My knowledge on optics for long guns is very limited. I can say that I’m proficient in close range engagements with rifles. I’ve only shot out to a hundred yards to zero some of my rifles. I am not a sniper or marksman and this post is to pass on some knowledge to those who were in my shoes a while back when I researching what optic to put on my rifles.
What most new gun owners will notice after they had just spent nearly or over a thousand dollars (sometimes thousands of dollars) on a quality rifle, is that the cost of optic for will be in the hundreds and sometimes may exceed the cost of rifle it’s going on.
Iron Sights, in my opinion, everyone should learn how to shoot with them first before adding any optics to their weapon system. Most optics are electronic and therefore can fail. That’s why they call the BUIS, or Back Up Iron Sights. So why have optics? There’s many good advantages you obtain from employing good optics. With Iron Sights, in order to get a good sight picture, you need to align the front and rear sights, usually using yor dominate eye and closing your other. One can be very proficient and fast with Iron Sights, but with a Red Dot Optic (RDO) you only need one point to focus one, allowing both eyes to remain open. This allows for extremely fast target acquisition, increased field of view and peripheral vision. It makes shooting real simple: place the dot on your target and press the trigger.
There are many options for RDO’s, like with everything in life, you get what you pay for! You cannot go wrong with Aimpoint, EoTech, Trijicon and a few other brands. These brands are all expensive and start at the $400 mark. They are all combat proven by our service members and are tough as nails. They will hold their zero and will take a beating. I will go in depth on RDOs on another post.
Magnified Optics do exactly what their description says, they magnify. Here, my knowledge and experience becomes very limited. Like I said, I’m not a skilled long range shooter. There’s not a lot of places for me to shoot further than a 100-200 yards. I also don’t get enough time at the range to shoot my longer range rifles. With my limited experience, I will say that it definitely helps having a magnified optic to identify your target and hit your targets with more accuracy than you would with a non magnified Red Dot Optic. The cost of good magnified optics can get extremely expensive. There are many manufacturers that have affordable options available. Some good brands are Leupold, US Optics, Steiner, Night Force, Zeiss and the list goes on. Some of those will run over $5000 easy! Shooting long range is not a cheap or easy endeavor. It takes a lot of time to be proficient. It is a very satisfying and challenging experience nonetheless shooting things that are far away.
So if you’re a new rifle owner, there’s a ton of information out there, so do your research before you drop a few hundred on one. Always remember, you get what you pay for!