Buyers Guide: Ar 15 Magnifiers
A magnifier can be used in "Co-Witness", which is a combination of a red dot or other low magnification optics. The optical systems are mounted on the firearm. You can use the magnifier with or without the red dot magnified by the magnifier. Flip the magnifier over and lock it in place.
This magnifier is popular because it allows you to easily switch your weapon system capabilities from being optimized for Close Quarter Combat (CQR), short-range, and close-range combat (SAR) situations to midrange engagements. All you have to do is reach up and slide the magnifier over the magnifier.
Attributes to Look For
Many factors will determine whether or not a magnifier is high-quality. Moreover, many of these attributes directly impact the price and user experience. It is important to research and understand what you need before getting one.
Most magnifiers can produce a three-times larger image.
There are many magnifiers available: 2x, 4x, and 5x as well as 7x. Most magnifiers are 3x with some 6x available.
Three times magnification is a good compromise between increasing the size of the image and decreasing your field of view. People who require more than 3x magnification will be happier with a dedicated magnified eye than a magnifier.
Some people may still benefit from more magnification. In this instance, I recommend a 6x magnifier with good eye relief.
A magnifier that is not able to be lifted if the gun is bumped is useless.
Fixed magnification magnifiers are more durable than other magnifiers because there are fewer internal parts that can be damaged by vibration or shock. They don't have the reticle, which makes them pretty immune to scope failures.
However, mounts can be a weakness.
A cheaper magnifier will usually result in a less robust amount. However, it's possible to handle the Leaper UTG magnifier so that it breaks the locking lug on the flip-to-side mount.
It's a bright idea to buy a sturdy mount if you plan to take your magnifier out in the wild. A magnifier that bounces on your gun could be as bad as trash.
Flip to Side or Inline
An inline magnifier is permanently attached to your red dot sight.
People use magnifiers because they can use the red dot sight without or with the magnifier. However, permanently magnifying your red dots is a heavy and bulky way to limit your options.
If you are going to buy one, make sure it's flip-to–side, slide–to-side or switch-to–side.
Many magnifier mounts include a quick-detach mechanism that allows you to remove the tube quickly.
This mounting method is my recommendation. When adjusted correctly, QD mounts can be just as strong as permanent mounts, and you can remove or mount the magnifier if needed.
To ensure that the magnifier mount works properly, it is essential to mount your red dot sight properly.
Modern magnifiers have a way of making eye relief easier than older magnifiers. Eye relief of two inches used to be great. You can now find inexpensive magnifiers that provide almost three inches of relief.
If all other options are equal, it is wise to get a magnifier with longer eye relief.
The use of short eye reliefs can be more complex and could result in your eyebrows being shaved when the gun recoils.
When comparing magnifiers with the same tech level, you will notice that an increase in your eye relief will almost always lead to a smaller field of view. For example, a magnifier and red dot sight will have a smaller FOV.
Mount your magnifier on a sturdy and durable mount. A majority of these magnifiers use a swing mount; this means that the optics will be supported on a pivot point. If these pivot points aren't high quality, they can fail quickly. Therefore, many of the mounts included with magnifiers are made to be as essential as possible.
You will need to make sure the mount you purchase fits your optics. For example, if your optics include a metal mount, steel mounts are best.
You could also use a mount that has a quick-release mechanism. You can quickly remove the magnifier if you are sure you won't use it. This is useful for situations where you may be operating in an area that requires both CQB or mid-range optics, but you find yourself suddenly in a CQB position for a prolonged period. A quick-release mounting system is also helpful in case your flip mount gets damaged and can't be removed from your red dot or the magnifier becomes inoperable.