Magnified red dot, 3 gun set up, or elcan?


Big Boy
September 19, 2010, 08:24 PM
I'm looking for an optic to put on a new 6.8 SPC AR I am looking at buying.

I've always been pretty sure I was going to go with an Eotech and magifier. however, I've more recently been considering some different options.

Looking at the following:

Eotech and magnifier

Elcan Specter DR

or running a three gun setup with a ACOG and a Trijicon RMR on a offset mount.

What would the advantages or dis advantages be of these set ups? Would a 3 gun setup be an actual viable option for a defense weapon? I've heard issues of the weight of the elcan....

It's obvious I want a variable power between a 1x red dot and a 4x reticle. What are your thoughts?

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September 19, 2010, 08:45 PM
I was very interested in a 1-4x scope, until I tried one. The effect was less than superb. The up side is it keeps you in the Tactical class and lets you stretch your legs to 400+ yards, dependent on your eye sight. Down side is that none of the 1-4x are true 1x and its odd trying to use them like a red-dot at 1x. Image is distorted slightly from the magnification and slightly off color, you still have to mind your eye relief, and it doesn't quite work like a red-dot. Really, it felt to me like trying to run-n-gun while looking through a 2x scope with both eyes open. This was with a Meopta 1-4x, so some of the better glass out there. I know a lot of people like this type of set-up, and if you can get comfortable with it, the flexibility is nice.

Red dot with a magnifier is large-ish, heavy and bulky. Having that magnifier flopping on the side all the time can be a distraction. But, you have a true 1x red-dot that is head-position independent, and for the longer shots a 3x or 5x flip in place is nice. With an EOTech you preserve that 1MOA dot regardless, with a Aimpoint the dot gets magnified too. Has to do with the underlying technology of the sights.

The off-set red-dots I have not tried. Seem equally popular, but you got to tilt your gun and be comfortable running-and gunning with your rifle at 45 degrees a bit of the time.

In the end, there's no one "Perfect" setup for 3-gun, all of it is trade offs. I'm not trying to turn you off from any, just know what you are getting in to. If you shoot 3-gun regularly, I'm sure you'll see other guys with each setup. Ask them to see their optics. My experience, most of 'em love to pimp their rigs almost as much as shooting :p. After that, figure out what has the best advantages/tradeoffs for you, and run with it.

Me, I think I like the RDS/Magnifier combo.

Cosmik de Bris
September 20, 2010, 07:53 PM
By far the majority of 3-gunners use 1-4 sights. To the poster above, I don't know where you get the idea that they are not true 1X. With some of them they are 1X at a bit of a distance, you can't just put your hand in front. Also peoples eyesight and brain are different, lots of people can do the two eye thing with a magnified optic.

To the OP, good mid range are Trijicon TR24, Burris XTR, possibly the new Vortex Viper PST. The Millett DMS is a pretty good entry level scope for 3-gun. Some do use the red dot and magnifier but they are not in the majority. If you step up to Open class then a 1.5 - 6 and an offset red dot is a good combo.

September 20, 2010, 08:11 PM
Geez, everywhere people are worried about a "true" 1X. What's the big deal? There are lots of good scopes out there that allow the use of BAC and are NOT a 1X in any sense. A couple that come to mind are the ACOG 1.5X, 2X and 3X scopes.

I'm really not wild about Accupoints, because I think that you can get better glass for the money, but that little 1-4X with the triangle reticle is hard to beat for gaming. Using magnifiers sucks and having a red dot off set on a scope mount is less than ideal.

Big Boy
September 22, 2010, 09:01 PM
Any one have experience with the elcan specifically?

September 22, 2010, 09:08 PM
What's the rifle for?

Once you know that you're well on your way to figuring out what optic you need. BSW

Big Boy
September 22, 2010, 09:23 PM
It's stated. Just a self defense rifle. Wouldn't really be used as that role unless absolutely necessary as I live in a suburban area. Also might be interested in getting into some 3 gun competitions.

September 22, 2010, 09:58 PM
Limited experience with the Spectre DR, which I got to play with briefly right before coming off active duty. Nice, but I'm not sure it does anything I can't do just as fast and accurately with a TA11 or TA31 ACOG.

Zak Smith
September 22, 2010, 10:11 PM
Some recommendations here
article | Evolution of the 3-Gun Practical Rifle (
article | Fighting Carbine Optics (

For 3Gun, pick the division you want to shoot in. Unless you want to shoot an open pistol and shotgun, a 2-optic setup on the rifle is out. The 6.8 offers no advantage, and some disadvantages, in 3-gun.

I would second the recommendation for the TA11 for Tactical division, or general "DMR" type use.

September 23, 2010, 06:02 PM
Any one have experience with the elcan specifically?
I had one for a few months. It was quite novel and cool to be able to switch from 1x to 4x with the flip of a switch. Past that, it had the same problems that all of the Elcan's (Specter OS3, M145, and DR) I've used have: large, heavy, and sensitive to eye position.

For home defense a bare Eotech would be my choice. Add the magnifier if you need to reach out a bit.

For games, I don't know.

Ragnar Danneskjold
September 23, 2010, 06:05 PM
Why run the RMR on an offset? You can mouth an RMR right on top of the ACOG.

Zak Smith
September 23, 2010, 06:57 PM
The advantage of a 1-1:30'o'clock mount of a reflex sight is that typically you can retain a better or more consistent cheek weld while using it (which prevents "losing the dot") and the sight over bore distance is less making it easier to make more precise hits on either side of its first zero crossing.

September 23, 2010, 07:20 PM
Just a self defense rifle.

With that as your criteria a 1x rd dot makes sense.

Sure, magnified optics are great at range, but a self defense rifle isn’t a rifle you shoot at distance, it’s a weapon for overpowering a bad guy at bad breath range.

Shoot down a bad guy with a knife or club at 5 yards? No problem. Stop a guy with a pistol at 10 yards? A rifle sure would be a handy thing for that fight. What situation or scenario would a jury find lethal force justified when you pop a guy at 200 yards? 300? 400?


September 24, 2010, 06:12 PM
By far the majority of 3-gunners use 1-4 sights. To the poster above, I don't know where you get the idea that they are not true 1X. With some of them they are 1X at a bit of a distance, you can't just put your hand in front. Also peoples eyesight and brain are different, lots of people can do the two eye thing with a magnified optic.

There's no such thing as 1x at a bit of a distance, they are either 1x or are not. That's the nature of optics. My personal dissatisfaction with them is that they get iffy in unusual shooting positions where it becomes very hard to get the proper cheek weld and sight distance to look through them. As much as they are very near 1x, they also act like any other scope out there, with eye relief and proper head placement necessary for efficient use.

I will say my disfavor of 1-4x right now comes from what we normally shoot: 40 yards or less for rifle where the speed of a RDS offers much greater dividend then the flexibility of a 1-4x. Some of the stages have average split times as low as 15 seconds. That might be changing shortly, as soon as my local club gets the 300-yard bay ready.

So, to me the RDS with a flip-up magnifier suits my shooting needs much better than the 1.1-4x optic.

September 24, 2010, 07:05 PM
What situation or scenario would a jury find lethal force justified when you pop a guy at 200 yards? 300? 400?
When they're shooting at you from that distance first... :uhoh:

September 24, 2010, 11:15 PM
For a defensive rifle, I'd get a quality 1x red dot (I like Eotechs, but Aimpoints are great too) and a magnifier in an appropriate-height QD mount that you can leave off the rifle unless you actually envision the need to use it. So you have a rifle with the speed and close-range precision of a red dot for defensive purposes (and without a huge optics setup to get in the way), and if you shoot a 3-gun match you can throw the magnifier on there and be good to go.

There are some pics through an Eotech 557 (the one with the multiple aiming dots for 0-300, 400, 500, 600 meters) and a 4x flip-to-side magnifier in this post:

The Eotech is unusual in that the magnifier doesn't increase the effective size of the dot, making the optic more precise as it is magnified. (This happens because the Eotech's dot is actually diffraction limited and is way smaller than the human eye can resolve, so it appears to bloom to ~1 arcminute in your visual field regardless of whether you are viewing it at 1x or 4x.)

Big Boy
September 25, 2010, 06:45 PM
I did know the advantage of the eotech dot not getting magnified along with the sight picture. Along with that, Ezra I think you are about right with your idea there. More modular to be able to remove the magnifier and fit into different situations.

September 26, 2010, 02:13 AM
The Elcan SpecterDR is nice IMHO, but pricey to the point that it's far, far out of my price range; last I checked it was $1800 for the 1x-4x one. I don't even want to know how much the 1x-6x one costs. The first time I ever used a magnified optic was when I got a 1x-4x SpecterDR at work. I'm not a great shot, typically shoot in the low to mid 30s on a good day on the Army's 25m qualification target, but the first time I got to qualify with the Elcan I got this:

The Elcan makes it easy, all you do is put it on 4x, turn the red dot down to it's lowest setting, and point and click. Another guy who's a much better shot than me put all 40 of his inside the little circles that are inside the silhouettes.

I've done a little reflexive fire with it and it works ok for that. You can still use it with both eyes open on 1x, but not quite as well as an Aimpoint or EOTech. You can't co-witness your irons with it. As far as I can tell it's parallax free. It is a little heavy and noticeably adds to the weight of a M4/AR.

I like it a lot, would love to own one, but at $1,800 it's not even an option. If I did have $1,800 to blow on gun stuff without the wife killing me right now it'd be spent on much cheaper optics, bipods, mags, and ammo.

September 26, 2010, 03:07 AM
Zak is correct. Pick the division you want to shoot in first, and let that guide you gear choices.

Also, before you drop money on an optic, attend a couple of local 3 gun matches and take a look at what other people are running, as well as the distances and target sizes involved.

In my area, most of the 3gun and tactical rifle matches have targets as far out as 300-400 yards. For those matches, I run an ACOG TA11, and I've been able to make hits with it to the useful ballistic distance of the .223 round.

If your local matches are similarly long-ranged, I can't recommend the TA11 highly enough.

On the other hand, if your local matches are 200 yards or less, a non-magnified dot will work just fine. There is one locally-held match where the longest shot is maybe 90 yards, and for that match I run a 16 inch gun with an Aimpoint Micro.

As for the Elcan, I've never so much as seen one at a match. I wanted one for awhile, until talking to some people who had used them, and I got the distinct impression that the Spectre is great in concept, but lacking in reality.

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