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Old 08-22-2012, 17:44   #1
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Best Co-Witness Optics Setup for an AR?

With the technology changes constantly occurring in the field of optics, I read about many guys wanting to set up their rifles (particularly AR's) with co-witness optics (usually a red dot in the same field of view as the iron sights). The following definition seems to describe it best...

"Co-witness is being able to align one's iron sights through the optical window, the two common setups being "absolute" co-witness (reticle centered in optic, irons centered in optic) and "lower third" co-witness (iron sights are visible in the bottom of optical window, when reticle is centered, irons will be below the reticle and less intrusive to sight picture)."

Assuming the preceding is correct, which current red dot sight performs the co-witness function best with the typical AR iron sights?
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Old 08-22-2012, 20:08   #2
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Hey KMO I am new to the AR family like you are, and I am no expert, but I (like yourself) have been doing my homework. I went with the Ruger SR-556E because I trust Ruger engineering, quality, and service. Anyways, I was looking at the EOTech EXPS2 sight and it currently is their only sight that offers the "bottom third" co-witness. If you want to get a better idea of how this looks, here is a video.


Skip to 4:00 in the video to see the co-witness in first person view. I am not totally sold on this sight, but it is up there on my list. Another great sight suggested to me by Woodstock is the Lucid HD7, check it out. It is right up there with the high end optics but is half the price at $200. This sight also offers the bottom 1/3 co-witness, but the sight window is a bit smaller than the EOTech.

I hope this helps you, as I seem to be in the same boat as you at the moment. Mini 14 guy getting into the AR scene! I went with the Troy folding sights first and will get an optic down the road.
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Old 08-23-2012, 06:17   #3
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Hey BBP...It looks like you might be of more help than the rest of this crowd over here on the AR portion of the PU website. That SR556 is a very nice rifle. I'm sure it will perform well for you. As a big Ruger fan, I gave it a good look, but I landed on the Sig 556... SIG556 SWAT Patrol Rifle

It comes with some decent factory iron sights, and I will probably get used to those before investing in a red dot for a co-witness setup. That Eotech is real nice. I might borrow my Weaver red/green dot from my tactical Mini-14 & play around with it on the Sig before I decide which sight to ultimately purchase.

Here's another website you might find interesting... UNDERSTANDING CO-WITNESS
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Old 08-23-2012, 09:00   #4
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Any tube-type non-magnified red dot (like Aimpoints and clones) will co-witness as long as you have the proper mount. A number of companies sell mounts in different heights specfically for lower-third or absolute.

My Eotech 512 will absolute co-witness. There are several companies that sell riser mounts, but I am not sure if they will let you do a lower-third.
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Old 08-23-2012, 15:08   #5
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Originally Posted by KMO View Post
Hey BBP...It looks like you might be of more help than the rest of this crowd over here on the AR portion of the PU website. That SR556 is a very nice rifle. I'm sure it will perform well for you. As a big Ruger fan, I gave it a good look, but I landed on the Sig 556... SIG556 SWAT Patrol Rifle

Here's another website you might find interesting... UNDERSTANDING CO-WITNESS
Hey KMO, congrats on your purchase. I am going to pick mine up tonight and I received my Troy folding battle sights today too. Unfortunately I have a very busy weekend coming up so I may not be able to break it in until next week. I looked at the SIG 556 models too (I liked the Classic Swat) but I fell in love with the Ruger when I held the standard model at my local shop last year. I enjoy researching things and getting other's opinions and feedback before I invest, and I got the impression that you are the same.

I am still not totally sure how handy the lollypop trick in the video would be, but alas I am not experienced with these optics. I am looking at the EXPS2-2 which has two 1 moa dots in the reticle. I would simply use the bottom dot for close and long ranges, as I think it would be faster than lining the hologram and your front sight up. I like the idea of being able to co-witness in the event of a failure, and I would prefer the bottom third because it wouldn't obstruct your view that much. Thanks for the link, good and straight forward info.

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Old 08-23-2012, 16:01   #6
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That Eotech looks like a dang nice sight. As I stated, I think I'll temporarily snag the Weaver red/green dot off of my Mini-14, and give it a try when my new AR arrives next week. I believe it will let me co-witness in the lower 1/3 if I just mount it with its integrated rail mount. It is promoted as a good red dot for the AR, and I've been very pleased with it thus far. I might end up purchasing a second one...

Weaver -Red/Green Dot Sight -Sighting for deer or turkey hunters
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Old 08-23-2012, 18:09   #7
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Vortex Strikefire with a high mount will allow cowitnessing.
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Old 08-23-2012, 18:26   #8
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I have a flat top Ar with BUIS and a co -witnessed Aim Point.
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:58   #9
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Vortex Strikefire with a high mount will allow cowitnessing.
This one does keep showing up allot as I poke around...

Vortex Optics - StrikeFire Red/Green Dot Low Mount
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:33   #10
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The best?

Aimpoint T1 (or H1) on a Larue LT751 mount, it provides an absolute co-witness for about $600 (I got the H1 w/ the mount) from G&R Tactical.....got mine there a little over a month ago. The best money I've spent on glass and a nice mount!

Less than the best= The Votex SPARC, it too will co-witness and is only a tad larger than the Aimpoint T1/H1 line.
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:29   #11
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Here's a pic from my AImpont M2. It's on a low mount because it sits on top of a Vltor CASV rail, but co-witnesses perfectly.
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Old 08-24-2012, 13:40   #12
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The Vortex Strikefire on the high mount can be had at Optics Planet today for $149 & free shipping. For that price, I'll give it a try. You just have to go to their Live Chat and tell them you want this price for the following item...
Vortex StrikeFire Red/Green Dot Sight SFRD w/ High Rings for AR-15 - Vortex SFRD Scope
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Old 08-24-2012, 13:51   #13
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Originally Posted by KMO View Post
The Vortex Strikefire on the high mount can be had at Optics Planet today for $149 & free shipping. For that price, I'll give it a try. You just have to go to their Live Chat and tell them you want this price for the following item...
Vortex StrikeFire Red/Green Dot Sight SFRD w/ High Rings for AR-15 - Vortex SFRD Scope
I have a Vortex Strikefire on my AES10b. Doesn't co witness on an AK type, but a great scope for the money. Recently I've been looking at an Meprolight m21. THe Isrealies use them on their AR's and they will co witness. They also don't need batteries. Give it a look.
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Old 08-25-2012, 06:16   #14
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Originally Posted by KMO View Post
The Vortex Strikefire on the high mount can be had at Optics Planet today for $149 & free shipping. For that price, I'll give it a try. You just have to go to their Live Chat and tell them you want this price for the following item...
Vortex StrikeFire Red/Green Dot Sight SFRD w/ High Rings for AR-15 - Vortex SFRD Scope
I thought you were looking for "The Best".

Although Vortex is good it's NOT the best, I own a Vortex Sparc (on a S&W 15/22), and have owned 2 Vortex Strikefires....and at some point both models have gone back to Vortex for a replacement.

People buying optics need to understand that to get good glass you MUST spend more money. Most serious shooters will tell you that you should be paying as much (or more) for your optic as you did for your rifle.

Maybe you should have asked: Which optic will co-witness for a cheap price?
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Old 08-25-2012, 06:36   #15
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Maybe you should have asked: Which optic will co-witness for a cheap price?
Well, I asked what I asked, and I suppose I could have just gone out & purchased an Eotech or an Aimpoint, but I thought I would gather some input. Maybe I will purchase one of those sights down the road, but there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of a good deal in the meantime. To be honest, I don't even plan to mount the sight until I have put a good number of rounds through the rifle using the iron sights. I should add, many AR users on several forums honestly believe this Vortex sight IS the best they have used for co-witnessing, so I don't think I need to apologize for deciding to buy it. Sorry if my purchase falls below your standards Gunzilla. Maybe you should sell your Vortex & upgrade your own optics?
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Old 08-25-2012, 08:18   #16
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Originally Posted by KMO View Post
Well, I asked what I asked, and I suppose I could have just gone out & purchased an Eotech or an Aimpoint, but I thought I would gather some input. Maybe I will purchase one of those down the road, but there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of a good deal in the meantime. To be honest, I don't even plan to mount the sight until I have put a good number of rounds through the rifle using the iron sights. I should add, many AR users on several forums honestly believe this Vortex sight IS the best they have used for co-witnessing, so I don't think I need to apologize for deciding to buy it. Sorry if my purchase falls below your standards Gunzilla. Maybe you should sell your Vortex & upgrade your own optics?
My only complaint is that you came here and asked for the 'best', not the average....or the 'best deal'. When requesting data be specific, don't waste peoples time if all you're really looking for is the cheapest.

I see this a lot, someone will ask: "What AR do you recommend?" So someone explains in great detail why certain ARs are a good investment and why others are just plain crap. Then a few days later the OP comes back to say they bought 'Brand X"...which happens to be the one they were told to avoid.

BTW, in my first response I did answer with Vortex as another option, just not the Strikefire model. I mentioned the Sparc because I thought you might be concerned about the additional weight of the bigger Strikefire model.....sorry, my mistake.

The Vortex isn't a bad sight, just don't leave your battery in while you store your rifle...it will go dead, or be so low the optic will not operate correctly.

Also, my Aimpoint H1 is my upgrade... as is my Burris XTR 1-4 on my other AR, so I'm good to go, the Vortex is my toy sight on my 22lr....thanks for your suggestion.

...and don't feel any obligation to apologize to me, I'm not asking for one nor do I want one, if you find the need to apologize you need to stand in front of a mirror.....you're spending your money not mine.

Lastly, if you plan on using your iron sights for awhile it might be a good idea to wait before laying down money on an optic.....you just might have enough saved by the time you are ready to use an optic to afford one that won't require you to go out and buy a better one later, it will also allow more time for you to do more research.......just a thought.
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:49   #17
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Well, alrighty then...
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Old 08-26-2012, 06:23   #18
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KMO,

Firstly, congrats on getting into the world of the AR-15!

These are great rifles that offer a TON of options. And, of course, optics is probably the most difficult to choose.

For me, I really like the EOTech holographic sight. It provides an excellent co-witness sight picture. More importantly, I believe it provides the best "both eyes open" experience for a shooter...again, for me.

Of course, others' mileage may vary. But, there's no denying that the large window of the EOTech offers very quick target acquisition for the shooter. And, the holographic nature of the sight is quite functional, especially if your line of sight is not perfectly inline with the standard front and rear sight.

There are certainly other good optics out there...Aimpoint, ACOG, Meprolight m21, Vortex Strikefire, etc., etc.

In the end, I say buy what suits your needs, your tastes and your budget. Let's face it; ammo is not cheap. So, if a $150 optic gives you the same results as a $400-$1000 optic would, then I say you've got yourself a winner. ;^)

The term "best" is always subjective anyway. As long as you're happy with the optic then you're good to go. Besides, if you find you want to upgrade later, you can always do that. And, I'm sure the Vortex Strikefire would serve one of your other rifles just fine.

Cheers!
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:33   #19
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Originally Posted by Gunzilla View Post
...The Vortex isn't a bad sight, just don't leave your battery in while you store your rifle...it will go dead, or be so low the optic will not operate correctly...
Does the Strikefire's automatic power down feature, to save the battery, not function?

Vortex Optics - StrikeFire Red/Green Dot Low Mount
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:10   #20
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Does the Strikefire's automatic power down feature, to save the battery, not function?
I certainly expect it to! Will have to let you know on that...

Hey alaj70! Long time, no hear...You must have sold your Mini & been hang'n out over here in the AR section?

This Vortex sight should be fine for the time being. I can always swap it out with a sight on one of my other rifles later if it proves to be a low-end, cheapo, no-good, loser...
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:28   #21
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Originally Posted by cma g21 View Post
Does the Strikefire's automatic power down feature, to save the battery, not function?

Vortex Optics - StrikeFire Red/Green Dot Low Mount

Yes, it works, but like any other battery powered light, flash light, etc if the batteries are left in they will slowly go bad. I can tell you from my experience that I've gone through a couple of batteries from the rifle just sitting in the safe before I realized what was happening.

What happens in the Vortex optic when the batteries are low is the dot will either not light up and stay lit or, in the case of my Sparc, once it's on you can't shut it off by holding the button as the instructions say to do to power it down, then all of a sudden you go to shoot it again and the dot won't come back on. Normal button functions go out the window.

The Vortex Sparc I have on my S&W 15-22 takes an odd size CR2354 disc battery, the Strikefire takes a CR2. Why Vortex does this is beyond me.

The whole battery fiasco was too much, especially since there are optics out there that will go 10 of thousands of hours on 1 battery with the optic on full time, at 1/2 power.....so I bought one of those....problem solved.

1 thing to consider while looking at optics, if you plan to own more than 1 rifle is to buy optics that run off the same size batteries. With my Burris XTR and my Aimpoint H1 I have that by using the CR2032. I don't leave a battery in my Burris for the same reason I don't leave a battery on my Sparc, but then the Burris is a scope with a full time BDC reticle, and I rarely shoot in low light so I usually don't ever turn on the illuminated reticle anyway. The H1 is on my 0-200 yard go-to rifle, battery installed and ready to rock. The Burris is on my 200+ yard rifle that isn't likely to need a battery at a moments notice. So far this set-up is working out great.
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