What’s the “best” anyway? It all depends on the ranking criteria, right? Is the “best” car one that hits 60 mph in 2.9 seconds or one that can tow the lower half of South Dakota to Manitoba? The same goes with optics, so as I own the ink until this article goes live and comments open, I’m going to define the selection criteria. To me, a great short-range AR optic must offer speed and just enough precision to hit something accurately inside of 200 yards, with a strong emphasis on less than 50 yards. Magnification features allowing me to see a gnat’s eye color at 400 yards is irrelevant. Reliability is also a factor. If all you want is a range toy, then you can buy a cheap optic and take your chances. There’s not a whole lot of risk other than having to rebuy it when it breaks.
I’m going to assume our “best” optics need to be suitable for home defense and/or competition. Both of those scenarios offer penalties if the optic won’t hold zero or won’t run when you need it to. After these criteria, things get subjective pretty fast, and that’s OK. I’m going to offer up my picks, then you can tell me whether you agree or disagree, and why.
Cover Image: Shutterstock/Straight 8 Photography