $500, go ahead and mention it.
(me and the AR)


  1. Hi-lux CMR 1424 Best value period.

  2. At Amazon:

    RED DOT: Bushnell Tactical Elite 1x32 Red/Green T-Dot Riflescope, $158.03:

    SCOPE: Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 1.5-4.5x32 Riflescope, $69.18:

    In terms of value for money, I don't know of anything better. Not the same quality as an Aimpoint, but you can buy ten of the scopes for the price of one mid-range Aimpoint, and three to four of the red dots.

  3. I don't have a favorite scope, but there are some good choices here.

  4. Ok, if you are looking at 200 and under, the Vortex Strikefire is the only one I would go to war with.

    It is closer to the top end than some of the other products mentioned, but hands down it is the one I'd choose.

    1. If I wanted some magnification, can I just put a small scope in front of it, like the way I can with a Trijicon or (presumably) the Bushnell?

    2. Scope magnifiers at Amazon (should work with any red dot type optic):

  5. All my scope choices are more expensive than you want to spend, but other commenters have suggested some very good choices. I have had very good results with a 2-7X Burris.

    One thing I'll suggest will drive the cost up a bit, but it's something that can be added anytime: a 45 degree red dot. Brownells has a 45 degree Picatinny adapter that attaches to a Picatinny rail, and there are a variety of red dots that will attach to it. The Burris Fastfire is quite good and reasonably priced. I first saw this on Jerry Miculek's 3-Gun rifle, and adopted it for mine. I don't have Miculek's Money (or sponsorship...) so I went cheaper. The advantage is a magnifying scope for distant shots, and a red dot for close stuff. It takes a bit of getting used to to tilt the rifle 45 degrees left to use the red dot, but once learned it becomes automatic. Here's a link to what Miculek put on his rifle:

  6. Millet DMS 1-4. You can use as a red dot at true 1x with both eyes open. Long eye relief. Mag to 4x. Never use the illum. but nice to know you can light it up at dusk or dark.

  7. Graybeard, yes, Vortex makes a magnifier compatible with the Strikefire. Although any 2x or 3x magnifier will work as long as the mounting is aligned properly.

  8. If you're not going to get an Aimpoint/Trijicon/EOTech, the the Vortex is the only other one I'd (reluctantly) consider for anything but range toy use.

    The thing with the (to paraphrase AM) "go-to-war" optics is that they're as tough or tougher than the gun they're clamped to, and have battery life measured in thousands or tens of thousands of hours, rather than tens of hours.

    A busted optic or one that won't hold zero or drains batteries like Dracula on a virgin is worse than no no optic at all.

  9. Second on the Vortex Strikefire.

    I've got one on my EDC carbine and it's helo zero after being severely abused over the past year - dropped, kicked, thrown in the back of my truck. $149 at a gun show.


  10. Thanks for the excellent batch of comments, y'll.

    Looks like I need to start shopping for a Vortex and see what it's like.

    Anon 0911: I've seen that 45 degree mount Jerry Miculek uses and I've been thinking about grabbing one, or something like it.

  11. Take a look at the Burris MTAC 1x-4x scope as well. It's a bit more expensive at $375ish, but it has excellent glass, a true 1x for easy aquisition of close targets with both eyes open, and the 4x power is good to 500-600 yards. The reticle has a BDC that seems to work well with a lot of different .223/5.56 loads. The only semi-gripe I have with it is that the center dot is a little larger than I like. That's good for fast aquisition of targets, but bad if you want to achieve tiny groups on paper. My AR shoots considerably tighter groups than the area the central dot covers.