Tag Archives: optics

Do you really need these 5 accessories on your AR?

I saw a recent article claiming to cover 5 'can't miss' accessories for the AR-15 rifle. Did you know the name comes from Armalite model 15? I don't think the knucklehead who wrote this article did either. So here you go- the 5 supposed 'can't miss' accessories are:

  • Vertical foregrip
  • Bipod
  • BUIS (back-up iron sights)
  • Flash hider
  • Rail covers
  • Cheese grater

Ok, cheese grater may not have made the list, but it may as well be. Let's start from the top and see how many of these items can be justified. I have some specific criteria for my own standards for anything that attaches to my rifle: reliability, weight, and performance. So how do these 5 items stack up?

Vertical Foregrip

A foregrip does have its merits- although I want to stress that the two key reasons for having a forward grip on your rifle are:

  1. to facilitate a c-clamp (by resting support hand fingers against the edge of the grip)
  2. to create a solid rest for your rifle in a windowsill, door frame, tree stand or other flat edge. So you can get by with a very short grip or go with an angled grip like the Magpul AFG.

Bipod

Say again? A bipod is useful in specific environments – say when you're setting up prone on soft ground. Most of the time it's just extra weight and encourages bad habits learn to shoot off your pack and save your money for something else (like ammo).

BUIS

One gripe here : iron sights should not always be for backup. Implying that an optic is required also implies that you're better off with one. Acquiring a proper sight picture using two points on the sight plane gives you better odds of being correct than a single point like a Holographic or red dot- especially for a long shot. They also work without batteries and after being dropped.

Flash Hider

Of course you need a fancy flash hider instead of that A1 birdcage your rifle came with. Or not. If you care about suppressing your rifle's muzzle flash you better be hunting or training at night- of course if that's the case you should be using a suppressor. Otherwise you're treading into Diane Feinstein territory and giving this Evil Feature too much credit.

Rail Covers

People like rail covers because, as the author of the inspiration for this rant claims, unprotected rails can accumulate dirt and dust (?!?!?) I suppose so but it sure must be risky to take that AR safe queen outdoors- so many things could get it dirty or even worse scratch it! I can't accept this as a must-have accessory. I simply cannot do it.

Hanging things on your picatinny rail system is a slippery slope- if you aren't careful you will end up with something like the this Internet Commando favorite:

 

Trijicon RMR – less than perfect

Last weekend I took my rifle out and my RMR was fully washed out- darkly shaded firing line and very bright outdoor range and I couldn't see the triangle downrange- it only showed up if I looked at the shaded ground or covered the sight. I suppose that's what they make iron sights for but it was disappointing.

At this point I'm not sold on the RMR as a primary optic- the dual illumination sometimes is affected by bright overhead lights and now by the shade on a bright day. What's the point of having no battery in your optic if it only illuminates part of the time? It may be the amber reticle but regardless the RMR can't hang with the Aimpoint T1 Micro. I like the 1:00 mount option shown in this video – maybe that will be the best use for my RMR. Also note that they filmed this on an overcast day…

A more affordable option for BLK optics

I found an interesting tip at 300BLKTalk recently- way back in 2011 someone did the math and confirmed that the trajectory of my personal favorite of the 300 BLK projectile options, the 220gr Sierra Match King (SMK), is nearly the same as a .22LR high velocity round. Check it out here or below:

Yes, you're reading that correctly- with a 50 yard zero there is a difference of about 3″ at 200yds between the two. Finding a 22LR scope with a drop reticle may not be easy but if you stick to subsonic ammo you could get a long life out of a $200ish scope on your BLK in the meantime save pennies for a nice ACOG with a lame old Crosshair of Death, reticle porn below:
What great mind at Trijicon decided to skip both the Doughnut of Death AND the Chevron of Death options??? Either of those is more Trijicon than the sideways X. I may have to actually look at an Elcan optic.