View Full Version : Optics??

August 21, 2012, 04:22 PM
Ok, forgive me ahead of time I know this is a little vague and wide-open. I just purchased a Colt LE6920 and would like to add some type of “optic” to the gun; but must admit I am a little overwhelmed by the choices.

The gun has a rail and the standard AR15 type front sight along with a Magpul flip up rear sight. I want to maintain the existing sights and even set up to co-witness if possible. I will most likely use the gun for more “up-close” shooting than anything else.

So, Initially I had thought about a basic reflex sight, but after looking it appears for not much more I can get a decent holographic sight which I understand to be a better choice. I also see various other options such as the ACOG and just basic scopes. I also see setups including holographic sight with additional magnifiers installed.

So, is there a good WEB site or other resource I might consult to help sort through these options? Is there sort of a first step that I should consider? Any advice would be appreciated.

August 21, 2012, 04:37 PM
Trijicon SRS...

I also have an EOtech XPS and an Aimpoint Comp4; this beats both of them hands down.

I also see setups including holographic sight with additional magnifiers installed.

The problem with the EOtech and Vortex magnifiers are that they are heavy and have poor eye relief.


August 21, 2012, 04:52 PM
Check out the Aimpoint PRO or H-1.
Also consider a 1-4x scope such as something like the Vortex Viper PST.

August 21, 2012, 05:30 PM
How much you want to spend? The ACOG's and other high end sights are wonderful. But I'm using a much less expensive Leupold 1-4X scope on mine and it meets my needs. The Magpul sight sets under the scope and is quickly accessed with QD rings on the scope.

August 21, 2012, 06:23 PM
How much you want to spend?

Well, I have no plans to spend a grand and would really like to stay under $500. However, I guess I spend what is needed to make the right choice it just will take me longer to save for the purchase.

August 21, 2012, 08:56 PM
I'd go with an aimpoint. They are light, and have a super long battery life.
If you want magnification I suggest a weaver 1-5x24.

August 21, 2012, 09:30 PM
under $500, go with a Vortex SPARC...if you are willing to save up, go with the H-1

August 21, 2012, 09:37 PM


August 21, 2012, 10:26 PM
First question is are you wanting a close quarters/fast target acquisition or a longer range more precision optic.

If its the first then for me the Aimpoint PRO beats anything else for the money.

If its the second then there are a lot of choices that will get the job done, but Nikon, Vortex, Leupold are probably your top three.

August 22, 2012, 03:55 AM
for less than $500 i'd say aimpoint.

Crow Hunter
August 22, 2012, 07:20 AM
The holographic/dot sights should be evaluated as "improved" single plane iron sights.

If you can hit them with iron sights, you can do it with the dot sights with the advantage of low light use and faster/single plane acquisition. Keep both eyes open, focus on the target, if the dot is on the target, pull the trigger.

These shine in the 100 yards in on moving targets or while you are moving.

I have tried Aimpoint, Eotech XPS, Trijicon TR24 & Trijicon TA33 ACOG.

I prefer the Aimpoint over all of them.

I don't like magnified optics on a "fighting gun" because if I am using a rifle for "fighting" I am doing it defensively (ie me moving, them moving)
and most likely reactively and probably at night or in low light.

I didn't like magnified optics for moving targets or odd "jackass" positions as head position becomes much more important so that you can actually see through the eyebox. The TA33 was probably the best at this but even with it, I would sometimes get no view through it, particularly from prone.

I view magnified optics a "offensive" optics. They are better used where you are the aggressor attempting make shots on realtively stationary targets who are mostly unaware of your presence. (Like hunting)

If you decide to go with a red dot type optic, make sure you use it right. Both eyes open, looking at the target, not looking through the optic focusing on the dot like you do with a magnified optic.

Caveat: If you have bad astigmatism you need to look through one before you buy it if you can. Sometimes astigmatism can make the dot do weird things.

This is a good article that Zak Smith did a while ago.


GI Sandv
August 22, 2012, 09:36 AM
Not to hijack this thread too much, but what's the difference between reflex and holographic sights? I always refer to them as simply "red-dots" although this might sometimes be a misnomer. I haven't played with too many red-dots, so I don't know what I'm missing, if anything. I did use an M68 (aimpoint?) and occasionally an Eotech.

Crow Hunter
August 22, 2012, 11:04 AM
A holographic sight, like an Eotech, uses a laser to project an image on a surface that you can see through. Like the heads up display in a fighter aircraft. Although the light you technically see is a reflection, they are usually referred to as holographic sights. This is why the Eotech can still be used, even if the glass is cracked, it is also why the battery life is much lower.

A red dot sight, like an Aimpoint, uses a pinpoint LED and the dot you see is a reflection of the dot as it shines on an angled glass surface with certain passband coatings. This is why the battery life is so much higher than other sights as LEDs require very little power to run.

This idea was first used in the Vietnam war with the Armson Occluded Eye Gunsight. The red dot was reflected onto a black enclosed "box". With both eyes open the brain super imposed the image of the dot into the view of the non occluded eye. The problem with this is the effect of phoria, which varies from person to person. So if I grabbed your gun that shot POA/POI to the dot for you, it might be 4 or 5 inches to the left or right for me, depending on my eye shape and position.

They were actually used in a very famous POW recovery raid if I remember correctly.

August 22, 2012, 11:14 AM
I prefer the Aimpoint over all of them.

Just curious which specific Aimpoint you prefer? The Aimpoint PRO looks like a good deal especially when you consider that the mount is included, but I wonder if I should consider spending a few extra dollars and getting one of the M2 or M3 models.

Crow Hunter
August 22, 2012, 11:52 AM
The Pro wasn't on the market when I got mine. I got the M4S in a Larue mount.

If I had to do it over again, I would take a very hard look at the Pro.

What I like about the M4 is the AA battery and the 80,000 hrs of life and the ability to get high quality clear flip up scope caps (Aimpoint brand).

One catch with all of these optics is that the battery life quoted is NOT at the highest setting. It is at a lower setting.

I think the M4 life is on a setting of 12 out of 16. That setting isn't visible outside in direct sunlight (works fine indoors and is almost too bright at night, I keep it set on 11 for "night time ops:p". I have to have it set on a 14 or 15 to see it if I am using it outside in full sun. Assuming that it is just a linear decrease in battery usage, not exponential, it is only 6,000 or 7,000 hrs at a higher setting.

A lot of people whos opinions that I greatly respect (and who have alot more experience than I)suggest the PRO or the C3 as the best value.

August 22, 2012, 12:22 PM
Thanks Crow Hunter

August 22, 2012, 06:27 PM
First question is are you wanting a close quarters/fast target acquisition or a longer range more precision optic.


If I only wanted close quarters, I'd go with the Aimpoint Micro.

For versatility, there are plenty of 1-4x scopes which are a great compromise.

My son shoots long range with his Grendel, has a 3-10x Vortex and a mini red-dot mounted alongside on a 45 degree angle on a Warne RAMP mount.

It all depends on what you want to do with it.

August 22, 2012, 07:02 PM
I have an Aimpoint PRO. They are by far the best deal you can get on a high quality red dot optic. They can be had for under $400 new and that includes a quality quick detach mount (dunno why some people are so quick to replace it). The PRO also has a battery life of 3-5 of constantly being left on and batteries are specialised but cheap. It also can be used with NVGs, which is usually something you pay extra for in an optic like this (on the off chance you have the oppurtunity to use NVGs; but everyone seems to buy the T1 Aimpoint over the H1, even though they don't have access to them and the T1 costs more). The rear lens cover is clear so the optic can be used with both covers closed; which turned out to be a really simple but nice feature.

Jumbled paragraph short, am I happy with my PRO? Absolutely.

August 23, 2012, 07:00 PM
Aimpoint CompML2


Aimpoint T-1

August 24, 2012, 08:34 AM
I know there has been a lot of talk about Aimpoint, EOTech and Trijicon. But, has anyone used or heard much about the Bushnell First Strike?


It's a reflex sight and it has an automatically adjusting brightness. It's very small so I'm not sure what you guys would think about it. I have never used a red dot (reflex or holographic) sight either...

August 24, 2012, 09:43 AM
I have an Eotech XPS-2 which i love, the only problem is battery life. I think for the money the Aimpoints are the way to go. Very good quality and excellent battery life. Just my 2 cents

August 24, 2012, 11:17 AM
I would go with the Aimpoint PRO. It is $400 and comes with a co-witness mount, and does anything you would ever want a red dot to do: 2 MOA dot, night vision settings, 3 year battery life, and the same durability that all Aimpoints share, which makes them the choice for military issued red dots.

August 24, 2012, 11:18 AM
Well, I have no plans to spend a grand and would really like to stay under $500. However, I guess I spend what is needed to make the right choice it just will take me longer to save for the purchase. __________________

Aimpoint PRO. They're frequently on sale (PSA had them for $350 last week) for under $400 and are rugged, hold zero, relatively light, and the battery will last for years in the on position.

If you're looking for something a little lighter---a used Aimpoint T1 is probably the way to go. I got mine for under $500 with a Larue mount. Deals are out there if you're patient.


August 24, 2012, 12:05 PM
Changed my mind. Forgot you can get an Aimpoint for under $500. I like my SPARC (at $200) but go with Aimpoint if you feel like spending $400.

August 24, 2012, 10:40 PM
I wonder if I should consider spending a few extra dollars and getting one of the M2 or M3 models.

The Aimpoint PRO is basically a 2 MOA dot CompM3 with the the QRP2 mount included in the package. It is superior to the CompM2, since it has a much longer battery life.

As far as I'm concerned, the Aimpoint PRO makes the CompM2 and CompM3 pretty much pointless (unless you just have to have a bigger 4 MOA dot).

Aimpoint has a great product comparison tool on their website.

August 25, 2012, 06:59 AM
As far as I'm concerned, the Aimpoint PRO makes the CompM2 and CompM3 pretty much pointless (unless you just have to have a bigger 4 MOA dot).

I agree 100%. I've used a Comp M2 for years at work--it's a very good optic but for my personal rifles---PRO all the way. It costs less, has a mount included, and is every bit the same quality optic.

August 25, 2012, 07:18 AM
Take a close look at the AR-332 prismatic scope from Burris. I am extremely happy with mine. The 3x works very well for close and intermediate distances. Much to my surprise, the reticle is, in my opinion, superior to the ACOG's chevron reticle which I have used for years.



Crow Hunter
August 25, 2012, 09:12 AM
Can you post a picture of the reticle?

I hate the chevron/triangle reticles.

I can't even use them in video games, I can't pick an aiming point.

August 25, 2012, 01:55 PM
The AR-332 reticle:



By the way, I torture tested my AR-332 scope. It sat at the bottom of the diving well (15ft deep) for 27+ hours without a problem. Then I froze it at 14°F all night. Took it out in the morning and put it in the shower room while I took a long hot one while getting ready for work (got a strange look on that one!). Dabbed off the condensate on the lenses, gave it a good couple of shakes to get any droplets inside that may have formed to collect on the objective, then inspected. The pictures show the results. Clean and clear.




August 27, 2012, 09:02 AM
Another vote for the Aimpoint PRO

August 27, 2012, 10:36 AM
Hey All, thanks for the feedback-

I’ve learned a lot from this thread and realize just how much more I need to learn. Based on a variety of factors I have decided to go with the Aimpoint PRO and placed one on order. The PRO seems to be a good mix of features, quality and value. Also, at $400 I won’t feel so “married” to it that I couldn’t replace it with something else down the road.

August 27, 2012, 11:35 AM
I just HAVE to chime in here. Sorry if it's more of an article than a post, but I hope the readers will benefit from it.

This is a subject I have had quite a lot of experience in. I have taught shooting classes in several venues over the past 30 years and I have had a great demand for “tactical shooting classes” especially over the last 10 years.

I am also a gunsmith and I earn my living making and modifying guns.

The popularity of holographic sights and “dot optics” is huge today. I bet I have mounted 400- 500 of them in the last 10 years on various auto rifles with probably 90% of those being ARs.

In an 8 day class I helped teach in 2004 we had 27 students and all but 3 were shooting ARs. Of those, about 20 were mounted with dots and holos.

Our course involved everything from contact shooing all the way to 400 yard shooting. The class required 1200 rounds of rifle ammo and 400 rounds of handgun ammo. So there was a LOT of rounds put down range in that 8 days.

I brought my AR with me to do some of the demonstrations with, but my carbine is actually fairly simple and I use it mostly as my coyote gun. It’s got a single 6:00 rail on it so I can mount a down grip and a light, a good trigger, and a free float tube. That’s about it. It’s not “all tricked out”

But the thing I am leading up to is its sight. It has a riser block and a Weaver K-4 on it. It’s zeroed at 200 yds. I have learned the offset for that scope to make shots at 10 feet, and it is very easy.

I shot it and let all the students try it too. Over the 8 days every one that tried it came to a realization that it lost NOTHING in speed for “Close Combat” applications, and was vastly superior to the dots and holos at 200 yards and farther.

Yes it does “blur” your target at 10 feet. So?
Can you use a 9mm or 45 at 10 feet? Yes you can! And when you do use your handgun you focus on the front sight and the target is blurred. Right?

So how can there be some insurmountable disadvantage for the scope and not for the handgun? The rife with a scope is much easier to use than the hand gun.

This is not to take anything form the good holos or dots. In fact, some are the most rugged sights you can get, but they may not be the "do-all and end-all of sights" on a fighting rifle.

I am a firm believer that the best “all around” sight we can mount on a fighting carbine is actually a good strong clear 2.5X or 3X scope. A 4 is about as good.

If you are at bayonet distance you need no sight at all. You can focus your eyes on the flash hider and hit anything you want to at contact distance to about 10 feet, including eggs (we used eggs as some of our targets to show that students could shoot fast and hit a small target in short time periods with their carbines if they did what we were showing them) From a combat ready position most students could round a corner and hit an egg with a bullet in 1.5 seconds or less with their carbines from contact distance to about 10 feet, and that includes the time of movement. This being done without the use of ANY sight at all.

In some of our course of fire a student had to go through a set of stations that started with “clearing a room” (shots from "powder burn distance" to about 30 feet) and then roll out a window and engage targets from 25 yards to 200 yards. Next they have to run to cover 50 yards away and hit targets from 200 yards to 400 yards, but the kicker is the “cover" has 2 enemies in it that have to be “killed’ at spitting distance and one that is in a position only 30 yards from their new cover. These all have to be taken out before they can engage the 400 year targets.

We all found that a 4X scope was the fastest sight and easiest to use across the course of fire.

The holos and dots were excellent until they got out to about 150 yards and then it was a wash between them and the scope. After 200 yards the scope was WAY easier to use.

Our targets are not “man sized- standing out yelling shoot me”. Our long range targets are of sizes and shapes that are far more real.

Men who are in a fight don’t stand out and let you shoot at them. They lie down and get behind things. So all our targets from 25 yards to 400 yards were 1/3 of a man’s body to ½ of a mans head in size. That’s far more realistic than shooting at full size targets.

When the class was done I can’t say any of the students were willing to throw out their dots or holos. But it is significant that more than half wanted to get a second quick detach mount and have a hunting scope as a 2nd sight for their carbines. That was in 2004. I would be curious to know how many of them are running scopes now (after these 8 years are past ) more than they run their dots and holos.

Just food for thought.

There have been millions of white tail deer hunters in the USA using scopes from 2.5 to 4 power in the last 60 years. I know a lot of them have had kills at VERY close distance and many more at 7-10 yards. I have not heard many say they were unable to make a hit because they needed a non-magnifying sight.

Maybe the craze of “new and improved” is not as improved as we’d think. It’s possible that they are just new.

Crow Hunter
August 27, 2012, 12:02 PM
Caveat: I don't have nearly the experience that you do so that my opinion for what it is.:D

I agree with you to a point. I have tried using a magnified optic 2 different times now. A Trijicon TA33 (3 power) and a TR24 1X4 variable. It does make it a lot easier to see targets at range, which can result in better hits, if the shooter is up to it.

However, there were several things that turned me off to it. Namely eye position/relief from unconventional positions, left side barricade shooting (I'm a righty), and moving targets inside of 50 yards, even more so if you combine any of the above together.:o

I feel that for my personal uses, the advantage being able to accurately hit targets at 400 yards is much less useful that being able to hit quickly moving targets at close to intermediate ranges and the ability to maximize the use of cover.

I used to use a 4.5 X14 optic on my coyote rifle and I lost several at 75 yards because I couldn't find them in the optic fast enough and track them as they ran off, even at the 4.5 power.

For someone willing to put in the sweat and time and $ to train around magnification can really get some benefits at range. Most people, myself included, aren't.:(

An optic that just creates a floating dot within you everyday normal viewing plane is a lot easier to just grab and go with reduced training requirements.

August 27, 2012, 12:12 PM
Wyosmith---for 'all around' use you're 100% correct (I have a Leupold variable 1x4 I use for this) but on my HD rifles---all have simple, unmagnified red dots. For many people they're just quicker. Sure, you can shoot with your target blurred at 10ft. Absolutely do-able but many shooters won't like doing it.

If someone came to me and said, "I'm going to put a 2x-3x magnified optic on my HD rifle. What do you think?" I'd say if you can get hits quickly and accurately--drive on brother. But, it wouldn't be my first choice either.

August 27, 2012, 12:59 PM
Again I am not against the good dots or holos, but I believe they are a marketing distraction to many who don't look at options, some of which may be as good or better, for far less money.

In the past I have been offered a few of them as “perks” for my services, and I have used them, but I don’t own one. I believe that speaks volumes about my truest opinion.

To say it flatly, I could own anything I want, and do so for free, and I don’t own one myself just because for a general purpose sight on a rifle that gets used all the time (but as yet, has not been used to save my life in my home) The odds of that are much smaller of me getting into a fight at home than my use of the rifle in the coming month or year in the field.

A dot or a holo is probably the very best sight you could have on an AR or AK for HOME DEFENCE! I agree!

I am looking at my real world however, and I do shoot my carbine every week, and so far, not in my home.

So that’s why I have the preference. If I had to shoot my carbine in my home I am 100% sure I can make hits with it with it’s scope.

I can absolutely guarantee I can give a coyote a very hard time with it too, and I have done so a LOT of times.

My opinion is just that. MY opinion.

I am not god, and I don’t know everything. But I do have a good deal of experience in this subject, so I am basing my opinion of my won experience.
“Your mileage may vary”
Happy shooting to you all.

Crow Hunter
August 27, 2012, 01:17 PM
I agree with you 100% and I didn't mean to sound like I didn't.

My philoshophy is to get an optic that fits 85% of your usage.

Intimate familiarity with your equipment will breed unconcious competence.

Personally, I do a lot more pistol and shotgun shooting than I do rifle shooting and little of my rifle shooting uses magnified optics now or in my past. I am most comfortable without magnification. Since even most of my coyote hunting is 150 yards at the most, usually even closer in the fields that I hunt, and most of them are very skittish, I actually prefer the red dot most of the time.

I think that people should look at their circumstances and uses 1st, then pick and optic. Don't use something just because Delta Force uses it, chances are, most of us aren't Delta and don't really have their requirements.:D

That being said, I fear that eventually my eyes are going to get bad enough, (from typing on internet forums:eek:) that I will need to go with a magnified optic in the future.:D