1st AR Build Complete - Question on Optics Upgrade

Hey Team!

I just finished my first AR build and it was an incredibly fun project (took way too quick however). Much to my pleasure and amazement the first range day went by without a hitch and she fired like a dream (that first shot did make me pucker up a little).

I went with a PSA 16" 5.56 rifle kit and just a basic stripped lower. It came with the MBUS sight kit, which has it’s place but isn’t an enjoyable package for the range (IMO). I would really like to upgrade to something like the Romeo 5 or 7. I would like something that I can get my sight in quickly, but still plink targets at medium range which is why I’m thinking a red dot in lieu of a magnified scope, Any thoughts?


Red Dots are great for fast target acquisition. As a bonus, you can also get magnifiers for them if, at a later point, you decide you need it. Keep in mind, though, if it’s primarily a range gun, you won’t have the accuracy of a traditional scope.
For AR scopes, I prefer just a straight 3X.


Depending on your eyesight I would recommend a Romeo or Trijicom with a flip over magnifier. A 5.56 has a fair amount of range on it.


EOTEC, I have one on one of my AR-15’s, another has a scope 6x12, and then one with just the hard sights


I have to go with EOTEC. for a non-magnified optic. The circle dot reticle is as good as it gets for fast acquisition and while the center dot is 4 MOA the outside ring IIRC is 64 MOA nets you a bracket between a 100 yard zero and body hits out to 550 yards with Green Tip and a 16" tube or 500 with a 14.5" tube. Center mass on the dot for anything you think is close and put the dot on the head for anything you think is far away. Easy day, no thinking.




Eotech EXPS 3.0 with a Holosun HM 3X magnifier. Thats the ticket in my opinion.


I have had very good luck with the Sig Romeo 5. Great little optic for not a ton of money. It turns off by itself after 2 minutes but comes back on with even a bit of movement. I have two of them. I can hit 200 yard targets with ease. 300 if my eyes are not to tired.


Checkout pewpewtactical for a good overview and comparison. There is a difference between red dot and holographic sights. Holographic is better if you want to use with magnifier but more expensive.


Anthony, I have an honest answer and you won’t like it…

Build another and have one with a red dot and one with a scope and tell your significant other that you HAD to do it because I said so. :wink:

Honestly, I love both…and have both. Some days I feel like playing around with the red dot and some days I want to get hyper accurate and spend a little more time trying to make a smiley face at distance. You can buy the scopes for the red dot also…which means you may need 3 rifles…but that might be harder to sell to the significant other LOL…

Whatever you do…don’t make the mistake to ever say, “Its a his and hers set…one for me and one for you.” My wife took me up on that and I’m not allowed to shoot hers…so I had to build more for me.


Nice piece of hardware brother.


Actually a great response! I’m already thinking ahead on planning my next couple builds. Truer words have not been said about the wife. I still have my Walther Q5 sitting in the office because I’m afraid of sleeping on the sofa when I tell her I bought another pistol.


What is your budget?

There is typical red-dot technology, like the Romeo5, Aimpoint T/H series, Trijicon MRO, among others. These usually feature battery life measured in years. Holographic sights use a different technology to project the “dot” and will usually come with a more complex reticle like Eotech’s circle-dot reticle. The trade-off for holographic sights is a much shorter batter life. Some people with astigmatism sometimes have issues with red-dots as they appear as a slash rather than a dot (not common, but it happens), those folks have good luck with holographic sights.

Some of the red-dots come with mounts, some don’t. So when buying be sure to check as that may affect cost/price.

The Romeo5 is great, I have it on one of my rifles and they seem to have a pretty good reliability rep. You can usually find it under $150.

Holosun also has some good models in the budget optic price category with very good reliability. They have both red-dot and holographic models available. I am unsure about night-vision or magnifier compatibility on these.

If you are looking for “duty-grade” optics, like for hard use, then have a look at the brands below. They have been tried and tested by LEO/MIL for many years with outstanding service records.

Aimpoint has several models, ranging in price from (IIRC) $400 to $800. They have extremely small/lightweight versions that are still extremely tough and also slightly larger/bulkier models. They should all be compatible with a magnifier if you want to add one at a later date. Also night-vision compatible.

Eotech has several models that are Holographic, and have long been a gold standard with a large viewing window and the “donut of doom” target reticle. Prices (IIRC) are $500+. And they also have magnifiers available. Also night-vision compatible.

Trijicon has a few models around the MRO series. Price (IIRC) is $400+. Very large window to see through. Not all models are magnifier compatible, so if thats important to you, be careful which you pick. Also night-vision compatible.

In general, I dont recommend any of the really budget red dots like you might find on Amazon for like $50 unless you really are just testing to see if you like the idea of a red dot without dropping a ton of cash.