Searching for the Best AR-15 Optic

By Laura Mooney

SIG Sauer SIGM400 SRP Rifle
My SIG Sauer SIGM400 SRP Rifle is in need of accessories.
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

USA –  -(Ammoland.com)- I never thought I’d say this, but I’m hooked on the AR-15 rifle!

It’s a fun firearm to shoot. It's accurate, dependable, and doesn't have a lot of recoil.

Until recently, I’d been sharing my husband’s AR-15. It didn’t take long before I wanted one of my own, and I am now the happy owner of a Sig Sauer AR-15. It’s the SIGM400 SRP model, which has no bells and whistles…yet.

One of the best things about ARs is how easily they can be customized with a wide assortment of accessories. And who doesn’t like accessories?

My first order of business will be to buy a good optic so that I can hit my targets. The AR-15 is great for target-shooting, which is an easy job for an optic. But this modern sporting rifle is also very versatile, and there are other shooting activities that I’d like to pursue. I’ve enjoyed doing some predator hunting with my husband. We mainly hunt coyotes, but we’d like to expand to other predators and possibly feral hogs when we can get the opportunity in other parts of the country. Events like 3-gun competitions also look like a fun challenge. Of course, home defense and tactical purposes are very important uses as well.

With all this in mind, my AR-15 optic will need to adapt easily to a variety of activities. Some refer to the type of setup I’m looking for as a multi-range optic. It wouldn’t be practical, (for me) to have a different rifle and scope setup for each activity…although it might be something to dream about!

As with so many buying decisions, there’s a lot to choose from and it can be confusing. I’ve done some research and tried out a variety of shooting-optic styles. I’ve talked to friends, associates, hunters, gunsmiths, and outfitters. Of course everyone has their own preferences.

Choosing an optic is going to take some thoughtful analysis, so I’ve put together the following checklist of features that I’d like to see in an AR shooting optic platform:

  • Close, two-eyes open target acquisition with unlimited eye relief.
  • Clear low-light performance glass.
  • Adjustable brightness in an illuminated model.
  • Medium- to long-range capability as well as a 1x system.
  • Engineered for the .223 round.
  • Easy-to-use reticle.
  • Night vision compatible (for possible predator night hunts).
  • Easy to mount and adjust.
  • Long battery life.
  • Lightweight.
  • Durable.
  • Accurate.
  • Cool looking (hey, might as well look good too!).

Affordability is important, but not critical. A dependable platform with great glass is more important to me.

Trijicon - ACOG 4X32Mm Rifle Scope
Trijicon – ACOG 4X32Mm Rifle Scope

My first and upcoming review will be the popular Trijicon ACOG. This is a fixed-power scope so it doesn’t fit my initial needs for a multiple power optic, but you’ll see the unique features that make this a viable option for me. Besides, this is one my husband uses and loves.

Eotech HHS l Reflex Sight
Eotech HHS l Reflex Sight

My second review will be the EOTech reflex sight with 3X magnifier. This battle-proven optic is a great option because of the quick target acquisition and the ability to magnify the target.

I hope you’ll join me in my search for the “ Best AR-15 Optic ” This is going to be fun!

Laura Mooney
Laura Mooney

About Laura Mooney

Suddenly I realized that I was missing a very important safety skill.  How would I be able to protect myself or those around me if I didn’t know how to handle a firearm? That aha moment has motivated me to move beyond my comfort zone and embrace a lifestyle that includes gun ownership and shooting competence. Embracing Life, Love, and Adventure as a Girl with a Gun ~ Laura Mooney

  • 12 thoughts on “Searching for the Best AR-15 Optic

    1. I have a S&W M&P15 with a Trijicon RX06 cowitnessed to my stock irons. This and the RX30/RX34 style reflex sights are really the best for open eye quick acquisition predator hunting.

    2. Excellent review. everyone should to know the impotent fact before the buying a rifle scope. You wrote the awesome impotent fact in this article.

      Thanks for sharing
      Smith

    3. I have been hooked on the EOTech and now have them on all my AR’s and LOVE them. I do have 3X and one 4X multiplier on flip flop mounts but the actual sight is fabulous. I have one of mine with a red laser “case” I found at a show that basically fits over the entire device and give you a fully functional red laser dot for combat/defense type sighting. the laser case also has built in iron sight capability as well. The one I have is aftermarket but I see EOTech has one as well
      Dr D

    4. I just purchased a Nikon P-223 for my AR along with the P series rings. Nikon is noted for it’s clarity The scope is set up for the 55 grain bullet and should meet all of the requirements you mentioned.

    5. I would look at the Leupold Mark 4 CQ/T Tactical Rifle Scope 1-3x 14mm. I have an earlier version of this that is 1-4x. It is on the expensive side, but really robust and dead on accurate. It is made for the AR-15 and M16 and combines the red dot sight with the flexibility of a variable power riflescope. The reticle is always visible, with or without batteries.

    6. I have a Bug Buster on one of my AR’s, the 300 BLK to be exact, it works well, so far. Have some kinks to work out with the rifle itself but the scope seems to be just fine. I’m going to be forced to go back to the range for some quality time for said kinks and to fine tune the scope.

    7. Millet 1-4x, or 1-6x. The 1×4 is better suited for close work with a large circle and dot that can be illuminated, but with a 1 mil center dot, it’s good for 1 inch groups at 100 yards. The 1-6x I have on a 6.8 upper works great at distance.

      Really, there’s a slew of 1-4x’s that all shine on an AR. But trying to get an ACOG or Eotech to shine in anything other than the combat role they were designed for is asking a lot.

    8. I’m on a budget and spent a lot of time looking for a good, affordable optic. After a lot of research and steeling myself for potentially wasting money, I finally ordered a Lucid HD7 Gen 3.There are a couple of downsides (mentioned below), but I really like it a lot. It has multiple reticles (I use the dot-in-ring), holds zero after being detached and reattached, and has a nice illumination auto-adjustment feature. There are only three things I’m somewhat critical of – it’s just a tad heavy, it doesn’t come with a QDM and the one sold at additional cost is way too expensive, and the controls are on the right side, meaning left-handed shooters will have to remove their hands from the fire controls to turn it on/off, manually adjust brightness, etc.

      Overall it’s a fantastic sight for the money though, and has held up very well for the 3 years I’ve owned it.

    9. Well the timing couldn’t be better for me. My son just got his first AR-15, or rather is assembling the components. He’s gotten as far as complete upper and lower, and has just added iron sights of the flip-down, co-witness-type, and is ready to consider adding some sort of optics. I have secretly purchased a UTG Bug Buster 3x9x32 for him. We are both of modest means and this will have to do. But the Leapers/UTG line just got a technical jolt with the advent of their 8X scope line which will compete with the more prestigious lines in terms of CQB/middle range combo scopes.

      So, I’m hoping that you will be able to devote one or more articles about that type of scope and how well they make the transition from 1x to 8x.

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