Lets first start off with, this is not a converstaion about iron sights, or use there of... Let’s talk Gear for guns and let’s talk Red Dot Optics fighting rifles. As we all are aware, there is a huge gap in the pricing vs quality of optics, there is also now a culture that if it does not cost 750 plus, its garbage. Well, is that true? One of my biggest concerns as a 2nd Amendment supporter and one who encourages every citizen to own a gun for some reason or another is, are we pricing out the average person out of gun ownership, merely by promoting if you don’t have the best, its garbage. The worst saying ever came up with is “Buy once, Cry Once”. That’s horrible. Telling a guy that wants to protect his family and property not to buy a gun unless it’s made by this company or that company, and when you do, you must get a 450,00 optic on top of it, oh, and now you need to get trained (later conversation) , well now you just took food from his kids mouth. Great job jack hole and now he is scared that a budget AR and a decent optic is garbage and he is running from gun ownership vs putting a foot into it because his new thought is, “well, without a gun, I am not protecting my family, but with a gun we can afford, I am not protecting my family, so why do I need a gun?” We are currently making the elite the only ones that can afford safety and it’s not from the manufactures, it’s from the people who justifies their rifles/optics cost to perceived quality. With that said, the gun culture has made it a playground of Nike vs Cuga shoes from the 80’s. If you know what I am talking about, you will understand, if you don’t, it was the classic elementary school 3rd grade playground fight (3rd grade is when people become materialistic and economical clicks establish, you know, when rich Johnny won’t play with poor Billy anymore because of how much money, or how big his house is or whatever, that leads me to the Cuga, Cuga was a brand of shoe that was bought from like a Payless shoe store or whatever. Cuga’s lasted just as long as or longer than Nike, but a Nike shoe was 2 times as much. Nike kids would make fun of the Cuga kids for the brand, usually in ways of, “Nike is faster that Cuga” or: you can play basketball better in Nike than Cuga”, well so on and so on. No, Nike was not better, on the playground than a Cuga shoe, it was me and the other kids making fun of the others because they could not afford or their parents were not going to waste money on a playground shoe that would eventually fall apart anyway. So that leads me to the Nike vs value brand. Now, I have tested and tried a bunch of products and these are my favorites for the cost (Under 500.00) and some are what I run. So debate me, agree, I don’t care as this is my opinion piece. Red Dots: Aimpoint PRO Up until a couple of years ago, this optic was only for LE/Mil. You could not buy it, but now, you can, and they are great at 440.00 bucks out the door. I currently run this optic on one of my AR’s. Why? -3 year battery life/30,000 hrs. You an literally leave it on all the time and not have to fumble with controls to get the run up and ready, one less step in engaging the target. -Clear lens -Clear rear lens cover. Best part of a red dot is you can keep both eyes open and engage targets, and with the cap clear, you dots always on, you’re up on target without fumbling with the caps. Cons: Up next to the barrier of cost. You get the Aimpoint chip on your shoulder, single color red dot Vortex Line Up Strike Fire and Strike Fire 2 I have a love hate for this product, but overall, you can’t beat it. I run a SF1 on my Mk9 PCC AR. At 180.00 usually for the new SF2, it can’t be beat. Pros: Red/Green dot, mimics my Aimpoint. NVG Capable, Vortex warranty, 6000 hour battery life. Love the controls. Optional screw in 2x magnifier Con: 4 MOA dot, kind of big for engaging distant targets, but being on my PCC, I am limited to 100 yards and in. SPARC 2 Its great, it’s a step better than the SF1/2 due to size and 2 MOA dot. Cost is great at 190.00 average. Pros: 2 MOA, NVG Capable, Vortex warranty, 12 hour auto shut off to combat the battery life. Cons: 300 Hour battery life, 12 hour auto shut off (I find this bad because combatively, you don’t want this to auto shut off if you’re on mission.), single color dot. SPARC AR Same as the SPARC 2, but one additional Pro: AAA Battery Sig Romeo 5 Man, what is Sig doing invading the red dot community they way they have? But I am glad they have. I ran my buddies AR with a Romeo 5 and wow, great optic, a little smaller tube than I like for field of vision, and due to that, I pulled the unit back a little on the gun to match my eye relief, But I really like its value and performance at 170.00 Pro: 2 MOA, NV Capable, 50,000 hr battery life with MOTAC. Con: Single color dot, really compact tube, I don’t love the topside controls. Things I totally hated and did not add: Bushnell TRS: Looks like crap and has a terrible 3 dot MOA, the Amber-Bright lens has a terrible tent to it. Primary Arms Micro Red Dot: Its not bad, I just did not like the topside controls, the older ones had a terrible waterproofing, but they have improved. Any and All Prism’s because they are not actually red dots.