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Choosing the Right Optic in Airsoft

A person holding a gun aiming with a reflex sight

Knowing what optic to use in your airsoft endeavours can be intimidating, but choosing the right sight can be the simplest way to improve your game. Here, we’re taking a look at how to choose the right optic in airsoft, exploring what optics suit what roles, and how to determine what’s best for you.

Key Differences Between Optics

Establishing the differences between the optics is an easy way to determine which is suitable for you. Starting with the main types of optics, which are as follows:

Iron Sight

Otherwise known as an open sight, they come as a standard on most guns in various forms. They feature a series of alignment markers, of which, have to all be aligned correctly to shoot accurately, and can be used at short, medium or long range depending on the gun. For example, a sniper rifle’s iron sight can be used at long range, but this is due to the long-range capabilities of the gun itself, and a lot of skill is required in order to shoot accurately from long range with the iron sights - due to aligning all markers and keeping a steady hand to keep them aligned.

Reflex or Red Dot Sight

Known for their distinct appearance and commonly coming with the classic red dot in the centre of the lens, reflex sights are most effective at short to medium range. The reflex sight requires the user to aim a single marker (typically a red dot) at the target in order to shoot accurately. Usability is limited when range increases due to their lack of magnification.

Telescopic Sight

The telescopic sight consists of a scope with magnification and a reticule to help accurately shoot targets from long range. There are two main variations of this sight - fixed and variable. Fixed telescopic sights have one level of magnification, whereas variable has different, adjustable levels of magnification that can be changed with a control. Even with the longest range sniper rifle, most people don’t need more than 4x magnification.

A man aiming a gun with open sights

Start Using The Iron Sights

Using the iron sights, to begin with will give you a better grounding in the basics of shooting a rifle, then it should help you determine what is best for you; you’ll quickly discover where you think you lack in regards to the guns optics. If you’re struggling with accuracy at a short to medium range, you’ll probably want to opt for a reflex sight. If we’re talking long range when using a sniper rifle, then a telescopic sight may be the one for you. With that said, you might find that you prefer the iron sights, so don’t skip this step!

Do Your Research

It’s essential to do your research before purchasing any air gun or optic. For example, if you have an airsoft gun which only fires at short to medium range, there isn’t much point attaching a magnifying scope, as it won’t make the gun fire any further and will only be a hindrance at close range. So, make sure you look into the specs of the air guns and sights that you purchase. Generally speaking, the gun you choose will narrow down what sight is best suited. If you have an average AEG, then an average Red Dot or Reflex sight will suit you best, most are pretty similar, just choose something that can hold it’s zero and looks good on your gun!

A man looking down a telescopic scope on a sniper rifle

Your Role

The optic and the gun you use is a significant factor in the role within your squad. As previously mentioned, a gun that has a short to medium range is not paired well with a telescopic sight. Guns of this description are best paired with a reflex sight, a standard pair for the rifleman. If you have a sniper rifle, hiding from afar as a sniper, you will need a telescopic sight scope, as a reflex sight will undoubtedly hinder your effective range in comparison due to its lack of magnification. The iron sight is arguably another option but requires great skill to shoot accurately and again, doesn’t feature any magnification, limiting effective range capabilities.

The optic you should use will depend mostly on two factors: what role you choose and the gun you’re using. Both of these go hand in hand, as the role you decide to take will dictate the type of gun you should use, and subsequently the best optic. Need help deciding what role you should try? Read our recent blog: Which airsoft role should you choose?

But don’t forget airsoft can be 70% fashion show, so choose something you like the look of!

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