Most AR-15s do not ship with basic iron sights - meaning the first thing that you need to do to your new rifle is add a sighting system. The most popular question we get is: ‘What is the best red dot for my gun?’. Well we compiled recommendations from our staff here at Rainier Arms and these are our top five red dot recommendations.
5 - Swampfox Liberator II
We are going to open this list with a budget offering that almost everyone can afford - the Swampfox Liberator II. The revision of the Liberator features the same 2 MOA dot, anti-scratch and anti-glare coatings, and 50,000 round guarantee of the original. However, the new Liberator II now has Shake ‘N Wake for conserving battery when not in use, 2 night vision brightness settings and a battery life of 10,000 hours (over the original 3000 hours). The optic ships with both a low & a absolute co-witness mount but also utilizes the T-2 mounting footprint allowing you to mount it on your favorite aftermarket mount. Finally, this optic features a 22mm objective lens with either a red or green LED emitter. With the large feature set - most would think the price point is high to match but this optic is the most affordable on this list.
Current Price: $145.00
4 - Holosun HS407C-X2
A pistol optic on a rifle red dot list? With the popularity of variable power - magnified optics on the rise - many have found that returning to the lowest magnification is time consuming when on the clock. Many shooters used iron sights mounted at 45* instead of resetting their optic to the 1x magnification setting. As red dot technology advanced, having an offset red dot became more affordable. When this 2 MOA red dot is coupled with an offset mount like the Ruhk Offset from Valhalla Tactical - the combination weighs less than a set of Magpul Pro Back Up Sights (89.9 grams for an 407C w/the Valhalla Tactical mount compared to 94 grams for the Magpul sights). The Holosun 407C offers 50,000 hours of battery life with Shake Awake technology making battery changes rare. With 10 daylight brightness sights and 2 night vision settings - this makes for the perfect replacement for backup iron sights.
Current Price: $244.99
3 - Vortex Strikefire II
The Strikefire II is the tried and true offering from Vortex Optics. This red dot features a 4 MOA dot - one of the largest dots on the market. This optic features a 30MM objective lens making target acquisition easier than with smaller objective lenses. The optic ships with a 1/3rd lower co-witness mount but is compatible with any 30MM scope ring for use with any platform - not just AR-15 type rifles. This dot manages to squeeze out 80,000 hours of battery life from a single CR2 lithium battery - the highest battery life on the list. At 5.6” long and 7.2 ounces - it is the largest and heftiest optic on this list but the price is right. With both red and green LED emitters in the same form factor - the Vortex Strikefire II offers the most flexibility as long as weight is not concerned.
Current Price: $199.99
2 - Holosun HE515CT
This Holosun is one of the most expensive Holosun optics in the lineup. This optic is packed with features not seen on the lower end Holosun optics. The optic body is completely built with titanium making it extremely strong and lightweight. The 20mm objective lens is coated for anti-glare and scratch resistance as well as covered by a removable Killflash. Of course this optic is equipped with shake awake technology and features 50,000 hours of battery life. Even when the battery finally depletes - the solar failsafe will still allow use in daylight conditions. The reticle can swap between a 2 MOA dot and a 65 MOA circle with a 2 MOA dot on the fly. Included is a T-2 footprint quick-release optic mount but any aftermarket T-2 mount can be swapped to the bottom of the optic body. Finally, offering capped turrets and 10 daylight bright (and two night vision settings) this is the most feature packed optic Holosun currently offers.
Current Price: $429.99
1 - Aimpoint T-2
At the top of the list is the industry standard - the Aimpoint Micro T-2. Flip-up clear lens caps protect the 18mm anti-glare coated lenses. There are 4 night vision settings and 8 daylight settings (2 more night options than on any other optic on this list). 50,000 hours of battery life result in only needing to change the battery once every five years. Like most dots on this list - the 2 MOA dot is crisp and very usable. Due to aimpoint’s signature coating - the light transmission efficiency is nearly 100% making this perfect for use under night vision. The aluminum body is strong enough to handle whatever usage you can throw at it.
Current Price: $797.00