Gun Optics FAQ Checklist

When trying to choose an optic for your firearm, please consider the following:

Q:   What platform are you shooting from and what are the limitations of the firearm you are using?

A:  These two questions are related enough to be answered together, but there is enough difference that you want to make sure you address both.

The platform is important to consider as not all firearms are conducive to accepting optics or certain types of optics. Some firearms like the M1 Garand require specific mounts to accept an optical scope. Be careful to make sure that the optic you are purchasing can handle the stresses of being mounted on a high-caliber firearm. The Smith & Wesson X-Frame Pistols (.460XVR & 500) are incredibly powerful and require a scope that can handle the stresses of being fired from a revolver as powerful as those.

Due to the natural accuracy of an AK-47 an optical scope would serve little-to-no purpose. A 22 Long Rifle does not require a high magnification scope as the use of a rifle in that caliber won’t be used for long distance shooting.

Q:  What range do you expect to engage your target at?

A:  If you are shooting from a couple hundred yards you can save yourself quite a bit of money by just purchasing a fixed-power scope (as much as a 2.5x – 8x is a nice option).  It is not necessary and the purchase of more ammo would serve you better.

Q:  What do you expect to gain from an optic?

A:  An optic can greatly assist in accuracy, but it is not a fix-all for bad shooting habits. When used in conjunction with proper shooting techniques, an optic can greatly assist in accuracy, especially at long range. Optics, like all tools, require practice. You will need to become comfortable with your firearm all over again. The best method for increasing accuracy will always be practice.

Q:  What is your budget?

A:  This concern drives more shooters than all of the other concerns combined. It is not uncommon for the optics to cost as much the firearm they are mounted to. There are a couple things to consider when thinking about how much you want to spend. Have you used this type of optic before? There is nothing worse than purchasing something you don’t like (much more so when they cost $500+). This is more prevalent when talking about mil-spec optics, but even optics for hunting applications can have a reticule that may not suit your particular tastes.

Q:  Will the optic be used on multiple firearms or married to one gun?

A:  Some scopes are made for a certain caliber of round. These tend to lean towards the most common rounds in use at the time. If you plan on selling the firearm, expect that the optic will need to go with it unless you have another replacement firearm of the same caliber.

Q:  Will you be using Night Vision with the optic?

A:  This is really only important for the mil-spec crowd. Not every Reflex Scope is compatible with NVGs. You’ll want to make sure you cross reference the Model number with the company’s website to ensure you are receiving a firearm that is compatible. Expect to pay anywhere from $50-$400 more for night vision compatibility.

Now that we’ve covered what you should consider before picking out your optic, here is more information on gun optics.