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I'm in the market for some red dot optics for my AR. Budget is $300-$400.

I have my eyes set on the Eotech 512 or the 517.A65. The question is, what do these models do that make them so great compared to other less expensive models?

Also, what are some other less expensive models that are of good value.

Thanks!
J
 

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Eotech makes a great sight. They are relatively lightweight, waterproof, super durable, and run on regular AA batteries.

I had a 512 for a while and was very pleased with it but after getting interested in shooting at 200yds I ditched if for a variable magnification scope.

The main advantage to these illuminated 1x optics is the speediness of target acquisition they provide. Peering at an illuminated reticle through a large, unmagnified window makes it really easy to place your bead and get a round off. Finding the proper eye relief isn't as much of a concern with the Eotech as it is with some of the more conventional tube optics.

What does the Eotech do that a cheaper red dot won't?

Not much. What you're paying for is mil-spec build quality and reliability. That is important to a lot of enthusiasts who rely on these rifles as tools or for competition. But honestly, a cheaper optic will put holes in paper just as good as an Eotech. Which route to take all depends on what the overall goal (and budget) of your build is.

If you're going to go with an Eotech you might as well get the 517. It's newer technology and has the buttons placed on the side instead of the rear which will be convenient if you decide to pick up one of their 3x magnifiers in the future.

The funny thing though about adding a magnifier to your Eotech is that it nearly doubles the cost of your "optics package" and at that new price point a world of better (simpler) options opens up.
 
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