Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default I need some optic help please

    Just wanted to ask some experienced members here for some advice on optics. I picked up my first AR-15 last month (S&W M&P15) and would like a nice optic on it. I'm new to rifles and the amount of accessories out there and the terminology has my head spinning. So what is the difference between a scope, a holographic sight, a red dot sight, etc, etc. Do I need one for long range and something for close quarters? I don't understand the abbreviations like MOA and some others I can't think of right now. I'm looking for something under $500. Eotechs look cool, but again I don't know what I should be looking for. Any tips?
    Now less Glock, more H&K :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Allentown, Pennsylvania
    (Lehigh County)
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    Default Re: I need some optic help please

    Quote Originally Posted by glockmaster View Post
    Just wanted to ask some experienced members here for some advice on optics. I picked up my first AR-15 last month (S&W M&P15) and would like a nice optic on it. I'm new to rifles and the amount of accessories out there and the terminology has my head spinning. So what is the difference between a scope, a holographic sight, a red dot sight, etc, etc. Do I need one for long range and something for close quarters? I don't understand the abbreviations like MOA and some others I can't think of right now. I'm looking for something under $500. Eotechs look cool, but again I don't know what I should be looking for. Any tips?
    Wow, that is a lot of questions... I will do my best to answer them all.

    MOA = One minute of angle is roughly equivalent to 1" at 100 yds, 2" at 200 yds, 3" at 300 yds, etc. This is simply referring to the size group you can expect at different ranges if your rifle is capable of shooting "one moa". Think of it as an angle that keeps getting bigger as the range increases. Using moa for ranging is a different matter. Now we are talking about how many inches or moa you need to adjust from your zero setting to hit your target at a given range. You start with a ballistic table for your particular ammo, which will tell you how much adjustment or "come up" is needed for a given range. You then shoot that range to fine tune your setting to your rifle and scope. After you've printed your rifle at the required ranges, you create a data card to help you remember. In your example, 310 yds w/168gr BTHP, you need 5.0 moa UP to hit the target, which would be 40 (5 x 8) clicks on your scope. Wind would be roughly 1.5 moa full value, which would be 12 (1.5 x 8) clicks R/L on your scope. Reccommend you get John Plaster's book "The Ultimate Sniper". It will explain all this to you.

    Red Dot/Holographic optics project a dot or reticle onto another lens within the optic. This dot does not project onto the target. (that is a different type of red dot sight) These optics are usually shot with both eyes open and on the target. (I can't hit shit beyond 100m with both eys open and one of these sights but some soldiers can) I am not a big fan of these optics except for close quarters engagements. Most of these optics do not magnify the target but there are magnifiers available.

    Quite a few of my soldiers bought their own EoTechs for deployment. I have used the Army issue CCO, but usually mount it on the hand guard and use the carry handle sights for everything beyond 100m.

    Hope this helps.
    When you are called a racist, it just means you won an argument with an Obama supporter.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Reading, Pennsylvania
    (Berks County)
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    Default Re: I need some optic help please

    I was never much of a fan of optics on my AR's... and for years, used only the iron sights.
    Just recently I decided to see what all the fuss was about... and bought an Aimpoint ML3 2moa red dot. It came on an A.R.M.S. throw-lever/quick release mount... Cost was $450. (used/excellent condition)
    The weather hasn't been very cooperative lately, so I haven't gotten to the range with it yet... but it sure looks nice. lol

    Whatever you do, MAKE SURE you do your homework before buying. There are TONS of clones out there and they look almost identical to the real deal. They even clone the names and serial numbers on the side.

    Best way to avoid getting burned on a clone is to buy from a reputable source. I've read alot of gun show horror stories about Chinese cloned optics.

  4. #4
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    SEPA, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: I need some optic help please

    Sounds like you have a 16" AR15, so I'd recommend a red dot over true optics. If your budget is roughly $500, I'd say go with Aimpoint. There have been some issues with Eotech. Aimpoint will crush most of it's competition based on battery life. I have an Aimpoint T1 and I leave it on 7 setting and it will last 5 years turned on. Aimpoint is king in the battery department. If you can dump more funds, I'd also recommend using a Larue mount. Search for ARMS and you will see that they are not only sue happy, but they do not care about the firearms industry as a whole.

    If you want something less expensive, give Vortex StrikeFire or their new SPARC a try. The SPARC is a T1 clone. I like Vortex products because they carry a lifetime warranty and the CS is very friendly. I have gotten to know the owner's son...good people over at Vortex.

    The Primary Arms red dot is pretty nice for a T1 clone as well. It is the least expensive option. PA has good customer service as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by glockmaster View Post
    Just wanted to ask some experienced members here for some advice on optics. I picked up my first AR-15 last month (S&W M&P15) and would like a nice optic on it. I'm new to rifles and the amount of accessories out there and the terminology has my head spinning. So what is the difference between a scope, a holographic sight, a red dot sight, etc, etc. Do I need one for long range and something for close quarters? I don't understand the abbreviations like MOA and some others I can't think of right now. I'm looking for something under $500. Eotechs look cool, but again I don't know what I should be looking for. Any tips?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Racoon City, Pennsylvania
    (Montgomery County)
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    Default Re: I need some optic help please

    If your interested in a Red dot sight, I have an Eotech listed in the classifieds that I need to sell... It's a lightly used XPS3-2 w/ NV capablilties. $450
    ^^ Is just my 02 cents, my opinion, and I am in no way, shape, or form a lawyer.

  6. #6
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    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: I need some optic help please

    Glock Master,
    I will let you try any of the Vortex products that I have to see if you like them . 20mm Sparc 30MM strike fire both red dots or the new PST 1-4 which can be used for close up 2 eye shooting on 1 power ,great eye relief and field of view and than dial it up to 4 power for better shot placement / target ID for further out. You are close to my Local so I would be glad to let you check them out.
    BW

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    (Allegheny County)
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    Thumbs up Re: I need some optic help please

    You can find "gently used," perfectly functional, Aimpoint Comp M2's all OVER the interweb gun board classified sections (like ours!) for UNDER 3 bills. Someone here even had one with the QRP mount for $275 right around Christmas!

    I picked one up that way, and it works great. My old astigmatic eyeballs focus nicely on the single dot, and if you can laser boresight your optic before shooting, the results can be outstanding. I'm no Daniel Boone, but after laser boresighting, I was bullseye at 50 yards in 4 shots with a M2 on my BCM middy.

    If it's good enough for our men in the sandboxes, it'll work for me!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Cranberry Twp, Pennsylvania
    (Butler County)
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    Default Re: I need some optic help please

    I have a Primary Arms M3 multi-reticle red dot and its pretty nice. I love the both eyes open and on the target capability it provides and I can still use my irons for longer range shots as it is a lower 1/3 co-witness (that means you look thru the red dot sight but ignore the actual dot and line up your iron sights in the lower 1/3 of the viewfinder... absolute cowitness means the iron sights will line up directly with the dot).

    One thing I didnt see mentioned about the magnifiers... if you have a 2-4 MOA dot then at 100 yards that dot will cover a 2"-4" circular portion of the target... regardless of having a magnifier on it. So, you will be hard pressed to shoot 1 MOA at 100 yards when your dot is larger than that. The magnifier is good for target identification... not increasing your accuracy at long range.

    If you want to shoot long range then use irons or a scope and not a red dot.
    "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

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