Cheap but decent red dot for AR [Archive] - Glock Talk

PDA

View Full Version : Cheap but decent red dot for AR


UniversalBrow06
01-25-2011, 15:19
I bet this gets posted often, but here goes. Is there a nice, decent quality budget red dot out there that's not too expensive (as in $150 give or take) that will stay zeroed and work well on an AR (556/223)?

I'm thinking I'd use it for target, occasional hunting, home defense... But not much at all beyond, say 100-150 yards. I'm thinking pretty short range overall.

I know I need to bite the bullet and get an ACOG or something of that quality, but honestly, I can't afford it right now. I just need something that I'll tide me over until I can sit down and buy something really decent.

I guess I wouldnt limit myself to red dots. If there's a scope that fits the bill of fast acquisition and relatively short range use, I wouldn't be against it.

jrs93accord
01-25-2011, 15:42
Primary Arms M3 (w/ high-non-canted mount - $79) or M4 ($89)

http://www.primaryarms.com/category.sc?categoryId=398

boomhower
01-25-2011, 15:50
Primary Arms M3 or M4

http://www.primaryarms.com/category.sc?categoryId=398

I wouldn't consider anything else.

RMTactical
01-25-2011, 15:57
PA or Sparc.

MrMurphy
01-25-2011, 16:05
There's either cheap, or there's decent. They don't mix.

If defense of any type is even a minor thought, you get an Aimpoint and pay the price.

If you're just a plinker and a hunter, any of the cheap crap scopes will work.

mjkeat
01-25-2011, 16:26
I think $150ish for a PA micro/mount combo is cheap for a decent optic.

Broncbuster
01-25-2011, 16:39
Primary Arms are good for the price.

I have also used these on some AR22 rifles with good results.
http://www.opticsale.com/bushnell-trophy-1x28-red-green-dot-scope-4-1587-prd1.html?pSearchQueryId=108534

tx787
01-25-2011, 17:48
I put a cheap truglo on my 15-22 and it's great for that gun, I don't see why it wouldn't work on a centerfire gun although I use better equipment on mine.

JDurfee
01-25-2011, 17:51
Primary Arms M3 or M4

http://www.primaryarms.com/category.sc?categoryId=398
+1 :cool:

Captains1911
01-25-2011, 18:14
There's either cheap, or there's decent. They don't mix.

If defense of any type is even a minor thought, you get an Aimpoint and pay the price.

If you're just a plinker and a hunter, any of the cheap crap scopes will work.

Well said.

Captains1911
01-25-2011, 18:15
I wouldn't consider anything else.

Really? You wouldn't consider anything else for a defensive rifle? You do realize that Primary Arms are Chinese knock-offs, right?

Andrewsky
01-25-2011, 18:17
I bet this gets posted often, but here goes. Is there a nice, decent quality budget red dot out there that's not too expensive (as in $150 give or take) that will stay zeroed and work well on an AR (556/223)?

I'm thinking I'd use it for target, occasional hunting, home defense... But not much at all beyond, say 100-150 yards. I'm thinking pretty short range overall.

I know I need to bite the bullet and get an ACOG or something of that quality, but honestly, I can't afford it right now. I just need something that I'll tide me over until I can sit down and buy something really decent.

I guess I wouldnt limit myself to red dots. If there's a scope that fits the bill of fast acquisition and relatively short range use, I wouldn't be against it.

You must not care very much about your family. An ACOG with red dot on top is the bare minimum.

No, seriously, I don't know much about most of the cheap optics, but stay away from the Bushnell Trophy red dot. Those are junk (mine broke).

mjkeat
01-25-2011, 18:18
Really? You wouldn't consider anything else for a defensive rifle? You do realize that Primary Arms are Chinese knock-offs, right?

I imagine he means if he wasnt using an Aimpoint or something is that price bracket.

RMTactical
01-25-2011, 20:02
Really? You wouldn't consider anything else for a defensive rifle? You do realize that Primary Arms are Chinese knock-offs, right?

I think he was referring to something within the parameters that designate something as "cheap". At least that is how I read it.

J. Parker
01-25-2011, 20:14
No offense to vets (I'm a Viet-Nam vet myself) but you didn't PAY for your Aimpoints in Iraq! I'm retired on a fixed income so I wish there was an affordable Aimpoint quality reddot for the masses.

Captains1911
01-25-2011, 20:24
I think he was referring to something within the parameters that designate something as "cheap". At least that is how I read it.

I will agree then if that's what he meant, sorry if I misread.

UniversalBrow06
01-25-2011, 20:32
No offense to vets (I'm a Viet-Nam vet myself) but you didn't PAY for your Aimpoints in Iraq! I'm retired on a fixed income so I wish there was an affordable Aimpoint quality reddot for the masses.

Well, I wasn't gonna say that out loud, but...


I mean, why do I need to pay more for optics than the price of the gun itself in order for it to be considered "decent"?

BBJones
01-25-2011, 20:37
Supposedly Aimpoint is coming out with a $400 model with integral mount soon. At least this was what what said at SHOT. Look for a used Aimpoint ($350) and don't waste $150 on a knockoff.

If your use is just the range, use whatever you want.

mjkeat
01-25-2011, 20:41
Well, I wasn't gonna say that out loud, but...


I mean, why do I need to pay more for optics than the price of the gun itself in order for it to be considered "decent"?

Decent is a Primary Arms Micro sitting atop a S&W. No one is saying you have to spend $800+ on an optic to have a decent rifle for the range. Some guys however like to run their stuff as hard as possible for extended periods of time. Thats when Aimpoints and BCMs or comparable come into play.

txgunguy
01-25-2011, 21:34
Careful, you will get told anything less than an aimpoint or ACOG is garbage and you should be burned at the stake for considering anything less. So many people with ACOGs will NEVER use them in harsh conditions. Don't buy into all that. I put a PA M4 style red dot on a rifle recently and it's been great. It has stayed zeroed with lots of rounds through it and the glass is good. Would it hold up to harsh conditions? Who knows, it won't ever be in them. Just as I suspect most of the expensive red dots owned by people on this forum won't be. I would even use my PA M4 red dot... get ready for this.... HOME DEFENSE if I had to! :GASP:

ETA: Just went back and read the responses. Andrewsky said you don't love your family if you don't have an ACOG on your AR. I hope he is being sarcastic.

moeman
01-25-2011, 21:52
On paper Nikon's red dot with muliple red dot size settings looks good... I don't own one so if anyone does what is your opinion?

http://www.opticsplanet.net/nikon-dot-sight.html

http://images1.opticsplanet.com/750-500-ffffff/opplanet-nikon-dot-sight.jpg

gunsnhoses
01-25-2011, 22:00
Vortex makes great red dots at affordable prices and these things are perfectly adequate for self defense use. I have a SPARC and it is rugged and reliable. They have been put through abuse tests and past with flying colors. Just google it and you will see.

alexanderg23
01-25-2011, 22:07
PA M4 clone they are great people and I really liked mine. I will say I used it a fair amount then while shooting it, it just went off and wouldn't turn back on. Something to do with the battery cap they said. I call them on like a Monday and on Weds. I had a brand new one, and a return label to send the old one back. The guy Marshall was awesome!!! I will use them again if ever needed.

WoodenPlank
01-26-2011, 01:08
"Buy once, cry once"

My Aimpoint M2 has been through about four different AR builds now, and has found a permanent home on my 10.5" SBR. If, God forbid, I ever need a carbine for HD, it is ready to go. It has been in the dirt, in the rain, and run hard. If it comes to it, I will gladly bet my life on that Aimpoint working when I need it to. That being said, I will reach for my shotgun LONG before the AR for HD use.

RyanNREMTP
01-26-2011, 01:29
You must not care very much about your family. An ACOG with red dot on top is the bare minimum.

No, seriously, I don't know much about most of the cheap optics, but stay away from the Bushnell Trophy red dot. Those are junk (mine broke).

That sucks. Mine has held up very well in the two years I've had it.

I want an Elcan DR but the price is a little high for me right now.

UniversalBrow06
01-26-2011, 05:55
What about something BESIDES a red dot for fast acquisition? A scope for instance... Anything? There's got to be something out there that's respectable, reliable, rugged, and below $500. Does it honestly take that much money? I guess I'm just cheap.

Maybe I'll just stick with backup irons. That's what they're there for, right?

mjkeat
01-26-2011, 08:09
What about something BESIDES a red dot for fast acquisition? A scope for instance... Anything? There's got to be something out there that's respectable, reliable, rugged, and below $500. Does it honestly take that much money? I guess I'm just cheap.

Maybe I'll just stick with backup irons. That's what they're there for, right?

You can find an Aimpoint H1 for under $500.

Read back through this thread and notice the good feedback for Primary Arms products. Maybe its me but when I see several people doing the +1 for a product chances are good that its a good product. Read the post about their customer service. 3 day turnaround on a replacement if the need does arise. Last time I checked their micro ran around $160 w/ a name brand mount. If thats to expensive you're in the wrong game.

EPAPressure
01-26-2011, 08:12
burris

Broncbuster
01-26-2011, 09:00
What about something BESIDES a red dot for fast acquisition? A scope for instance... Anything? There's got to be something out there that's respectable, reliable, rugged, and below $500. Does it honestly take that much money? I guess I'm just cheap.

Maybe I'll just stick with backup irons. That's what they're there for, right?

The Primary Arms are decent for the money. I bought a PA Micro and put it on a AK to see if I liked it before I shelled out the money for a real Aimpoint. Been on there 6 months, 1000's of rounds and still holds zero.

On the scope side they have a 1-4x24 with a illuminated dot/reticle for $119 and also sale the Millett DMS 1 for $199. Both have good reviews.

If you can hold out use the irons. In any instance try to get a QD mount or something that will cowitness that way if the optics head south you are not shooting like a blind man.

pleaforwar
01-26-2011, 09:14
I mean, why do I need to pay more for optics than the price of the gun itself in order for it to be considered "decent"?

I'm honestly not trying to be an a*hole, but if an Aimpoint CompM2 w/a mount is worth more than your AR, you should stick to recreational/target shooting and find other means for protecting your family.

I don't say this on a hunch. I work/train with AR's much more than the average shooter and I see what runs reliably and what doesn't.

I agree with others, get a PA or Vortex at the bare minimum. The problem is that even Marshall (owner of PA) has said himself that PA is not recommended for duty use, and I take that as something I wouldn't bet my life on for home defense.

In the end, it's your money and prerogative. You should expect answers you don't want to hear when you ask a broad question like this. That being said, I guarantee that the members who recommend quality are not doing it to be snobs.

MrMurphy
01-26-2011, 11:39
What pleaforwar said.

No, my issued Aimpoint i didn't pay for. But my other optics on my personal guns? Yes I did. And they're worth every penny. I currently run a pair of Eotechs because they were Free 99 or near enough not to matter. I don't trust Eotechs, so if it goes down, i'm not surprised. An Aimpoint is in my near future, and it's what i've trained on extensively. I trust them.

You don't have to pay a ton for some things. Optics are one of them where you get what you pay for. An Aimpoint Comp ML2 or C3 (both of which run fine) cost less than a thousand rounds of 5.56, or very close to it. Save your pennies and look for deals. For a hunting gun, .22 trainer, etc, PA would be fine as would Vortex just to get the idea across. If your life may depend on it, spend the damned money.

Jumper
01-26-2011, 14:10
I have a Vortex strikefire red dot mounted on an Armalite A4. I used it in a two day carbine course and it failed on me the first day. The battery would move under recoil and the red dot would turn off. Thats mildly disconcerting to say the least. When I'm done buying other guns I'll be replacing it with an Aimpoint.

arclight610
01-26-2011, 14:44
I've been told by many people that I should NEVER use KCI mags in my Glock for anything other than plinking. They were wrong; the only mags that have malfunctioned for me yet are my Glock OEM mags.

Some people are just gun snobs

But back to your original question, I think I saw some good looking Tasco 4x15mm optics at Wal-Mart for around 1000-1500 cents.

(Last part was sarcasm)

MARSH1
01-26-2011, 22:20
I am just getting caught up from a week at SHOT or I would have seen this thread sooner. Our PA red dots and scopes are a great value but when you say for home defense everything changes.

Is your AR is really the weapon you have loaded at the ready for home defense? Most of the time when I asked that of a customers the answer is no. They usually have a shotgun or handgun at the ready. If the answer is yes then irons and a quality light might be the right way to go for now.

A lot of people use our PA optics to try the format before investing in a Aimpoint, EOTech or other duty grade optic. Or just to train or have fun at the range with a red dot or scope.

We can take care of you with a Aimpoint, EOTech, Acog when you already also.

Marshall

mark68
01-26-2011, 23:00
look at the tru glows good quality for a good price.

UniversalBrow06
01-30-2011, 17:29
I am just getting caught up from a week at SHOT or I would have seen this thread sooner. Our PA red dots and scopes are a great value but when you say for home defense everything changes.

Is your AR is really the weapon you have loaded at the ready for home defense? Most of the time when I asked that of a customers the answer is no. They usually have a shotgun or handgun at the ready. If the answer is yes then irons and a quality light might be the right way to go for now.

A lot of people use our PA optics to try the format before investing in a Aimpoint, EOTech or other duty grade optic. Or just to train or have fun at the range with a red dot or scope.

We can take care of you with a Aimpoint, EOTech, Acog when you already also.

Marshall


This is exactly what I'm talking about. My current Home defense weapon is NOT my AR. I have a modified 12 gauge Remy 1100 for that. IF I decided to use my AR as a HD situation, I would be utilizing the irons and Surefire instead of a red dot.

So while I'm saving up for a nice optic, Id like something that can help me figure out what exactly I want... Something that is sturdy, reliable, and will hold zero. I am perfectly fine using irons in the even that I need to defend my family and the "cheapo optic" poops out. I WILL get something nicer in the future. My original question was for what Options I have in the meantime.

Frog1
01-30-2011, 17:58
I agree that Aimpoint is the best red dot. But, for the money you mentioned, a PA M4 clone is great. If the dot fails, you can still use your iron sights through the dead glass if need be. Any good co-witness allows this to happen.

Another option is to run a low variable power scope. The cheap Bushnell Banner 1 X 4 shotgun scope is rugged and works well in this application. Weaver V3 is well respected by the 3 gun guys. It is more money, but works quite well.

Streetking
01-30-2011, 22:54
I put a bushnell on my plr16 which is very hard on optics due to the light weight. it has worked fine so far with about 500 rds.

TheBelly
01-31-2011, 04:39
My Vortex Strikefire has the same problem as has been noted: under recoil, the battery moves and the unit turns off. I have it on my Bushy plinker AR. I like it for an inexpensive optic, though. Maybe when I get back to America I'll try and figure out what's going on with it and see if that problem can be fixed or what.

Primary Arms (and especially Marshall) are very good folks to deal with, and I will purposely throw business their way in the future.

BlutoBlutarsky
01-31-2011, 07:19
I've had a SPOT Mk IIII for over a year now and I am very pleased. It is supposed to be the company that makes the Burris XTS, looks just like it with a 3 moa dot. After all mine has been through, I would not be afraid to use it for defense. It's been through matches and long days at the range, dropped a couple of times too and never blinked or lost zero. My only complaint would be battery life in weeks as opposed to years with the aimpoint.

Frog1
01-31-2011, 18:19
I just got a Weaver Nitrex TR1 4 X 16 to put on my home built AR. This guns shoots .5 MOA at 200 yds with a 5 x 15 Bushnell Legend. I am moving the Legend to my Savage Edge-another bargain gun. After looking through the Nitrex, I am suggesting 1.5 X 5 for $79.00 at Natchez after the rebate. The Nitrex compares very well to a 4200 I have on another rifle. The Nitrex seems to be a real bargain while they last.

WoodenPlank
01-31-2011, 20:10
The new Aimpoint PRO may be a viable option, too. Aimpoint reliability in a ~$300 optic, including the mount. Not sure when it will actually be available, though.

Agent6-3/8
01-31-2011, 22:09
Look no further than Primary Arms. I've got their Micro Red Dot and IMO, it is excellent. It does exactly as advertised, nothing more nothing less. Unless your rifle is riding in a patrol car or going to war then a PA will serve you well.

Donzi Gt250
02-01-2011, 02:32
Vortex makes great red dots at affordable prices and these things are perfectly adequate for self defense use. I have a SPARC and it is rugged and reliable. They have been put through abuse tests and past with flying colors. Just google it and you will see.

I agree with this post.
I own a Vortex Strikefire and for my use it has been exceptional.

pleaforwar
02-01-2011, 07:57
This is exactly what I'm talking about. My current Home defense weapon is NOT my AR. I have a modified 12 gauge Remy 1100 for that. IF I decided to use my AR as a HD situation, I would be utilizing the irons and Surefire instead of a red dot.


UB06-
You'll have to forgive me as I read the below comment in your original post and concluded that was one of the applications for the rifle.

On another note, if you currently (or in the future) plan on not using an optic in home defense situations, I recommend you spend a good day at the range timing the differences between drills with and without an optic. If you can engage a target quicker with irons than with an optic, you are a human anomaly and I can't help ya.

I would recommend training in the application of a rifle that may or may not be used in a defensive role, but I feel that recommendation would be disregarded just a quickly as a recommendation for optics intended for that role.

Either way, good luck with your choice.

Cheers,
Dan


I'm thinking I'd use it for target, occasional hunting, home defense... But not much at all beyond, say 100-150 yards. I'm thinking pretty short range overall.

UniversalBrow06
02-01-2011, 09:10
Wow. :whistling:

UB06-
You'll have to forgive me as I read the below comment in your original post and concluded that was one of the applications for the rifle.

On another note, if you currently (or in the future) plan on not using an optic in home defense situations, I recommend you spend a good day at the range timing the differences between drills with and without an optic. If you can engage a target quicker with irons than with an optic, you are a human anomaly and I can't help ya.

I would recommend training in the application of a rifle that may or may not be used in a defensive role, but I feel that recommendation would be disregarded just a quickly as a recommendation for optics intended for that role.

Either way, good luck with your choice.

Cheers,
Dan

mac66
02-01-2011, 09:46
I

Is your AR is really the weapon you have loaded at the ready for home defense? Most of the time when I asked that of a customers the answer is no. They usually have a shotgun or handgun at the ready.

If the answer is yes then irons and a quality light might be the right way to go for now.

A

Marshall

BINGO! Best thing I've ever heard. Thank you

Broncbuster
02-01-2011, 10:00
I really like the products from PA that I have bought. I also bought a cheap Center Point 1x34 red/green dot from Wally World for my Sig 522. I put this on a Mini 14 for a short while (about 2k rounds) then on a Ruger 10/22 with around 3k rounds-- now rides on my Sig. Last week I ran 1k round through it and it was dropped 2x. Held zero and did not even blink for a cheap $49 unit it works great for a plinker.

gfry12
02-01-2011, 10:19
Has anyone used nikon's red dot look decent and price i think is some where around 200-250 i think

stench62
02-01-2011, 10:28
look into a burris fastfire, i've had one for a while on my ar and love it.

ATL_GLOCK
02-01-2011, 10:59
+1000000 for primary arms....I've got 2 redot + 5x flip to side magnifier combos on 2 different ar's. They hold zero great and have amazing customer service. I bought one to see if I liked it before buying an aimpoint...now i'm trying to figure out why I would every shell out the cash for an aimpoint when these work so great!

Disregarded9-side
02-02-2011, 10:23
Deals can be found if you're will to shoot irons and save for just a lil' longer.
I picked up my NIB EOTech 512 for $249.

My "upper-middle class" red dot is only slightly better for use at the range than irons. Irons work fine; there's a few million dead soldiers that would argue adamantly that red dots are not necessary to stop a person.

To acquire targets FAST you can't beat the well made red dot style systems.