The 4 Best AR Pistol Optic [2020 Update]

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In this guide I’m going to show you the best ar pistol optic.

In fact:

These are the same scopes that many optic experts and competitive shooters use.

The best part?

I’ve sorted the scopes by use. So whether you’re on a budget or need a quality sight, you’ll find it here.

Let’s get started!

The 4 Best AR Pistol Optic

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best optics for AR pistol:

  1. Holosun HS510C: Best Optic for AR Pistol
  2. Vortex Optics SPARC: Best Budget Optic
  3. Aimpoint PRO: Best Optic for the Money
  4. Trijicon RMR Type 2: Best AR Pistol Optic Under $1000

1. Holosun HS510C: Best Optic for AR Pistol

I must say, the Holosun HS510C is by far the best optic to put on your AR pistol.

Not only is it an absolute workhorse of an optic, but it comes in at an extremely affordable price tag. Don’t let the price fool you:

This optic will outcompete and outlast optics that are over two times the price. Stick around if you want to hear about some of the killer features Holosun packed into this optic and why it remains on my AR pistol months after I bought it.

I’m sure you’ll be as impressed as I was.


Glass Clarity & Reticle

Bringing that sight up to my eye for the first time, I couldn’t help but smile in relief that I hadn’t wasted my money.

After a few shots I was hooked and never wanted to spend EOTech money again. The brightness is exceptional in the daytime and I have no issues seeing targets over 50 yards with pristine transparency.

The HS510C is a red dot sight and the reticle is as sharp as a katana. In addition, the ability to change from a 65 MOA circle with 2 MOA dot, a 2 MOA dot only, or a 65 MOA ring is a huge positive in my book.

The versatility and quality you get for the money is astounding.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The eye relief on the Holosun HS510C is universal and makes this optic a joy to use on your AR pistol. After months of continued use, I can’t find an uncomfortable spot to attach the site on my receiver.

Whether it’s an AR, pistol, or shotgun this optic works flawlessly on any of my firearms.

Personally, I use the scope on my .223 AR pistol and this combination is the best I’ve found yet.

Another awesome feature is the solar panel on the top end of the optic. Yup, a solar panel. Just in case the battery runs out and you’re in a pinch, the optic will keep on chuggin along.


Durability

Right out of the box this optic feels premium and months later it works as well as the day I got it. The housing is crafted with grade 5 titanium which is the perfect tradeoff between weight and strength.

The fit and finish is premium and the slender aluminum housing keeps obstructions to a minimum. Many of my EOTechs I have used in the past had bulky housings that consistently get in the way of my view with two eyes open.

For precision shooting, this is an essential feature and it’s why the HS510C hasnt left my firearm.

My clumsy ass has dropped the HS510C a time or two while swapping optics at the range and this sight truly does take a beating. Plus it kinda looks badass with some scratches on it.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

From my experience the turrets are reliable and make a very audible click when adjusting. A big pet peeve of mine is the lack of sound when using turrets and trying to zero my optic.

My only issue with the HS510C was the lack of directional arrows implemented. Didn’t take me long to figure out zeroing, but if Holosun were to update the scope, that would be a feature I would want added.

Other than that, the Holosun has had no issues and I haven’t had to re-zero since my first time out on the range.

As I said earlier, I have dropped the sight and had no issues losing a zero. This means the scope works every time you pick it up. No worries, just go out and shoot.

This is what I need out of a scope. I certainly don’t want to take up time zeroing my sight every time I go out to the range. I just wanna take my firearm out of the case and be ready to go.

In addition to this, the HS510C would be a reliable option for home defense. Although I am more of a shotgun user for home defense, this optic has never let me down on the range and I would trust it with my life.


Parallax & Magnification

The HS510C has a magnification of 1x which is exactly what I needed for my AR pistol. This is definitely more suitable for closer range shooting and I found myself using it anywhere up to 75 yards.

I have noticed a very slight parallax shift but nothing major. For the price point I would have expected far worse.

No better or worse than some of the other EOTech optics that are over two times the price.


Mounting & Rings

I often worry about scopes with a quick detach feature. I have had optics in the past that never locked in securely when using quick detach which led to unnecessary fiddling.

There is no reason to worry about this problem with the HS510C. The quick detach is snug, reliable, and has given me no issues.

I am often switching out many optics on my AR pistol throughout a day on the range and every time it works flawlessly.

I will say the mount is not as oversized and robust as others I have come across. This in no way takes away from the durability of the mount.

Sleek, elegant, and just works.

This makes this optic a dream to swap on and off a multitude of my firearms. The HS510C has definitely changed my mind on quick detach mounting.

I do wish they would have added the spacer to give the scope a little bit of a rise. They sell it on their website, however; it would have been a nice addition to make the optic more versatile.


Is the Holosun HS510C worth it?

For the low to mid end price point I would say the HS510C is a killer deal.

Here’s why:

  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Amazing battery life
  • A bunch of reticle choices

In short: The HS510C is an absolute workhorse of an optic that you can depend on.

If you’re not too sure if the Holosun HS510C is right for you, give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Holosun HS510C 2 MOA Dot Or A 65 MOA Ring Open Reflex Circle Dot Solar Power Holographic Red Dot Sight
1,047 Reviews
Holosun HS510C 2 MOA Dot Or A 65 MOA Ring Open Reflex Circle Dot Solar Power Holographic Red Dot Sight
  • The Holosun HS510C New advanced technology LED allows up to 50,000 hours of operation on one CR2032 battery
  • 2 MOA dot and a 65 MOA ring, Dot only, Ring only, or Dot and Ring reticle combinations
  • Unlimited field of view, Titanium-alloyed, shock resistant hood

2. Vortex Optics SPARC: Best Budget Optic

The Vortex Optics SPARC is the best optic when buying on a budget.

In fact:

I bought and hand-tested this scope myself to make sure it was worth it.

Need proof? Keep reading below.


Glass Clarity and Reticle

The Vortex SPARC has solid glass for a $200 optic.

The glass itself is fully multi-coated and crystal clear. The coatings kept my images sharp with no blurring or distortion to be seen.

This scope has a daylight bright red dot reticle. After cycling through the illumination levels I could still see the dot clearly in bright daylight, without having to crank it to maximum. The lowest settings are also compatible with night vision.

The battery gives this scope an extremely long life. Even on the highest setting it still has 700 hours of power.

The only downside to this is the 12 hour auto-timer. That means that sometimes when picking up the rifle I had to turn it back on first. This alone makes this scope valid for casual shooting, as any situation where you have to grab your rifle and go will cause a decent delay.


Eye Relief and Eye Box

The eye relief on the Vortex SPARC is unlimited. This scope isn’t designed for long distance shooting, so nothing it should be mounted to will kick enough to cause any harm.

I experienced zero eye strain while using this scope, and in fact found it useful to have both my eyes open while using it. The extra peripheral vision helped with target acquisition, and the glass is clear enough that I never had to strain to see through it.

Eye box was also not a factor, as the wide field of view and keeping both eyes open meant I could see my targets from multiple positions.


Durability

The Vortex SPARC is designed to take a beating.

After being fully submerged and dropped multiple times, this scope still held my zero perfectly. I examined it afterwards and saw no damage whatsoever, cosmetic or otherwise.

How?

Not only is it O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged to prevent any damage from moisture or fog, but it’s also constructed of a single piece. This gives it incredible resistance to impact and recoil.


Elevation and Windage Knobs

The turrets on the Vortex SPARC give nice audible clicks when adjusted. They are very low, so adjusting in a high stress situation may be difficult.

The best part?

It only took me 20 rounds to find my zero, and it held perfectly for the following 200 rounds.


Parallax and Magnification

The Vortex SPARC is completely parallax free. Even at 100 yards I had no issues with it.

Magnification is set at 1x. It’s perfect for quickly switching between targets. This scope is designed for close-quarters use, but I was still able to shoot accurately at 100 yards.


Mounting and Rings

This scope comes with a built in mount, which is an absolute wallet saver compared to other scopes.

It can be mounted at two heights. It comes set for lower ⅓ co-witness, but switching it to absolute co-witness is incredibly simple. I was able to make the change in around 5 minutes, so it doesn’t punish those that prefer the absolute co-witness.


Is the Vortex Optics SPARC worth it?

If you’re looking for a cheap, lightweight red dot sight for close-quarters use, then look no further than the Vortex Optics SPARC.

Here’s why:

  • Very durable
  • Crystal clear picture
  • Built in mounting system
  • Daylight bright illumination

To sum it up: $200 is incredibly low for an optic of this quality.

It’s a cheap scope that knows how to play up its strengths. It excels at rapid target acquisition, durability, and being incredibly user friendly. Vortex also provides a lifetime warranty, so any lost pieces or damaged parts can be easily replaced for free.

This scope doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not, and delivers amazing quality for a low price tag. I’d usually expect to pay twice as much for a scope that performs like this.

So if you’re looking for a solid red dot that won’t drain your bank account, I’d look no further than the Vortex Optics SPARC.

Sale
Vortex Optics SPARC Red Dot Sight Gen II - 2 MOA Dot
412 Reviews
Vortex Optics SPARC Red Dot Sight Gen II - 2 MOA Dot
  • The updated SPARC features rugged construction that’s still compact, with a lightweight form-factor. The 2 MOA dot is as easy as point and shoot - it’s quick to acquire in close-quarters, but fine...
  • With up to 700 hours of battery life on the highest setting, 50, 000 hour on its lowest, and night-vision compatibility at the lowest two settings, the SPARC red dot will keep working in a variety of...
  • Increased light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. Unlimited eye relief for rapid target acquisition. 12 illumination settings allows shooters to change...

3. Aimpoint PRO: Best Optic for the Money

The Aimpoint PRO is the best optic for your money.

In fact:

In the 1980s, elite units in the military like Delta Force adopted the Aimpoint because they were so impressed with its performance.

Distortion-free lenses, waterproof and shock-resistant, extremely long-lasting battery, and so much more for just under $450.

By the end of this review, you’ll know if the Aimpoint PRO is for you.

Let’s dive in!


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass is clear and crisp with only a slight blue tint.

I personally would’ve preferred if it had no color shift of the background when looking through the sight. But tinted lenses give enhanced contrast, and I’ve experienced no distortion whatsoever, so I’m pretty happy.

It features a threaded front lens opening. If you want to make it sharper, you can screw on another anti-reflective device.

The Aimpoint Pro comes with a 2 MOA dot with ten brightness settings: 6 for daytime use and 4 for nighttime use.

I find it also compatible with night vision and have used it with multiple magnifiers.

The Pro has an impressive battery life of 30,000 hours and is said to allow continued use of the sight for up to 3+ years without turning it off.

I’ve been using it for the past year and haven’t needed to change the batteries. So far so good.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The Pro has unlimited eye relief.

The eye box is slightly smaller compared to its counterparts but it has a great field of view.

A great feature I’d like to mention is that the Pro can be co-witnessed with iron sights and it comes with an extra spacer.

In fact, the red dot perfectly lined up with my AR’s iron sight. I was able to zero the Pro quickly within the first ten shots at 50 yards. 1000 rounds later, I was still shooting dead center without problem even at 200 yards.


Durability and Weight

The Aimpoint Pro is insanely dependable, and rugged.

Built out of anodized aluminum, it’s designed to withstand the harshest conditions and is completely waterproof up to 150 feet.!

It’s 3.2 inches tall, 5.4 inches long, and weighs about 12.7 oz with the spacer.

This optic is definitely not lightweight; therefore it works best on full-sized rifles.

After all, it’s a Patrol Rifle Optic 🙂


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The elevation and windage knobs are very reliable.

They’re relatively easy to tighten or loosen with just my fingers. They have an audible click sound and can be easily reset back to where you want them.


Parallax & Magnification

The Aimpoint pro features a 1x magnification.

It’s parallax-free. No matter where my eye was positioned, the dot didn’t move.

Not to mention, it was easy to fire accurately with both eyes open. This is very convenient if you are left-eyed dominant or right-eyed dominant and usually have to close one eye while shooting.


Mounting & Rings

The Aimpoint Pro comes with a standard AR-15 riser (which is removable) and a dual-height, torque-perfect QRP2 mount that only took me 10 minutes to install.

Also:

The package includes a Flip-away lens covers. The covers have a firm black plastic front and transparent rear, which protects the lens from the dirt, scratches, fingerprints, etc.


Is the Aimpoint PRO worth it?

If you’re looking for a great-quality yet budget-friendly optic that won’t fail on you, I highly recommend the Aimpoint Pro.

It’s got:

  • 1x magnification
  • Bulls-eye accuracy
  • Unlimited eye relief
  • Distortion-free lenses
  • 30,000-hour battery life
  • Easy installation and removal
  • waterproof and shock-resistant build

On top of its impressive list of features, the Aimpoint PRO is covered by a 10-year warranty. So if it ever breaks, Aimpoint will repair or replace it for free.

For under $450, this sight offers a complete package of accuracy, toughness, and reliability. Without a doubt, the Aimpoint Pro is worth every penny.

Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight with QRP2 Mount and Spacer - 2 MOA - 12841
786 Reviews
Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight with QRP2 Mount and Spacer - 2 MOA - 12841
  • Designed to deliver premium performance under harsh conditions
  • 2 MOA dot with 4 Night and 6 Daylight brightness settings
  • Up to 3 years of continuous operation using one DL1/3N battery (included)

4. Trijicon RMR Type 2: Best AR Pistol Optic Under $1000

The Trijicon RMR Type 2 is the top AR Pistol optic for under $1,000.

In fact:

It’s commonly used by law enforcement and the military, including adept hunters. Compared to other optics with similar price tags, the RMR Type 2 is proven to be extremely accurate, durable, and resilient.

Let me explain…


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The Trijicon RMR Type 2 glass is incredibly bright and clear.

No weird tints, blemishes or color issues.

Moving on, the reticle is a 3.25 MOA red dot.

The dot was big enough to catch my eye and small enough where I could still shoot precisely without my target getting covered too much.

The RMR Type 2 comes with the option of adjustable brightness. This is an excellent feature for low visibility operations or if you suffer from poor vision or any degree of astigmatism.

Press the plus sign button on the left of the optic, and your dot brightness increases. If you want to decrease the brightness, press the minus sign button on the right. It’s adjustable to eight different settings.

My favorite feature is the new lockout mode, which prevents accidental adjustments.

I also tried switching to the auto-adjust mode, and it worked perfectly. It detected the ambient light and gave me a red dot that was best for my shooting environment.

Whenever I want to save battery life, I can quickly turn the optic off by pressing both buttons simultaneously and holding for 3 seconds.

On that note, the battery life is really good. In fact, I’ve been using the RMR 2 for the past year and haven’t swapped out batteries yet.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

This RMR Type 2 has unlimited eye relief.

With this optic, I can achieve quick target acquisition even with both eyes open.

The eye box is forgiving and has a large field of view.


Durability and Weight

The Trijicon RMR Type 2 only weighs 1.17 ounces and is just under 1.8 inches long.

It’s insanely lightweight yet remarkably durable.

Trijicon produced the Type 2 for more high-grade durability.

It’s equipped with a Military-grade, aluminum alloy forged housing shape. So it diverts force of impact away from the lens, just in case you drop your weapon for any reason. I’ve personally done multiple drop tests on this optic and found no issues.

The red dot continued to point perfectly even after one-handed reloads and being hammered around on barricades.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The elevation and windage knobs are solid and easy to use.

Clicks are very audible, and the detents are resistant. This is great because it ensures my settings are maintained.

After firing over 1,000 rounds, I can personally confirm they don’t drift after harsh recoil or any other hard use.

I was able to zero quickly: within the first 25 rounds. No flickers, no loss of zero.

In fact:

I’ve never encountered an issue with zero shift, even when removing the optic to replace the battery.

If you’re an avid participant in those target shooting competitions where speed matters, you’ll find the RMR Type 2 really helpful.


Parallax & Magnification

The RMR Type 2 sports a 1x magnification.

It’s factory adjusted to be parallax free at approximately 100 yards.


Mountings

The RMR Type 2 could be easily fastened onto various models of firearms.

Conveniently, Amazon gives you multiple mounting adapters to purchase along with the optic.

You can select between the following options: Picatinny Rail, Weaver Rail, ACOG Add-On, Riflescope Add-On, Pistol, and Double Barrel Rifle.

Also:

If you shoot in harsh weather conditions, I recommend buying the Cat Crap Lens Cleaner Balm.

EK USA, Cat Crap, Anti-Fog Lens Cleaner Balm, Safe on All Lenses, Eyeglasses, Goggles, and Camera Lenses - 0.5 Ounce
1,793 Reviews
EK USA, Cat Crap, Anti-Fog Lens Cleaner Balm, Safe on All Lenses, Eyeglasses, Goggles, and Camera Lenses - 0.5 Ounce
  • EASY APPLICATION - To use our convenient, anti-fog, lens cleaner, simply rub the balm on, then wipe off for improved visibility and lens clarity. This half-ounce balm holds enough Cat Crap for...
  • STAY IN THE CLEAR - Get the most out of this multi-use balm, a specifically-formulated lens cleaner for eyewear, goggles, binoculars, and more. It pairs great with our microfiber lens cleaning cloth.
  • TRAVEL-FRIENDLY - This little greenish balm is small and easy to carry in your pocket or bag for quick, convenient use whenever you need it.

I usually apply this with a Q-tip, and it helps to protect the glass and restore clarity to the optic.


Is the Trijicon RMR Type 2 worth it?

If you’re looking for a solid red dot optic for your AR pistol, get the Trijicon RMR Type 2.

Here’s why: it’s got…

  • Long-lasting battery life
  • True-color multi-coated lens
  • 3.25 moa adjustable LED red dot
  • Waterproof and shockproof build
  • Manual/Automatic brightness mode
  • Easily adjustable and solid windage/elevation knobs

And to top it all off, this scope comes with Trijicon’s Limited-Lifetime Warranty if you need to repair or replace it.

All in all, the Trijicon RMR Type 2 stands out among all the budget red dot sights in the market.


Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best AR pistol optic guide.

So as a recap:

If you’re looking for the best optic for an AR pistol, get the Holosun HS510C.

Holosun HS510C 2 MOA Dot Or A 65 MOA Ring Open Reflex Circle Dot Solar Power Holographic Red Dot Sight
1,047 Reviews
Holosun HS510C 2 MOA Dot Or A 65 MOA Ring Open Reflex Circle Dot Solar Power Holographic Red Dot Sight
  • The Holosun HS510C New advanced technology LED allows up to 50,000 hours of operation on one CR2032 battery
  • 2 MOA dot and a 65 MOA ring, Dot only, Ring only, or Dot and Ring reticle combinations
  • Unlimited field of view, Titanium-alloyed, shock resistant hood

Looking for the best budget optic? I’d recommend Vortex Optics SPARC.

Sale
Vortex Optics SPARC Red Dot Sight Gen II - 2 MOA Dot
412 Reviews
Vortex Optics SPARC Red Dot Sight Gen II - 2 MOA Dot
  • The updated SPARC features rugged construction that’s still compact, with a lightweight form-factor. The 2 MOA dot is as easy as point and shoot - it’s quick to acquire in close-quarters, but fine...
  • With up to 700 hours of battery life on the highest setting, 50, 000 hour on its lowest, and night-vision compatibility at the lowest two settings, the SPARC red dot will keep working in a variety of...
  • Increased light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. Unlimited eye relief for rapid target acquisition. 12 illumination settings allows shooters to change...

How about the best optic for the money? Then opt-in for Aimpoint PRO.

Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight with QRP2 Mount and Spacer - 2 MOA - 12841
786 Reviews
Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight with QRP2 Mount and Spacer - 2 MOA - 12841
  • Designed to deliver premium performance under harsh conditions
  • 2 MOA dot with 4 Night and 6 Daylight brightness settings
  • Up to 3 years of continuous operation using one DL1/3N battery (included)

Lastly, if you are looking for the best AR pistol optic under $1000, I’d recommend Trijicon RMR Type 2.

That said, you can’t go wrong with any of these options. After all, I have hand and torture tested all the above scopes, and proved to be reliable.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which optic will you pick for your AR pistol?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

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