View Full Version : knock off vs very expensive tactical optics

April 9, 2011, 02:27 PM

I am experienced with shooting using irons as that is all I used back when I was a kid learning to shoot on M1's. Now that I recently had a MSAR I realize the value of a low mag optic. I have been buying barska and guide gear thinking its the same then wondering why I am all over paper. Do you guys that have the thousand dollar ACOGS, AIMPOINTS, and EOtech's feel you got your money's worth? I just got rid of my microtech and bought a remington R-25 since I am used to AR platforms and like the aftermarket. The remington came with a bushnell elite scope and I was shocked how a scope with the same specs as my Barska could be so clear. I need something for my short barelled ar's and ak's now I would like to get a magnafier but can only afford a mako do you think it makes a difference if I get a $500 aimpoint 3x or a $50 mako? I am on a budget so I need an optic that can serve multiple roles (if I spend $1500 on an ACOG I want to be able to slap it on my .50 beowulf and not worry). Thanks a lot for your help guys


April 9, 2011, 02:35 PM
I rarely buy knock off optics but the couple I have purchased were junk and those I know who've also purchased knock offs have generally regretted it.

April 9, 2011, 02:58 PM
I tried a number of the cheaper red dots until I got my first Aimpoint. Havent wasted a penny on anything else since.

For what I spent/wasted on "cheap" dots (many werent cheap either and had names like Bushnell and Tasco, etc) and batteries to run them, I could have bought a couple more Aimpoints and mounts.

4V50 Gary
April 9, 2011, 06:46 PM
Knock offs are fine for airsoft, movie props and 22 LRs. It's not something you want if your life is on the line.

April 9, 2011, 08:40 PM
Knock offs are cheap for a reason. I wouldn't suggest wasting your money on one in the name of attempting to save money. Buy the best one you can afford.

April 10, 2011, 01:47 PM
i agree that alot of the lower end stuff is a waste of money (NCstar, BSA, etc). But recently alot of good quality optics have to come to market in the middle price range. Stuff like Lucid and Vortex. 200-300 price range and a really solid optics for people not wanting to spend 900 on a triji or 500 on an aimpoint.

April 10, 2011, 11:34 PM
For serious work where my life will be on the line? It better have trijicon, aimpoint, or eotech stamped somewhere on the side. The rest will do for range use.

April 10, 2011, 11:49 PM
I have bought some of the knock-off stuff. My experience with it is that it's not nearly as good as the good stuff, but if you are willing to spend a lot of time reading user reviews and don't mind doing some of your own testing, don't mind occasionally throwing away a useless product after testing it, and aren't concerned with recoil tolerance, solid mounting provisions and battery life that you can usually get something that's reasonably functional.

No, I'm not being sarcastic although I can see how it could come across that way after re-reading what I've written.

Double Naught Spy
April 11, 2011, 07:28 AM
sturmgewehre offers a possible option. Search on his name and Vortex Sparc. It will provide a link to a YouTube review. It is a $200 optic, so middle of the $ road, but seems to be a good compromise between high end high cost and low end but good value.

Note that price does not always indicate value

April 11, 2011, 09:36 AM
For range toys and non life or death weapons, I use cheap knock offs. I.e. a $30 NC Star RDS on my MSAR, or a $70 Primary Arms Optic on my FAL.

However, my home defense carbine wears a Aimpoint Comp M4 and my go to rifle wears an ACOG.

With respect to magnified optics, there is a very discernible difference between clarity from say, a $300 Millet compared to a $1,200 Leupold Mk4, especially when shooting in less-than-ideal conditions.

So, for range fun, buy whatever you want. For any serious use, I'd save up. I'm currently saving up for a Leupold or Nightforce.

April 11, 2011, 10:27 AM
I believe in my sig line..........good optics should cost about the same as the rifle it is going on

Double Naught Spy
April 11, 2011, 12:27 PM
I believe in my sig line..........good optics should cost about the same as the rifle it is going on

LOL, I have some optics that cost more than the guns they are on, some by quite a bit.

I would hate to have to buy $7K optics to go on my Barrett, however.

April 11, 2011, 12:31 PM
....Saving up for a Nightforce 5.5-22x50. :D

$1,950 :O

April 11, 2011, 10:08 PM
+++++ on the Nightforce.

I have an 8-32X56 on one of my 22-250s. I can hardly believe what I paid for it.

I have to say, I would do it again. Thinking about putting one on my R700. . .


April 18, 2011, 04:36 PM
+++++++++ for nightforcce

I run a 2.5~10 nsx-t illuminated on my G36/sl8 and its simply awesome. The LaRue mounts helps too.

I have 1400 or so into my sights... next is an burkett offset mount for a Deltapoint/Doctor/RMR or something.

If you are serious about performing, there is nothing cheap about optics..

April 24, 2011, 12:37 AM
As the owner of pathfinderguns.com, I can tell you about our experience with optics. We sell thousands of NcSTAR scopes a year and see about a 7% defect rate. We have thousands of happy customers who use them.

But, with that said, I do not recommend them, or any other low cost optic for self defense or duty use. Personally, I think the best tactical optic under $500 is the Burris AR 332. I got one when they first come out and love it. You can find them for around $300. You'll find some bad comments about them, but we've sold a lot of them and have not had problems with a single one.

April 24, 2011, 08:27 AM
if that cheap NcStar or Barska fails while at the dump shooting cans, so what. If it fails the one time your life depends on your optics working, then guess what..............

Inexpensive optics are one thing, but 'cheap' is another.

Double Naught Spy
April 24, 2011, 09:43 AM
Optics I have seen fail...

Trijicon ACOG - windage screw assembly fell out during zero process - factory defect. I saw it new in the box, go on the rifle, fired a few shots and adjusted elevation, fired as few and went to adjust windage and the assembly tumbled out while turning.
Nightforce - point of zero changed with magnification, 2 trips to Nightforce where they claimed the scope was perfect, only later to have a techie at another company play with it and who figured out things after several hundred rounds. NF is supposed to be taking care of it now.
Burris - Red dot would not hold zero
BSA - Red dot stopped holding zero after a couple of years

Scopes I think are outstanding in reliability.
Leupold - I owned
Aimpoint Micro - 3 owned
Trijicon ACOG -2 owned

Currently testing Vortex Sparc

(if I spend $1500 on an ACOG I want to be able to slap it on my .50 beowulf and not worry).

Depending on the model, you could just about spend $1500 on 2 ACOGs and you could slap one on your Beowulf and not have a worry in the world. Except for a couple of models, you probably should be able to shop a bit and spend considerably less for most models of ACOG.