12 Jan 12

A student observes:

“A useful, practical aiming system for serious rifles would be a rugged, compact, self-contained, low-mounted electro-optical aiming device that offers:

1) Wide field of view

2) Zero magnification

3) A facility for selectable, modest magnification, while retaining usability when forward mounted.

When this device can be deftly shifted from 1X to 4X with a simple movement, an Operator’s ability to hit targets at ranges in excess of 150m will be significantly enhanced.

Forward mounting will avoid compromising binocularity and obscuring forward/side view, retaining the rifle’s utility for close-range fighting.

Most domestic users of ARs, AKs, et al, private citizens and police alike, expect to require their rifles at ranges not much more distant than 100m. In fact, 50m is the outside limit for challenges that are most common. But, needing to hit out at the limit of rifle/cartridge effectiveness remains at least a 15% probability. In addition, an ability to make out small detail, even at close ranges, is a requirement for some police functions. For example, “… is that a cell-phone in his hand, or is it a pistol?”

When a whole silhouette is exposed, a current zero-magnification red-dot offers some utility, but, at 300m, striking a person’s center of mass becomes challenging, especially when the full silhouette isn’t in view. Under these circumstances, some refinement of aim, and an enhanced ability to make out detail, will really help.

One needs the ability to effectively engage whatever threat he can’t avoid. And, you can’t be ‘sure of your target’ when you can’t resolve it!”

My comment:

Both EOTech and Aimpoint currently offer “swing-out” magnifiers that are designed to be mounted in-line, and behind, the optic itself, but they add a good deal of bulk, and are eye-relief critical, necessitating moving the whole affair back toward the shooter’s eye.

Most of my rifles are set-up with forward-mounted Aimpoint T1s, and, as you noted, they are 150m guns. Beyond that range, detail is difficult to make out, and the red dot actually gets in the way. When I really want a 300m rifle, or even a 500m rifle, some kind of magnification will be necessary, as you point out.

So far, the challenge has been to offer significant magnification (in excess of 2.5x) without necessitating close eye-relief. At least with current technology, a scope with magnification in excess of 2.5x will be useable only when it is in your face. And, in-your-face optics makes the rifle less useable at close ranges.

Another way to get both capabilities in one rifle is to mount a traditional, close eye-relief, high-magnification scope on top, and, in addition, a forward-mount Aimpoint T1 at a 45-degree angle, off to the right side. The Operator can then simply rotate the rifle to access whatever capability is required at the moment. LaRue already makes a mount that accomplishes this.

However, it makes a bulky, ponderous affair!

Like you, I’d like to see both capabilities wrapped-up into a single, compact package, but I’m not sure such a thing is even possible.

I’ll be at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas next week, and I’ll run the question by the various manufacturers.