Great question; let us look deeper and find out, shall we?

The US Military primary battle platform rifle is the M4, once called the M16, once called the AR10 or stoner. The history of this rifle is impressive.  And like the rifle history, the popularity is skyrocketing.  Still, today with 7 million sold (I think that’s the correct number).

What kind of optic does the military use?  I am going with the infantry rifle and infantry style optics, just to same some space, or I could write a longer article and barely scratch the surface.  Let me know in the comments.

So the grunt optic will be rugged as a cast iron pot and probably cost a fortune.  We don’t want anything to fail when our soldiers’ lives are on the line, and they demand quite a bit from the equipment, so they should get the best.

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Holographic Sights

When I was an infantry soldier, we did not have the optics available today, and that is too bad as I think they may have made a difference in some instances and suitable for our folks in green.  The primary optic to discuss in this field is the EO Tech.  The EO Tech is a holographic sight, meaning nothing projects from the sight forwards, like a laser, and the reticle or aiming point is more than a simple red dot.  There is nothing wrong with ar-15 red dot sights and AR platform follow that link and look.  That is a fantastic combination.  The holographic sight is better suited for both eyes open, shooting moving while shooting, or moving while looking down the barrel for…targets.

Optics history

When the move to improve or adapt optics to a battle platform rifle started, the first iteration was a fixed power, short tube rifle scope, used mainly for shotgun slug gun hunters and crossbows fantastic for that application.  The riflescope is still limited for the move and shoots application, and open irons can get a bit blurry when everything is moving at once.

To address that, the optics creators made the red dot scope.  In a nutshell, they did remove the crosshair reticle from a short rifle scope and replaced it with a projected red dot.  They made the same sight picture you would see looking through a low-powered scope and using a red laser on the rifle.  The significant part of the red dot scope is, the light does not project from the scope.  It just replaced the crosshairs.

Picture source: GhostHood

Laser sight issues

So, that is a bold statement regarding laser sights; remember, when you shine a light onto something, it is also pointing right back to the source and if that source is touching your face, and bad guys are looking to put out that light, things are going to get nasty in a hurry.

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Green Dot Scopes

We talked about the first red dot scopes and the good and bad of them but forgot to talk about one bad point about a red dot.  It nearly disappears in the sun or bright light.  Then, the optics world was filled with genius-level people who figured out a way to meet that challenge, made a green dot or green reticle, and then made them very bright.   Following right with that, the laser sight engineers also made a green laser to aim with, for the same reasons, and they work amazingly.

The issue with green lights, they use lots of power, and the batteries die quickly.  The most modern of these sights have addressed the issue, like everything in the free market, you need to make a better one, or the guy down the street will and make all the money.

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Illuminated Reticles

So, now we are at the modern military use optics again, with the latest and greatest reticles, the holographic reticle.  This improved the red dot to a circle-and-dot, or a chevron-and-dot, or many others on the market. The illuminated reticle can be had in graduated mildot for longer shooters.  The close quarters’ fast acquisition reticles and many new and exciting things happen in the red dot optics world.  Some still consider the Holographic optics as red dots, just cool ones, and that is OK; they are all great to have on your rifle.

If you want to have some fun, put a low-priced red dot on a 22lr, and spend the day trying to write your name on a piece of cardboard, see who has the best penmanship.

Good shooting!

Also interesting to read: 12 BEST RED DOT SIGHTS FOR AR15


This article was brought to you in cooperation with HUNTING MARK