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AR-15 optics option

Discussion in 'Long Gun Accessories and Optics' started by GaryinVirginia, Nov 3, 2019.

  1. GaryinVirginia

    GaryinVirginia Member

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    Not sure I'm posting this in the correct forum but I'm wondering about optics for a M&P-15. I don't have plans to use it more than 50 yards probably less than 25.

    I have a red dot on another gun and don't really understand the big deal about them.

    Thinking some type of scope on a budget. Any suggestions?
     
  2. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Well red dots provide fast target acquisition and make keeping both eyes open easier in my opinion, which is critical for keeping track of what’s going on in your surroundings.

    So when you say you don’t see what the big deal about red dots is I’m guessing you aren’t using it for its intended purpose.

    How big of a budget are you talking? Vortex and Burris make some nice stuff for reasonable prices, but there’s a lot of options.
     
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  3. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    The big deal is that you don't have to worry about eye relief or parallax to some degree and there is only one plane of view to deal with rather than three. If you have a low end red dot, you won't notice these advantages as much.
    What kind of "budget"? That can mean very different things depending on the individual. Low end scopes and red dots, roughly under $150-$200 or so, aren't worth buying at all, IMO. If that's what "budget" means, just use irons and save your pennies for a decent optic. Have a garage sale, quit drinking pop, don't go to coffee shops, quit smoking, etc. etc. and you can quickly make up the difference between a garbage optic and a decent one.
     
  4. AK103K

    AK103K Member

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    "Good" red dots are the way to go out to 2-300 yards. They make shooting fast and easy, especially if youre shooting reactively.

    At 25-50 yards, a scope is pretty much pointless. At 25, Id be surprised if you even get the hight offset out of it to get it zeroed.

    With any of them, even iron sights, at closer distances, you normally have to hold over what youre shooting at a couple of inches with a normal zero, to hit what youre shooting at.
     
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  5. GaryinVirginia

    GaryinVirginia Member

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    Ok. I'm still learning. Didn't know to keep both eyes open with the red dot. Ummm. My red dot was $40 was hoping for a $100 scope but maybe I'll wait. I can't see with iron sights at 25 yards. This $ maybe a new line of questions.
     
  6. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    I was a huge fan of a RDS for an AR, right up until I spent the last couple years shooting 3 gun.

    Target size and distance have a lot to do with optic choice. At 1X a good LPVO mimics a RDS, shoot both eyes open etc. An RDS cannot mimic a LPVO once distances increase or targets get smaller.

    About the only advantage I believe an RDS has over a LPVO is when you can't get a decent cheek weld. For shooting in odd positions they IMHO have a distinct advantage. At the club where I shoot 3 gun, the vast majority of AR targets are well within RDS "range", well under 50 yards, with the majority of them under 25 yards. But yet I still see the majority of shooters with a LPVO. During matches I've used 1x-6x depending on stage design and target size. I've taken a couple defensive carbine classes both with RDS and LPVO and haven't been at a disadvantage with the LPVO. One thing it did help on was head shots at 50 yards and also I found out that my 300 yard BDC line was my 7yard "off-set" for precision shots.

    My hypothesis is, IF the RDS offered that much of a time advantage over the LPVO for close, timed engagements, there'd be more of them present as the vast majority of targets are 5-25 yards, just due to the size of the bays. But I don't....so the speed offered by the RDS, doesn't offset the accuracy advantage of the LPVO when the magnification is needed. Now once this distances expand, the LPVO has a distinct advantage. We had a 300 yard stage yesterday with 6 plates, off a VTAC barricade (no prone), guys with 1-6x or 1-8x had some difficulty, for RDS guys it truly sucked. My guess is next year those guys will be sporting a magnified optic.

    There are some good 1-6X and 1-8x LPVOs available that won't break the bank, but will make the carbine more flexible. I'd look at Primary Arms, Vortex, etc.
     
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  7. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Do you have a visual impairment of some kind? Not being able to see a target at 25 yards must be frustrating.

    Red dot optics that are in my opinion worth buying start around $200 and go up. Again, for a decent quality and affordable option, look at Vortex.

    I would never spend $100 on any scope. It’s very likely to be trash.
     
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  8. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    You should be keeping both eyes open with a scope as well.
    Don't go to cheap on any optic.
     
  9. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I don't care for dot sights either.

    There are lots of options for 1-4X scopes out there that in the same price range are better than a dot sight and they make the with illuminated reticles if you want. But decent quality on either starts at about $200 MSRP. If you can get it discounted for less great, but don't go below $200 MSRP even if it means waiting a while or buying used.

    On 1X they are at least as fast, and they work better in low light as well. Much faster to use than irons. The military isn't even using irons anymore, optics only You should be able to use ANY scope or iron sights with both eyes open, but it is easier the lower the magnification. No problems at 1X.


    Priced at $190, close enough

    https://www.swfa.com/nikon-15-45x20-p-tactical-223-riflescope-179159.html?___SID=U

    https://www.swfa.com/leupold-15-4x20-vx-freedom-riflescope-178471.html?___SID=U
     
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  10. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    For within 50 yards, my first instinct would be a red dot. Around $100, I'd look at a Bushnell TRS-25, Primary Arms Micro Dot, or Sig Romeo 5.

    If you have to have a scope, I'd go with a low power variable. At or around $100 I'd look at Nikon P Tactical 1.5-4.5, Bushnell AR Optics 1-4, or Primary Arms Classic Series 1-4. However, all of those are in the $130-150 range. I can't think of anything available at the moment for under $100 that I'd bother with. I have a Simmons Predator 1-6x24 on my AR that I got for $90 on a really good sale, but I can't find it anywhere for under $188 right now.
     
  11. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    You can't buy a decent scope for $100 and a $40 red dot isn't worth bothering to put on anything other than perhaps a nerf gun. Just save your money and get some instruction on how to use your irons. Unless you have some sort of visual handicap, you can use irons just fine, it just might take some more time and guidance.
     
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  12. Tater&Egg

    Tater&Egg Member

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    Sucks to hear, but what these guys are saying is the truth. My first AR was an M&P 15 ORC (Optic Ready Carbine, meaning- it came with no sights at all).

    I figured I'd start bargain and work my way up, ended up with a Bushnell red dot that was absolute garbage. The whole "buy once, cry once" has never been truer than with gun optics. Ultimately ended up with an Aimpoint PRO, and have not looked back. With Black Friday coming up, you may be able to get in on some decent deals.

    Personally, if I were in a similar position today, I might consider the Primary Arms ACSS, it has the functionality of a red dot for quick acquisition, but etched lines and options for if you loose battery power or require slight magnification. These can be had for under $300, but are not likely to be as durable longer term as an Aimpoint.
     
  13. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    SIG Romeo 5 for those on a budget. Just my opinion, but hands-down, the best sub-$200 red dot out there.

    If you can free up a bit more, Aimpoint PRO. A bit on the heavy side, and a little bigger than some, but for the money, none more reliable and durable.
     
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  14. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    I don’t know if I’m feeling disagreeable today or just feel like rambling so I’ll make my apologies now and remind everyone it isn’t personal.

    Red dots allow for faster than irons target acquisition. They’re easy to spot, and give you one plane of focus rather than the irons’ rear sight/front sight/target arrangement. That’s all been spelled out by other posters above. A red dot doesn’t suffer from parallax error like a scope and so where you see it is where it is aimed.

    What’s a dot good for? Well, lots of things. First they’re generally much smaller and lighter than other optics, lending themselves well to carry situations. They tend to snag less than a scope. They can be mounted anywhere along a rail that you have space because eye relief isn’t critical. Want it near the muzzle? Mount it there. Scout style? Check. Over the magwell where it ought to be? Now you’re talkin. Anything short distance you would normally use your AR’s irons for with the larger aperture is where an RDS shines.

    When is it a better idea to use a scope? Well, for precision work I’d pick scope every time. I read posts from people who never miss the same hole inside 200 yards with their red dots all the time. I’m not that guy and I’ve never met him on range day. If I did, he had a scoped rifle that day and couldn’t show off his prowess sans magnification.

    How much is enough to spend on either option?

    Well, a true 1x scope just doesn’t come cheap. I have 1.5-X powers from Leupold and Nikon with MSRPs between $200 and $400 and that’s probably 1/2 of what you should expect to pay for a real 1X and 1/3 of what a really good one costs.

    For an RDS? I’ve spent $44-$200+ and not found anything that wasn’t reliable given my needs, but those are MY needs. What you need is solely a matter for your determination based on use. Paper at 25-50 yards, maybe you need a TRS-25 for $44 on Black Friday. For home defense, maybe a $100 with “shake awake” functionality. Planning for zombies and maybe an Aimpoint will be an investment rather than a luxury.

    The more specific you can be the more tailored the suggestions and yet we won’t be capable of promising the best solution for you. If you have friends with optics set up or others locally to try, that would be ideal.
     
  15. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    For many people red dots are not the way to go out to 2-300 yards. A scope is not only better for some of us it is the only option. I for one do better with a scope than a red dot starting around 35 yards and I’m not the only one.

    Not true either. In low light I find a scope very useful under 50 yards and even in good light a scope lets me see details I otherwise wouldn’t notice.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
  16. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    If I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I’d never shoot past 50 yards I’d consider a red dot.

    Finn Aargaard believed scopes were faster than iron sights too.
     
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  17. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    I haven’t looked through any sub $200.00 “AR” scopes that impressed me. I also suspect many if not all companies put AR on a scope name and then jack up the price.

    There are two centerfire scopes with a street price under $200.00 that I’d own. Burris Fullfield II 2-7x35 and 3-9x40. If I were the OP I’d get the VX-Freedom already mentioned or a Fullfield II 2-7x35. There aren’t any sub $200.00 red dots I’d own but there are a couple of sub $300.00 red dots I would and do own.
     
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  18. LoonWulf
    • Contributing Member

    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Im certainly faster with a over powered optic than almost any iron sight.....but I dont shoot irons if i can help it LOL.

    There are a few sub 200 dollar scopes I find acceptable, and there are some good sales on Nikons right now actually, and there are a couple red dots that go for less than 200 that I like.
    One thing ive tried recently that Im actually finding quite acceptable are true 1x shotgun scopes. Faster that irons, less likely for a new shooter to loose the garget than a magnified optic......and usually really cheap.

    For dots the bushnell TRS-25 is one, and probably the best cheap option. I also like the Sightmark minirelex sights as they are durable and cheap. After that I like the Burris FF3s, as they can usually be sourced right around 200 bucks.
     
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  19. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I put a fixed 3x Nikon on my utility carbine. It has worked out great. No batteries, no fuss, accurate and easy.
    That being said.... I wish I had gone with a 3-9x....but definitely Nikon.
     
  20. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    Nikon makes some good scopes, unfortunately I don’t see very well through them except for the original Buckmasters and the Prostaff P3 Target EFR 3-9x40 AO. Why those two and no other Nikons I have zero clues. I see better through the low end Nikons than I do Vortex Crossfire II(s). Not good, just better.
     
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  21. pblanc

    pblanc Member

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    Although a low, variable magnification rifle scope (LVPO) would certainly be an option for what you want to do, I don't think you will find a decent one anywhere close to what you are looking to pay.

    You can find a good reflex red dot sight for not much more than $100. I have three SIG Romeo 5 RDSs. One is the more expensive Romeo 5 xdr model. The other two have the basic 2 MOA dot reticle, and I paid $120 each for those. They have caused me no trouble whatsoever. The motion detection instant-on works flawlessly, they zero well and hold zero. The riser provided will give an exact co-witness with the front sight tower and the Magpul MBUS polymer flip-up rear sight on your Smith and Wesson M&P15.

    I personally would be satisfied with a decent RDS for shooting within 50 yards. But a 2 MOA dot will cover 1 inch of your target at 50 yards.

    I would only consider a traditional rifle scope if you are intending to shoot small, static targets from rest. In that case, your accuracy might benefit from the much finer cross-hairs of a good scope reticle, and magnification. But if you are going to be shooting at ranges of 25 yards or less, I would only consider scopes with an adjustable objective (AO) or a side parallax correction knob at the erector. The majority of center-fire rifle scopes are focused to be free of parallax error at 100 yards. As the magnification of an optic increases, the depth of the focal plane decreases. If you use a scope set to be parallax free at 100 yards to shoot at 20 yards, not only will you be liable to have issues with parallax error, your target will be out of focus. It will be as if you are looking through a pair of binoculars that have been focused for a longer distance.

    A quite decent scope that has an adjustable objective is the Nikon Prostaff P3 Target EFR 3-9x40 which was mentioned by cbd1. Amazon has it on sale right now for $126.95. If you have to go cheaper, a reasonable alternative is the Hawke Vantage 3-9x40 AO mil-dot which Amazon has for $109.99. To correctly position of rifle scope of the size of these on the Picatinny rail of an AR receiver will generally require the use of a one-piece cantilevered scope mount which will be an additional expense. I have had pretty good results with some inexpensive (relatively) mounts of this type made by Monstrum Tactical and selling on Amazon for $28-30.
     
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  22. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    For shots at 50 yards and under, what's wrong with iron sights? You DEFINITELY don't need a magnified scope for that kind of shooting.

    Best bang for your buck is Sig Romeo5 red dot. Palmetto State just ran a sale on them for $120 and free shipping. That's $5 over dealer cost!
     
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  23. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    I always forget about the Sig red dots so the above statement isn’t true.
     
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  24. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    I can’t lie, I love the finer things in life. What I don’t love is being broke and to that end I try my best to maintain a reasonable balance between wants and needs. Ok fine, I’m a cheapskate sometimes but as a man with limited means has a lot of optics needs. I don’t ask much from any of mine, only that they hold zero and not be too blurry to see. Point is, I’m a cheapskate. Wait...point is, I can live under a $200 budget and still be happy.



    The Vortex Venom, $169 from Palmetto State Armory with sale code. My fun money hasn’t run out for the year but I do have a dozen or so other hobbies including the all important “keep the wife happy by funding her hobbies as well”.
    2AA46C72-E01E-46F8-8010-ED8DD543953F.jpeg

    Bushnell TRS-25, $44 at Amazon on Black Friday.
    FD8B4D51-F6A8-4CEA-904C-41F94521673C.jpeg

    Last month’s family picture ( +1 since this with my son’s first build) featuring the Vortex StrikeFire, SPARC, and SPARC AR, all under $200/ea.
    4ED191C6-D18A-4F23-A1AA-C9E3F12AF774.jpeg

    And sometimes I repurpose while deciding what I want. Mark AR 3-9x40 on my muzzleloader.
    5C8A812A-F234-4128-B8CC-78687CE7BC4B.jpeg

    A pair of 1.5-4x20 Mark ARs on a .44mag and .357 mag. $189/ea. at Field & Stream.
    B34B4431-6293-4A66-96F1-64559D869A5C.jpeg

    Another F&S special; Nikon P-Tactical 1.5-4.5x20 for $89.98 on “oops” sale. Made a nice birthday present for my 14 year old daughter and her AR.
    CA085BBA-C20D-4919-940C-21BEA1795E63.jpeg


    If nothing else, all of the above optics except the Bushnell feature lifetime warranties which means I won’t be out anything if they break. When I’m good and ready to part with the money my next optic will be an Eotech.
     
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  25. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    Didn’t know a Venom could be had for less than $200.00. I would be happy with one.
     
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