What we’re going to be doing is going through some of the basic types of optics and what they’re used for, and we’ll go over some tips and tricks that’ll help you select the best optic to suit your particular place top. Almost all airsoft guns come stock with a set of iron sights and we recommend that all new players use their iron sights for several games to get to know their gun.
What kind of range do you get? What are the different characteristics and how do they apply with the guns on the field? That experience then will serve you in making decisions on which kinds of optic you want. So the first thing to consider about optics is that they are tools that you can use to enhance your gameplay.
Even after you select the correct optic, the optic by itself is not going to make your gun any better or worse. If you take 10 times magnifying scope and put it on a stock AEG, that gun won’t shoot any further or it won’t be any more accurate than it was previously. Understanding your gameplay preference is as important as knowing the limitations of your gun, in order to select the proper optic.
Once you’ve decided you want to move to an optic, you’ll be looking at three basic categories: red dots sights like aim points in EO techs, small magnifiers like Elkins, and large magnifiers like your typical sniper scope. These types of optics will all have very distinct characteristics from one another. Now, we’re going to start off by looking at red dot sights first. Red dot sites allow for faster target acquisition and shot adjustment than iron sights. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes with different reticle options, different color options, and so on.
In general, when choosing a red dot sight, you want to make sure you get one with good solid construction; one that has a nice bright dot that you can adjust for windage and elevation and one that has limited parallax. Parallax is an optical illusion that happens when the position of your reticle changes as the position of your eye changes. So if you shift your aiming position, you may find that the dot is not actually in the same place as it was before.
Most real steel sights are corrected for parallax to a certain distance, that is also the case for good quality ESOP replicas. However, if you look at cheaper airsoft replicas, you’ll find that there is no or very limited parallax correction; making them less useful to us on the airsoft field. If you’re the type of player who plays a lot of CQB or you find yourself very aggressive on the field, red dot sights may be the type of site for you.
They allow you to be as flexible as you can on the battlefield without sacrificing on your speed or aggressiveness. In point of fact, these are the types of sights that the store monitors use the most for that exact reason. Next up, we’re going to look at small magnifiers, and here we mean optics with magnification four times and lower. They can either be fixed or variable magnification and they allow you to see where your BBs are going.
When they become easily operated, they give you a very different perspective of the battlefield. When selecting a small magnifier such as this one, you’re going to want to take into consideration the construction; the field of view, which is the diameter of the lens, and the IRA leaf, which is the distance required from your eye to the optic in order to get a full sight picture. Seeing more of the battlefield can be achieved through a wide field of view, which is why it’s so important
Good eye relief is important because it allows you to acquire a sight picture more quickly. Before putting a magnifier on your gun, ensuring your gun carries enough range for the magnification is also one factor that needs to be checked. Assuming it does, precise shots will be much more achievable. However, it will be much slower to acquire targets than a red sight. If you can’t decide or you find yourself needing both, you have a couple of options. One is that you can look into a flip-down sight, which allows you to move the magnifier out of the way and use the red dot; or you can get a Docter sight that actually mounts on top of your magnifier.
Small magnifiers will really benefit the type of player who has the opportunity to make long-range shots, but still able to operate in a close-quarters environment. They’re also really useful in mil-sim games where observation may be a huge part of your mission. Lastly, we have large magnifiers. Here, we mean optics with greater than four times magnification. These optics require a gun that has extremely good range and accuracy in order to use, and they’re generally used by marksman and snipers.
They allow you to make a really good shot at an extreme distance. However, they have little use in CQB. When it comes to large magnifiers, your field of view and eye relief becomes even more important than when they were on your small magnifiers. Additionally, if you’re serious about sniping, we recommend that you look at getting a real steel rifle scope. In general, real steel sights have much better construction than their air airsoft replica counterparts and will serve your needs on the field way better.
For the typical airsoft player attending a weekend skirmish, large magnifiers will not be very effective. Using a large magnifier effectively is a skill that takes time to perfect; unless you’re already an accomplished marksman or attending a mil-sim game in a recon or sniper role, we recommend staying away from large magnifiers and sticking to small magnifiers and red dots sites – especially for newer players. Regardless of what type of optic you select in the end, it won’t be very effective until you cited in.
So when you get the optic, put it on your gun and spend some time so they get in properly before your first game; that’ll make sure that it’s as accurate as possible when you hit the field and you already got a little bit of experience in determining ranges. Additionally, you may want to consider protecting your investment by getting a lens protectors such as a clear Alexion shield or a mesh kill flash as well. This will make sure that a BB doesn’t actually crack your lens, forcing you to replace your optic.
At the end of the day, you’ll want to select an optic that suits your play style and doesn’t limit your options. If you find yourself on the field unable to do certain things due to your optic, that’s probably not the right optic for you. So it’s important to consider your play style in accordance with your team’s style and ultimately, your rifle.
If for example, you have one out of the 10 storm riders, only one of them runs a large magnifier. A handful of them run the small magnifiers and the large majority run red dots sites. An effective factor to take into consideration for our style of play and the fields that we play on.