The AR 15 is one of the most versatile rifles out there. It’s an incredibly accurate rifle that allows for engagements up to 600 yards and beyond. At the same time, the rifle is lightweight and low recoiling, making it the perfect rifle for close range encounters. It’s also a growing choice for hunters looking for a do everything rifle. You can also build your own AR 15 in almost any configuration imaginable for every use imaginable. The AR 15 is a jack-of-all-trades, but can only be a master of a trade when outfitted with a proper optic.
Tactical Close Quarters Shooting
To be successful in close quarters shooting you need to be fast, and accurate. Typically speed and accuracy are difficult to combine. A traditional scope’s magnification is a hindrance at room-to-room range. A 1x red dot allows the shooter to get rid of magnification, and have an option that’s faster and more accurate than iron sights. Red dot optics also allow the shooter to rapidly transition from target to target. You can also effectively use one with both eyes opened, which increases your peripheral vision. A red dot optic is a perfect companion to an AR 15 designed for close quarter’s combat. It’s an excellent choice for law enforcement, police, and citizens concerned about home defense.
Suggested Optic: Aimpoint Comp M4s
Hunting with the AR 15 is becoming one of the more popular options. You can have almost any style AR 15 build and turn it into a hunting rifle with minor changes. A big one is using a proper optic. A hunting optic needs to be a few things. First I suggest an appropriate level of magnification, nothing too high. The optic should also be lightweight, this way you can accurately shoot from an off hand position. Another necessity is the optic needs to be fog and waterproof. When it comes to hunting your weapon and optic are going to be exposed to the elements, often more so than you expect. Lastly, a nice 40mm objective lens on your AR 15 scope and some quality multi-coating will make it possible for you to see a bit better in those early mornings and late evenings.
Suggested Optic: Primary Arms FFP
Three gun is the fastest growing competitive shooting sport in the world. The most common choice for a rifle is, of course, the AR 15. In three gun you could be tasked with shooting targets are 10 yards or at 500 yards in the same round. You preferably want an optic that has a variable magnification. The best choice for a Three gun AR-15 scope would be a 1x to 4x or 6x. The 1x can be used at close range and the 4x or 6x for longer ranges. Going over 6 power means your scope will start to get heavier. In three gun ounces, pounds and pounds equal pain. Three gun is a sport where you are moving, moving, moving. I’d suggest a scope that is shockproof, and tough enough to take a beating.
Suggested optic: Leupold Multi-Gun
Plinking - Bushnell AR optics
Plinking is where most of us get trigger time. Plinking is simply shooting your gun for fun with no other intended purpose. Plinking has very few requirements in terms of a scope. The main thing the scope needs to do is allow you to hit your target, consistently. Perhaps your AR build is chambered in 22 LR, then there is no need for an expensive scope. A good plinking scope will be easy to use, and accurate to a few hundred yards. A variable magnification will allow you to informally shoot at almost any range.
Suggested Optic: Bushnell AR optics 2-7 x 33mm
Special Purpose Rifle
A Special Purpose rifle is a custom AR 15 build designed for precise shooting at longer than average ranges. A Special Purpose rifle is most commonly used for tactical applications and tactical shooting competitions. In either role, a first focal plane is a necessity for consistent target engagement at a variety of ranges. In terms of magnification, you want a high variable. Because you may have to shoot anywhere from 50 to 600 yards you want to be able to engage both up close and far away. You also want a reticle that has holdovers for windage and elevation. This will allow you to instantly compensate for both windage and bullet drop on the fly.
Suggested optic: Vortex Viper PST 2.5-10x32 FFP
In general, you can build your AR 15 to anything you desire. The rifle can do what you need, but can you? An optic doesn’t necessarily improve the rifle, it improves our ability to use a rifle. This is why an optic can define the rifle. It makes up the inherent weaknesses of the shooter. One rifle can easily have multiple purposes, simply swap the optic and get to it!DISCLAIMER: If you are new to the world of DIY AR-15 building, you likely have a lot of questions and rightfully so. It’s an area that has a lot of questions that, without the correct answers, could have some serious implications. We are by no means providing this content on our website to serve as legal advice or legal counsel. We encourage each and every builder to perform their own research around their respective State laws as well as educating themselves on the Federal laws. When performing your own research, please be sure that you are getting your information from a reliable source.