Whether you’re a casual gun enthusiast shooting a few times per year, or you’re addicted to the latest and greatest in tactical firearms, at some point, you’re going to say to yourself, “I’m good, but how do I take my shooting to the next level?”
Used optics may be the best answer. We aren’t talking about optics in the sense of how you perceive a situation, but in sighting technology optics, or generically speaking, scopes or red dot sights. There are so many options on the market, all with varying functions; it can be hard to say which is right for you.
Well, instead of rushing out and spending $5,000 or more on the latest tactical scope and getting to the range and finding out you have no idea how to dial it in, you might consider pre-owned optics for tactical firearms.
Scopes at a Glance
There are four primary parts to a scope. They are the eyepiece, adjustment turret, lens coating, and the objective lens. The eyepiece is the usually round opening that you look through. The objective lens is generally larger than the eyepiece and is designed to let in as much light as possible.
The adjustment turret is how you dial in elevation and wind drift to your target. The mechanism can be a simple screw to a complex system of dials. Lens coatings can be simple plastic or lacquer coatings. In the high-end tactical weapons, these can protect against ultra-violet light and/or be made of light-transmitting material to allow maximum light to the scope and turret.
You should know these basics before you begin shopping, or you’ll quickly feel out of your depth. Below are three tips to help you find the right aiming solution for your tactical firearm.
1. Know Your Firearms
You don’t have to know every detail about every firearm, but you should know a few specifics. Especially before choosing a sight. You should know the barrel twist rate, the load you shoot, and its corresponding muzzle velocity at a minimum.
You can get bogged down thinking about ballistics data like a bullet’s coefficient and the effect of wind and distance. These are important on the more sophisticated tactical weapons and scopes, but they can be useful to know all the same.
Your firearm can be equipped with a variety of different scopes, but not every scope will fit. Sighting technology has advanced to the point where they are designed with specific minimums for load and muzzle velocity. If your firearm doesn’t meet these minimums, your sight is useless. A good scope reseller will be able to help you identify several options.
If this is your first venture into fitting a scope to a weapon, you should start with something easy to use. The Trijicon Accupoint 1-6×24 is a great, multi-purpose sighting solution. It’s simple to adjust for wind and elevation. Its magnification range makes it ideal for both steel targets on the range or even sighting down a prize buck at 300 yards.
If you’re experienced with sight operation and want to up your game, you might choose something like the Vortex Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6×24 sight, perfect on the AR platform.
Capped windage and elevation turrets are streamlined for performance yet remain easy to operate. This light-weight, enhanced scope allows for quicker target transition while reducing arm fatigue from a long day of shooting.
2. Know Your Purpose
What this means is understanding what you’re shooting at. Hunting is different than target shooting. Are you shooting steel targets over 500 yards, or are you primarily shooting 50 yards?
Hunters often find themselves sighting several hundred yards to their target. In this regard, you must factor in the target’s movement after the shot and windage along with distance. It all has to happen in an instant. A scope with an illuminated reticle with a Bullet Drop Compensator (distance markers) will help account for these factors more quickly.
On the other hand, The Leupold VX-3i LRP (Long Range Precision) 6.5-20×50 is made for using the dials frequently, rather than rapidly using the Bullet Drop Compensator in the reticle. This riflescope can be purchased in first or second focal plane, and in MOA or MIL, with plenty of magnification options. Target shooters have different needs, mainly because they know their target is stationary and at a certain distance. Since you know your distance, you can set these before sighting. Now, you only need to adjust for windage.
Built-in Bullet Drop Compensator Reticles are excellent for target shooters, too, but you have to be sure they are compatible with your firearm.
The Leupold Mark 5 HD 5-25×56 MOA riflescope is for serious competitors. It features a superior edge to edge clarity and extreme low-light performance. The Mark 5’s MOA reticle is grid-based, with 1 MOA increments and 40 MOA measurements in each direction. It also features a large number of aiming points for long-range and extremely long range.
3. Common Mistakes When Choosing a Scope
The worst mistake you can make is buying a scope without high-quality glass. You often get what you pay for in a scope, so if you find one that touts high magnification but seems inexpensive, there’s probably an issue with the glass quality. The higher quality the lens, the less likely you will experience foggy or distorted images, especially on higher magnification.
Don’t fall victim to the common mistake of purchasing a scope that’s too complex, either. If you’re a deer hunter in a blind shooting at 100 yards, you don’t need all the bells and whistles like target turrets or range drop indicators.
Conversely, you don’t want something too simple. If you’re targeting steel at 1,000 yards, you’ll want higher magnification and a reticle that allows for both precision and rapid follow-up shots.
Finding a Good Supplier
There’s a robust market for used optics, but finding a trustworthy seller isn’t always easy. RKB Armory is a leader in the used optic market and will buy back your old scope, making it convenient and affordable to upgrade your optics. We’ve built one of the best reputations in the business for buying and selling used tactical optics and tactical firearms.
We have a large selection of tactical optics, Like-new, and well-used. If you’re interested in selling or trading in your old scope or are looking to add that next-level piece to your arsenal, RKBArmory is your trusted source.