We have a soft spot in our heart for the M14 rifle, even though we experienced it in the service primarily as the M21 sniper system, a fiddly, unstable platform with, “no user serviceable parts inside.” (Seriously. The operator was not permitted to field-strip the gun — that was strictly for the armorers who built the thing. You could swab out the bore, but they’d rather you didn’t). Some of the fiddliness was caused by the Leatherwood ART II scope, an early bullet drop compensator telescopic sight. The Leatherwood was adopted, we always suspected, because Jim Leatherwood had been an SF guy, not because the scope was incredibly great. The replacement of the M21 with the M24 bolt gun, a gun that was developed primarily by SF marksmen (snipers and competitive shooters), was met by hosannas. Its Leupold mildot scope took the onus off the scope’s internals and put it on the shooter, and we liked that. So when Shawn at Loose Rounds penned a post critical not as much of the M14 but of its somewhat unsupported legend of battlefield prowess , he was aiming right up our alley. He has technical support in that post from Daniel Watters, arguably the most knowledgable man on post-WWII US small arms developments not to have written a book. And his arguments are generally supported by the M14-related books in our collection, some of which appear in footnotes or Sources. The M14’s history is interesting. It had a long and arduous gestation, involving many false starts and dead ends, before finally settling on a weapon that was a little more than an M1 with a box magazine and improved gas system. This whole process took 12 years (from 1945 to 1957) and cost a surprising fortune, considering that what came out of it was essentially an M1 with a box mag, useless selective-fire switch, and improved gas system. From the operator end, it looks just like an M1, except for that dopey and wasteful giggle switch, but you can actually reload an M1 faster. The M14’s prototype, the T44, came this close (Max Smart finger gesture) to losing out to the US-made FN-FAL version, the T48. The final test found the two weapons roughly equivalent. 1 Previous tests greatly improved both arms, and made one lasting improvement in the FAL hat benefited FN and foreign operators: the incorporation of the “sand cuts” in the bolt carrier. 2 One deciding factor was that the FN rifle did not have “positive bolt closure,” a way to force the bolt closed on, say, a swollen cartridge. (Never mind that that’s a crummy idea, it was Army policy. Some say, in order to accept the home-grown, Springfield-developed T44 instead of the foreign-designed FAL, but that’s certainly not written down anywhere important). The M14 went on to have a surprisingly difficult time in manufacturing — surprising because it had been sold on extensive commonality with M1 Garand design, and sold as producible on M1 Garand tooling. All manufacturers (Springfield, Winchester, Harrington & Richardson, and TRW) struggled to make the guns. (Stevens calls M14 production, in a chapter heading, “A Tragedy in Four Acts.” 3 In H&R’s case it was not surprising, as H&R had struggled with an M1 contract and only had an M14 contract because of political corruption in the Massachusetts congressional delegation, TRW, which is generally thought to have produced the best rifles of the four manufacturers. 4 The M14 was supposed to replace the M1, but also the BAR, carbine, and SMG. Until you see them side by side, most people assume the M14 was smaller than the M1. This “M14” is actually a civilian Springfield M1A. (image: Rifle Shooter mag ).. In fact, only a few M1 parts are interchangeable with the M14, including most internal parts of the trigger housing group, and some of the stock hardware, A few other parts, like the extractor and rear sight aperture, interchange but aren’t quite “right.” (The M14 extractor works better in either rifle; the M1 and M14 sights are calibrated in yards and meters respectively). 5 The M14 had a short life as a US service rifle, and a controversial one. (Congress, for one, couldn’t believe the amount of money that had been spent for a relatively marginal improvement over the M1). But it has had a long afterlife as stuff of legend. And this where Loose Rounds’ most recent effort in mythbusting comes in. Here is a taste: Go on to any gun forum, and it won’t take you long to find people willing to tell you how great the M14 is. How accurate,like a laser, tough as tool steel with no need to baby it or clean it. powerful as a bolt of lightening, and how well loved it was by those early users who refused the M16 because they wanted a “real” weapon made of wood and steel…. .. But, is all that really true? Maybe it is a triumph of nostalgia over common sense and reality. One truth is, it was never really liked as much as people think they remember. The M14 was having major problems even before ARPA’s Project AGILE and a Defense comptroller reported the AR15 superior to the M14;the famous Hitch Report stating the AR15 , the M1 and the AK47 superior. (Loose Rounds then quotes those exact conclusions from those reports, which are also referenced in many of the Sources we list at the end of this document). My own Father had this to say. Dad was in Vietnam from 67-68 in the 4th Infantry Division. “I liked the M14 in basic, It was the first semi auto I had ever fired. It got old carrying all that weight fast running every where all day and night. I qualified expert with it. Once I was issued an M16 right before we over seas, I never looked back.” For every person who has told me how great the thing is, I have found two who had nothing by misery and bad experiences from it. I myself among them. … The M14/M1a will be around for as long as people will continue to buy them. Certainly there is nothing wrong with owning them liking them and using them. By no means is it useless or ineffective. But its legendary reputation is something that needs to be taken with a grain of salt and careful study of the system if you intend to have one for a use your like may depend on. If you are curious posts on shooting rack M14s and custom service rifle M14s with Lilja barrels fired at 1,000 yards can be found here on Looseorunds using the search bar. There you can read of the M14/M1A compared against the M1 Garand and M1903. When we sat down last night to start writing this, we were going to analyze their post in great depth, but we can only suggest you go Read The Whole Thing™. The M14 is very beloved, but then, many soldiers come to love their first military rifle quite out of proportion to its qualities. (Indeed, we feel that way about, and retain a limerent attachment to, the M16A1, while recognizing that progress has left the original Army M16 behind). Indeed, there is a space on the gun room wall marked out for an M21, sooner or later. But that;s where it is likely to stay most of the time. (Shawn’s post at Loose Rounds has some details about the fiendish difficulty of keeping one of these in accurate shooting trim). Notes: Stevens, North American FALs, p.106; Iannimico, p. 62. Iannimico, p. 59. Stevens, US Rifle M14, pp. 197-224l Emerson, Volume 1, pp. 41-70 Emerson, Volume 3, pp. 129-130. Sources Emersom, Lee. M1 History and Development, Fifth Edition . (Four Volumes). Self-published, 2010-2014. Iannimico, Frank. The Last Steel Warrior: US Rifle M14. Henderson, NV: Moose Lake, 2005. Rayle, Roy E. Random Shots: Episodes in the Life of a Weapon Developer. Bennington, VT: Merriam Press, 1996. Stevens, R. Blake, North American FALs . Toronto: Collector Grade Publications, 1979. Stevens, R. Blake, US Rifle M14: From John Garand to the M21 . Toronto: "Collector Grade Publications" , 1979. This entry was first posted on weponsman.com by Hognose .
Since the Bronze Age belts have been worn by all ages and all genders. A belt round the waist is a fashion statement (1), holds utility essentials (2), and is safety equipment in all manner of work-related and recreational applications (3). And it is those very same three aspects of a special purpose belt that make it an essential component of anyone who considers himself prepared. The Escape and Evasion Belt addresses the three components through style, function and strength. “ Only in death will I relinquish my belts.” – Manny Pacquiao As well as being a stiff leather gun belt, the E&E has three inside zippered pouches that will easily hold a few simple tools and some cash. The nickel-plated brass buckle is first class and won’t raise a single eyebrow unlike tactical belts of any flavor. But the buckle’s heft will certainly make a good weapon, and make short order of car windows and most other non-bulletproof glass when at the flying end of a yard-long lever arm. Quick Navigation More Than Skin Deep My Lowdown But Wait, There’s More Last Chance "More Than Skin" Deep The main body of the belt is pure English harness leather which is one of the few best choice for a belt there is. The 1.5 inch thick cowhide looks as good as it feels. To avoid the effects water and sweat, the leather crafters in the mountains of Utah used polyester thread instead of cotton. And to take the picturesque illusion of a magical belt further, the edges of the belt are burnished with 100% pure beeswax from Heaven. Ok, maybe not Heaven, but a small farm in Colorado. Almost the same thing, right? Also Read: Tips For Flying With A Gun The quality continues on the inside as well. Using YKK zippers, a long service life is expected. But still, as and Escape and Evasion Belt, you won’t be opening and closing the zippers every day. YKK is known as the world’s largest zipper maker and arguably the best zipper on earth. Despite their implication a 2007 price fixing case with other zipper cartels, YKK has a stellar reputation for quality and durability. My Lowdown In the three zippered slots in the belt, I have the following: 1. One full lenght (12”) hacksaw blade that has 18 teeth per inch. Any more teeth and it will struggle with wood, and any fewer teeth and it will be difficult to cut metal without the blade in a frame with handle. While I could snap or cut a hacksaw blade into halves or thirds to make it more compact or flexible, the reality of needing a functional hacksaw blade for a true E&E situation necessitates having a long draw and enough length for real cutting and a real handle. 2. Another pocket holds $500 in cash in five $100 bills. Some think smaller bills would be a better choice, but I figure that a $100 bill will work anywhere a $20 would. And the bribe factor goes up proportional to the denomination. Imagine an auction breaking out for the last few gallons of gas. Two zeros beats one zero every day of the week. 3. A metal handcuff key resides in another pocket. I’ve tried to come up with scenarios where I might need the key yet still be wearing my belt. I figure that there more possibilities that the key will be handy to help someone else in a jam rather than me needing it personally. But you never know. And yes, I know that a handcuff key is one of the easiest things to fabricate out of almost anything, having the right tool for the job is more than just a cute saying if one needs to shed some bracelets because I also cannot come up with a scenario where time is not a major factor. But Wait, There’s More Other E&E tools can include lock picks, wire, even Kevlar cord. I don’t plan on adding any first aid equipment in my E&E belt, and while thinking about that omission, I realized that it might be hard, make that impossible to use the E&E belt as a tourniquet. Since the E&E belt moonlights as an excellent gun belt, it follows that it won’t make the tight turns necessary to stop blood flow. On the other hand, it seems that this Escape and Evasion belt will provide a solid platform for towing cars so it will certainly provide enough strength to save your bacon when you need a lift…or to be lowered. Last Chance The main idea behind the Escape and Evasion Belt is to have some survival essentials around your waist at all times and without further thought. While the E&E belt is not the end-all-be-all, it does serve an important purpose in many survival scenarios. And should the need never arise, you still have an exceptionally nice gun belt that can be worn every day. And if that is not already enough to convince you to enjoy the comfort of an E&E belt, the idea of a 100% American made product should be. Related: SHTF Wardrobe List Each E&E gun belt is made by hand in Cedar City, Utah by a real American worker. Each stitch, each hole, each rivet. I understand the allure of inexpensive Chinese products when some mass-produced overseas copy costs half of what an American made one does. But like the old saying goes that “You are what you eat,” where you put your money is not only confirmation of your patriotism, but a testament of your conviction to America. All Photos By Doc Montana Save Other interesting articles: 10 Survival Uses for a Leather Belt Survival Gear Review: Lock Pick Sets "Survival Gear Review" : Valkyrie War Cord Survival Frag Survival Gear Review: Fallkniven Jarl Knife
Advertisment Security for your handgun is paramount, and outside of a bigger safe for all your firearms, a biometric safe can often be the best choice for someone looking to secure their favorite sidearm. There are many types of smaller safes, but biometric gun safes with fingerprint recognition have become increasingly popular in recent years. Biometric safes do away with the mechanical codes of traditional safes. Instead, they rely on the owner’s biometric data (your fingerprint), to provide quick access when needed. This article will examine the key features to consider when buying a biometric safe for your pistol, followed by a complete breakdown of eight of the best that are currently available on today’s market. Contents Biometric Gun Safe Basics Buyer’s Guide 1. Reliability 2. Bolted vs Unbolted 3. Shape and Size 4. Alternative Access 5. Certifications 6. Manufacturing Materials Our Eight Favorites 1. SentrySafe Pistol Safe 2. Gunvault SpeedVault SVB500 3. Viking Security Safe VS-25BL 4. VAULTEK VT20i Handgun Safe 5. Barska Biometric with Fingerprint Lock 6. Barska Top Opening Safe 7. The GunBox 2.0 Pistol Safe 8. Barska Compact Security Safe Parting Shots Biometric "Gun Safe Basics" Biometric gun safes use the body’s own information as the means of accessing the safe. As such, they do not usually feature mechanical locks that would require the entry of a code, or turning a dial. Some models do have the ability to use a key, or a code – but it’s not the only means of opening the safe. This makes it so that owners don’t have to worry about remembering combinations, as their fingerprints contain all of the information needed to access the safe. Fingerprint recognition allows the owner to register their fingerprints at the time of installation. Some models can register several fingerprints if multiple people need access to the safe. The safe will check the fingerprints of anybody who attempts to access the safe against the registered fingerprint. They are great in panic situations, where you don’t have the ability to remember a combination or find a key when reaching for your handgun. If you try to open the safe with a non registered fingerprint, most models create an alert status that the safe’s owner must disengage with his or her own fingerprint. Poorly-made scanners may fail to spot registered fingerprints, resulting in the owner losing access to the safe. Many scanners will also struggle to identify fingerprints from soiled fingers, or any fingers that have paper cuts. That means it’s vital to research overall quality before making a purchase. Battery operated scanners are popular, but most safes that are powered by a battery also have key opening access in the event of a battery failure. Buyer’s Guide There are many quality points to consider when buying a fingerprint recognition style safe. Most biometric gun safes offer similar security features. Lock it up, use your finger when you want to open it and then walk away. With that being said, there are also definitely different technologies that are used with each manufacturer. Before making a purchase, we’ve identified 10 different quality checkpoints that you should consider during your purchase process. Let’s look at each of them in more detail. 1. Reliability Relentless reliability is key, and biometric gun safes must have accurate scanners, else they will fail to identify the user properly. A poorly-made scanner may not read the owner’s fingerprints, resulting in the owner being locked out of the safe. Beyond that, faulty scanners affect the level of security the safe provides. Some low-quality biometric handgun safes may allow unauthorized access, especially if they fail to record fingerprints properly at the time of installation. Buyers should beware of cheap safes, as these may have been made with the lowest-grade parts. A biometric safe offers little comfort if its key security measure malfunctions, so a safe that meets or exceeds current industry standards is the best option. It also pays to research the manufacturer to determine its reputation within the industry. 2. Bolted vs Unbolted Many biometric gun safes offer owners the option of bolting them to the floor or wall. Professional installers can help with this if the buyer does not feel comfortable doing it themselves. Bolting the safe prevents an intruder from picking up the safe and escaping with it. While most safes are heavy enough to prevent this without bolting, it’s an added security measure that makes many buyers feel more comfortable. But, bolts also prevent the owner from removing the safe in other situations. For example, the safe’s owner will have to go through the unbolting process whenever he or she moves the safe from one place to another. A bolted safe will also have to stay where it is in emergency situations, such as a house fire. 3. Shape and Size A biometric gun safe’s external measurements may not accurately reflect the amount of storage space it has. Remember that safes come in different shapes and sizes. Some provide minimal storage space for small valuables or smaller firearms , whereas others offer large amounts of space for things like larger pistols and holsters . Buyers should consider the items they wish to store in their safes before purchase. Check the dimensions, making sure that these relate to the interior of the safe. Many buyers choose safes that offer slightly more storage space than they need. This is a smart thing to do, and the same principle applies when purchasing other accessories like cases . This offers easier access to the items inside the safe, which can prove crucial in a panic situation. 4. Alternative Access Regardless of the quality of the safe’s fingerprint scanner, there is always the potential for something to go wrong. The scanner may malfunction, or the user could find the safe fails to scan damaged fingers. Beyond that, scanners will stop functioning if their batteries run out. That means the safe should offer some means of alternative access. Many safes come with backup keys that the owner can use to manually override the fingerprint scanner. Others use more modern technology, such as mobile apps, to provide the same function. Having alternative access to a biometric gun safe prevents the user from having to call a professional safecracker if something goes wrong. 5. Certifications Several organizations in the United States offer approval to biometric gun safe manufacturers. These approvals usually show that the safe can store firearms without any issues. The most prominent of these organizations are the California Department of Justice and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) . Buyers should look for either organization’s seal of approval on any safes they consider buying. 6. Manufacturing Materials Most safe manufacturers use steel when designing biometric handgun safes, though some opt for aluminum. The thickness of the material reveals how effective it is at blocking outside intrusion. 8-gauge steel offers more protection than 16-gauge steel. Beyond that, buyers should examine the safe closely to spot any component issues. In particular, the door should fit snugly into its frame, with no room for any tools an intruder might use to pry the door open. "Our Eight Favorites" Those are the key features buyers should look at when searching for the best fingerprint gun safe. It’s up to the buyer to determine which features are most important to them, as not all safes will have them. Let’s move on to reviewing some of the best biometric gun safes on the market today. We will take a deeper look at the technology, quality, size, capacity and more and compare it across our 8 favorites. 1. SentrySafe Pistol Safe Product SentrySafe QAP1BE Gun Safe with Biometric Lock, 1 Capacity Biometric gun safe provides secure storage for one standard... Pistol safe features a gas strut to instantly and quietly open... Handgun safe is constructed with solid steel and a pry resistant... Exterior: 12.1 in. W x 9.9 in. D. x 3.2 in. H; Interior 9.7 in. W... For optimal performance, SentrySafe recommends the use of four... Details Biometric gun safe provides secure storage for one standard... Pistol safe features a gas strut to instantly and quietly open... Handgun safe is constructed with solid steel and a pry resistant... Exterior: 12.1 in. W x 9.9 in. D. x 3.2 in. H; Interior 9.7 in. W... For optimal performance, SentrySafe recommends the use of four... SentrySafe’s product offers enough space for a single handgun and features a biometric lock that uses the owner’s fingerprints to provide access. Beyond that, the safe also uses a combination lock, offering added protection for the firearm stored inside. The keypad makes no noise upon combination entry, ensuring it does not alert intruders when the safe is in use. The small door contains a compression gas strut, which ensures the safe stays quiet upon being opened. This prevents the safe from alerting intruders should the user need to open it during a panic situation. SentrySafe has also built the door using 12-gauge solid steel and has implemented pry-resistant measures to ensure no outside access. The door opens quickly once the safe grants access, taking approximately one second to open fully. It also stays open, rather than swinging back shut. This allows for single-handed access, so a user can open the safe while calling for help using a cellphone. The small compartment inside the safe offers easy access to a firearm, especially for smaller calibers like the 22 . The safe itself also meets the requirements that the California Department of Justice has in place in regards to safe quality. Buyers receive an override key that they can use to open the safe should the scanner malfunction. Users should store this key in a safe location, as it could also provide access to intruders. Further, the safe has small holes on its undercarriage, which buyers can use to bolt the safe into place on a floor or shelf. Users can also mount the safe to a wall using these holds, with many choosing to mount the safe above their beds to provide easy access during panic situations. Having said that, SentrySafe has not designed this safe specifically as a wall-mounted product. Buyers receive a one-year manufacturer’s warranty with the product, which covers any mechanical or structural issues that arise due to poor workmanship or faulty materials. In our opinion, it’s the best overall value for your hard-earned cash. Specifications Weight – 12 pounds External dimensions – 3.2 x 12.0 x 9.9 inches Internal dimensions – 2.2 x 9.7 x 6.6 inches Construction material – 12-gauge steel Max fingerprints – Two Batteries required – 4x AA batteries Batteries supplied? – No Color – Black Fireproof – No Waterproof – No Mounting – Floor and shelf Warranty – One-year limited manufacturer’s warranty 2. Gunvault SpeedVault SVB500 Product GunVault Speedvault Biometric Biometric Pistol Safe SVB500 Bio-metric fingerprint scanner & activation button Holds up to 20 individual fingerprints Multiple mounting options 18-gauge steel construction Mounting hardware included Bio metric fingerprint scanner and activation button; Holds up to... Details Bio-metric fingerprint scanner & activation button Holds up to 20 individual fingerprints Multiple mounting options 18-gauge steel construction Mounting hardware included Bio metric fingerprint scanner and activation button; Holds up to... Gunvault claims to have developed a revolutionary safe design with its SpeedVault SVB500. The safe uses a biometric finger scanner and activation button to provide access. Upon activation, the safe drops down a drawer where the user can place a handgun. This drawer also provides quick access when the user needs to take the gun out of the safe. The gun points holster-up when in the safe, meaning the user can draw the firearm out and have it ready to use straight after opening the safe. The safe can retain a maximum of 120 fingerprints, so several users can access the safe at any one time. This allows 12 people to register all ten of their fingerprints, so they can access the firearm inside the safe in any situation. The 18-gauge steel construction offers plenty of protection from outside forces. The safe also comes with foam padding on the inside, which will protect the contents when not in use. Gunvault claims the safe uses such precise fittings that it is virtually impossible to pry the door open with regular hand tools. This means that only those with fingerprint access can get to the gun inside the safe. The user can mount the safe anywhere, making it one of the more versatile biometric handgun safes available. Gunvault also notes that the user can mount the safe in any direction, so the user can choose the exact mounting configuration that suits them. The safe carries no water or fire rating, so it may not be the best fingerprint gun safe for those living in areas prone to flooding or fire. There is no warranty as standard with the safe, but users can get one if they contact Gunvault using the company’s customer service number. Specifications Weight – 7 pounds External dimensions – 13 x 3.5 x 6.5 inches Internal dimensions – None provided Construction material – 18-gauge steel Max fingerprints – 120 Batteries required – 1x 9V battery Batteries supplied? – No Color – Black Fireproof – No Waterproof – No Mounting – Anywhere Warranty – None provided, though customers can contact Gunvault to arrange one. 3. "Viking Security Safe" VS-25BL Product Viking Security Safe VS-25BL Biometric Safe Fingerprint Safe HIGHTLY SECURE 10” x 14” x 10” BIOMETRIC FINGERPRINT SAFE -... FAST ACCESS PERSONAL SAFE FOR HOME & OFFICE DEFENCE AND... EASY TO SET UP & SIMPLE TO USE - Scan & Save up to 32... PRY-RESISTANT by DESIGN, TIGHTLY SEALED SOLID STEEL BODY GUN SAFE... MODERN DESIGN, ROBUST MILITARY LOOK AND VERSATILE SIZE fits... Details HIGHTLY SECURE 10” x 14” x 10” BIOMETRIC FINGERPRINT SAFE -... FAST ACCESS PERSONAL SAFE FOR HOME & OFFICE DEFENCE AND... EASY TO SET UP & SIMPLE TO USE - Scan & Save up to 32... PRY-RESISTANT by DESIGN, TIGHTLY SEALED SOLID STEEL BODY GUN SAFE... MODERN DESIGN, ROBUST MILITARY LOOK AND VERSATILE SIZE fits... Viking Security Safe’s VS-25BL biometric gun safe comes with a carpeted interior, which offers more protection than most to the valuables placed inside. Imported from outside the United States, the safe will not scratch any jewelry or firearms placed inside. The safe uses a 500 Dots per Inch (DPI) fingerprint scanner, which can register all parts of the user’s fingerprint. This keeps accuracy issues to a minimum, ensuring the user does not have to worry about faulty reads during panic situations. It also comes with a keypad, which has an LCD screen above it that shows the user how much battery life the safe has left. Users can program codes between four and eight digits long using the keypad. Made using steel, the safe can hold up to 32 fingerprints. It stores these in a non-volatile memory unit, which ensures the safe retains previously registered fingerprints should the batteries run out. The door itself is 5 millimeters thick and will open in less than one second once the safe grants access to the user. This makes it ideal for panic situations, where quick access is a priority. The safe also emits warning beeps when the user leaves the door unlocked for over one minute. The dual motorized deadbolts provide added security, as too do the anti-pry insertion slots found on the door. These prevent intruders from using handheld tools to pry the door open using the deadbolts. Viking Security Safe has used laser cutting technology to build each component, ensuring they all slot together to create an impenetrable safe. Unlike many biometric handgun safes , the VS-25BL incorporates sound into the package. Users can toggle the sound on or off using the keypad. Upon opening, the safe turns its interior light on so the user can see exactly what he or she is doing. The VS-25BL’s exterior includes pre-drilled holes for use when mounting the safe. Users can mount the safe to the floor or a wall. The safe comes with no fire or waterproof certification. However, it does include a one-year limited manufacturer’s warranty, which covers faulty construction. It also comes with a manual override key, which the owner can use if the fingerprint scanner malfunctions. Specifications Weight – 26.6 pounds External dimensions – 10 x 14 x 10 inches Internal dimensions – None provided Construction material – Steel Max fingerprints – 32 Batteries required – 2x AA batteries Batteries supplied? – No Color – Black Fireproof – No Waterproof – No Mounting – Floor and wall Warranty – One-year limited manufacturer’s warranty 4. VAULTEK VT20i Handgun Safe Product VAULTEK VT20i Biometric Handgun Safe Bluetooth Smart Pistol... UPGRADED ANTI-THEFT PROTECTION features anti-pry bars, two point... TOUGH AND RUGGED heavy-duty 16-gauge carbon steel construction... QUICK ACCESS to your valuables, documents, and firearm(s) from... SMART SAFE TECHNOLOGY a highly interactive experience from your... RESPONSIVE LED LIGHTING in low light situations so you can locate... Details UPGRADED ANTI-THEFT PROTECTION features anti-pry bars, two point... TOUGH AND RUGGED heavy-duty 16-gauge carbon steel construction... QUICK ACCESS to your valuables, documents, and firearm(s) from... SMART SAFE TECHNOLOGY a highly interactive experience from your... RESPONSIVE LED LIGHTING in low light situations so you can locate... The VT20i immediately stands out with its impressive design. It will look sleek and stylish in any room. That design does not come at the cost of practicality, though. The safe offers everything a user may expect from a high-quality biometric gun safe . VAULTEK have upgraded their previous anti-theft security measures to make this safe one of the most secure biometric pistol safes around. The anti-pry bars and anti-impact latches prevent anybody from accessing the safe from the outside using handheld tools. The safe also boasts interior hinges, so an intruder won’t be able to use a screwdriver to remove the door. All of these security features combine with a set of internal security brackets, making the safe just as rugged on the inside as it is on the outside. The biometric scanner detects fingerprints quickly and is capable of storing up to 20 individual prints. Once activated, the safe’s door pens quickly to provide almost immediate access to any valuables stored inside. Unlike many other biometric handgun safes , the VT20i comes with a rechargeable lithium battery. Users can charge this battery using the micro-USB kit included in the package, with charging itself taking 2.5 hours. Once charged, the battery will last for four months. VAULTEK has used 16-gauge carbon steel to build the safe, which it protects with a powder coat finish that protects the safe from corrosive substances. The safe also makes use of modern technology more effectively than many of its competitors. Purchase provides the user with access to the VAULTEK Bluetooth App, which they can use to check the safe’s battery status and adjust the interior lighting settings. The app also provides a backup override function, as it can open the safe remotely. The safe meets the California Department of Justice’s 2017 regulations, marking it out as one of the safest biometric pistol safes around. It also comes with mounting holes attached, so users can bolt it to the wall or floor. VAULTEK provides the mounting equipment needed to do this. VAULTEK’s VT20i series does not include water or fireproofing. However, it comes with a one-year limited manufacturer’s warranty, which protects against any manufacturing defects. Specifications Weight – 9.9 pounds External dimensions – 11.5 x 9.0 x 2.75 inches Internal dimensions – 11 x 5.75 x 2 inches Construction material – 16-gauge carbon steel Max fingerprints – 20 Batteries required – 1x rechargeable lithium battery Batteries supplied? – Yes Color – Black Fireproof – No Waterproof – No Mounting – Floor and wall Warranty – One-year limited manufacturer’s warranty 5. Barska Biometric with Fingerprint Lock Product BARSKA Biometric Safe Secure Storage: Our DOJ approved safe comes with a 120... The Optional Silent Mode: Safe features a silent mode that... Solid Construction: This safe is built with durable steel,... Mounting: Pre-drilled holes and hardware allow the safe to anchor... Mortorized Deadbolts: Safe comes with 2 solid steal motorized... Details Secure Storage: Our DOJ approved safe comes with a 120... "The Optional Silent" Mode: Safe features a silent mode that... Solid Construction: This safe is built with durable steel,... Mounting: Pre-drilled holes and hardware allow the safe to anchor... Mortorized Deadbolts: Safe comes with 2 solid steal motorized... Despite its basic appearance, the Barska Biometric Gun Safe offers stellar protection against outside intrusion. A single-shelf safe, it packs plenty of depth. This means owners can use it to store valuables, such as jewelry, as well as firearms. This added space also makes ammo storage easy. Many users find that they can store their handguns alongside several boxes of ammo using this biometric handgun safe . Barska has used several materials to build the safe, and it is imported from outside the United States. Unfortunately, the safe is one of the slowest to open on this list. It will take approximately three seconds from the moment of fingerprint scanning for the door to open. The safe’s biometric scanner is battery-operated. Once the battery starts running low, the safe will emit a beeping noise to alert the owner. Users can still access the safe if the battery dies, as it comes with two backup manual override keys. But, the user needs to unscrew a small flap to access the keyhole, which may not be ideal in panic situations. Still, this flap does add an extra layer of protection that may prevent an intruder from using the keys to access the safe. The scanner itself can store a maximum of 30 fingerprints, making the safe ideal for households with multiple occupants who need access to the safe. The scanner works well, as long as the user follows the detailed instructions included with the safe. Barska has also pre-drilled holes into the safe’s exterior, which owners can use to mount the safe onto the floor or wall. Some may choose to mount the safe in their vehicles, though its size makes this difficult in regular cars. The safe also comes with bolts for mounting purposes. The safe beeps upon opening, but this can be turned off. However, it will also beep if the owner leaves the safe open for more than five minutes. This will not stop until the user closes the safe’s door again. Barska provides a 12-month limited manufacturer’s warranty that protects this biometric pistol safe from manufacturing defects. Unfortunately, the safe offers no protection against water or fire damage. Specifications Weight – 34.1 pounds External dimensions – 10 x 18 x 18 inches Internal dimensions – None provided Construction material – Multiple materials Max fingerprints – 30 Batteries required – 4x AA batteries Batteries supplied? – Yes Color – Black Fireproof – No Waterproof – No Mounting – Floor and wall Warranty – One-year limited manufacturer’s warranty 6. Barska "Top Opening Safe" Product BARSKA AX11556 Biometric Fingerprint Top Opening Security... Secure Storage: Our DOJ approved safes comes with a 120... The Optional Silent Mode: The safe features a silent mode that... Solid Construction: This safe is built with durable steel,... Mounting: The safe comes with pre-drilled holes and mounting... Motorized Deadbolts: The safe comes with 2 solid steal motorized... Details Secure Storage: Our DOJ approved safes comes with a 120... The Optional Silent Mode: The safe features a silent mode that... Solid Construction: This safe is built with durable steel,... Mounting: The safe comes with pre-drilled holes and mounting... Motorized Deadbolts: The safe comes with 2 solid steal motorized... Barska returns with another cost-effective choice . This safe differs from the previous one on the list because it features a top-opening design, which makes it ideal for use as an embedded floor safe. The safe shares many of the same features as the previous Barska biometric gun safe . The scanner can store up to 30 fingerprints, which should be more than enough to cover the number of people in the average household. It also comes with pre-drilled holes for mounting on a floor or shelf. The package also includes all of the hardware needed to mount the safe. However, the top-opening design makes shelf mounting inconvenient, as the user will need to reach over the top of the safe to get to whatever is inside. The safe comes with a motorized deadbolt lock, and two steel locking bolts, which provide plenty of protection for its contents. These bolts may make a small amount of noise when opening the safe, but this is fairly minimal. Beyond that, the safe features a floor mat, which protects any valuables that may otherwise be damaged due to contact with the metal interior. It also comes with two AA batteries that will last approximately two years. Please note that this time may vary depending on how often the safe is used. Users don’t need to worry about drained batteries preventing access to the safe. In addition to a beeping system, which lets the user know if the batteries need replacing, the safe comes with a pair of manual override keys. These provide easy access in case the scanner malfunctions, or the batteries run out. Barska includes a detailed user manual with the safe, which covers any issues users may have in regards to its installation or use. It is important to keep the fingerprint scanner clean, so it’s advised to use a dry cloth to wipe it down after every use. Barska also recommends checking the scanner every six months to confirm that it still reads the registered fingerprints. The safe is not waterproof or fireproof but it is of sturdy construction and also comes with a one-year limited warranty. This protects against any manufacturing defects. Specifications Weight – 21 pounds External dimensions – 14.75 x 11.25 x 5 inches Internal dimensions – 14.5 x 11 x 2.5 inches Construction material – Steel Max fingerprints – 30 Batteries required – 4x AA batteries Batteries supplied? – Yes Color – Black Fireproof – No Waterproof – No Mounting – Floor and wall Warranty – One-year limited manufacturer’s warranty 7. The GunBox 2.0 Pistol Safe Product The GunBox 2.0 The Smartest Quick Access Gun Safe, Billet... Quick access 360-degree biometric fingerprint scanner (holds... Quick access RFiD scanner (opens using a key card or a fob... Audible motion and tamper alarm that emits a loud noise if box is... 2 USB ports for charging devices or connecting accessories +... For home or vehicle use - FAA approved container to safely... Details Quick access 360-degree biometric fingerprint scanner (holds... Quick access RFiD scanner (opens using a key card or a fob... Audible motion and tamper alarm that emits a loud noise if box is... 2 USB ports for charging devices or connecting accessories +... For home or vehicle use - FAA approved container to safely... The GunBox 2.0 stands out as it is the only safe on this list that has the "Federal Aviation Administration" (FAA) approval. This means the owner can install the safe in a vehicle, protected by the knowledge that it has been tested as a safe means to protect a firearm during transport. It also includes the widest range of options for opening. Alongside fingerprint recognition, the safe recognizes input from a Bluetooth app and several accessories that come packaged with the safe. These include two Radio-frequency identification (RFID) keycards and a pair of fobs. The app, which is downloadable from iTunes and Google Play, has several other functions too. It can be used to set up additional fingerprint recognition when the user is away from the safe. Beyond that, it registers any additional fobs or keycards the user buys. Beyond that, the app allows the user to tinker with the safe’s internal light settings and adjust the sensitivity of the fingerprint scanner. It’s best to secure this box in one spot, as it has a tamper alarm. The alarm activates whenever somebody moves or bumps the GunBox 2.0, instantly alerting the user if an intruder tries to break into the safe. Users can change the tone and volume of the alarm using the app. The fingerprint scanner can recognize a maximum of 100 fingerprints, so ten people could register every digit if desired. The safe features industry-leading biometric technology, so users should find no issues arising due to a faulty scanner. Mounting doesn’t present any problems as the GunBox 2.0 comes with pre-installed holes for mounting on any surface. The owner can even choose the orientation, making this one of the most flexible biometric handgun safes on the market. The safe comes with two USB ports, which can be used to charge phones and other devices. All told, the internal battery lasts for approximately 18 months, though this may vary depending on how often the safe is used to charge other devices. The GunBox 2.0 comes with a one-year warranty, starting from the shipping date. Much like the other safes on this list, it does not come with water or fireproofing features. Specifications Weight – 7.2 pounds External dimensions – 10 x 11.6 x 2.7 inches Internal dimensions – None provided Construction material – 4mm die-cast aluminum Max fingerprints – 100 Batteries required – Internal battery Batteries supplied? – Yes Color – Choice of black, white, or grey Fireproof – No Waterproof – No Mounting – Anywhere Warranty – One-year limited manufacturer’s warranty 8. "Barska Compact Security" Safe Product BARSKA AX11620 Biometric Fingerprint Mini Security Home Safe... Secure Storage: Our DOJ approved safes comes with a 120... The Optional Silent Mode: The safe features a silent mode that... Solid Construction: This safe is built with durable steel,... Mounting: The safe comes with pre-drilled holes and mounting... Motorized Deadbolts: The safe comes with 2 solid steal motorized... Details Secure Storage: Our DOJ approved safes comes with a 120... The Optional Silent Mode: The safe features a silent mode that... Solid Construction: This safe is built with durable steel,... Mounting: The safe comes with pre-drilled holes and mounting... Motorized Deadbolts: The safe comes with 2 solid steal motorized... Barska rounds out the list with another great option. A smaller safe than the rest of the Barska products, this safe still has many of the same features that have made Barska a leading brand of safe manufacturers. In fact, the safe’s smaller stature can offer additional peace of mind to the user. It can be stored almost anywhere, which means the user can keep the safe out of the hands of any children who might try to tamper with it. This also makes the safe easy to conceal. It comes with pre-drilled holes, which allow for mounting on walls and shelves. Installation is a breeze, so most people won’t have to call professionals to get the safe mounted. Barska has used several materials to build this safe, with the steel body ensuring it offers protection against any outside intrusion. The company bolsters this protection with a pair of steel locking bolts, which keep the door wedged shut when the safe is not in use. Of course, the biometric fingerprint scanner offers even more protection. Capable of holding up to 30 fingerprints, the scanner ensures only those with access to the safe can open it. The safe also comes with two backup keys, which can be used to open the safe if something goes wrong with the scanner. Barska protects the keyhole with a small flap, which requires a screwdriver for removal. The safe offers fast access with one touch of a registered finger, plus the user can activate the silent access feature to ensure no intruders hear the safe opening. Furthermore, the safe carries approval from the California Department of Justice for use with firearms. Users can feel safe in the knowledge that nothing untoward will happen to their firearms while they’re in storage. Barska offers a one-year limited manufacturer’s warranty. Unfortunately, the safe will not protect its contents from water or fire damage. Specifications Weight – 12 pounds External dimensions – 11.8 x 7.8 x 7.8 inches Internal dimensions – 11.6 x 7.6 x 5.9 inches Construction material – Steel Max fingerprints – 30 Batteries required – 4x AA batteries Batteries supplied? – Yes Color – Black Fireproof – No Waterproof – No Mounting – Floor and wall Warranty – One-year limited manufacturer’s warranty Parting Shots Each safe we’ve looked at comes with an array of features beyond fingerprint recognition, with the most impressive being capable of recognizing input from mobile apps as well as the user. In choosing the best biometric gun safe for your money, it’s important to look at how much value each safe offers in return for the cost. When all is said and done, the SentrySafe biometric safe is probably our favorite purely due to the fact it’s been mass-produced and most of the kinks have been worked out over time. It’s also an extremely good value for the money, and it’s what our managing editor trusts his CZ 75 9mm pistol with. The SentrySafe biometric safe is a great pick for any handgun enthusiast, just due to the fact that it can be easily mounted through the mounting holes at the bottom of the safe, and has 3 different entry routes between the fingerprint pad, digital code or panic key entry. While we are fans of the SentrySafe, any one of the picks you’ve read about here will get the job done. This product was presentation was made with AAWP plugin.
The iconic AR-15 has been a dominant force in the commercial market since the suspension of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. As has often been the case throughout history, a military rifle was converted for civilian use. Not only has the rifle been adopted, so has the red dot sight, a great tool for close and fast shooting. Honing in on your target is faster and easier because these scopes use a red dot as the aiming reticle. This eliminates the need to keep a front sight aligned with a rear sight. In this article, we give you valuable information on red dot sights, as well as review some of the best currently on the market. Keep reading to learn more about this vital accessory. At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Red Dot Sights for the AR-15 Rifles OUR TOP PICK: Sightmark SM26008 Ultra Shot Plus Red Dot Sight Dagger Defense DDHB Red Dot Reflex sight Vortex Optics - Sparc Ii Red Dot Sight Burris - Fastfire III Red Dot Reflex Sight BEST BUDGET OPTION: Rhino Tactical Green & Red Dot Sight Comparison of the Best AR-15 Red Dot Sights IMAGE PRODUCT Our Top Pick Sightmark SM26008 "Ultra Shot Plus" Red Dot Sight Unlimited eye relief. Cast aluminum alloy housing. Red and green illuminated multiple reticles. View Latest Price → Read Customer Reviews Dagger Defense DDHB Red Dot Reflex sight Equipped with locking screw. Includes a four-position reticle. Features red and green dot sighting. "View Latest Price" → "Read Customer Reviews" Vortex Optics - Sparc Ii Red Dot Sight Includes 10 brightness levels. Machined from aircraft-grade aluminum. Fully multi-coated lenses for clear image quality and light gathering for low-light situations. View Latest Price → Read Customer Reviews Burris - Fastfire III Red "Dot Reflex Sight" Unlimited eye relief. Three brightness settings. The battery life of up to 10,000 hours. View Latest Price → Read Customer Reviews Best Budget Option Rhino "Tactical Green &" ; Red Dot Sight Waterproof and fog proof. Includes a red and green got. Body made from high-quality materials. View Latest Price → Read Customer Reviews How to Choose a Red Dot Sight Choosing a red dot sight will be based on a few additional features and factors. You’ll also need to know the difference between a great sight and one that is unreliable and below-average in quality. Here is a brief guide on how you can choose a red dot sight for your AR-15: Price If you’re on a budget, there’s a good chance you’ll look at the price tag first before moving on. While price is often a factor, it should not be the only reason you settle on a certain a red dot sight. It’s important to find a product with greater quality and performance factors than the price tag alone. As a rule, do not sacrifice quality to save a few dollars (or for any reason at all). Find the best quality you can afford within your budget. Find One That’s Easy to Install The good news is that your options are not limited when it comes to finding easy to install red dot sights. You want something that will take only a few minutes to install without any issues. Imagine adding a red dot sight to boost your accuracy in as little as a few minutes. That is what you are looking for. Choose High-Quality Materials The best high-quality materials are what makes a sight last a long time. The housing of the sight may even be made from durable materials like aluminum. Some types of high-quality aluminum can take on impact and abuse like nobody’s business. The more durable it is, the longer it will last for you. Are Red Dot Sights Really An Upgrade? The debate over red dot vs. iron sight has probably been settled, with red dots coming out ahead. A 2010 study at Norwich University in Vermont showed that red dot scopes had a substantially higher percentage of hits than iron sights. Granted, the study was done with pistols, not rifles, but it’s reasonable to expect similar numbers. Various close-range distances were tested, as well as moving and stationary targets. While the name red dot is commonly used, the actual dot produced by the sight is often green. These sights could be holographic or reflex sights, as well. The holographic sight is illuminated from the front of the lens and an LED light is projected onto the viewing window to create a holographic red dot. Reflex sights are simpler, containing just a concave lens with a metallic coating that only reflects red light. The light is produced by a LED mounted inside the tube of the scope. The reflex site is definitely the elder statesman, being 30-plus-year-old technology. Generally, reflex sights are the bare basics and just have an objective window to see through. But since they consume much less energy than holographic options, they are used more commonly by recreational shooters and sportsmen. While red dot sights provide a much higher accuracy rate when aiming at a moving target, they are typically not used for precision shooting. Their 2 to 4 MOA dot covers a significant portion of the target at a distance. In fact, it might cover a two-to-four-inch spot at 200 yards. However, you do get a broader field of view than tube-style sights. You also have unlimited eye relief that allows for more peripheral vision. These factors make the red dot sight perfect for fast target acquisition in close to mid ranges. Since the majority of reflex sights are not magnified (zero power/1x), they are small, lightweight, and priced well. The military has recognized the value in this. The lack of magnification allows the operator to keep both eyes open (the natural way), maximizing their performance in tactical simulations and situations. Red dot sights also enjoy the collective benefit of a lower price compared to other optic types, making it a very tempting opportunity for the private consumer. Simplicity and compactness make red dot sights versatile so they can be sported on any weapon platform from rifles and shotguns to handguns, and even compound bows. The red dot sight can be utilized for hunting or target practice. It can also be mounted on shotguns and used for target games like trap, skeet, and sporting clays. Of course, it is also useful for home defense scenarios. There’s no doubt that a red dot is faster than a set of stock metal sights. It’s easier to use than a traditional magnified optic, too. But like every electronic device, it’s dependent on batteries. Nowadays, the higher quality red dot sights come with long-lasting batteries that promise up to five years of continuous use, as long as you use the power-saving features such as auto-brightness and auto-power-off when not in use. Still, a lot of people still prefer to keep both a red dot sight and their iron sight in case of sight damage or battery drainage. Source The patterns of red dot sights vary in range from a single dot to crosshairs, or even bullseye patterns, but these can degrade target acquisition. As we already mentioned, they aren’t even necessarily red. Green is a common alternative. What many people may not know is that red dot sights are also affected by parallax. Since it’s used mainly in close-quarter situations, this doesn’t matter most of the time but your aim could be affected at longer distances. Some major manufacturers try to overcome parallax “error” by using a concave reflecting lens. The following is a list of the five best red dot sights for an AR-15. While going through each one, you should take notes on some of the features and characteristics that stand out to you. If you have a good idea of what your ideal red dot sight looks like, you may find one that will match it. Once you do, you’ll know it’s a surefire winner. Quick Take - Best Red Dot Sights for the AR-15 Rifle These are our recommendations for the best AR-15 red dot sights: Sightmark SM26008 Ultra Shot Plus Red Dot Sight Dagger Defense DDHB Red Dot Reflex Sight Vortex Optics - Sparc Ii Red Dot Sight Review of the Best AR-15 Red Dot Sights When looking for a good red dot sight, we take into account both quality and price. A good red dot sight is going to be cheaper than almost any scope . With so many options available at various price points, you have to choose between a reputable name with a higher price tag and an inexpensive or budget red dot sight. But even these are perfect for plinking guns. There isn’t always a correlation between price and quality in this case. Best Overall: Sightmark SM26008 Ultra Shot Plus CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Super-durable housing Optics are clean and clear Easy to install, takes a few minutes Reticle holds zero even after 1000 rounds Super-accurate when hitting targets at 100 yards away Cons Some glaring may occur at times The green light may feel dim to some users Quick-release lever should be a bit tighter than it is What Recent Buyers Report A lot of new buyers were happy with the red dot optic. They were especially impressed with the illuminated reticle, which allowed them better image quality in low-light conditions. They said that in either lighting condition, they were able to consistently hit targets from as far as 100 yards out. One user said he relies on this sight for varmint hunting. Why it Stands Out to Us This red dot sight acts like a scope that can work in not just daytime conditions, but also in nighttime conditions, as well. Sure enough, it does make its money in a low-light setting with the use of the illumination. On top of that, you have multiple reticles to use at your disposal. No matter which one you use, you’ll still crank out some pretty accurate and precise shots from a decent distance. The Sightmark Ultra Shot is ideal for someone looking for a cost-effective sight that’s versatile enough to mount on shotguns, handguns, or rifles. The selling point of this model is four reticle patterns in a combination of 3 MOA dot with a 50 MOA circle in red or green. The sight features simple commands in the form of two soft tactile buttons on the left side with the addition of a rotary switch for changing the reticle patterns. The "Sightmark Ultra Shot" has five brightness settings. When using the automatic shut-off feature, you can get 2,000 hours out of the battery. This is a very durable sight built with an aluminum frame and metal shield. Its double-panel lens helps eliminate parallax, making it an alternative to overly expensive mil-spec models. Who Will Use This Most This might be best-used for target shooting and hunting. It will serve as a really good red dot for your AR-15 if you’re simply just shooting at targets that are not more than 100+ yards out. If you want something for all kinds of applications, this red dot sight will last you a long time and delivers accurate and precise shooting each time. Bottom Line The SightMark Ultra Shot Multi Red & Green Plus Reflex Sight stands out as the sight you can use in both daylight or low-light settings. Don’t be surprised if you can still hold zero after so many rounds. This is the red dot that will make your AR-15 rifle accurate and precise each time you fire a shot. Runner-up: Dagger Defense DDHB Red Dot Reflex sight CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Affordable for most budgets Easy to zero in, takes about a few minutes Effective at hitting targets from 50 to 100+ yards out Super durable and can withstand a good amount of shock The red dot is quite visible in both low-light and broad daylight conditions Cons Battery life is questionable upon initial use Dot sights may look distorted for those with poor eyesight What "Recent Buyers Report" As expected, this red dot sight was a hit with most new buyers. This allowed them to easily hit their targets from various distances ranging from 50 to 100 yards. Even one user said he was able to get the rounds on the bullseye or near it on paper targets at the range. Also, new users reported that this sight takes a short amount of time to sight-in. Why it Stands Out to Us This sight, once again, has both red and green dots that will be effective depending on the environment you’re in. Both dots are visible and small enough to ensure that your shots are always dead-on precise and accurate. The dot size, of course, is not large enough to obscure the targets from various distances, so you'll know where to shoot and make sure your shot lands there almost every time. The Dagger Defense DDHB Reflex Sight is another inexpensive AR-15 red dot. But it’s highly-rated by users for its sleek styling and more importantly, its rugged functionality. This is a reflex sight optic made with aircraft-grade aluminum. It offers a choice of four illuminated reticle configurations including a simple dot and a crosshair. The product is easy to zero-in. Even better, it still holds zero after a couple hundred rounds thanks to its locking screws. As one of the most budget-friendly reflex sights, it can co-exist with standard AR iron sights. This top contender for the best low-range, red dot sight features a wide 291-degree field of view. This will be great for three-gun competitions. Additionally, this entry-level small sight is water-resistant, but not submersible Who Will "Use This Most" This will likely be used in a casual target shooting or even a competitive target shooting situation. Either way, it will be a sight if you intend to give your accuracy a serious boost. It can cover some ground at short ranges but make no mistake, it’s an effective sight regardless of which colored dot you choose. Bottom Line "The Dagger Defense" Red Dot Sight will likely be your kind of sight if you want something for target practice or for when the competition is heating up. All you have to do is attach this bad boy to your rifle, spend a few minutes sighting it in, and be able to put the shots on the paper consistently at close-range. You’ll have so much fun using a sight like this at the range. Best for the Money: Vortex Optics - Sparc Ii Red Dot Sight CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Glass and image quality are very clear Compact, doesn’t take up a lot of space Easy to install, takes a few minutes to install Holds zero easily after a few hundred rounds LED for illumination is quite bright and helps in low-light situations Cons The reticle may be a bit misshapen Some of the power settings may be a little weak Red dot may not appear to be visible during the daytime What Recent Buyers Report New users were quickly able to install this sight on their AR-15 rifles. Once said and done, they were able to boost their accuracy considerably. Most users, on average, were able to hit their targets from about 100 to 125 yards out. They were also satisfied with most of the illuminated settings that allowed them to see better, especially in low-light settings. Why it Stands Out to Us The Vortex Optics product stands out as a durable unit and you would expect nothing less from this brand. Their scopes are hands-down some of the most durable on the market. So, the sight itself is durable enough to handle shock that originates from recoil. That means you won’t need to reset your zero settings at all, even after many rounds. Another red dot from the top of the budget, price-range sights comes from Vortex. This model gets the impressive name “Speed Point Aiming for Rapid Combat”, or SPARC, for short. This is an exceptionally sturdy, tube-style red dot sight. It has a fully multi-coated lens and a simple adjustment of the color, shape, and illumination of the reticle. The device has ten levels of 2 MOA red dot brightness intensity. It also features a practical built-in brightness intensity memory function. With a six-hour auto shutdown feature, the battery can last an incredible 5,000 hours. Who Will Use This Most This will make a great general purpose sight that will fit a lot of AR-15s. So any shooter across a lot of applications will use this to their advantage. Don’t be surprised if this sight excels in such applications like varmint hunting or casual target shooting. You’ll be able to hit your targets from a pretty sizable distance. This may be your best friend out in the field or on the range. If you want consistent accuracy, you’ll want nothing less than this sight. Bottom Line The Vortex Optics Sparc II Red Dot Sight might just be exactly what you’re looking for to knock down those moving (or not so moving) targets at roughly 100 yards. You’d be surprised by how quickly this can happen once you install this on your AR-15 rifle of choice. 4. Burris - Fastfire III Red Dot Reflex Sight CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Easy to install, takes a few minutes Battery life is surprisingly long-lasting Excellent for a wide variety of applications Co-witnesses perfectly with most iron sights Small and compact design doesn’t take up too much room Cons It does not fit Weaver rails Adjustments might be a little stiff at times Red dot might be distorted for some users with poor eyesight What Recent Buyers Report Most users were quite impressed with this sight. Not only was it small enough to fit on most AR-15 rifles, but it also was not bulky and did not take up too much room. One user said it took him a few minutes to fit it on his Picatinny rail. Once installed, he sighted it in and perfectly aligned it with his front sight. As a result, he experienced accurate and precise shooting consistently from 100 yards. Why it Stands Out to Us The sight is perhaps one of the most compact red dot sights on the market. So, it won’t make the rifle look clunky or stick out like a sore thumb. Not only that, it’s one of the best red dot sights that will co-witness with a lot of AR-15 iron sights. This means you’ll have a better chance of quickly locking in your target and accurately hitting your shots exactly where you want them to go. The FastFire III is the flagship product of an extensive selection of Burris red dot sights. This third generation of the Burris FastFire family features an upgraded and complete shock and waterproof housing. It has a top-mounted battery (CR1632) for more natural battery replacement. The Burris has a power button with three levels of brightness. It offers 1x magnification for both-eyes-open shooting, allowing perfect eye balance. The windage and elevation can be adjusted with clicks, just like a traditional variable-magnification scope. Since the Burris FastFire III is even smaller than the Bushnell TRS-25, this micro red dot can be used as a secondary optic on an AR-15 rifle. This little jewel is priced just above what would be ordinarily considered a budget sight. Who Will Use This Most This will be used across many AR-15 users and will work just fine if you’re using it for target shooting or hunting small game targets. Either way, it’s a red dot sight that has its uses, no matter what. Bottom Line The Burris FastFire III is built to last and handle all your AR-15 applications. Add this bad boy on in minutes and you’ll have a sight that is so compact, many of your fellow shooters at the range won’t know the difference. 5. Rhino Tactical Green & Red Dot Sight CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Easy to mount and sight-in Affordable for most budgets Effectively accurate at 100 yards Holds zero even after 400 rounds The red dot is visible, even for those with bad eyesight Cons Some complain that the dot looks more like a comma Some of the brightness levels may be a little weaker than expected May be slightly tilted to the left, so some adjustments may be needed What Recent Buyers Report This sight, as expected, was impressive according to many new users. They were satisfied with illuminated settings that helped them see better in the lowest of light settings. They also were able to install this sight on their rifles in less than five minutes. They reported that the accuracy and precision of each shot was spot-on with the help of this sight and the front sight co-witnessing. Why it Stands Out to Us This sight might be mistaken for a really small riflescope. But rest assured, it is a red dot sight with some of the same characteristics of an illuminated reticle and has easy to adjust elevation and windage settings. So, you can make adjustments on the fly if the shots are looking a little off. The body is quite durable to the point where it can resist a lot of shock. So, in essence, it will easily hold zero after hundreds or even thousands of shots. The Rhino Tactical is a tube-style sight that comes with a 4 MOA dot in either green or red. It’s a sturdy model among the lower-priced AR-15 red dot scopes. As you would expect, this sight has no magnification. It features a 35 mm-wide objective that provides fast target acquisition in most shooting conditions. Using the Picatinny cantilever mount included in the package, this site is great to use alongside standard-height A2 front sights. While it has five brightness levels to choose from, the Rhino often seems foggy or pixelated in low-light conditions. Who Will Use This Most This will likely be used by those in common applications like target shooting and hunting. But where this sight excels the most will be among competitive shooters. If you’re looking for something that will give you fast target acquisition and precise shooting in the heat of competition, this could be the sight that will give you the edge over your opponents, especially when accuracy is key. Bottom Line The Ozark Armament Rhino Red Dot Sight might just be right up your alley if you want a scope that is tough, easy to sight-in, and makes hitting your targets at close range an effortless possibility. It’s a nice hybrid of a rifle scope and a red dot sight that will definitely give your AR-15 the accuracy boost it needs. Where Should a Red Dot Sight Be Installed? When a gun owner has selected a red dot sight to fit his AR-15 and his specific need, the next step is to mount the new sight onto the rifle. The prevailing thought is the optimal position for a red dot sight is the forward portion of the upper receiver. This offers a better field of vision, as well as being the most secure part of the gun. If the red dot is placed at the rear end of the rifle, too close to the shooter, it leads to diminished peripheral vision when looking for a target or prey. On the other hand, placing it at the other end of the rail is no better. For mounting, common advice is to get the sight as close to the bore as possible. The mounting rings should not be placed directly over the lenses - they can compress the tube and cause lenses to crack under recoil. To take the strain of the recoil off the tubes, you should position the forward ring as close to the center of the sight body as possible. Adjusting the sight is easy to learn. There are two screws installed opposite the coil springs for windage and elevation. Good old-fashioned experience is going to have to substitute for hash marks and holdover positions for compensating for bullet drop, though. Red Dots For Beginners The number of people equipping their AR platform with reflex or holographic sights has increased substantially in the last few years. As you would expect, most manufacturers have climbed onto the AR bandwagon, offering a plethora of sturdy and functional AR-specific optics that are interchangeable on different AR-15 weapons . There’s a debate about whether a novice shooter should learn to shoot with a red dot sight. We’re not going to take sides because we don’t want to upset anyone. But let’s just look at the two schools of thought. Those who favor red dots for beginners focus on the ease of use and the likelihood of keeping the newcomer interested. Since it’s easier to learn and the likelihood of hitting the target is higher, they say, using a red dot is a much less frustrating experience. On the other hand, many people say it’s important to learn “the right way” by using iron sights . Knowing the basics will make them a better all-around shooter and they’ll always be able to fall back on this skill if the optics fail. Red Dots For Competition The use of electronic red dot reflex scopes is also on the rise with competition shooters. AR-15s are ubiquitous at 3-Gun competitions. Of course, different divisions have their own rules for the use of red dots, but when it’s permitted, the competitor should use a sight with the proper dot diameter. Smaller diameters are best for hitting a bullseye and a larger dot size is more suited for events that require moving from target to target. Conclusion We hope we’ve shown you some of the highlights of red dot sights, as well as the drawbacks. By now you probably know that if you want to reach out and touch something, you'll need optics with plenty of magnification and real reticles. If you are a recreational shooter doing some target practice or are simply interested in close-range uses of the gun, a red dot sight should be a great sighting tool for you. Red dot scopes are definitely a trending accessory. The technology in a modern red dot is robust and straightforward, making them cheap to manufacture. No wonder these simple devices are gaining so much traction in the gun world! If you are interested in reading more about other AR-15 scopes, read our buyers guide here .
Trending: Best Places to Buy Ammo Online and [Buyer's Guide] 7 Best AR-15s Are you an AR-Fanatic? Maybe it started because you heard you could save money by building an AR15 instead of buying one? Joke’s on you. Just some of my ARs… You probably now realize that building just one is a lot like the Pringles slogan “Once you pop, you just can’t stop.” Don’t worry. There are many of us that have succumbed to building ARs with the expectation that it will be “the last one.” Then a new product comes out, a cool new emblem on a lower receiver shows up, or your buddy gets a shiny rifle in a new cartridge. Problem with freedom? Not enough hands to hold those parts! Give in to it. It’s fun… even though your wallet may cower in the corner like an abused shelter pet. Today I’ll walk you through my budget AR-15 lightweight build with some AT3 parts and optics! The Budget Build Just about everyone has done a budget build if they have built an AR. The budget may vary but keeping price in mind on a build is common. With the build in this article, I built a rifle for my wife so she can enjoy some range time. The infamous “Poverty Pony”. This one is basically in-spec This rifle is the epitome of a budget conscious build and expectations for the rifle followed suit. I built this rifle keeping in mind that round count would be relatively low and that it lives its life as a recreational plinking rifle. Affordable options were used for this rifle, and it does its role very well. On my wife’s first range trip and never firing a rifle, I had her ringing steel at 300 yards on a steel silhouette with only a red dot. Proper assembly is paramount! My Barrel The barrel that I purchased is a PSA 16” Mid-Length Pencil Profile and is nitrided. PSA 16" Pencil Profile Mid-Length Gas 5.56 NATO Barrel 125 at Palmetto State Armory Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 125 at "Palmetto State Armory" Prices accurate at time of writing I went with this option because the price was right, and it is lightweight. I did not want to build a rifle that was too heavy and cumbersome for my wife to handle. At a little over 6.5 lbs., this rifle handles well. The barrel along with a Bowden Tactical compensator provides flat shooting and surprisingly accurate groups at 100-yards with Barnes TSX 62-grain loads. Black Hills 62gr Barnes TSX 5.56 NATO 75 at Lucky Gunner Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 75 at Lucky Gunner Prices accurate at time of writing I typically average between .75-1.75 MOA accuracy with just about any load I have fired through the barrel. Typical group with Barnes TSX 62 grain loads with a magnified optic My Bolt The bolt carrier group (BCG) is a Brownell’s nitrided model with a 158C steel bolt. I am a very big fan of these BCGs. For the price, they are hard to beat when on sale. Brownells Nitride BCG 140 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 140 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing They are high-pressure tested (HPT), and magnetic particle inspected (MPI) on an individual basis. This is important in my opinion when buying a BCG. There are lots of options out there that will probably serve you well in a budget rifle, but I don’t skimp on the individual testing. Another important thing to keep in mind is grade 8 hardware at the gas key and shot peening. This BCG checks all those boxes. This BCG is offered in mag-phosphate or nitride. On top of that, the staking is incredibly well done any time I have bought this BCG. Material is thoroughly displaced into the head of the screw at the gas key. It gives you a nice warm and fuzzy feeling for reliability, and the price is right when they go on sale. The Lower The receiver that I used was an Anderson Manufacturing. At this point, just about anyone knows about Anderson and their affordable receivers. Lines have been drawn, and people have picked their sides on the internet. Most Affordable Anderson Lower Receiver 42 at Kentucky Gun Company Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 42 at Kentucky Gun Company Compare prices (2 found) Kentucky Gun Company (See Price) Brownells (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing My lower receiver has bounced around a bit before finally resting as my wife’s rifle. It has seen a fair round count estimated at roughly 6k rounds. Full disclosure, it is just barely out of spec, but for its purposes, it works. The dreaded buffer retainer hole… Notice minor buffer face damage The infamous buffer retainer hole is barely out of spec and does cause a very small amount of damage to the face of the buffer. It doesn’t chew up buffers like a rabid chipmunk, but it has left minor wear in the same location. And I mean VERY MINOR. The Upper and Handguard The upper and handguard are from AT3 Tactical . The handguard is their Spear model and is a matched set that incorporates anti-rotation tabs on the handguard to mate into the billet upper receiver. The upper is a billet 6061 aluminum with a matte black anodizing, but Cerakote options are available. Sleek lines and lightweight make this upper/handguard a great option for anyone This upper does not have a forward assist. For a range rifle that is for plinking/recreation, there is honestly no need for it. This ultimately keeps the weight relatively low for a billet upper, and it keeps the weapon streamlined. Sizes available for the handguard are 9”, 12”, and 15”. My model is the 15” length in MLOK. The handguard is top-notch. All edges are smoothed out, and the handguard mounts securely via clamping bolts, the anti-rotation tabs, and two set screws that bite into a milled notch on the barrel nut. Rock-solid mounting options with the AT3 Spear handguard, and upper I would highly recommend this handguard and upper configuration. Especially at its price! When bought as a package, this matched upper and handguard set costs $149.99-164.99 depending on size with their black anodizing. Cerakote options cost slightly more but remain under $200 at the high end. The Stock The stock chosen for this build is the Mission First Tactical (MFT) Minimalist. It is a lightweight and tight-fitting stock that has served me well in other applications. At under 6 oz., the MFT Minimalist is one of the best lightweight, adjustable options on the market today. MFT Battlelink Minimalist 49 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 49 at Brownells Compare prices (2 found) Brownells (See Price) Rainier Arms (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing The stock is ergonomic and is comfortable to my wife due to its adjustability. I used a CMMG M4 receiver extension, and this stock is incredibly solid. There is zero wobble in the stock which can be noticeable with other heavier options. For an inexpensive and lightweight option, the Minimalist is THE choice To reduce felt recoil, I chose a Spikes Tactical ST2 buffer. It uses powdered tungsten as the weight, and it does noticeably smooth out felt recoil. Between the buffer, the mid-length gas system of the PSA barrel, and the efficient Bowden Tactical compensator, recoil stays low and allows for fast follow up shots. The Optic The optic mounted on this rifle is an AT3 RD-50 red dot. It has an absolute co-witness riser mount, with a rubberized cover that acts like armor. It has a 2 MOA dot, and in previous testing and experience with this red dot, it holds up very well to abuse and recoil. Author using the AT3 RD-50 on a turkey hunt, stacking birds For the price, the AT3 RD-50 is one of my favorite inexpensive red dots. With its 2 MOA dot, long battery life and ability to hold zero, it has proven to be a quality red dot for a very affordable price of under $99 with mount. The 2 MOA dot allows repeatable hits out to extended ranges. AT3 RD-50 Red Dot w/ Mount 99 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 99 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing If you wondering how the AT3 does in a destruction test… We’ve done that too! https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=422&v=zma9KwQsxEo Parting Shots The AR market is highly driven by inexpensive parts for people on a smaller budget. There is A LOT of options out there. The items that I discussed above are just a small sample of what you can go with for your next budget-minded build. What are some of your favorite inexpensive handguards, receivers, barrels and BCGs? If you have a budget build that you’re ready to take to the next level, take a look at the Best AR-15 Upgrades !