Burris AR-1X–The Best Red Dot Under $500?

The Burris AR-1X.

The Burris AR-1X.

Burris AR-1X

Editor’s Note:Burris is running a big contest right now. If you haven’t already, you should enter. Someone’s going to win. Why not you?


I have been a fan of Burris products for quite some time. Sometimes they have a great “me too” Burris branded product or a model with some cool advancements, and other times, such as the AR-1X, they deliver something uniquely Burris.

From a distance, the Burris AR-1X is just another red dot sight wrapped up in a different look, however that would be the incorrect assumption. This Burris AR-1X has features which make me feel that this may be one of the better red dots on the market.

There is the over built 13oz one piece billet AR15 specific design which appears to be heavy armored. Inherently this is stronger that other designs requiring risers, mounts and optics which require being screwed together. Screws to come loose and are not as strong as a single piece unit.

No batteries? No worries. The reticle is etched in and will still be visible.

No batteries? No worries. The reticle is etched in and will still be visible.

Unlike Burris’s other AR prism optics, the AR-1X delivers a true 1X non-magnified optic with ocular focus to accommodate for different eyes. Looking through the AR-1X, shooters are greeted with a clear distortion free image which is interrupted very little by the trim optic body profile.

No batteries, no problem. The reticle is an etched black reticle which works even when the dual illumination is off or without batteries, so you can continue beyond a 3000-5000+ hour illumination service life of the single AA battery.  Obviously higher end AA lithium batteries will deliver the 5000+ hour illumination over standard alkaline batteries. What I love here is that AA batteries are everywhere even in remote areas of the world. Where 123A or wafer batteries may last longer, they are not as readily available. The Burris will not have you continually looking for the right replacement battery. The battery compartment is elegantly nested in as part of the riser – great thinking.

Ar 1x 9
Ar 1x 10

The Burris AR-1X delivers dual red and green reticle illumination in addition to the etched black reticle. Operation of the illumination is simple with one touch of the “on” button. Clicking the same “on” button to cycle between green or red illumination or holding for “off” is simple and easy to use. Both illumination options provide seven settings each ranging from very low light to bright sunlight settings. I do wish there was an auto setting, however there is not.

At first glance, most will think the CQ-1X reticle is the same BDC compensating donut reticle used on Burris’ AR-536 and AR-332 line however it is tweaked a bit specifically for the AR-1X. The reticle design is a little less cluttered simply because the useable size of the donut is reduced through the optic and visually not as large as those seen through the AR-536 and AR-332 line. The larger heavy CQB donut is still there with the outside covering a 80” at 100-yard diameter and inside measuring a 64” at 100-yard diameter. The BDC and subtense are also different with the BDC dots being replaced with hash marks. The top of the center 4.4 MOA dot is the 100-yard zero, the center of the dot 200, bottom 300, and then the 400, 500, and 600 yard hash marks following below. To me this is a compromise reticle design which leans heavily to the CQB side of the equation where shots are less likely at extended ranges. It is a wonderfully fast reticle from silhouette sized target to target transitions out to 300 yards, however like any other 1x magnification reticle with BDC marks, the gradient and reticle hashes can be hard to distinguish between unless you have a solid rest.

Ar 1x 5
Ar 1x 2

So how about a tripler to increase magnification and the reticle size on target? Burris does also sell the AR-1X as a kit with their tripler, however problems always ensure for me when I attach a tripler to an optic with an adjustable ocular such as this AR-1X. An adjustable ocular is one of the things I love about the AR-1X which also makes it a pain in the butt when adding a tripler. I am insanely picky about my eyesight considering I have 20/10 vision (which is excellent), however when I get tired my eyes drift back to mere mortal’s vision of around 20/20. For me this is like watching HD TV and then going back to regular TV and of course drives me nut that I cannot see hits on targets which most people could not see on a good day. The AR-1X allows that ocular correction to boost my vision back up to superhuman levels, however popping on a tripler creates a situation where two ocular adjustments are fighting each other. The result is that you need to significantly correct the AR-1X sight to work with the tripler, which means the reticle is out of focus when you swing the tripler back out of the way. My advice is that if you feel the need for magnification I would look to another optic such as the AR-332 or know that you will need to adjust the focus every time you swap back and forth.

The controls are easy to access, and large enough to manipulate.

The controls are easy to access, and large enough to manipulate.

I like the reticle design as is which is a strong lean to the CQB side and away from a precision marksman rifle. The reticle delivers a few extra aiming points beyond a typical circle dot reticle design paired with some ocular vision correction which most normal red dots do not deliver. In reality when my eyes get tired, I can deliver hits more precisely with this optic than I can with my other red dots, reflex sights, and Eotech style optics thanks to the ocular adjustment.

Like all Burris optics, the AR-1X offer nitrogen-filled bodies which are waterproof, fog-proof, precision gauged, and Hi-Lume multi-coating glare resistant lens coatings which enhance its night vision compatible use. Burris hand fits the optic to assure the tightest shock resistant optic possible. Other nice features are flip up lens covers and tethered caps which cover waterproof coin adjustable windage and elevation adjustments. The AR15 co-witness height integrated riser attaches to any Weaver or Picatinny-Style rail. If you have any problems the optic is covered by Burris’ Forever Warranty.

When Burris provided this unit for review I was skeptical. Do we need yet another red dot optic? The answer in this case is yes and in many cases even just as a simple red dot it is far and away better than most on the market. In addition to the ocular adjustment features, the biggest annoyance Burris stepped widely to the side of was the dreaded “splash dot” of most red dots which offers more of an imprecise red smudge than a red dot. Eotechs offer pixelated reticles where the Burris reticle delivers a brilliantly crisp and clean non-pixelated precision aiming point in a tight and durable design all powered by one of the most popular batteries on the planet. It is also the only red dot under $500 which can still shoot after the batteries are dead. The Burris AR-1X deserves a look.

Item Number:    300214
Combo Package Includes Includes AR-Tripler & AR-QD Pivot Mount
Magnification:    1x
Clear Objective Lens Diameter:    20 mm
Finish:    Matte
Field of View:    75 ft. @ 100 yds.
Mount:    Picatinny Rail Base
Eye Relief:    2 – 7 in.
Click Value:    1/2 MOA
Elevation Adjustment, Total Capability:    120 MOA
Example: 50 MOA is roughly 25 MOA from center.
Windage Adjustment:    120 MOA
Example: 50 MOA is roughly 25 MOA in any direction from center.
Parallax/Focus:    < 1 MOA @ 100 yds.
Length:    4.00 in. (without sunshade or flip-up covers)
Weight:    13.20 oz.
Illumination Control:    Push-button
Illumination Settings:    5 red settings; 5 green settings; off is black
Battery:    AA


Leashes for the caps will keep them from escaping.

Ar 1x 6

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Emory January 10, 2016, 3:49 pm

    This sight has been discontinued per Optics Planet


    • Greg June 9, 2016, 2:05 am

      No wonder it’s discontinued. 13 oz is crazy. This is an obvious add. He turned a negative into a positive by saying how much “stronger” this one piece anchor is.

    • Treuer Wolf May 19, 2018, 8:11 pm

      Um, ……no , it is still in production and available. Follow your own link and see !

  • Ed February 24, 2015, 11:50 am

    Good article, and exceptionally good looking firearm – – I too would like to know the particulars regarding stock, upper, lower, and handguard – – including that tapered muzzle end attachment.

    • Josh March 5, 2015, 3:23 pm

      I believe the device is a Primary Weapons System CQB compensator.

  • Frank G February 23, 2015, 1:39 pm

    The green dot is a plus+. Wish the design had more eye relief though, I hunt with “hand cannons” for the most part, so a long eye relief is mandatory.

  • Ed February 23, 2015, 12:26 pm

    What weapon and furniture is that in the final picture?

    • David G. February 24, 2015, 7:44 am

      Aero Precision Lower receiver looks to be Cerkote (titanium?) finished, not sure about upper receiver, front hand-guard is Apex Machining’s Gator Grip

  • praharin February 23, 2015, 11:35 am

    Well, this is not a red dot at all. It’s a 1x prism scope. Leupold released one several years ago, and most reviews seem to be positive, other than those expecting a red dot. One of the biggest benefits of a red dot is the reduced/eliminated parallax and unlimited eye relief. This, like all other telescopic sights, will have neither benefit. That’s the trade off for being able to focus it. So, this is not the best red dot at any price, because it’s not a red dot sight. It’s a scope.

    • Kivaari February 23, 2015, 11:46 am

      That is why it might be better for some of us. I don’t like red dot sights since the astigmatism is so bad. Being able to focus may solve that issue. Having an etched reticle sounds like a good thing since it works w/o batteries. I hate battery dependent sights.

  • Steve February 23, 2015, 8:44 am

    Why couldn’t they just come out with a 3 or 4x for us amateur?

  • Anibal Filloy February 23, 2015, 6:10 am

    Agradezco me informen donde comprar Online esta mira Burris,Gracias

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