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Old November 9, 1999, 04:05 AM   #1
R PHILLIPS
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Hey fellas,
here's a chance for you guys to put all your creative suggestions to use, especially you who have police or military training/ experience. I own two carbines that I carry on duty (at least some of the time). The first weapon being a Bushmaster AR-15 type carbine w/a 20" barrel in .223 cal.(can't think of the model off-hand). The second rifle is a Ruger Mini-14 (Ranch Rifle-SS) w/a synthetic stock. On the Bushnaster I have a Sightron 3X-9X scope mounted on the carry handle. I also have a compact laser sight mounted under the barrel near the front sight. I don't have any optical equipment on the Mini-14, other than the factory "peep sights."
I'm not really happy with the set up on the Bushmaster. The scope is too high and very awkward due to being mounted on the carry handle. I was thinking of getting a flat top upper receiver and mounting some type of "red dot" sighting system (i.e. Aimpoint or something similiar). I would also like some advise on what type of optics to use on the Mini-14, which for some reason, I like better than the Bushmaster.
I do realize that the sighting system will vary depending on what the weapon is being used for (entry, close quarter combat, long range etc...). Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
One more question, has anyone heard of any news or used the new Nikon variable power scope w/the laser range finding system.
In the near future I am planning to buy a long range tactical (sniper) rifle, possibly the Remington BDL PSS (.308 cal or 300 Rem ultra-mag). This scope (Nikon) sounded like it may be useful on a long range set up, but for close to $900.00 I want to be sure it's going to serve the purpose. If you have any other suggestions on an affordable, long range, tactical rifle please reply!!
---------------------------------------------

PS, I don't mean to sound like a crazy gun nut, having all these weapons and looking for the opportunity to use them, but our department does not provide any weapons other than our side arms - Glock 23 .40 Cal (hell, we don't even have shotguns!!!). In this line of work it's better to be prepared and well equipped in the case of that unfortunate incident when "it hits the fan."
Thanks in advance for all the help!!

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[This message has been edited by R PHILLIPS (edited November 09, 1999).]

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Old November 9, 1999, 09:11 AM   #2
Rosco Benson
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First off, there's no need to apologize for an interest in guns and a desire to be prepared. The only people who would view your interests and equipment choices as aberrant are freedom-hating, anti-gun pinheads. We need not concern ourselves with the opinions of such scum.

That said, I think you are over-glassed on the Bushmaster. A 3x-9x is quite a bit of magnification...probably too much for your intended use. I concur with your notion of going to a flat-top upper. I would suggest mounting an ARMS Swan Sleeve (or the GG&G equivalent components) to provide you with backup iron sights. (The "extended" Swan sleeve is usually necessary to allow the scope to be mounted far enough forward to permit proper eye relief).

For the glass itself, I think Leupold's Vari-XII 1x-4x would be about perfect (Leupold offers this in a matte finish as a shotgun scope, with a heavy duplex reticle. The "shotgun" scope differs from its glossy "rifle" counterpart only in being set to be paralax free at 75 yards rather than 150 yards...no big deal). Leave the scope set on 1x and target acquisition is very quick. Mount the scope in ARMS QD throw-lever rings (these are 30mm rings, so you'll need ARMS 1" inserts) and you can jettison the scope, if damaged, in about the time it takes to reload.

The Mini-14 would probably be best served by either sticking with the issue sights (perhaps drilling out the rear aperture a bit larger) or replacing the issue sights with a set from Ashley Outdoors. These consist of a proper "ghost-ring" rear aperture and a front sight with a high-visibility white line scribed down its face.

I would lose the laser and forget about the red-dot sights. These rely on batteries and on the user actually turning them on before action.

On the whole issue of scopes; I'd suggest that you stick with Leupold. In optics, you get what you pay for (if you're lucky).

Well, that my two cents. Hope it helps.

Rosco
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Old November 9, 1999, 09:42 AM   #3
WalterGAII
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I concur with Roscoe's advice re the lower-powered Leupold. I do a lot of shooting with my Bush Shorty carbine (16" barrel), but in a different application. I use a 6X20X44mm target/sil scope, as I use the Bush for varmint shooting out to 300 yds or so. For your use as a l.e.o., the Leopold would probably fit the bill. I've installed Trijicon night sights on my Bush, but doubt that I'll ever use them.

I don't have any problem with scope height,with my scope mounted on my carry handle. I guess that's just a matter of personal preference.

You might consider a good tactical flashlight mounted on the AR, as opposed to the laser, red dot, etc. I have a PDP3 mounted alongside and below my scope on my Bush, but it's for play, not for the serious business that you're in.

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Old November 9, 1999, 09:42 AM   #4
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Woof!

[This message has been edited by WalterGAII (edited November 12, 1999).]
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Old November 11, 1999, 11:44 PM   #5
R PHILLIPS
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Thank you for your advise. I thought there would be alot more posts on my question, but I supose this topic has been worn out over time. It seems the low power Leupold is the way to go, according to your replies. I am still hesitant though. Rosco, you stated you would not choose the red dot aiming system & ommit the laser sight, due to these items relying on some type of electric power which may fail (and they have to be manually activated). This is a very good point & one that I overlooked. However, I am concerned about having to use the firearms in low or no light conditions. This may present a very big problem using a non luminated type of scope or sighting system. The laser on the Bushmaster is activated by a pressure switch which is located on the forend, where I position my hand. Thank you all for your replies. I would like any more suggestions on this topic.
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Old November 12, 1999, 08:53 AM   #6
Rosco Benson
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In general, if there's enough light to identify your target, there will be enough light to use the conventional scope. If there isn't enough light to I.D. your target, then you are going to have to light him up with a weapon-mounted "white" light or a separate flashlight.

Another thing about red-dot sights that I don't like is that the user must turn them "on" before action. This obliges the user to add yet another thing to think about in a stressful situation. It amazes me that no red-dot manufacturer has incorporated a pressure switch that can be placed so as to permit the user to turn on the unit with his hands in their firing positions.

In spite of them incorporating a pressure switch, I am unenthusiatic about lasers. It is slower to attempt to see the projected dot on target than it is to get a conventional sight picture. I think that the much-touted "intimidation" factor is highly exaggerated...at least as it applies to people who you might actually NEED to shoot (if they pose an immediate deadly threat, they probably won't even see the dot on them as they'll be focused on trying to kill YOU. If they're able to notice and comprehend the dot on them, then they're probably not posing an immediate deadly threat...so why are you pointing a rifle at them? The oft-cited scenario for the dot's power to intimidate is its use by tower guards to frighten rowdy inmates in a prison yard. Not exactly a typical situation.)

Remember too, if there is smoke, dust, fog, or similar in the air, using the laser pinpoints your own location.

I actually have seen one good use for the laser (particularly one mounted on a pistol). It makes a dandy training aid for new shooters. Nothing illustrates the need for proper trigger control quite so well as the student seeing his laser's dot perfectly on target, only to see it jump away and his bullet miss its mark when he crunches on the trigger. I am also told that they make a fine cat toy.

I, too, hope some other chime in. I sure don't have the market cornered on ideas on this subject.

Rosco
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Old November 12, 1999, 09:05 AM   #7
WalterGAII
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Rosco:

My thoughts on lasers: If you want to give a lecture to a room full of people, a laser makes a fine pointer; if you want to kill a room full of people, my plain old Glock 21, with Trijicons, will do just fine.

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Old November 12, 1999, 10:58 PM   #8
lowrider
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I agree with you guys about the laser sights. You all make a good point about red dots, too. But I have found one red dot that might be what you are looking for. It is made by C-more (I think), and they make a mount that attaches to the carry handle. The sight actually sits in front of the carry handle, and when set up properly, you sight through the rear sight as you would normally, and the red dot looks like it is sitting on top of the front sight. Great for low light, where the front sight might disappear on a dark backround. It adds virtually no height to the rifle, and very little weight. And if it ever fails (dead batteries, etc), you can still use the iron sights, no problem. Hope this helps.
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Old November 13, 1999, 09:24 AM   #9
Rosco Benson
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I am told that when the military spec ops guys started working with red-dot sights, they had their armorers cut off the front portion of the carry handle. This left the rear sight standing on a little "pedestal" of the original handle. A picatinny rail was then mounted on the flat-topped portion and a red-dot mounted. The relationship between the red-dot and the iron sights was as you describe with the "scount-mounted" C-more...the red-dot appeared atop the front sight and the iron sights were instantly available.

Mark Brown makes (and www.brownells.com sells) a unit to facilitate this style of mounting....on recievers with carry handles (which will require machining) and on flat-tops. If I were to go with a red-dot, I would use the Mark Brown set-up.

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Old November 13, 1999, 04:10 PM   #10
lowrider
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The Mark Brown mount looks to be a good option, however, the sight I am refering to requires no modification to the handle. It is at Brownell's, also. Stock #160-015-457. Also, they carry a mount that will put the sight in the same position(again, no modifications), and has a Weaver style rail, if you don't like the C-more (Brownell's #060-510-600).Just something to think about.
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Old November 15, 1999, 07:46 AM   #11
R PHILLIPS
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Again, I thank all of you for you replies. Rosco, you seem very knowledgeable with your advice. Unless anymore useful ideas are posted in the near future, I'll give the low
power Leupold a try. I just want to avoid refitting my rifles with different sighting systems everytime something new comes along. The next thing I know, I'll have enough optical equipment to start a gun dealership. Many thanks!!
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Old November 25, 1999, 09:36 PM   #12
Jake 98c/11b
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I recently acquired a trijicon TA01NSN through trade and while it is a higher magnification than I would like (4X) it has nice clear optics. I think a scope of no more than 2.5X is the best comprimise of speed and target acquisition but I have few credentials to back up my ideas, just saying what has worked for me on small game in the brush. I have a 1.5-5 Leupold on my 10/22 and it spends 99% of the time at 1.5 power. I too have reservations about relying on batteries but the two Trijicon scopes I have used have sold me on them, wish I hadn't sold my 3X9X56 Spectrum. My question to add to this is thread is what about the Trijicon Reflex 2? I have done some shooting with a friends AR with Reflex sight but looking through the sight is odd. The sight filters the colors and made it hard to pick up some targets, does the Reflex 2 correct this? I also like the idea of the 12.5 min triangle but I don't want to shell out a few hundred for something that I know so little about so any feedback would be helpful.
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Old November 25, 1999, 11:03 PM   #13
Edmund Rowe
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Some amateur thoughts:

In his new Tactical Rifle book, Gabe Suarez states that most non-sniper police rifle engagements are within 50 yards with most of them being under 25 yards. He mentions a highly decorated veteran of many police shootouts whose farthest shot was measured at 57 feet. 57 feet??

It seems to me that the farthest distance you're likely to use the rifle is how far you can shout your "Drop the gun, this is the police!" stuff. I dunno what your dept policy is. I'm guessing. I'm also thinking that most police challenges are like living-room range. I don't think a telescopic scope is necessary at that distance.

If that is the case, I'd put more effort into shooting with iron sights and mounting a light on the foreend. Surefires work well. Millenium lights are larger but they light up the perp like you wouldn't believe. I also like the Millenium that is has an on/off switch in addition to the intermittent squeeze button. I don't have one but know folks who do.

If you have eyesight problems I'd look into a red dot scope like the Aimpoint Comp M on a flattop but realize that scope covers, batteries, etc. all can complicate their use. If I was usiing this I'd get in the habit of turning it on the moment I take it out of the patrol cruiser. Also keep spare batteries on the rifle somewhere. I've seen several times where dot scope people go to the range and "Aw, sh*t, did I leave it on the other day??" (batteries are dead).

Also, rain and such on the lens can mess up the dot. Depends on the brand.

If you can use the iron sights as backup to the dot scope, that is a good way to go. Note that if you use a standard front sight instead of a flip up type, then if you look through the scope cockeyed then the red dot will appear on the front sight assembly.

OK, I hope these pointers helped. Last note: If it was me I'd get some professional training documented with whatever rifle(s) I'm going to carry on duty. I'd let the instructor know that you're a LEO and want documentation. I don't know the POST standards in your state but I'm sure that will look good on whatever
training you get.

I'd try to take refresher training every 6 months at a minimum and document each trip to the range with the rifle so you can show your practice record in court. I know this all sounds like a hassle but if it was me I'd want to look really good in front of that jury after a shooting or having to explain to the IAD boys what happened.

Something else: After your first professional training class (try to get a 3-day format at least) you'll know MUCH better what kind of equiment to look for. Another reason to take training more than once: Once to figure out what you want, next time to train with what you decided on.

I have trained under Jim Crews, Randy Cain and Louis Awerbuck and reccommend them highly.

Hope that helps. Once again I'm an amateur so your mileage may vary.

Edmund
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Old November 27, 1999, 03:33 PM   #14
Jake 98c/11b
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Some valid points from Mr Rowe, I tend to view things from a military perspective so one good point is to carefully examine your operating environment (blinding flash of the obvious I know). My limited experience is that red dot sights will make a mediocre shooter a good bit faster and a good shooter marginaly faster. Remember, he who hits first usually wins. The problem is that these things can/will fail so you might be best served by shooting iron sights. The point made of training (with doccumentation) is certainly valid. I shoot almost weekly and practice dry fire about 3 times a week. I have taken classes at Storm Mountain under Rod Ryan and I can reccomend his courses as being a good value. I also have the luck of, on rare occasion, shooting with a friend who has ranked as high as #2 at the NTI. With this in mind I will agree that you should take a class or three before you dump any hard earned money into equipment. I have so far resisted equipment that requires batteries (except the Sure Fire lights) but that would likely change if someone would make a dot sight that had a switch like that on the IR aiming light the military has.
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Old November 27, 1999, 06:07 PM   #15
R PHILLIPS
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GOOD STUFF, KEEP IT COMING!!!! All your advice is being concidered.
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Old November 27, 1999, 09:18 PM   #16
Edmund Rowe
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I'm just thinking out loud:

Some reasons to stay with the very short range setup and leave the precision hostage rescue shots to somebody else:

I'd stay way far away from anything resembling a precision sniper shot unless you have:

-use of force policy documented by dept
-documented training
-PR policy in effect by dept.

I'm just guessing but if there's a perp holding a teenage girl at knifepoint and you pull up in the cruiser and pull out the scoped setup, you can bet that any reporter in range is going to get a dandy close up of you with that rifle and whammo you're the star of the 6 o'clock news tonight and every other night they talk about this incident.

In those cases I'd want everything documented ahead of time and hopefully the chief has a plan for dealing with the nosey reporters. Otherwise they'll be hammering you/him with questions about the "deadly police snipers" and I'm sure we all want the chief to be prepared to explain what's going on.

OK, more equipment/training talk:

Flip-open scope covers are all non-see through that I've seen. The "bikini" covers sometimes are see through to some extent. Some people I know don't put any covers on their scopes.

Dot scopes add weight to the rifle. Maybe insignificant but add body armor, radio, cuffs, rifle and handgun ammo, pepper spray, ASP baton and whatever else you bring to the party, and any weight savings is a good thing.

I have Trijicon iron night sights on my AR. They definitely help at night but they shoot to a different zero than the top of the front sight. Also, the tritium insert can be distracting in daylight usage, making for some funky groups. I don't think Trijicons iron sights are useful for civilian/police situations as long as you have a light somehow to ID the threat and backlight the sights.

Some other stuff to consider: An A2, Phantom, or Vortex flash hiders work really well at dampening muzzle flash. Vortex works the best from what I've seen.

Also, if someone grabs the muzzle on a Vortex you can do some aggressive moves that flip the muzzle out of his hands and the Vortex will make some bloody rips, too.

You might not think muzzle flash is a big deal but try some different ammo through your plain muzzle Mini-14 and your flash-hider equipped AR at night. Sometimes a partner helps so he can shoot it and you can see what the difference is.

Hope that helps.

Edmund
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Old November 28, 1999, 11:01 PM   #17
Jake 98c/11b
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Two more almost related points I would like to bring up, hopefuly this has been covered before.
1. If you mount a scope on your carrying handle your sight line is up to 5" above the bore. If you sight your scope for 100 yards your point of impact will be about that low at traditional L.E.O ranges. Think about what a lawyer might have to say about an officer using a rifle that shoots about 6" off center. Especially if the weapon is "zeroed" that way.
2. Whatever sighting system you use your line of sight will be above the bore. Remember this when you shoot, even after talking about this in my unit we still had over half of the guys shooting into their cover during one of our exercises recently. Admittedly we set up this exercise to emphasize this point but I have heard of this happening in bolth law enforcment and military environments before, sometimes with grave consequences.
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Old November 29, 1999, 11:02 PM   #18
R PHILLIPS
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JAKE 98c/11b,
Thank you for you concern in regards to the liability factor. Rest assured, I train and practice with my firearms on a regular basis. I realize the need may arise to, someday, protect my life or more importantly, someone elses. We also have have strict carbine qualification before we are permitted to carry/use any of our weapons on duty. Last qualifaication - Ruger mini 14, 94/100, Bushmaster, 90/100. I have went head to head with some of these ambulance chasers (lawyers- no disrespect!) & am all too familiar with their "articulation skills" (i.e. lies). I also realize the height of the optics on the carry handle, hence the flat top receiver I was inquiring about. Again, thank you for your reply. Keep on postin' guys!!!

[This message has been edited by R PHILLIPS (edited November 29, 1999).]
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Old November 30, 1999, 12:33 AM   #19
Jake 98c/11b
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R Phillips
I realize this is a little off topic but what is the course of fire for your carbine in your department? I run some of the firearm training at my unit and I am always interested to hear what others have to do. One related question, what kind of environment do you work in? Rural, urban, suburban, what is the population of the jurisdiction you patrole and how large an area does your department service? Might help in answering your question (probably not but you never know).
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Old November 30, 1999, 06:14 PM   #20
R PHILLIPS
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Jake 98c/11b,
My department serves 1 boro (urban) with approx 2000 residents. We also serve two townships (rural) with a combined population of approx 12,500 people. 25 square miles total. Our Carbine training consists of shooting rounds at B27 targets. 25 rounds are used. 4 rounds at 100 yards, 4 rounds at 50 yards, 8 rounds at 25 yards, and the remaining at 10 yards. Each "station" is timed. We have to shoot from different
stances (i.e. sitting, standing, kneeling, etc...). We also practice "shoot/don't shoot situationals, with life size targets. Officers must score at least 84/100, to qualify. If you have any suggestions for further traing, you may E-mail the information. Our Firearms instructor was just recently certified and only requires the "basics." I still like the "red Dot" optics, but they may be impracticle for what the weapons are being used for. Thanks for your reply!!!

[This message has been edited by R PHILLIPS (edited November 30, 1999).]
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Old November 30, 1999, 11:46 PM   #21
Jake 98c/11b
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In some respects the fact that your range officer has only recently been certified might be a good thing. If he is new AND ENTHUSIASTIC about his job he might push for more training, he might try some new things from time to time and if you are lucky he will ask arround to other agencys and see what others do.
My ideas on qualification might not be best for law enforcment use, all my experience is military and nothing fancy at that. It's just that we aren't so picky about collateral damage. I also believe a good bit of your shooting should be at moving targets and with the shooter moving. Unfortunately bolth are hard to do. Few ranges can run moving targets and those that can don't have the time to run individuals through (as opposed to groups). Shooting on the move raises some safety concerns in groups (kinda like live fire line dancing) and once again individual training is time intensive. I have a friend in the Singapore army who says they add physical stress to their qualification but I am outside the bounds of this discussion group so I need to get back on topic. Sorry I digress.
I too like the red dot sights but I am afraid that if I grow accustomed to them Murphy will step in and my batteries will be dead when I need them. Special Operations units insert fresh batteries when they need to use theirs, a luxury you and I aren't likely to afford. I am hoping to learn more about the Trijicon Reflex II as that could solve the battery problem, until then the best solution is probably iron sights backed up with a good tactical light.
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Old December 3, 1999, 07:05 PM   #22
Rover
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I would love to see something like the trijicon ACOG 4x32 w/ tritium triangle,
but in a 1x to 4x variable,
maybe w/ a longer tube so that the open sites on top would have a little longer radius.
Can anyone comment on the open sites on top of either the ACOG or the Steyr AUG scope?
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Old December 5, 1999, 05:44 PM   #23
Geschutzfeuer
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Flat-tops are a must for any accuracy shooting, you can't do any better than Leupold for the money. Save the Ruger for shots of fifty feet or less
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Old December 7, 1999, 09:43 PM   #24
Jake 98c/11b
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Rover
The sights on the ACOG TA01NSN are reasonable out to 30 yards on a man sized target, that is about all I can comment on as that is all I have done. I did have to drift the front sight as it shot about one foot left at fifty feet but I can live with that. I have done SOME shooting with the AUG and it's sight/scope setup and I was not impressed. the field of view is too narrow in the scope for my liking but as it is only 1.5x I guess it is OK. Really didn't like the fixed sights, I am prejudiced in favor of apeture sights on rifles.
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Old December 14, 1999, 09:49 AM   #25
Rosco Benson
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Bill Wilson has entered the AR-15 market. You can see his wares at www.wilsoncombat.com

I found it interesting that their UT-15 "urban tactical" rifle features the Leupold Vari-X II 1x-4x scope that I recommended for such use early in this thread. I don't care much for Wilson mount (it permits the user to use iron sights beneath the scope and, as a result, mounts the scope waaaaay too high), but he's a pretty smart fellow on his choice of optic.

Rosco
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