Red dot vs Telescopic sight for the civilian defensive rifle

Red dot vs Telescopic sight for the civilian defensive rifle

This is a discussion on Red dot vs Telescopic sight for the civilian defensive rifle within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Lots of folks seem to like non-magnifying (or low magnification) red-dot style sights for their defensive rifles. While these do have some advantages, I prefer ...

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Thread: Red dot vs Telescopic sight for the civilian defensive rifle

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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Red dot vs Telescopic sight for the civilian defensive rifle

    Lots of folks seem to like non-magnifying (or low magnification) red-dot style sights for their defensive rifles. While these do have some advantages, I prefer a variable power telescopic sight for civilian defensive rifle use.

    I see a rifle being used by a civilian for defensive purposes in a situation of temporary breakdown of law and order. Possibly to protect one's own property, or possibly for neighborhood area defense (banding together with the neighbors) against looters, etc.

    In such a situation, it is going to be vitally important to identify a threat as far away as possible. Is that person approaching holding a hand gun, or a cell phone? Is that a rifle, or a walking stick? As we age, a telescopic sight can help prevent a tragic mistake - and can help identify actual threats at distance.

    Of course, in such a situation, it would be a good idea to have a set of binoculars for general scanning purposes, since you don't necessarily want to point your rifle at someone that you're just "checking out." But having that magnification makes it easier to ensure you have good shoot/no shoot data right before the point of no return.

    For close range use, a variable power scope can be dialed down to a low setting - reserving the higher settings for situations where it is needed.

    So, for me, I prefer a telescopic sight to a red dot.

    Thanks for reading.
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    RKM
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    Holosight with 4x magnifier with flip-to-side mount. It's the best of both. The flip-to-side mount is easy and fast to operate if you need to change from 0x to 4x quickly.

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    I have some of both. I use the Aimpoint T-1 on my AK's and have the Burris and Leopold variable power red dots on my Sig and AR. They are pricey but well worth it.

    I need some magnification and I agree it is nice to have target confirmation that you can only get with a magnified optic.
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    To each his own...which is why there are lots of various optical options available for purchase.
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    Senior Member Array Skygod's Avatar
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    I like the best of the both worlds.

    I've ran the Aimpoint Comp with 3x Magnifier. Very versitile system when used with the pivot mount. (Larue Tac or Aimpoint twist flip mount)

    I've also ran the ACOG. Didn't care for it at close distance shots. Eye relief was a bit awkward for me. Putting a Doc or JP on top of the ACOG sounds like a great idea but you've got raise your cheek weld off the stock. Just didn't work for me.

    I've finally settled in on the 1x-4x-24mm with a mil dot or BDC reticle that is illuminated. S&B and Vortex make very good glass in this arena as does US Optics. But, their expensive.

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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    The low power magnification available in combination with red dot sights may, or may not, be enough to confirm your target - depending on whether you have binos available, the distance to the (potential) target, and the size of the object you are trying to see (cell phone? Hand gun? - at distance, these are very small objects).

    In Somalia, with long sight lines (desert terrain) it was difficult to distinguish a slung walking stick from a slung AK 47, even with high-powered binos.

    Just something to consider.
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    I like redots for certain things.

    Hunting in close cover or brush for instance. You are walking though a thicket and a deer pops up...you throw in on him and roll him.

    For shooting targets like steel plates they are great. For known distances they are quick and easy to pick up. Even in CQB they can be an asset, as you just look through and shoot.
    They do have their purposes.

    You are right about the observation though.The red dots wont cut it. When I am in a deer stand and can see out a ways, I want some good glass. We have a 6 point rule on bucks here and I need the magnification to determine whether to shoot or not. Sometimes those racks are awfully hard to see against the background and every little bit helps.
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    I have multiple AR setups. For anything defense, personally I'm quicker with a red dot, but it's nice to have a 3x magnifier handy. I choose this over my other setups, which include an ACOG and did include a low powered variable, for defense use. I'm thinking of picking up an Elcan Specter DR 1&4x, but not sure yet.

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    RKM
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    The low power magnification available in combination with red dot sights may, or may not, be enough to confirm your target - depending on whether you have binos available, the distance to the (potential) target, and the size of the object you are trying to see (cell phone? Hand gun? - at distance, these are very small objects).

    In Somalia, with long sight lines (desert terrain) it was difficult to distinguish a slung walking stick from a slung AK 47, even with high-powered binos.

    Just something to consider.
    If I think I need to take shots THAT far off that 4x won't be able to clearly identify my target, they're probably not a threat, yet. Like you said, I have binos, I also have a 9x scope on my .308 if need be. I've thought about getting one of Primary Arms 6x magnifier, but I think my 4x is good enough. The furthest distance I can even see in my neighborhood is maybe 300-400 yards. I can see up into the mountain north of my house but that's 2.5 miles away. Not even sure a spotting scope would help me there.

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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    The magnification is not necessarily to see at distance - it is to see as much information as possible, to determine if there is a threat or not. Like I said, it can be difficult to determine a hand gun from a cell phone, even at relatively close range, since they are both so small, and obscured by the hand.

    Then there is the need to determine intent. In a breakdown of law and order scenario, a person walking toward you with a hand gun might be a threat - or they might just be trying to protect themselves. With magnification, you can see subtle cues that would otherwise be missed - facial expression, for example. In a group of people, some might be a threat, while others might not. Being able to tell the difference will stand you in good stead, once law and order is reinstated. A red dot may not be up to that task.

    The farthest I can see in my area is ~ 150 yards (verified by taking a Google maps aerial view of my neighborhood). Despite that relatively close range, both of my defensive rifles (a Mini 14 and a Marlin 336) wear 3-9 X variable scopes. I leave the scopes set at 3X for close range work - knowing that I can dial up the magnification should I need to see greater detail before making a shoot/no shoot decision.
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    My thought is, if they are that far away, they are not a threat at the moment. I prefer a red dot, especially indoors. If you are shooting across a room, a 3x9 is too much magnification but a red dot is good easily out to 200 yds.

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    VIP Member Array NC Bullseye's Avatar
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    Well, if you want to talk protection in a case of civil break down wouldn't it be a little on the not so bright side to use your rifle scope as a method of verifying friend or foe?

    I for one would not hesitate to initiate fire if I saw someone raise a rifle toward me in those cases. How are they to know you are just checking them out?

    A good holo sight and a monocular or binoculars would be a far better choice.

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    My vote is a mini-RDS (Aimpoint T1/H1) with a good BUIS, such as Troy Ind. Magnifier is nice, but it is optional, currently absent from my KISS AR which is actually my favorite gun. To me the added weight and bulk isn't worth the benefits.....the RDS can do everything I would ever need it to where I live. Now in a rural setting, whole different story.
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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC Bullseye View Post
    Well, if you want to talk protection in a case of civil break down wouldn't it be a little on the not so bright side to use your rifle scope as a method of verifying friend or foe?

    I for one would not hesitate to initiate fire if I saw someone raise a rifle toward me in those cases. How are they to know you are just checking them out?

    A good holo sight and a monocular or binoculars would be a far better choice.
    From my original post:

    "Of course, in such a situation, it would be a good idea to have a set of binoculars for general scanning purposes, since you don't necessarily want to point your rifle at someone that you're just "checking out." But having that magnification makes it easier to ensure you have good shoot/no shoot data right before the point of no return."
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    I kinda like the ACOG; 3x magnification works just fine for me.

    For anything else in such a situation, I've got both a monocular and binocular with higher magnification.
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    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


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