It's nice to find optics from a reputable company that don't break the bank. And since there are a lot folks who likely bought an AR-pattern rifle (or a dozen) in the run-up to last November's election, many are now looking to actually make those rifles shoot-able. That means acquiring and mounting things like optics.
An unlikely object of my affection is the unusually named Bushnell "Incinerate" red dot. These can be found for right around $150. They have iron sights built into the top of the optic (about which I'm ambivalent), but this little gem has a very usable reticle, illumination control that allows effective use of that reticle, and an integral mount.
The reticle consists of a 2-MOA dot surrounded by a 25-MOA circle. Cranked all the way up to maximum illumination, the reticle looks like one massive red dot that would be hard to miss. The other settings allow the shooter to get just the right amount of contrast against their target without washing out the target or over doing it on the reticle. This means the 2-MOA portion of the red dot can be used more precisely than any iron sights and it's easy to find because it's surrounded by a 25-MOA circle.
The integral mount has a small wing nut that also accommodates a large standard screwdriver. A single, full-width lug means it attaches to any Picatinny rail. It's tough to find such a well thought-out reticle/illumination/mount combination at a lower price point than the Incinerate, especially with Bushnell standing behind it.
The Incinerate's cousin, the Accelerate, is a fixed, 4X prism sight that also comes with an outstanding reticle, illumination control, and an integral mount. Unlike many of the more popular fixed 4X AR optics, the Accelerate has over 3 inches of eye relief. Positional shooting or using this optic on a large-frame AR will not be a problem. There is plenty of room for the shooter to move his head around in odd shooting positions without eating the scope on even a moderately recoiling rifle.
The Accelerate has Bushnell's BTR-3 reticle that consists of a .5-mil dot surrounded by an 8-mil circle with a vertical stadia line that descends from the center dot. The vertical stadia subtends in .5-mil increments down to 10 mils. It is a very usable reticle for any cartridge/rifle combination.
The reticle is etched on glass and illuminates in either red or green, with five power settings for each color. There is an ocular focus on the Accelerate to focus the reticle to any shooter's eye. The integral mount uses two ½-inch nuts that also accommodate a large standard screwdriver. There are two full-width lugs that securely hold this optic to any section of Picatinny rail.
The final newcomer from Bushnell is the "Transition," a fixed 3X magnifier that can sit behind any red dot sight. Fixed magnifiers like this one from Bushnell can be surprisingly expensive, but this one can be found for around $180.
Fixed magnifiers fill the void that inevitably forms when anyone spends time behind a red dot sight. Sooner or later, you'll want at least some magnification to help you reach a little farther.
The Transition comes with good clear glass and an ocular focus so you can still have a sharp reticle or red dot. There are even small-adjustment turrets on the magnifier to center the red dot and mitigate parallax. Each Transition ships with a flip-to-side mount that attaches to any section of Picatinny rail.
For those with Champagne taste but a beer budget, Bushnell has an AR optic for you. Each of the three items I've experienced has been soundly designed and should serve you well.
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