Budget Optics for the AR-15

by Administrator on September 12, 2012

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The UTG Accu Shot is a red dot 1-4 power scope. It is rugged and durable, but a little on the heavy side. Overall, you get a lot for what you pay. It is sealed, nitrogen filled, and shockproof/fogproof.

The Accu Shot comes complete with QD mounts included. Also included are the flip up lens caps.

The Accu Shot reticle is a single MOA dot inside a circle. The dot can be as little as 2 MOA based upon magnification. This scope is parallax set for 100 yards and beyond.

The target-style turrets adjust in ½ MOA clicks, for the Accu Shot. Note the knurled portion at the base of the turret. That locks the turret at its zero.

The P223 is a compact scope from Nikon, made especially for the AR platform.

The P223 comes without mounts, but a nice setup comes from Nikon for about $50.

The target turrets adjust the reticle in ½ MOA adjustments.

The Vortex Strikefire is a great red dot scope, modeled after the Aimpoint used by the US Military. Improvements over the US Military version include a new button system mounted towards the rear.


Leapers/UTG
http://www.leapers.com/

Nikon Sport Optics
http://www.nikonsportoptics.com/

Vortex Optics
http://www.vortexoptics.com/

By Brian Jensen, Law Enforcement Editor

AR-15s are everywhere. With a couple mods, we even have them in the civilian market in California. There are all kinds of things I can do with this 50-year old platform, from different barrels, mounts, or stocks I can find with the click of a mouse. I can make it look like a Christmas tree with all the gizmos and gadgets I’ve found. But really, the trick is to pick the things you really need on your AR. For me the most import thing is an optic. I can make do with iron sights fine, but as I get older, an optic makes it much easier to actually see my sight picture and hit my target. My problem is that scopes are just plain pricey these days. If you want a name brand, many of which are battle tested by our military, you’re looking at the $600+ range new, which is almost like buying another rifle. Going into SHOT Show this year, I was curious about the optics that are under $200, and that seem to be reliable for the AR-15 platform.

Because you mostly need an AR for close quarters, most people prefer an optic with no or very low magnification. With no magnification you can keep both eyes open, and whether the scope has a red dot or a reticle, target acquisition is easy and natural. This is very a very different experience than iron sights, where you really have to train yourself to focus on the front sight and find your target the hard way. Some glass on the gun gives me a sense of comfort that target acquisition isn’t an effort and you can just focus on the shot.

With scopes made all over the world these days, even some of the reputable name brands, how do you know the scope you choose is worth the money? This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are a few models that have made the rounds in my law enforcement community and developed a good reputation. Each fills a particular niche, so I hope to give you something to choose from. All can be found for under $200, new.

The UTG / Leapers Accushot 1-4 Power

(Item # LPR-SCP3-1424CDQ, retail $109-$125)

I mentioned this scope in my early look at Leapers’ products from SHOT. This 1-4 power scope uses an illuminated circle around an approximately 2MOA illuminated dot. It has various levels of illumination in either red or green, and uses a CR 2032 battery that I can find just about everywhere. The reticle is etched into the glass so even if you have no illumination, you can still get a point of aim on the plain black reticle.

I also liked the 30mm tube, which gave me more light in dim situations. The two target-style turrets were easy enough for me to adjust the zero, and I really liked the “zero return” feature that allows you to reset the zero of the turret once the scope is zeroed. But one feature it has that I wish other scope makers would use is the screw down lock for the adjustment turrets to keep them from moving once the scope is on target. That made it easy to keep the zero where I wanted it. Turrets adjust the reticle in ½ MOA increments.

When I opened the box, there were quick detach mounts included for standard rails. This saves us the additional money we normally have to spend on expensive mounts, especially for 30mm scopes.

I put this scope on a M-4 – style AR. I found it to be well made, and held zero over time. My police department authorized this for our officers to put on their duty rifles, and as of yet, they still continue to perform well, holding zero, and plugging on. That was with a bunch of officers who take these scopes in and out of cases, then throw them in car racks day after day. If you want to see how well a piece of equipment handles abuse, give it to a police officer; The UTG has done well.

This scope is simply great for the price. Let me rephrase it, I thought it was outstanding for the price. I have dealt with the people at UTG, and they have had great customer service. In all the scopes I played with, I had to call this one the best buy, and maybe my overall favorite based on the features.
The only negatives I saw was that the glass isn’t perfect, with some minor distortions along the perimeter of the glass. However, when I was aiming with the reticle, I was focused on the center of the glass, and I didn’t even notice. Using both eyes at single power, the scope was easy to use and plenty accurate for its role. Also, the scope is somewhat heavier than others, weighing in at 16.9 ounces. However, reliability is worth the weight.

Nikon P223 3×32

Item # P223 3×32 BDC Carbine

Nikon is a company known for excellence in optics and cameras. I took most of the pictures in this article with a Nikon camera. Many of my friends in the shooting world know the name and consider them a high value. So, when I saw the Nikon P223 BDC Carbine scope at the 2012 SHOT show I was curious. Could they keep up that reputation with glass that was just at the $200 mark with mounts? I asked for a test scope, and it has been sitting on my AR carbine for several months getting some considerable range use. So far so good.

The BDC Carbine 3 x 32 scope is a simple, fixed three-power optic with a non-illuminated reticle, and has large adjustment turrets. The glass however, was crystal clear into the periphery, and eye relief was generous. The mounts included are perfect for raising the scope high and forward enough to clear the charging handle with ease.

The adjustments on the BDC are in ½ MOA clicks, but after mounting it with the enclosed Nikon mounts, it was very close to dead on, and took very little effort to do an initial zero at 25 yards. Once the scope is sighted in, the turrets can be reset to zero so you can easily find your zero if they get turned. The scope is waterproof and fogproof (the scope uses O rings and is filled with nitrogen). This scope is also pretty light, at 11.2 ounces.

The intriguing part of this scope was its reticle. It’s a standard crosshair, that narrows as it gets close to the “X”, but it has two cross-hash marks on the lower, vertical axis. If the scope is zeroed at 200 yards, these hash marks are your zeros adjusted for elevation for 400 and 600 yards. It was a pretty unique setup for this type of scope.
I let my range staff take this scope out on my Bushmaster/LMT 16” carbine to put it through its paces. They universally praised it as a great value for the money, plenty durable, and it had good clarity for accurate shots.
It’s a perfect scope for someone who wants a simple, durable, crystal clear scope with the lower end magnification.
The only complaint I have for this scope is that it lacks some kind of illuminated reticle to “pop” out for rapid target acquisition, or for lower light conditions. That would, however, make this scope more expensive and it’s a very fair price as is.

Vortex Strikefire

The Vortex Strikefire looks suspiciously like one of the US Military red dots, and you can find them new for under $200 online.
I like these scopes, because they have some improvements in the controls over the earlier military ones, as well as having the option of switching between red and green dots. These scopes also come with mounts. Overall it was the lightest of the scopes I looked at, weighing 7.2 ounces

One other thing I found when I mounted one of these on my friend’s Colt M-4 was that it has a 2x magnifier included that screws onto the eyepiece. Flip-up magnifiers from competing name brand varieties can cost up to $400 alone, but the Strikefire comes with one built in, which is a nice feature.

My eye picked up the red-dot nicely on the Strikefire, with a very clear field of view. The glass was better than what I expected for a $150 scope, and would stand up to comparison with other similar designs. In fact, I like the Vortex controls better than other red-dot scopes I have used. They have rear facing rubberized buttons instead of the old style knob controls on the military version.

Three for the Road, or the Cruiser

These products are a few examples of what’s out there for the shooter who doesn’t have the coin to pay for a high-end optic, but want to add some glass to their rifle. I tried to pick a smattering of different types to offer a range of options, because we may not all want a red dot or a fixed 3 power.

Companies like UTG and Vortex offer scopes that bring features similar to those on more expensive scopes, but at a fraction of the price. Then there’s Nikon, who recognized we aren’t all ready to fork out several hundred dollars on a scope, and put out a simply great product at a price that anyone can afford. If you have the money and you prefer a premium, high end scope that will get “ooohs and aaaahs” at the range, then more power to you. But if you are on a budget like most of us in law enforcement, it’s nice to have some options.

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Duhg September 17, 2012 at 3:29 am

Ironically all these ar15 s will get some exercise when China comes to the US for water, women, agriculture, and the money they say is owed them – and you folks that shop at wal-mart, buy these Chinese copies of quality products, and carefully send them the money they are using to build up their military will be the ones that make it happen. Boycott China and their trashy products or betray your friends and families to an awful fate. Today we are about to be at war with them anyway over Japan, but it won’t matter why, it will happen and they will be better prepared because the people’s republic army and navy are getting some of the proceeds from these cheap scopes and using them to reverse engineer and upgrade their way to victory over the western world. Wake up traitors

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Lumpy September 17, 2012 at 9:19 am

That’s why I buy second hand. 100% of my money stays in America that way.

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Jorge Hodsdon September 17, 2012 at 10:55 am

Yep…I am a traitor buying a budget scope and Duuuhg doesn’t buy anyyyyything made in China but drives a KIA and votes for the likes of what we got in the White House now…Yep I’m the traitor.

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frtkak September 17, 2012 at 11:11 am

it’s a conspiracy dork…uh, i mean duhg. imbecile.

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Wayne September 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Many mom and pop, even True Value and others have been run out by the likes of Walmart, Lowes, & Home Depot that sell the junk you speak of. What is needed is folks, maybe you, that will open a store and give those traitors you speak of some other choice after the good places have been run out. When will your store open?

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SFS444 November 19, 2012 at 5:51 am

I am not sure who I am worried about most; Obama, Unions, Democrats or Chinese. I am also not supporting those socialist Unions who helped elect Obama in the first place. I’ll buy from Japan and keep capatalism alive.

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Mas January 20, 2014 at 9:33 am

Hey Dugh,
It is obvious you have no clue the puter you are using to post your dumb message has components made in China.
The Leupold/Burris you buy, if you can afford it, has components made in China as well. They just don’t tell you about it, do they?

It is a new world out there, Duhg. You ought to save your dimes and nickles to take a trip outside your county line to see it instead harping the 60′s chicken hawk policy of containment.
If you want to help our country, spend a little more time with your children every night and help them with their homework. Few years down the road they’d become scientists and engineers to bring America to the top of the list instead of flipping burger at McDonald for a career and be angry at the rest of the world.

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Wil September 17, 2012 at 9:01 am

Duhg:
Unfortunatlry…you, like so many other people…are misinformed and don’t understand macro-economics. At one level I agree wholeheartedly with you ( when speaking from the “heart”)…however, this is totally backwards when speaking using your “head”. As much as we detest poorly made Chinese goods ( not all are poorly made)…and that jobs, etc are going overseas….the SAD but TRUE truth is thst US economic policy has failed us, and we depend upon foreign investments to keep our indebted economy going. Think about it, gov’ts like China and Great Britain are the ones “holding the bank notes” that keepm our economy afloat. Would you want to backrupt *them* such that they “call the note” and truly take over our US businesses? Your diatribe is looking at the problem in the most simplistic, single-person way…and you fail to see the big picture. Do I like the way it is?…no…. but that’s the fact, Jack, you got it backwards.

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JM September 17, 2012 at 9:55 am

@Duhg,

Your statement is totally ridiculous; at first I thought it was said “tongue in cheek” but as I read further it
seems like you are serious. This is a shooting/firearms discussion site and not a place for crass, ignorant
and narrow minded political statements. If you want to play “Occupy Wall Street” then go join the your fellow losers and camp out under a tarp in a park somewhere. As far as the article goes; I’m looking to purchase
a Vortex Strikefire after one of my friends allowed me to try his out at the range, it’s a nice piece of hardware for the money. Oh and I hope Walmart carries it.

JM

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Mas September 17, 2012 at 10:19 am

Duhg,
Your take on the world is quite out of date. Yes, China can become an enemy if we continue on with the paranoia of the 60′s. Young Chinese are not any different than young Americans when they get a taste of the 21st century. Take a trip to Shanghai or some other metros on mainland China to see for yourself and get enlightened.

Global economy is the way of today and tomorrow whether you like it or not. The computer you are using to post your hateful comment have components made in China as well, so, please don’t be so ignorant to denounce others as traitors.

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Rudolf September 17, 2012 at 10:39 am

Checking where a product is made and avoiding “Made in China” is the first thing I do when I look for a purchase. BUT, when it comes to weapons optics, there is little to chose from. I will be damned if I am going to pay double the price of the weapon for the optic even when the weapon is the highest priced in its class. For God’s sake, especially for a red dot or close engagement optic. I applaud the writer for embracing some of these optics because I think the whole optic situation has spiraled out of control. It is just like the home stereo craze of the late 70′s and 80′s where MANY idiots were spending huge $$$ for acoustic specs that were humanly impossible to detect. It is all about “Hey Look at Me!”.

I can see spending good money on night vision or thermal optics but spending several thousand $$ on a scope to hit a target less than 100 yds away is pure idiocy! If you have that kind of money and want the best, do you have an equally good back-up weapon or two in case your primary one fails? Did you leave any money in your bank account for a fat ammo budget so you can be as good as your scope? Probably not to either of these. Just because some fat American slob who dropped out of high school is getting $35 an hour union wage and full health benefits just to push a button on a machine does NOT make for a better product over an import! Just a more expensive one.

I have had great success with companies like UTG so far, and some bad experiences with American products. So, I buy an optic that has a healthy warranty, use it and if it is deficient or defective, then it goes back or is replaced. My investment is in THE WEAPONS and in the ammunition for practice and I am proud to say I have a fantastic collection of weapons that will surely appreciate rather than over-priced scopes that will not. If the stuff hits the fan, I can use what I have with open sights if need be. At least I have money left over for ammo to keep shooting.

My advice is to try some import red dots and CQB optics and see how they work for you. Good marksmen are made more by training and practice rather than relying on the Hubble Telescope to hit their target. If you cannot hit a moving target or shoot accurately in a stressed environment, a $4000 optic will only make you look more ridiculous.

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Scotty September 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Gee, Rudy, where can I get me one of them $35/hour-sit on my ass-button pushin’ union jobs with great benefits building quality optics fer my guns? It just so happens that I am a proud Teamster who doesn’t earn $35/hour and works hard for what I do make, plus a better package of benefits than almost all of the similar non-union jobs in my neck of the woods. I helped to negotiate our last contract and spent most of our bargaining time on non-economic issues, not just pay raises and the like. If you have a beef with what honest, hard working, productive union backed employees earn I suggest you take your gripes to your (most likely) non-union employer, and don’t disparage the workers who stood up to their bosses, formed unions and fought hard while following the rules and EARNED their keep!
Oh, by the way, I do own a couple Chinese made ‘scopes that aren’t too bad, pretty good as a matter of fact. My Burris and Intensity scopes are Phillipines-made and of high quality, that’s why they’re on my hunting and go-to rifles. Yeah, I do buy American where and when I can, and avoid Chinese where possible, but some tools and toys are just too hard to resist with their Chinese-made prices. Remember folks, Buyer Beware.

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Bob October 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Great Post Rudolf, I could not agree more!

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jeff upton September 17, 2012 at 10:51 am

Your comment about cheap chinesse junk was right on target.I also watch where I buy my ammo and gear,jeff

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Bill September 17, 2012 at 11:10 am

Hey Duhg, where does a lwr income individual buy a $200 or less quality us made optic ? I saved for 18 months just to buy a mil spec ar so how do we afford a optic before the coming war ?

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Rudolf September 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm

The UTG scope reviewed is not an Accushot according to the Leapers website. The 1.5-6x is, though. The Accushot optics have a lifetime warranty but their ordinary optics like this one only have 2 year.

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Rudolf September 17, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Sorry, the scope reviewed DOES HAVE a lifetime warranty but it is not labeled as an Accushot, fyi.

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Boomer September 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Have you ever tried to use a Leapers warranty??? I have and it not pleasant at all. I finally gave up with all the time I lost talk them thru the problem and them trying to not take the scope back. I can tell you that Bushnell’s customer service is head and shoulders above the Leapers customer service, they send you a UPS label, you send it in and they deal with it, the fix it or like in my case, send you a new scope. Do your self a favor and buy a Bushnell Banner with an AO. For about the same amount or just a little more you will be much happier with the Bushnell in the long run. I think I have probably purchased my last Leapers.

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Sixgun October 15, 2012 at 11:52 am

All Bushnell products are made in China. Like TASCO, REFIELD, ECT ECT
Even ZEISS has moved some manufacturing to china. In fact, find one electronic or rifle scope that is not.

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Sixgun October 15, 2012 at 11:57 am

And I might ad that iconic American brands like COLEMAN, that most of us grew up with, no longer carry or manufacture anything made here. You can go to a garage sale or look at ebay for a 30 year old Coleman latern made in America. But anything newer is all out of the ROK or China. You would be hard pressed to find anything out of Japan anymore

Rene September 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm

If if wasn’t for unions you would have the benefits you have now,what makes you think YOU are woth what you are being paid? Unions help everyone with wages and health and welfare.If you want to work for less,go for you don’t knock the people that stand up with a decent living.

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R.S. September 17, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Just because you are union does not mean your work is any better than anyone elses. The unions also keep some people from getting some jobs. Some jobs have been manned by the same family for years and years. Why do they have more right to that job than anyone else does? Fair play does not come into the picture with the unions.

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Jimmyjet September 20, 2012 at 3:04 am

Your union job that pays you the big bucks just because you were able to blackmail the owner of the company by threatening to close him down is preventing my affording the stuff you produce.
Did you think China got it’s foot in the door here because they made over priced, union shop junk?

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Davidio Flavio September 17, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I myself call the phenomenon “Fortier Syndrome”, and the symptoms are described by recommending the most expensive optics, because someone will comp you a set for free, so you can give them a good recommendation in return.

I have sold one AR variant in the plus 2000 dollar range, and that was to a doctor, while it was really nicely built, I just didn’t see the price point being much more than a grand, for what he got.

And its the same for most of the high end optics, yes, you are chasing that 1/10th of MOA for bragging rights, but, they bring really little to the table in terms of hard core durability, which, is one thing I WOULD pay for.

And yes, I own optics that cost that much, but as stated above, they are 3rd gen NV, while, I also do nicely with some first gen stuff found at bargain basement prices, like the Bundeswehr surplus Orion scopes that hit the market last year.

I do admit, I have gotten a NIKON, 1 x 4 for a recce build, a bit over 200 bucks, but, for the cheese it appears to be a nicely made product, I am still in the process of assembly, so, no range test yet, but, I am happy with the initial look and feel of the product, I also own a clone red dot, similar to the one above, and I just can’t see why a clone can be less than half the cost of factory, and yet, do the same job.

Much like the MD20 drums, yes, I expect a higher initial price, but once the R and D has been paid off, or the competition brings a similar product, the pricing should start to adjust, but it seems that in the gun world, with a few exceptions, that doesn’t happen.

When there was no internet, American companies could silence the competition, but now that China is our next door neighbor, via the net, and they have comparable machinery, we had better recognize that our economy and competition is GLOBAL, and in the big picture, we all eat out of the same big pot, and while I really, REALLY, want to buy another Leupold, I gotta eat too, and its very tough to justify, 800 for an optic, when I can get the job done for 200, and buy another base platform, to build another system for use.

Why limit yourself to day only optics, when you can spend the same cheese, and have a scope, red dot, and Night vision, for the same cost as one Leupold?

I didn’t, and the market won’t either.

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Davidio Flavio September 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Rene, and Wayne.

Unions are not the salvation for the future, and neither is rapping big box stores, one is now moot, and the others are here to stay.

This is not just the USA anymore, its the world. If the Unions were spending money sending troops to China to unionize them, instead of using their cash to bash any Republican (And to be clear, I am a Libertarian, so I have some neutrality here), then perhaps I would respect them more, but they don’t, they are just here to take as much as they can from me, as fast as they can.

As for the world-marts, as stated above, we all eat out of the same pot that the world shares. We put corn in our gas tanks, and someone in Africa starves because of that choice. You cannot live in the tiny world view you perceive as the truth.

UTG/Leapers is a PERFECT point to show how wrong that perspective is, every product I have gotten from them, in value, FAR ABOVE what I paid, compared to the other products on the market in comparison, most recently, an optics mount for an 870, saddle type. The fit and finish were great, the pin/bolt fit up was tight, the mount is tighter than a virgins cooch in overall terms, and it works great.

How can you justify spending double, so a guy in Detroit can make twice an hour what I do? Because its pro American? Sorry, but it leaves me with more to spend on other things, and THATS what CAPITALISM is ALL ABOUT, bringing a better product to market, for less.

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Ken September 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I totally gree with Rudolf,Great example is camera`s.Now they have 12 Megapixel`s and the human eye cannot see any difference between an 8 or a 12.Eight Megipixel`s are as far as the human eye can go,as far as seeing the difference in color quality.So it is Marketing and you pay way much more to have a 12 rather than an 8,which is as good in quality in the picture.

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brievolz84 September 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Even though you are technically right that the human eye can’t distinguish between 8 and 12 megapixel definition (1-megapixel = 1,048,576 pixels); you are wrong to suggest that it’s a marketing gimmick. See the resolution on your computer consists of pixels, each pixel represents a color in red blue or green. So when you see a resolution of 1024×768 that means rows multiplied by columns and that gives you the total amount of pixels being displayed, which in turns, mean the size of the picture. That is why when you use a smaller resolution on big screens, you see pixelization because pixels are being enlarged to the point where you can see them. Another word for this is grainy or loss of detail. DPI comes into play when you want more detail and definition. A 72dpi image on a standard 9×11 with a resolution of 5000×2500 will look more grainy than a 300dpi image with those same specs.

The same is for digitally printed photographs. So a 12-megapixel photograph is the minimum you need to print magazine size images without pixelization or loss of detail. This is why it isn’t a marketing gimmick but more of a lack of knowledge from the consumers who don’t know how resolution works. If you aren’t going to print 300dpi magazine size pictures than you don’t need a 12-megapixel camera.

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George Gates September 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm

“I also liked the 30mm tube, which gave me more light in dim situations.”

I’ve never read anything, even from optics manufacturers, that that would lead me to believe that a 30 mm tube size contributes to light transmission. In fact, almost everything that I can find states that it has nothing to do with better light transmission, but rather concerns the travel length of the windage and elevation adjustments. Am I missing something?

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Westerly September 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm

The review does not mention if the reticle is visible on the illuminated (red-dot) model with a dead battery, or switched off. It would be good to know.

BTW – I am new to the AR-15 format. I just had to have one due to it being the “Barbie-doll” of firearms (accessories, accessories and more accessories). Naturally, a scope was the 1st thing to add. I stumbled on to a US made (Oregon) Redfield Revolution Rifle scope with an Accu-Range Reticle. Redfield is owned by Leupold, and the value and quality seem to be reflected in the consistent, gradual prices increases and excellent ratings and reviews. Many of their models are WELL under $200, and the eye relief is hard to beat at (3.7-4.9″). No, I’m not a Redfield spokesman or even in the firearms business: just an American (who happens to live in Oregon) who really likes his Redfield scope.

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Jimmy September 18, 2012 at 11:49 am

From the review.
“The reticle is etched into the glass so even if you have no illumination, you can still get a point of aim on the plain black reticle.”

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James Riley September 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Small MoM and PoP stores would stay in business if people would come through the doors,but they are broke after WallMart and the gas station.

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Rene September 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I have 2 redfield scopes and love then made in the U.S.A..Chinese labor is slave labor,they copy our products and its AMERICAN jobs lost for Corp. greed.Union men and women [also women make the same as men]arenot the problem it’s the people at the top period.Mom and pop business is the lifeblood of this great counry I support them every chance I can.Everyone bashes goverment for interfering,yet when it suits them they want goverment to get involved.Look at the news and you will see the chinese people want a better wage/conditions and the response is a bullet in the head.Bet they wish they could have 2nd ammendment rights.You think the republicans are perfect look at Iragfor sale.org..The way the taxpayers were/are screwed by the profiteers is criminal.I’m not gonna change the world just my 2 bullets.Good bless America and are the Americans that work so damn hard for this great country of ours.God bless ou Vet’s and troops America is #1 because of them.

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Metairieman55 September 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Nice evaluations! I just purchased a Leaper UTG 3-9X42 (AR-15) and a Vortex Strikefire (CX4) and love them. But since I have two 9mm carbines I also found a Lucid HD7 which falls into the same category as a light red dot with comparable features your readers might check into. It’s a $200 item but apart from the quality build, it’s use of normal AAA batteries (1000 hrs rated), 4 reticle selectable and auto shutoff (2 hrs) sold me. Love it too!

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Charlie September 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Nice article, it’s nice to see some reviews of lower end optics. Without someone actually taking the time and effort to get reviews out to the public for the most part I would not even consider a scope from Leapers. As far as made in China is concerned there are both high and low end products. I bought a fantastic AR optic that was made in China. A one to four power CMR Leatherwood (Hi-Lux)at just over three hundred dollars and it included a Burris PPR mount. Check out the reviews on you-tube or SWFA’s website. It’s a great CQB sight but had the fine detail for very precise shot placement as well for target shooting. Lets face it most of us spend most of our time at the range shooting. A 2, 3 or 5 moa dot is good for tactical shooting but I wanted the best of both worlds. I wanted versatility with a lifetime warranty. One other thing the CMR has fantastic glass and a zero stop adjustment just not found on low end optics. Just to keep the world trade war in balance I am waiting for my Redfield hunting optic to be delivered tomorrow.

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Ian McKracken September 17, 2012 at 8:26 pm

This comment is in response to a posting by “Ken” at 2:14 PM on Sept 17th.

I’m sorry, but I just can’t silently let this comment go unchallenged. Without regard to what you believe the human eye is capable of resolving, your point is factually incorrect. As a professional photographer, I know that the “L Series” lenses from Canon are far superior to any other “normal” photographic lens. If you watch any sporting event, you’ve seen these large, white/cream colored lenses mounted on sophisticated cameras that resolve to 20+ megapixels. These pros make hundreds of shots each game or event, and are fortunate to sell one of them. Also consider those mind-blowing photos in National Geographic – they look spectacular BECAUSE they are made with high resolution lenses attached to 20+ megapixel SLR’s, almost certainly Canon and to a lesser extent, Nikon.

Most of these incredible action shots are cropped, enlarged, and digitally manipulated in the computer lab before publication. If your thesis were correct, your snapshots would look like those amazing photos in magazines and online. For the pros, megapixels are important, but most important is the quality of the lens and it’s ability to resolve images at great distance.

Back to the main subject here, paying for super resolution in riflescopes is probably not worthwhile unless you’re shooting 1,000 yard matches on a regular basis. For the normal shooter, the bargains are almost always adequate. I happen to like my Nikon P-223 scope on my M4 carbine. It is accurate beyond my ability to hold steady at 500 or 600 yards. But for my camera bodies, I shoot with nothing less than the multi-thousand dollar lenses in Canon’s professional series (L series). Sure, I could screw on a $200 lens, but I’d never sell a photo.

I guess I forgot to explicitly state the obvious…. Megapixels in a camera have nothing to do with the ability of a lens to accurately resolve an image. You could have a 20 megapixel camera and a $200 lens and you would get crappy photos. Conversely, a 12 megapixel camera connected to a $3,000 lens will consistently produce extraordinary photos. (Both scenarios have the same photographer.)

Having said all of that, I’d like to have a Trijicon ACOG on my M4, but I just don’t need it’s ability to run on fibre optics and tritium. I haven’t been in a firefight at last light in many years.

Ian

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Myron T Babler September 17, 2012 at 9:05 pm

I have had really good luck with Barska scopes on my .308′s and I like to place my round before they get accurate with the AK-47 if the targets can’t hit you at 2000′ and you can they tend to lose taste for you and leave you alone.

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Myron T Babler September 17, 2012 at 9:07 pm

My store will be at VB this weekend.

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lonewolf September 17, 2012 at 9:51 pm

If you want another good scope to consider then take a look at the optisan mamba that is sold thru SWFA.It is a 1-4 power and the glass is really good especially for the money.They currently have a sale on it where you get the scope and mount for around $150.00
I have one and it is extremely clear and the circle with center dot reticle is black and can be lighted to green or red as well.check it out and do a review on it,I think you will be impressed with it.

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Gladstone September 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Great, helpful article. I just have started outfitting my StagArms Model 2T but don’t want to go crazy with accessorizing just yet. I want optics, but not at the price of my AR. Thanks!

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marginalmind September 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm

A little common sense.
Mount a good set of iron sights and practice with them every time you go out shooting. Murphys law would dictate that when you need it most your optic, no matter how much it costs, will fail.

As for optics, I would say that for CQB, anything over 4x magnification is a waste. The only time you would go to 4x was to identify the target as a legitimate threat. You should not waste your hard earned money on any optic system that would make you think that taking a shot at a perceived threat, at long range, is an option. Unless you are in combat you will have to answer for your actions in court.
Also realize that you will never get back the money you spent on your optic. If you bought it, it is used. You spend lots of money on stuff that will sit in your safe and quickly depreciate. This is simply because in a few months the next “big revolutionary innovation” in optics will hit the markets.
Buy something that works and won’t break the bank.

PS:
PMC= Korea
PvPrtizan= Czech
Aquila= Mexico
It is because of these foreign manufacturers of .223 ammunition that U.S. manufacturers prices are kept in check. If not, I guarantee they would charge whatever they wanted knowing they were the only supplier.

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nobody September 22, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Burris also has a couple nice scopes at reasonable prices and made in the US. All the Burris scopes I have, have amazing clarity. They also offer some camo models. Also check out CDNN for optics and accessories. They are the cheapest I have found but made overseas without quality, enviromental, working condition, or humanitarian controls at slave wages.

To the gentleman who knows nothing of Unions. They are trying to organize China, Mexico and other countries. However just as in the US when trying to fight corporate greed fighting big money will get you killed. Get informed first, speak later.

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AZDoc23 September 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I felt this article was well written and honest. I had hoped there would be discussion about the scopes that were mentioned. Instead, we have knuckleheads who decided to attack one another on their political issues. My recommendation, take your personal vendettas to your private emails. This blog is not here to discuss your politics. Thanks to you, we don’t have anyone placing a post about the scopes mentioned here, or any other scope a fellow NRA member might recommend.

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WTH? September 25, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Great article and to think I was in the market for a $1300 Trijicon. However, I have to admit AzDoc23 is correct. I cannot understand why my follow coutrymen become so divided over so many issues. Yes, we all have heart felt convictions on one subject or another. Express yourselves to your elected officials. We all want what is best for this country and that doesn’t include China or Chinses products. I have a very limited impact on what is sold in America. However, I can choose what products to buy. It’s business and while I don’t care for some of the common practices,it is what it is. I buy American very chance I get. Politicians will tell you what you want to hear to get elected. It will not be the first time we’re mislead nor the last. We must put our differences beside for a greater good of nation we so dearly love so if and when China decides to show up, they all will be on the business end of The America Citizens. As we used to say in the military, right some, add some, get some. If they do show up, I Hope they back a lunch, they’re gonna need it. V/R, Your Countryman

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Sixgun October 15, 2012 at 11:44 am

From chicom made stuff to unions huh? Okay I will chime in. 99% of the optics that you think are American are not. Eotech, ACOG and the rest are all made in China. The knock off, off brands are normally just what is called an overrun. Almost the same exact thing just called something else. Like a surefire light, or a spiderfire. You are paying for the name and in some cases a warranty, but thats it.
Unions are, at least in the government sector, including teachers, what is destroying this country, plain and simple. They had a place and role in the long ago past, but they have out lived any benefit to the worker, the company, or the economy. Unions are a microcosm of socialism, denying choice and artificially raising prices on goods and services.

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Diego M. September 21, 2013 at 12:39 am

Great list! and very nice prices indeed. I have also checked some UTG and Nikon scope reviews at http://bestar15scope.org
Thks for sharing!

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bhammell November 27, 2013 at 7:09 pm

I like your commentary on the Nikon 3×32 BDC, thats what I have on my AR setup. The bdc reticle is pretty helpful when it comes to taking longer range shots beyond what you’re zeroed for. The price ain’t half bad either for that quality.

bhammell
http://bestar15scopes.com

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