I absolutely love multi-purpose gear which can be used in a wide variety of scenarios, settings and applications.
But selecting an optic for your rifle can become tricky, because you just don’t know what ranges you will be pressed to engage (whether, say, five yards or 500). Thus, to slap a 20x piece of glass on your AR’s Picatinny rail could leave you at a major disadvantage. That’s why I’ve put together a list of optics that would be ideal for just about anything.
Here’s my criteria for what made the list…
Our selected optics must be operationally independent from batteries and have a high level of:
Also this means that, unlike actual Pentagon-approved military combat missions, we won’t be able to change up and top off our loadout between engagements after a quick stop at the PX … or await extraction via Blackhawk medevac when we’re in a tight spot and losing blood.
Here, then, is the list, starting with No. 4:
No. 4 – Trijicon 4×32 ACOG
Yes, I do know that this particular optic will run you a whopping $1,700. I get it.
However, let’s consider a few things concerning this particular piece of glass. First, I do believe that if you can drop that kind of cash on an optic, then this would be a ridiculously strong option. Not only did it prove to be terrifyingly effective for our Marines in the battle of Fallujah, but it also seems to have been sturdy enough to absorb the energy of an enemy round upon impact -as discovered by Sgt. Todd B. Bowers.
Anecdotal credit aside, the Trijicon ACOG is an optic that extracts ambient light to illuminate the reticle without burning through battery power — and 4x also appears to be a highly versatile magnification. Considering you can shoot with both eyes open, while still quickly transitioning to targets at ranges long enough to stretch the 5.56’s capabilities, I’d call that a win.
No. 3 – Nikon Monarch 3 Rifle Scope 1-4×20
The coolest aspect about “safari”-style rifle scopes is the fact that they enable the shooter to take game at long ranges; while at the same time, they can also be dialed back to 1x for defensive “gee-willakers, Batman, where did that huge lion come from!?”-type of CQB situations.
For this reason, the Nikon Monarch 3 makes for a great optic because it does offer that same transitional magnification power. Also, it’s made for the ruggedness and durability needed to survive Jumanji.
Combine that with its $280 price tag, and you’ve got a great option. And heck, you don’t even need to worry about batteries.
No. 2 – Leatherwood Hi-Lux ATR 2-7×32 Scout
Let’s change this up a bit…
One unique optic possibility is mounting an LER (long eye relief) system, rather than using the traditional kind that sits about five inches from the eye. This setup does offer a few solutions to several fast long/short range-transitional problems, and it’s also one reason why I picked the Leatherwood Hi-Lux ATR 2-7×32 LER. Not only does it offer greater magnification capability than you might get from a 4x scope, but the Jeff Cooper-style ‘scout rifle’ concept is certainly a valid configuration to support your objectives. To further explain, here’s Midway’s description on this particular Leatherwood model optic,
“The long eye relief of the Leatherwood Hi-Lux ATR is designed for forward mounting scout style rifles. The maximum 13 inch eye relief gives the shooter a unique advantage whether shooting at targets long range or near point blank.”
It’s a fantastic system and worthy of at least giving it a try. Heck, for less than $140, you don’t have much to lose, even if you eventually end up mounting it on a wayward and greasy Mosin Nagant project rifle, because you couldn’t stand the LER configuration.
Hey I do understand, such a system doesn’t work for everybody.
No. 1 – Leupold VX-2 3-9×40
Leupold is probably one of the greatest and most well-known rifle scope manufacturers of all time, given the rock-solid reputation for quality and customer service throughout the many decades that they’ve been in business. They probably manufactured the scope that was on your grandpa’s old 30-06, and they’re still making scopes that you’ll probably be able to give to your own grandkids. And then, of course, it doesn’t get much more tried and true than the 3-9×40.
The reason I placed the Leupold VX-2 3-9×40 at the top of this list is because there will be absolutely no doubt in this scope’s ability to perform above and beyond expectations.
Based on the familiarity-factor and quality of this optic, the Leupold VX-2 is el numero uno on my list. And by the way, here’s a quick tip to expand your CQB abilities…
RifleHack: Have Your Scope and CQB It, Too
Don’t want to sacrifice your cheek weld with a see-through mount, but you still want to have your 3-9×40 and CQB it, too? Well, if there’s one thing that three-gun matches have taught us, it’s that innovative methods, on how to increase target acquisition speed and sight picture versatility, have created quite a few three-gun winners.
That’s why I mount rapid transition sights on my AR, which are irons that provide a sight picture that’s simply canted 45-degree offset — and yet still sits on the same rail as the primary optic. This enables you to utilize a higher-powered magnification (without it being obscured), and still quickly engage those up close and higher-threat targets by simply tilting the rifle sideways.
Food for thought.
What optics would you add to this list? Do you disagree with anything on the list? Share your tips in the section below: