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Best Optic for an AK?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by AKElroy, Nov 13, 2010.

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  1. AKElroy

    AKElroy Member

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    I pick up a clean Polish 1960 milled AK on Monday. I have ordered the Ultimak gas tube rail, and I am debating which optic to mount. I would like to co-witness the iron sites, but I am not going to drop $500 on a micro Aimpoint.

    I have a $100 Millet red-dot that will be mounted for temporary duty because I have it on hand, but I really would like a quality dot for permanent duty. I need to keep it inder $250. Any thoughts???
     
  2. kwelz

    kwelz Member

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    Well I suggest you from the 500 on the Aimpoint. But if you are dead set against it you can look at the Vortex Spark.
     
  3. AKElroy

    AKElroy Member

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    I have been reading up on them. Any first hand experience? It is the one at the top of the list for the moment--
     
  4. kwelz

    kwelz Member

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    Myself no. However one of the guys at the Hackathorn AK class I took a couple months ago used one. I haven't talked to him in a while but it held up fine throughout the class.

    Primary arms is another good option. However I don't recommend either if this is going to be a defensive carbine.
     
  5. wriggly

    wriggly Member

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    Why? You have some substantive data to back up your aversion. Aimpoint made units that were laughable at best when they first hit the market back in the 70's, yet they performed admirably. The Chinese are rapidly taking a position of dominance in manufacturing, and their quality has moved ahead by leaps and bounds.

    I own both of the red dots mentioned, and would not hesitate to use them "Defensively".

    As for the OP, get the Primary Arms 6th gen. It is made to be optimized on the Ultimak in an absolute Co Witness configuration. Out of all the red dots available, the Primary Arms sits lower than everything else, including Aimpoints T1/H1 sights. For $79 you will not be sorry, and if you dont want to depend on it defensively, use your 870 or Glock.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
  6. AKElroy

    AKElroy Member

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    Might see pig duty, that's about it for actual shots on living matter. The rest will be the usual plinking.
     
  7. gunnutery

    gunnutery Member

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    I too am looking for an optic for my project MAK90. I love the compactness of the micro aimpoint but financially I really can't spend that much either. There are some other companies making micro red dots that are under $100. I think I'll be going with a barska for around $60-70.

    Search for "micro red dot" and go to google shopping. I think cabelas also has a similar sight.
     
  8. Averageman

    Averageman Member

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    I have had a Bushnell TRS-25 for a couple of months and it co-witnesses the irons and has run fine.
     
  9. kwelz

    kwelz Member

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    Wriggly even supposed quality optics like Eotechs have a failure rate higher than I am comfortable with. So no I would not trust a 150 dollar optic with no track record of durability for a weapon I am going to trust with my life. For me it is Trijicon or Aimpoint.

    Even the owner of Primary Arms has stated that his RDS are for training purposes and that those who want a RDS for a fighting carbine should look elsewhere. I had a Vortex strikefire fail on me once. Obviously not the Spark but it was enough to make me worry about their quality in general.

    Vortex makes some great optics. Especially their higher end scopes. But their RDS are mid range. More suited for casual use than a patrol weapon or defensive carbine.
     
  10. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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    In my opinion, the best optic for the AK is the original iron sights. At the most, an original Russian 4x scope on a side mount would work. Beyond that you may as well get an AR :p
     
  11. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    well the T1 aimpoint is the best. You could save a few dollars by getting an H1. You could also save a bit more by using one of the less expensive models like a C3.

    For a gun you are not staking your life on the primary arms sight is a good budget red dot.
     
  12. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    Define best. If best is defined as an aphoristic dogmatic adherence to a 60+ year old design and its limitations then yes it is the best.

    If best is measured in anyway by performance and practicality then the stock irons are far from the best. Even a fuller rear sight is a big improvement for irons.

    A red dot is a serious performance enhancement for an AK. If you are opposed to improved performance you might as well get a musket, or just a rock to throw for that matter.

    Even if you want irons something like a fuller rear sight is still an improvement
     
  13. JTH

    JTH Member

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    Not trying to hijack your thread just have a few questions, that are relative to the topic.
    AK's were never meant for optics. There is the Dragonev sniper AK. What options do you have that secures the optics tight enough that they don't work loose or the jarring of the receiver from shell ejections doesn't eventually do some harm to scope/optics itself. Since my eyesight isn't great anylong, it would be super to be able to put some type of Optics on my AK and SKS, that really helped and was practical relative to it's cost. If you can place something like a Red Dot on a Picatanny rail further up the rifle away from the receiver, this may help. I just don't think, unless you are an expert marksman, you're going to get much accuracy, past 100 yards IMO. Good topic though!
    Isn't that what bolt action rifles are for?
    JT
     
  14. wriggly

    wriggly Member

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    I really appreciate your point, but the Primary Arms red dot used in conjunction with an Ultimak sits the lowest of any other Red dot, and if it ever failed, it is a non issue, because you will be reverting instantly to your co wittnessed irons.

    Why put a $500 sight on a gun that cant shoot MOA anyway? Save the fancy stuff for an AR.

    I would not trust "Any" optic for defensive purposes, unless it can be either lower 1/3rd co witnessed, or Absolute Co witnessed. For me, red dots are a luxury beyond the irons. But as far as comparing the Primary arms to anything else out there for use on the Ultimak, I would stake my life on it, because if it does break, it doesnt matter, when you have your irons.

    How about an Aimpoint on a side rail or some other rail that blocks usage of the irons? I see a lot of folks that think that setup is the cats pajamas. Sight breaks, and where did I put that wrench.......
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
  15. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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    Best is what works best for me. There's no aphoristic dogmatic anything involved. As far as performance and practicality, what's more practical is the lightest weight possible (IE no dot or scope), and as far as the irons go, I wouldn't object to mounting a set of tech sights or another form of aperture sight, but for close to medium range (if I'm shooting out past 30 or 40 feet I'm likely going to end up in prison unless it's an active shooter scenario, and I don't make it a habit to tote an AK in Florida) the irons are sufficient and don't get in the way, there's no scope offset to deal with, no added weight or balance issues... Red dots may be more effective for certain situations, and scopes may be more effective for certain situations, but (and I reiterate) IN MY OPINION... the best optical solution for an AK (adding this next bit) when used as a home defense/self defense truck gun or similar use, the iron sights are your best bet.
     
  16. wriggly

    wriggly Member

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    The Ultimak rail he is talking about, clamps very solidly to the barrel, and they dont move. Any optic made would be the weak link before the Ultimak rail.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
  17. wriggly

    wriggly Member

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  18. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

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    I've known a couple of guys who've attached a JPoint dot sight to AK-pattern guns and reported good results.

    The JPoint weighs in at around half an ounce, which shouldn't be a concern for even the most weight-averse shooters out there.
     
  19. kwelz

    kwelz Member

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    Gotcha. A couple of points. Aimpoint Micro sits just as low as the Primary arms.

    The inaccuracy of AKs is vastly overstated. And RDS are not about accuracy anyway. They are about Faster target acquisition and engagement. With Irons as bad as the AK has you need a good RDS. :)

    I would never use a Side rail mount for a RDS for the reason you already mentioned.
     
  20. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

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    The factory AK iron sights are a godawful travesty. Those who want to stick with iron sights really ought to get a set of Tech Sights for them.
     
  21. wriggly

    wriggly Member

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    You may be right, I thought the Primary Arms Gen7 sat a few thousandths lower than the Aimpoint, and the Gen6 and Gen8 were the same as an Aimpoint.

    As for the stock Irons, that why you replace the rear with a KCI peep. :D
     
  22. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    I've used an ML2 Aimpoint in the factory ring on two of my Hungarian amd63's for 7 years in countless training sessions and classes. ZERO FAILURES! This combo is the only one that seems to dead co witness, I used the irons without removing the Aimpoint more than once when the battery went dead (rarely) as I don't turn them off for classes/outings only when returned to safe. You can find a good used ML2 for $200 on E bay.
     
  23. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    Ultimak rail/gas tube with a Zeiss Z-point. Wish the Zeiss didn't cost so much (it cost more than the gun:eek:), but it is compact, rugged enough so far, and simple to sight in and use. It doesn't have the battery life of an Aimpoint, and now there are some small micro sights (Leupold has a small "Docter-type" sight that might be worth checking out) available for less money than the Zeiss. A monetary compromise, but otherwise, it makes my AK a more efficient tool. [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  24. wally

    wally Member

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    Only if you are willing to lose the use of the iron sights.

    I recommend you try the Primary arms Gen 7 micro red dot:

    http://primaryarms.com/product.sc?productId=402&categoryId=5

    Its only $80, co-witness with the irons when on the Ultimak and it works well enough you will likely be willing to spring for the Aimpoint next time you have $500 burning a hole in your pocket!
     
  25. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    Ok is an "optimak" actually a product or are you just calling an ultimak by the wrong name?

    Fair enough what RDS have you used on AKs and how did you evaluate their performance vis a vis iron sights?


    Yes the 3 oz that an aimpoint micro adds is indeed burdensome.

    An aimpoint on an ultimak is not offset. The weight is 3 oz. If one is super concerned they could remove the front sight post and run a bolton gas block/front sight that would probably come real close to offsetting any shift in balance. That said, most people don't find the very light aimpoint on the ultimak to be any real issue in terms of balance or weight. Particularly when considered against the serious advantages an aimpoint offers. In fact I've never known anyone who has run it offer that critique.

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I do not think it inappropriate, however, to ask one offering their opinion to explain what informs it or to probe into the basis of that opinion.

    What RDS have you used on an AK?

    Have you ever shot a weapon with an ultimak and a micro or are you just theorizing as to how handling will be affected?

    Why do you think an iron sight weapon is best for your new limited set of situations, to wit HD shooting and what I suppose is a very malleable task, truck gun duty?

    An RDS is indeed more effective for certain types of situations including the very type of shooting seen in HD. The RDS offers major advantages over the stock irons. It is faster plain and simple. I challenge anyone who doubts this to go out with a shot timer and test it for yourself. It is much easier to use in the low light. Its easier to use while shooting and moving and from improvised/awkward positions. There is a reason that RDS have become overwhelmingly common on guns for this type of shooting and are ven starting to show up on defensive/ccw pistols. In sum, they are faster and easier to use, no two weighs about it.

    If you were local to me I'd invite you come shoot various weapons with and without a RDS on the clock and in various scenarios. I think you might just come away with a different opinion.

    Irons only have two advantages.

    1) they are cheaper
    2) they be are negligibly lighter

    If I have to use it in HD I want the equipment that gives me the best chance of survival not what is the cheapest. My life is worth more than $600 YMMV.

    I'm not the hulk but still I don't find a 3 oz sight to be so heavy as to outweigh all its distinct advantages. If I did I could trim the weight somewhere else so again it is really just a matter of cost.


    Now there are some things others will say are advantages to irons such as:

    No battery to go dead: The battery life of aimpoint is measured in years. So if you replaced it once every 2 years even it would never die. If however, it craps out at just the moment you need it then what. Look through it and use your irons and you are no worse off than without it.

    The optic is too fragile for a rugged weapon like an AK: Aimpoint sights are very rugged. They allow for a co witness if somehow one did manage to make their aimpoint give up the ghost. If they are good enough for use in war your HD probably isn't too much for it to handle though.
     
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