Saturday, November 28, 2009

Walking Contradiction

I hate Aimpoint red dot sights. I have been issued them for about seven years now and though the latest batch have been better, I still don't trust them.

Every Aimpoint I was issued until we got new Comp M2s last year has had the same set of problems. It refused to stay zeroed. The light would go on and off randomly, or go out under the barely perceptible recoil of an M16A2. The ones we had in Afghanistan all went wrong before the year was up, and we all went back to using our iron sights. The special forces unit that we occasionally traveled with all bought their own EOTech 511s, but our platoon sergeant said we couldn't do the same.

Now, I have to admit that the Aimpoints we were issued before were pretty clearly refurbished. Badly. The last batch we've received were brand-spanking-new Comp M2s and they haven't gone wrong on anyone in my company. Not yet anyway.

So why use a red dot sight? Simple: they're faster than irons. Instead of aligning three sight planes (rear aperture, front post, and the target), you only align two (the dot and the target). Also, the Aimpoint is parallax free beyond 25 meters, meaning no matter what angle you look at the dot, it still points to where your round will impact. But the dot is usually 2 or 4 MOA, so it covers 2 or 4 inches at 100 yards. So at 300 yards, it covers six or twelve inches--which is a lot, but still good enough for combat purposes where every hit counts (and ONLY hits count).

But for my money, the EOTech holographic sight is the way to go. It is more rugged, more accurate (1MOA dot), has a better reticle, and is just generally better. Unless you need to deploy from under more than 15 feet of water. Aimpoints are submersible to some ridiculous depth, which the Army often touts as their reason for not choosing the EOTech. Yeah, because there are so many places in Iraq and Afghanistan where the common soldier finds himself underwater.

So I've been looking for an optic for my M&P15 carbine. And I bought this:
Yes, an Aimpoint clone called the Vortex Strikefire, and it retails for about $150. But it has rave reviews from most everyone who owns it. But I can live with an Aimpoint clone for $150 because there's nothing else out there in its price range that has great reviews. It's also called the "Strikefire", which is terribly manly. And it comes with quite a bit of kit for that meager $150, to include a 2x magnifier that screws into the eyepiece. It also comes with the lens covers and an aluminum scope ring to mount it in. There are two kits available--one for hunting rifles, which comes with a medium height ring, and one specifically for an AR-15 series flat-top rifle which comes with an extra high ring. The dot itself can be either red or green, and it has nightvision compatible settings. Vortex is based in Wisconsin and offers a full line of sporting and tactical scopes, binoculars, and spotting scopes. Most of their stuff is VERY reasonably priced.

It should be here Monday, so look for a review as soon as next weekend.


Huey148 said...

Seriously interested in getting a review on this from you. My friend Kev has one on his flat top and likes it, but he does not shoot often with it and does not have the background you have with the Aimpoint for a comparison. I am on the cusp of getting one, it seems nice and for the amount of shooting I am going to do (trips to A'gan are behind me now) it seems like a good price/quality ratio.

DC Houghton, esq. said...

Well, looks like you may have to wait a little longer on that review. I have drill this weekend and I'm taking the concealed weapon permit class next weekend. I might be able to shoot some time during the week, but the sun is down at 5:45 and I don't get home from work until 4 or 4:15.

I will get around to it though. Hang in there. In the mean time, I think I saw a review of the Strikefire on

Huey148 said...

ah drill... the memories

What state do you live in? Here in Ohio if you have a DD 214 dated within the last 5 years that is a substitute for a training class certificate for CCW.

BTW, like Green Day music, hate their politics

DC Houghton, esq. said...

That's a common problem with rock bands. Good music, terrifying politics.

I'm in Iowa, which has some of the most stringent CWP standards of any state. I plan on doing a write-up on my class and the process.

I'm out the door right now to go test the red dot. Should be up Sunday night or Monday depending on how motivated I get.