The AR-15 was first developed in 1954 by Eugene Stoner. Since its introduction, this gun has been subjected to ongoing debates about what individuals should be allowed to purchase on the open market.
Although this rifle was initially designed for the company ArmaLite to break into the business of producing government and military weapons, the company’s original goal was to create weapons using modern materials and technologies appropriate for the civilian market.
Its increasing popularity brings forth numerous optic system options for users to choose from. Once you make the move and become an AR-15 owner, choosing the perfect optic system can be a bit of a challenge.
What Features are Considered Must-Haves on Optic Systems?
When purchasing an optic for an AR-15, there are certain features you should look for. Some of these features are:
1. The AR-15 optic system must be made with quality construction and materials.
No matter which sight you choose, it is best to choose an optic that is produced by a popular manufacturer.
Selecting a company with a long-established reputation goes a long way in guaranteeing that the system you receive is reliable.
It is extremely important to note that spending more money on a system does not mean it will be a higher quality item. Keeping that in mind, however, it is important to note that you do receive what you pay for.
It is important to determine what type of performance you will need from your optic in order to determine the appropriate price range.
2. Choose an optic that is both lightweight and compact.
The AR-15 itself was designed specifically as a lightweight and compact rifle, so it only makes sense to choose an optic system to match these design standards.
3. Choose an optic that is both rugged and durable.
Optics are designed specifically for tactical and defensive use, which is why they must be able to withstand bumps and normal wear and tear.
Recoil, minor, and major impacts are all part of using an optic. It is crucial to select a system that is capable of maintaining a zero point during use.
4. Select an optic that is waterproof and fog proof.
No matter what weather you plan to use your optic in, it is absolutely crucial to be prepared for whatever the elements may bring.
Having a waterproof optic ensures you are safe when targeting around bodies of water. Fog-proof optics, like those offered by the Bushnell TRS 32 Red Dot, ensure your target remains in clear sight to you.
What Types of Optics are Available for the AR-15?
There are a variety of optic systems available for AR-15s, each suitable for different conditions. If you are trying to select an optic for close range hunting, it is crucial to be able to acquire targets quickly.
For this reason, holographic sights or red dot sights are often chosen due to their reliability for this type of shooting.
For longer ranges, it is crucial to select an optic that allows you to see targets out in the distance. Acquiring the targets quickly is not too critical for long range shooting, but magnification becomes an exceptional tool to have.
An optic with minimal to moderate magnification is often the best choice for this type of targeting.
Considering the various elements of nature, it is important that the optic is suitable for inclement weather. Proper lighting will ensure you can see your object at any distance, no matter what type of weather you are out in.
Magnification, objective lens, exit pupil size, tube size, the number of lens coatings, eye relief, and they type of reticle all have dramatic impacts on your ability to see objects clearly.
There are three categories of optics available for the AR-15 to choose from. Each optic presents a set of criteria that is beneficial in various situations.
The reflex sight, also referred to as the Red-Dot sight consists of an objective lens containing a partial mirror coating. This is used to project a reticle from a point behind the lens, which is reflected toward the shooter’s eye.
The objective lens does not transmit lighting, therefore the light emitted is often caused by an LED. There are some reflex sights that use ambient lights gathered from fiber-optics; however, most utilize tritium beta lamp units to ensure vision in low-light conditions.
The reflex sight comes in either a heads up style or a tube-body style.
This style incorporates one lens, which is mounted in a bezel, with the source of the reticle. This combination is confined to a small box-like position immediately behind and below the lens.
This optic is more popular due to its flexibility in mounting. This sight can be mounted lower on the firearm, it has a wider field of view, and it is more light-weight than the tube-body design.
this style of optic is composed with a lens positioned at each end of the tubular shaped attachment. This optic design is more durable than the heads up design.
2. Holographic Sights
The holographic weapon sight is produced by the Electric-Optic Technologies company and marketed under either EOTech or Bushnell brands. This sight is different from the reflex as its reticle is projected onto the target via a laser internally onto a hologram.
The illuminated light creates a reticle image that appears to be 50 yards in front of the shooter. Holographic sights are often combined with 3x magnification which works to enlarge the target while keeping the dot the same size.
3. Rifle Scopes
The rifle scope comes in either a fixed or a variable magnification. Fixed power scopes to do have any parts that move internally, which are necessary to increase and decrease magnification.
For this reason, they are stronger and more reliable than scopes with variable magnification. The fixed scope can be either minimal or moderate magnification and are excellent options for tactical or defensive uses.
Variable powered optics are typically chosen by shooters for long range targeting. These are more popular in this instance because shooters are able to adjust the magnification to match the demand for their target and range.
When selecting the perfect optic system for your AR-15, it comes down to your intended use of the firearm.
If you are going to be shooting long range, a rifle scope or reflex may be the ideal choice for you. For close up targets, the holographic scope may be more suitable.
All sights are able to be taken off and remounted, so building up your arsenal accordingly will ensure you have the perfect optic system whenever you need.
Photo courtesy of meoptariflescopes.com