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Old March 9, 2008, 07:06 PM   #1
Anthony
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Optics for the Fight Rifle: Target Identification & Evaluating the Threat

Hello Everyone,

I live in the flatlands of Texas where it is not very hard to find a 200 yard plus stretch of open landscape...even in the suburbs. I'm in the process of setting up a custom built M1A as my primary fighting rifle and plan to mount a high power scope and use one of the new red dot sight mounts from Tactical Night Vision Comapny (TNVC) that mounts an Aimpoint T-1 Micro red dot sight at the 2:00 O'Clock position so one can engage close range threats without losing your cheekweld. I've discussed the mount in detail with Aimpoint's law enforcement division and have attached a photo of it below for your reference.

Accepting that the close range threat is handled, what magnification range would you suggest for the high power optic that would provide both positive target identification and the capability to evaluate a target to ensure it was a threat before firing?

Thank you for your input on this critical issue.

- Anthony
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Old March 9, 2008, 09:43 PM   #2
Hard Ball
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I have a Leupold 2x-7x variable scope on my NM M-1A, The scope is not bulky and the available magnification will handle any situation well.
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Old March 9, 2008, 09:57 PM   #3
strick909
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For a 0 to 200 yard weapon, you might be better off with a single optic like the Trijicon Accupoint. The low power 1.25 setting will work well from 0 to 50 yards on threats and you can dial in greater magnification as you need it up to 4x. High power scopes would be fine for a designated sniper rifle, but narrow the field of view too much to be effective for run and gun work. You only need as much magnification as it takes to make an aimed shot and disable the threat. It is easy to go overboard, but lower is typicly better than higher if you are not sniping. Also, multiple optics will increase the weight of an already heavy weapon.

Keep it simple!
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Old March 10, 2008, 12:10 AM   #4
Wildalaska
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If you are not a cop you have no business engaging at 200 yards. If you are, TA 11 5.5 Triji

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Old March 10, 2008, 12:14 AM   #5
bt 223
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I have a 3-9 power on my AR. It works well for close to long range. It also serves as my home defense gun. At real close range just indexing off the top turret on the scope works well.
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Old March 10, 2008, 02:08 AM   #6
The Canuck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildalaska
If you are not a cop you have no business engaging at 200 yards. If you are, TA 11 5.5 Triji
... Why?
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Old March 10, 2008, 02:51 AM   #7
Wildalaska
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Quote:
Why?
Why would a civilian even thinks of "fighting" at 200 yards?

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Old March 10, 2008, 06:24 AM   #8
Billy Sparks
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Fighting? No. But if he was going to use it as a double duty rifle maybe. Here is what I mean if he is going to use it at the 200 yard area for varmits and hunting but wants to also use it for fighting. I agree with Wild on this one for a civilian at 200 yards you have plenty of time to retreat/escape.
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Old March 10, 2008, 07:12 AM   #9
skydiver3346
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Retreat or escape?

Is that where we have come to in our society now (where the bad guy has all the rights and the decent citizens of the country always have to retreat or escape in these situations). I'm new to the Firing Line and love the advice and opinions of the members. It is just too bad that society doesn't function like it used to.
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Old March 10, 2008, 09:19 AM   #10
Anthony
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I'm with Skydiver.

I generally agree with your sentiments, Wildalaska. That said, there are exceptions to every rule and I have always prepared for the worst case scenario ever since I was at the business end of a 12 gauge in an armed robbery.

Granted such 200 yard plus capability would most likely go unused in the self defense realm, but it just might come in handy for some delightful range time, fulfill some hunting needs, or just provide me with additional trigger time and enjoyment of learning how to hit targets at extended ranges.

Thank you for your thoughts.

- Anthony
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Old March 10, 2008, 09:29 AM   #11
garryc
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I don't see engauging at 200 yrds when I can avoid. I will avoid if I can. The idea is to survive, not play rambo. If you engauge then there is a good chance he will win, and you will die. If defending a location then the person is going to broadcast his intentions with body language, that you can see with the naked eye.
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Old March 10, 2008, 06:47 PM   #12
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So WA, in the same vein, why would a police officer need the same capability, being a civilian?
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Old March 10, 2008, 09:05 PM   #13
vox rationis
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Quote:
If you are not a cop you have no business engaging at 200 yards
Having a variable optic that can go up to 9 or 10X on a defensive rifle allows you threat identification that many argue is vastly superior to only a fixed low power scope. Especially in an urban environment with lots of shadows and only limited views of the potential threat. For example scoping in on a potential threat and seeing if that thing in their hand or waist band is a handgun, or is that person 300-400 meters away carrying a 4x4 or a rifle, that sort of thing. Having that magnification doesn't mean that you would engage at that distance, but it can allow you to decide that there is indeed a threat out there at 300-400 yards, and that you'd better safely egress out of the area, sooner rather than later. And sure binoculars can achieve the same thing, but binoculars is yet another thing to carry and lug around, not always practical. This is when your accuracy/target profiled semi-auto can become a good urban self defense set up.
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Old March 10, 2008, 09:37 PM   #14
5whiskey
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Keeping on topic and not giving my opinion on to engage/not to engage... I would get an acog and do away with all of the "2 different sights" junk. To each their own, if you want an aimpoint mounted at 2 oclock then better you than me. That's one more thing to screw up. Acogs work wonders... not quiet as good close up but you can train with it enough to be pretty darn decent. They are also very good out to 4 and 500 yds.

BTW, I'll share a CQB trick for using an acog. Put a lens cover on the front of the acog (the flip-up type) so that you can flip the cover down and blacken the lens. When training for CQB, flip the lens cover DOWN. With both eyes open, notice that you can still see the red chevron in the reticle. Play with it a couple of seconds and you can see the red chevron "imprint" on a target. Shoot the target, and the bullet will go just a few inches to the left of where you were aiming (if you're looking through the scope with the right eye). This works well and is effective out to 50 yds. The further out you go the more the POI will be off, but just try this. Had a USMC Gunner teach me that trick. It works pretty darn well.
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Old March 10, 2008, 10:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
So WA, in the same vein, why would a police officer need the same capability, being a civilian?
Police Officers have practical rules of engagement that civilians dont have based on civil liability.

Quote:
Having a variable optic that can go up to 9 or 10X on a defensive rifle allows you threat identification

Dude this is not TEOTWAWKI....why would you be "threat identifying" in your suburban neighborhood with a loaded rifle?

No wonder the antis...

Quote:
BTW, I'll share a CQB trick for using an acog. Put a lens cover on the front of the acog (the flip-up type) so that you can flip the cover down and blacken the lens. When training for CQB, flip the lens cover DOWN. With both eyes open, notice that you can still see the red chevron in the reticle. Play with it a couple of seconds and you can see the red chevron "imprint" on a target. Shoot the target, and the bullet will go just a few inches to the left of where you were aiming (if you're looking through the scope with the right eye). This works well and is effective out to 50 yds. The further out you go the more the POI will be off, but just try this. Had a USMC Gunner teach me that trick. It works pretty darn well.
Interesting. I learned from the local Scout Snipers to look down and over (hard to describe) the Acog so you see the chevron sort of laying there like a red dot. Use both eyes, a gun dead on at 100 yards will shoot 5 inches high at 25 (or at least my eyes will)....so I aim COM

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Old March 10, 2008, 11:04 PM   #16
vox rationis
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Quote:
Dude this is not TEOTWAWKI....why would you be "threat identifying" in your suburban neighborhood with a loaded rifle?

No wonder the antis...
Dude, have you ever heard of the Rodney King Riots? Hurricane Katrina? The 60's Chicago Riots? As much as you might not like the idea, the veneer of civilization is pretty thin. I was in L.A. during the Rodney King Riots, and being able to ID whether people furtively approaching your location are a threat or not could be a very useful thing.
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Old March 10, 2008, 11:08 PM   #17
Wildalaska
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Quote:
being able to ID whether people furtively approaching your location are a threat or not could be a very useful thing.
Well then buy some binos then.

Youre at home anyway........

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Old March 10, 2008, 11:23 PM   #18
5whiskey
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Quote:
Interesting. I learned from the local Scout Snipers to look down and over (hard to describe) the Acog so you see the chevron sort of laying there like a red dot. Use both eyes, a gun dead on at 100 yards will shoot 5 inches high at 25 (or at least my eyes will)....so I aim COM
I've seen that trick also Wild... kinda the same concept (ok not quiet but close), just always awkward for me. Maybe no more awkward than remembering to flip the lens cover down when you go into a building that was shooting at you 2 minutes ago. I'm glad I'm out. (BTW I forgot to flip it down half the time but the acog is still pretty darn effective without that trick)
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Old March 11, 2008, 08:39 AM   #19
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If I were Anthony, . . . I would opt for a scope mount that would allow me to still see a good set of ghost ring and post sights. That would give the best of both worlds, . . . and would be straight up and down.

Yes, I can see the need for a scope out to 200 or so yards, . . .

But relying on 17+ years of military experience, . . . I would far and away rather have either a good spotting scope (some are small enough for a front shirt pocket, . . . or a pouch on the M1A sling) or a pair of binoculars (again they can be gotten in a very small size and the pouch can be attached to the sling or buttstock).

A) they are far superior to a shooting scope as you see the whole field, nothing is hidden by the reticle, . . . and B) if I am watching you through my binoculars, . . . one of the things I will look for is a rifle barrel moving around trying to acquire a target, . . . and if I spot you first, . . . the only thing you would see possibly is the smoke from my rifle as it sent 2000+ fps lead your way.

Anyway, . . . may God bless,
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Old March 11, 2008, 09:05 AM   #20
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Have to agree with WildAlaska, at least in part

Binoculars are the way to scan and identify. Using a riflescope to identify friend or foe violates at least two major firearms safety rules.

That said, some of us would benefit from using those scopes on civilian weapons for training purposes, because we might be handed similiar weapons at later times for areas where they are both appropriate and necessary (IE Iraq, Afghanistan...)
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Old March 11, 2008, 10:27 AM   #21
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I like his rig with the two sighting devices. It sure beats the heck out of elevated see through rings.
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Old March 11, 2008, 10:40 AM   #22
Anthony
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Binoculars are an essential tool.

Binoculars are a valid part of the rifleman's kit and definitely one I believe in keeping with a fighting rifle. That said, binoculars do not assist the shooter in knowing when a confirmed threat ceases to be one.

Yes, binoculars are an essential part of the kit, but they are not a substitute for a higher power scope in my eyes.

- Anthony
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Old March 11, 2008, 09:22 PM   #23
vox rationis
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The thread is titled:
Optics for the Fight Rifle: Target Identification & Evaluating the Threat

And I'd think that a scope that goes up to 8, 9, or 10x would fit that profile pretty well. Lots of people like the SPR type scopes that are generally in the range of 2.5-8X and 3-9X, that type of thing. I was thinking of picking up a 2.5-10x24 Nightforce NXS or a Leupold Mark 4 2.5-8x for one of my rifles myself.

And having binoculars/spotting scope is great, but the thread isn't about binoculars vs scopes. Also, a set of binoculars or a spotting scope is yet another piece of gear to lug around or waiting to be lost or left behind. Having a high quality variable power optic on your rifle that could go near 10x could be a really practical set up for everything from precise target shooting, to hunting, and yes even for family self defense during a horrible civil breakdown where you might need to do some threat evaluation.
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Old March 12, 2008, 05:20 AM   #24
MLeake
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Problem with rifle scope for threat evaluation

Ok, you lighten your kit by ditching the binoculars. Your 8,9, or 10X scope will do the trick.

Now, every time you identify threats (and more importantly, NON-THREATS) you are covering them with a loaded rifle.

So much for not pointing the muzzle at anything you aren't ready to destroy, and knowing both your target and whatever is downrange.

Of course, you could unload the weapon first... but if the person being scoped sees you, he won't know that, and may assume hostile intent on your part (and reasonably so).

This is irresponsible, especially in a civilian setting.
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Old March 12, 2008, 03:08 PM   #25
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Legal issues, too

To add to my last...

... where I live, if a person saw you looking through a riflescope at him, he could charge you with brandishing and felony level assault (which only requires a reasonably perceived THREAT of violence, based on reasonable man standard), and those charges would have good odds of sticking.

Again, unless you are military at war, or SWAT on a target, it is completely inappropriate to use a riflescope for identification purposes. (And even military and SWAT snipers have spotters with binoculars and spotter scopes...)
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