A quality optic for your rifle can be one of the most important upgrades imaginable. However, have you ever thought about optics for your survival rifles?
When looking at optics for these survival rifles, I tend to look at several different features.
Durability is an obvious one. In a survival situation, you won’t be able to replace the optic easily, and you’re probably going to have to expose it to the elements at some point.
Accuracy is another obvious one. However, as I’m sure you’ve seen, most modern optics hold their zero really well, so you probably won’t have to worry about this one too much. It comes more into play when considering that some people just won’t shoot some optics as well as others. It’s a fact of shooting.
The last feature that I like is an optic that has an etched reticle or uses fiber optics. This eliminates the need for batteries. I like this due to the fact that batteries may be hard to come by in a survival situation.
Generally speaking, I prefer no magnification for a survival rifle. However, a variable magnification scope that starts at 1x magnification would work just the same. I have found that with enough practice, I am able to accurately and effectively shoot out to 300-plus yards without any magnification. Conversely, shooting at 50 yards and closer with magnification can be very difficult.
Let’s talk about some of our favorite survival optics.
The Vortex Spitfire is a prismatic scope, so it is extremely compact. It is only four inches long, and weighs in at 11.2 ounces. This compact size is one of the biggest appeals of a prismatic optic. The reticle just uses dual rings, so it is extremely easy to acquire targets. While the reticle is etched on the prism, it also can be illuminated in red or green.
In terms of durability, this one is hard to beat. It is waterproof, fog-proof and shockproof. The anodized finish adds in to this, and the optic can be used in any variety of temperatures.
The eye relief is comfortable, and the scope is parallax free, so you will be able to easily shoot with this optic. I found this to be an excellent, accurate optic, especially when considering the relatively low MSRP.
Vortex also offers a Spitfire prism scope with 3x magnification.
This optic from Burris is another great choice for your survival rifle. It is the same size as the Spitfire, but it is a little bit heavier. The eye relief is also a little bit shorter, so some will not find this as comfortable for shooting.
While the Spitfire was a prismatic sight, this one utilizes lenses. The lenses are fully multi-coated, so you will be able to see more clearly. It allows for a lot of light transmission, so it’s consistently easy to see.
The reticle is slightly more complex than the Spitfire. It uses a large circle, but also includes a bullet drop compensator. On one hand, this will help the intelligent shooter extend his range. However, on the other hand, it may slow down your target acquisition. Similar to the Spitfire, this one has an illuminated reticle that can be either red or green. The black reticle is etched on the lenses, so you don’t need a battery.
This optic will work well on a survival rifle. It is small, durable, and will last for a long while. However, it is slightly more difficult to use, due to the more advanced reticle. As far as price goes, this one is much more affordable than the Spitfire.
The Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) is very commonly used in the military. This is actually my favorite survival optic, but be warned, it is extremely expensive.
This optic is my favorite due to how durable it is and the fact that it uses fiber optics. There are never any batteries involved.
In terms of magnification, there is a wide variety available. The scopes are all fixed magnification, and they start at 1.5x magnification and go up to 6x magnification. For the survival rifle, I recommend 1.5x or 2x. Maybe 3x magnification, but it will take some getting used to at close range.
Similar to the Burris optic, these optics utilize classic lenses as opposed to the prism used in the Spitfire. They are extremely durable, as evidenced by the military using them in combat. The reticles of each ACOG are slightly different, but most of them incorporate some bullet drop compensator. I found them to be easier and quicker to use than the Burris optic.
This one should be obvious. No matter what optics you decide to use on your rifle, having iron sights as a backup is absolutely crucial. Now that almost all optics rely on electronics, and use some form of illuminated reticles, it is very important to have that manual backup.
I can’t imagine having a survival rifle without iron sight backups. I recommend shooting with your iron sights every once in a while, just in case you ever have to use them in a survival situation.
What are your favorite optics? Share your tips in the section below: