How to Improve Your Accuracy with your Rifle and Handgun ?
Shooting is a lot of fun. Shooting accurately is even more fun. There are a couple easy principles that can be applied to both rifles and handguns that will vastly improve your shooting abilities. These fundamentals are easy to apply, and you’ll notice a difference pretty quickly.
As with any skill, becoming a better shot takes practice. You can study these fundamentals all day, but until you spend hours practicing at the range, it won’t matter.
Read these easy steps, practice, and watch your shot groups improve:
# The Basics
Before getting into the principles of shooting, we will assume that your weapon is accurately zeroed. If your zero is no good, it doesn’t matter how good your techniques are.
However, there are some ballistic fundamentals that go into zeroing your weapon as well. Keep in mind that the optical plane (looking through/down your sights) is slightly higher than the trajectory of the bullet, since the barrel is below the optics.
These two planes are nearly identical, but they are only truly the exact same at two different points along the bullet’s trajectory. We won’t bore you with the physics, but it’s worthwhile to research the ballistics of your specific cartridge, that way you can zero the weapon at the appropriate distance. If you zero the weapon at an ideal distance, your point of aim and point of impact will be as close as possible throughout the entire effective range of the bullet.
Now that we’ve gotten past the basics of ballistics, we will talk briefly about the three primary aspects of shooting technique. These three fundamentals are the position that you’re shooting from, your breathing while shooting, and your trigger squeeze.
1. Shooting Position
Shooting position refers to the actual, physical position that your body is in while firing the weapon. This should be a comfortable position that will allow you to control the recoil of the weapon, while also maintaining and clear and consistent sight picture.
Keeping your head in the same position while firing will prevent you from having to reset your vision. This will allow you to focus on your target better, which will improve your accuracy significantly.
– When shooting a rifle, the buttstock should be placed firmly against your body. It should be in the indentation between your shoulder and your chest, as this is a pretty stable position that is easy to repeat. Your head should be firmly pressed against the stock of the weapon, and your non firing hand should be slightly pulling the weapon into your body.
– With a handgun, there obviously isn’t as much real estate to work with, so your grip becomes extremely important. There are a couple different methods that are commonly taught. My recommendation is to choose one that works best for you, and do the exact same thing every single time you shoot.
For me, I like to have both of my thumbs pointed downrange on the side of the barrel. Another recommendation with a handgun is to nearly lock your firing elbow, and pull back a little with your forward hand. This has the same effect as pulling a rifle against your shoulder; it helps to reduce recoil and return the weapon to the same firing position each shot.
When firing a handgun, you should be in a slightly crouched position. This will make sure that the weapon is more or less at eye level, which serves the same purpose as holding your head tightly against the buttstock of a rifle.
While there are obviously quite a few aspects of shooting position that come into play, the primary goal is that you should be firing from the exact same position each time. This will make it much easier to aim, adjust to recoil, and continue shooting. If you are constantly resetting your body between shots, it will negatively affect your accuracy.
Breathing is much easier to teach and understand than accurate shooting position. Put your arm out in front of your face and breathe in and out a few times. Notice how your arm slightly moves up and down?
That’s exactly what happens while you are holding your weapon and trying to shoot. If you fire the weapon while you are breathing in or out, the rifle will be moving slightly, which will cause you to miss your target.
To fix this, you should shoot between breaths. “Breathe in. Breathe out. Fire”. Your point of aim will be momentarily steady in between breaths. However, don’t hold your breath, because this could cause other accuracy issues. If need be, just take another breath and reacquire the target through your sights afterwards.
3. Trigger Squeeze
The final basic shooting fundamental is your trigger squeeze. If you jerk the trigger, it will cause you to slightly twitch the rifle or handgun, which will then cause you to have an inaccurate shot. When you are pulling the trigger, you should have a controlled pull, followed by a pause, and then a deliberate release.
Most triggers have a positive block in them. Usually, there’s a certain amount of “slack” in the trigger, followed by this positive block. Right after this positive block, the trigger can be slightly pulled, which will fire the weapon. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, try pulling the trigger on your unloaded weapon. You may notice this positive block.
You should control the trigger back to this positive block, and make all efforts to avoid a jerky final pull. After the weapon is fired, keep the trigger fully depressed, which will prevent a jerky release. From there, slowly release the trigger back to this positive block, and be prepared to fire the weapon again.
To Sum it Up,
These three fundamentals will help to improve your accuracy over time. It will take a lot of practice, but over time, you will notice that it becomes easier and easier to repeat the same steps. The primary goal of your shooting fundamentals should be that you are firing from the exact same position, in the exact same way, over and over again.
Best Red Dot Sights For AR 15 Under $100: Maximize Your Precision
The best red dot sights are game changers for modern shooters. It is the fast recognition of targets and easy tactical decision based on the simple attenuation; backed up by the co-witnessed iron sights that makes a good shooter that much better. More than making a shooter better, it puts a good shooter in a position to utilize all the available field of view and offers a fast acquisition point of reference, so you can make quick decisions with accurate results. We’re going to help you find the Best Red Dot Sights for AR 15 Under $100.
With the improvement in electronic sight technology and the easy path to innovation that other market technologies allow, the available options are excellent; even given the low price point of the $100 threshold. In general, the amount of bang for your buck at even a $100 entry point is exceptional.
That said, it’s a battlefield full of land mines that needs to be navigates to uncover the best options at that price point. It will be important to temper your expectations; if you are used to a $450 Red Dot Sight, you aren’t going to be very impressed at the $100/under threshold.
This article will take you through the basics of choosing an inexpensive red dot sight, and help you find the right one with a suggestion that you can take to the bank.
Our Top Five Red Dot Sights for AR 15 Under $100 in 2018
Let’s get it out into the open quickly: the idea that red dot sight simply means a sight with a red dot in the view, is outdated and ridiculous. The concept is more all-encompassing than that. You could classify any electronic optic without a lot of magnification as a Red Dot sight and any shooter worth their salt will know what you’re talking about.
The chance that you’ll be teased by your shooting buddies about saying “red dot sight” when referring to a holographic sight with a green triangle reticle, couldn’t be further from reality.
It’s important to note though, that when you are talking about very specific technologies that have a trade name attached to them, or when you are trying to differentiate two or three products, it’s appropriate to clarify the type or brand and model name of the product to help aid in identification of the main attributes of a specific optic.
So here are the main types of “Red Dot Sights”:
# Reflex Sights
A reflector type sight, known as a Reflex sight will act as a mirror that projects a theoretical point of aim onto the target, but does not project anything onto the actual target, simply it shows as you look through the optic, that the target has a specific focal point on it. The point of aim is still viable no matter the angle you look in the sight at. Most of the sub $100 red dot sights are going to be something like this style or firmly within the segment.
# Prismatic Sights
A Prismatic sight will generally offer a sophisticated reticle image etched onto the glass and the chance for optical magnification, which may help with longer distances or for when you want a larger sight picture. It’s similar to a scope, and therefore will have an eye relief component. It may not be suitable for the fastest sight picture in all scenarios, but it will be good for repeatable tasks at a specific range or for longer distances. It starts to get steeper in pricing as you get into this market segment; there are not a lot of options sub $100 in this market segment.
# Holographic Sights
Holographic sights are much more complicated options. They tend to be more expensive as well, the sight will use a laser derived hologram to project onto a target, then takes that image and reconstructs it onto the optic focal point. This allows you to have a full field of view, as well as an accurate point of aim wherever your viewport is. The reticle/focal point will then appear to be at the target for maximum heads up data. It’s rare that you’ll see a true Holographic sight at the under $100 price point.
What Can You Do With a Red Dot Sight That Makes it so Versatile and Viable for a Shooter?
You’ll be able to say cool words like “co-witness”. More than that, you’ll be able to perform it. It’s way cooler sounding than it is exciting. What it means is that you will be able to use two sight-specific options at the same time. Most specifically, if planned properly, you’ll be able to look at your iron sights while simultaneously using your Red Dot Sight. This can be beneficial for a couple of reasons:
You can use the iron sights if the optic dies.
You’ll be able to use both eyes open which will improve your peripheral view and heads up accounting for environmental information.
Is $100 Enough For a Legitimate Red Dot Sight?
Yes, and no. But mostly yes. If you are exploring the concept, you can find quality $100 or less red dots all day long. However, if you have a specified use case that requires a large majority of the benefits of the top tier Red Dot or other electronic optics, then it may be time to look at the next pricing tier at least ($110-$375 or so).
But don’t be too worried, if you know your hard limit, top-end budget is at $100, you’ll easily be able to find something that you can put to good use.
Things To Be Aware of When Choosing a Red Dot Sight For Under $100
The battery life can be poor.
The materials can be weaker or even seem like afterthoughts.
Most of them aren’t built ruggedly enough to ensure that you are able to bang around with them in legitimate hard use day to day.
The battery that comes with the unit is likely to be absolutely useless.
Before we dive headlong into the candidates for the best red dot sight for the AR-15 for under $100, let’s talk about how important the practice aspect is.
If you buy a red dot sight, you don’t instantly become a better shooter. You still need the fundamentals and you still need to practice with your firearm while using the red dot sight.
Most importantly, you might need to re-train yourself to use a “two eyes open” approach, that gives you situational and full target awareness, which can in turn make you a more instinctive shooter. A commitment to becoming a better user of your surroundings and the data visualization of your environment will contribute to being better integrated with your new red dot sight choice.
Now to the 5 best choices for a red dot sight or electronic sight for the AR platform that are under $100 right now:
Reviews of The Best Red Dot Sights for AR 15 Under $100
It’s an inexpensive sight with a relatively straightforward co-witnessing ability. The 4 MOA focal point will get you on target for tactical and most target shooting. It’s a quick access sight and the variability of illumination and color allow you to play around with your preferences until you decide on a format you like. It’s plenty durable for the money and has exceptional customer service.
Made in the USA and a lifetime warranty.
Marketed heavily but doesn’t live up to all the hype.
Not as durable as some other options.
— Why do you want this Red Dot sight for your AR 15?
You can’t find something made in the USA at this price point that has a lifetime warranty. They are basically asking you to rough this thing up. For the money, you cannot find more bang for your buck, even if you must sacrifice some of the higher end fit/finish/quality and some durability. But don’t question the durability too much: Ozark has that lifetime warranty.
This may be the best product on this list, and it is clearly a winning option at sub $100. The adjustability and durability of this unit makes it very nice to have when you need to count on your optic to get you out of a sticky situation. The known brand and good warranty means you can actually count on it longer-term.
Great factory battery and battery life.
Riser mount for co-witness.
Good quality lens.
Can tend to “starburst” which can be annoying in the sight picture at times.
— Why do you want this Red Dot sight for your AR 15?
It’s easy to stay both eyes open and the adjustability of the reticle and the brightness settings means you have ultimate control over what you see and how it behaves. The battery is not an extra expense as the factory included battery is top quality generally.
The Bushnell name counts for something still, despite some harsh words on internet forums in the past. This is the most brand recognition on the list and it shows with the top-quality materials for the money. The Optics are good and the fit and finish are excellent for the price point and relative to peers.
Bushnell brand name.
Admittedly not Bushnell’s top-quality product.
— Why do you want this Red Dot sight for your AR 15?
You get this sight because you want the optical clarity, the durability and the lightweight design with the clearly superior on-board electronics. This is a good choice for any number of firearms not just one of the best red dot sights for your AR 15 under $100.
4. Sightmark SM26008 Ultra Shot Plus Red Dot Sights Review
Exceptional optical clarity in any environment
This is by far the most durable unit on this list, and it is ready for doing battle. That said, it’s not perfect. For the money, you can easily dismiss some of the concerns, like the looser quick detachable mount which may require some thread locker. It is weather resistant more than most on this list and at higher price points.
Durable compared to the rest of the list.
The nuts on mounts may need additional loc-tite or hard tightening down.
— Why do you want this Red Dot sight for your AR 15?
If you need one that can take a beating, there is no other option at below $100. Let that be the sole deciding factor, because all-in, this is a bargain piece of hardware. The lighting is not as good as it could be, but for the money, it’s hard to complain about the performance of the piece.
5. TRUGLO TruBrite Multi-Reticle Dual-Color Open Dot Sight Review
Open sight for the fastest sight work
TruGlo is a well-known brand and they usually make products that are quite competitive. This Red Dot Sight is no exception. The benefits far outweigh the price point or the drawbacks. It’s the most open sight design on this list and for the money, it’s hard to beat for rapid sight acquisition.
One of the faster sight acquisitions.
Can feel a bit cheap at times.
–Why do you want this Red Dot sight for your AR 15?
If you need a 100% open sight for the fastest sight work, this may be your best bet for a red dot sight under $100 for your AR-15. This is a strong contender based on speed and field of view alone. It is decidedly less durable than some other options but it’s not a bad piece of hardware by any means.
When you need full time situational awareness and quick sight acquisition as well as the enhanced ability to make a trigger pull decision on a target to save time, the Red Dot Sight is a top quality option. The items on this list are all contenders for the title of the Best AR 15 Red Dots for less than $100.
But one will likely stand out to you above the rest. That’s the thing about the modern shooter: there are so many options and so many great deliveries on technology, that it’s really come down to aesthetics and bullet point list items for which one makes sense for you, and that’s not just about picking an inexpensive optic.
Your customizability and choice for optional hardware and accessories makes this shooting thing quite rewarding. It is this customization that spurs the shooter on to get better and become more capable in tactical and sporting situations. We hope we’ve helped you to get a bit better as you read through this list of red dot sights that will put you on target faster and more accurately.
Best Long Range Rifle Scope Under $500: Shooters Guide
Most shooters know the immediate impact that a quality optic can have on accuracy and precision in your shooting. With more and more technological innovations in the optics market and the access to quality materials that has increased as the shooting market has increased, it’s now easy to find excellent quality optics for a reasonable price point. We decided to write this article on the best long-range rifle scope under $500, because we feel you can get the best range of scopes for the best value at this price point.
Sure, there are reasons to buy a $2500 scope if you have the needs in your shooting scenario, but for the most part, you aren’t getting a whole lot at the top end of the market that you cannot also get for right around $500.
Let’s clarify one thing: you can get the same magnification, the same lens diameter and light introduction; the same materials (for the most part) and the same options. The only difference for most top tier scopes compared to a sub $500 scope is the quality of manufacture, the glass quality (not magnification, but coatings and finishing) and the proprietary bits.
We have no complaints about shooting with top tier, high-dollar glass, but we also feel comfortable shooting on a budget rig and we use the sub $500 glass more often than not.
Besides, do you really want an accessory that costs more than your firearm? Do you really want to worry what would happen to your $2800 German rifle scope if you slid down a hill accidentally on a hunting trip during heavy rain and sleet? It’s a matter of understanding the needs you each have, to pick the best fit for you.
At $150-500, you can find a sweet spot for long range rifle scopes (you’ll see in a bit) for anyone that doesn’t need the absolute best of the best and is using the scope for recreation and not for tactical precision shooting or sniper work.
The guys using those $3000+ scopes for that kind of work are limited in what they can use by government or departmental guidelines, and they don’t buy their own equipment, so there isn’t really a carryover.
The important part is this: You can find incredibly good quality optics at the under $500 price point. So, if you want to know how to select the best options and find the best long-range rifle scope under $500, keep reading…
Our Top Five Long Range Rifle Scopes Under $500 in 2018
Reviews of Best Long Range Rifle Scopes Under $500 on the Market Today
1. ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20 Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope Review –
HD video recording and many more
This has so much integration and capability that nothing even comes close to it for the money. It’s not cheap though and just barely makes our list at the $500 mark (at the time of writing). The types of functionality you get for the money are ridiculous (in a good way) and the optics are decent; more than capable of keeping up with the other scopes at the price point ($100-500). It can video record and has GPS, tagging, and other functionalities that can help with your future hunting trips and enjoyment factor. It is a high-tech device though, much more than it is a mechanical glass optic.
Tons of perks.
Nothing has specs to match the integration into the shooting experience once you have learned all the gadgetry.
Quirky sometimes on the user interface.
If you don’t have battery, you don’t have optics.
What it’s good for: For the people who are constantly looking for the newest tech gadget before all their friends have it and just so happened to really get into shooting. It’s good for analyzing shots, making good calculations on the fly, and recording hunts. The optics are better than average, but they aren’t amazing, so make sure you have an extra battery pack, and that you’re not going out past 600 yards on the regular.
2. Nikon Buckmasters II 4-12x40mm Scope with BDC Reticle Review – EDITOR CHOICE
Best Long Range Rifle Scope Under $500
The reticle allows for on-the-fly adjustments out to 600 yards. This distance is perfectly attainable if you learn the bullet drop of your cartridge of choice, with the 12-power magnification and the adequate 40mm objective lens. The Nikon glass is well known and offers sturdy build quality and a good reputation for delivering top tier products at reasonable prices. This is a great lower end model on their spectrum, without any of the concerns that most lower end models from major makers, normally have.
Good price point.
Variable magnification and a quality build.
From a value perspective this could easily be seen as the Best Long Range Rifle Scope Under $500 when you actually factor in what you get for the price you pay.
This is not their (Nikon’s) top tier scope model.
What it’s good for: For the money this scope is very hard to beat. It is a good scope for hunters using it for large game hunting. The high potential magnification and the variability and the decently large objective lens gives good quality pictures despite lower tier glass, which allows excellent performance for low cost. It can be used for hunting, target work or for any other scope need. It is particularly good for deer hunting on meadow and plains terrain in decent light.
3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24×50 AO Riflescope Review
High-quality imaging and durable build
This is where the scopes start getting a lot better glass quality (around $300), and this Vortex has great clarity up to about 16x magnification. It begins to get a bit grainier after that and even though it will put you at 24x, it’s not the clearest picture. Still, this scope, while massive, is a great bargain for what you get. It will take you out to 600+ yards. You can get to 800 with the right rifle, but you might be close to the extreme limitations of the optical clarity aspects of this scope.
Great glass to 16x.
Good price point considering glass quality.
Exceptional warranty, almost worth the price of admission, alone.
Some spotty quality control at times.
Not made for particularly heavy shooting/recoiling guns but… that warranty though!
What it’s good for: putting on a mid-ranged rifle that needs to go out to about 400-500 yards consistently. This is an excellent choice for longer range rifles with flat shooting cartridges that are actually used at 300 yards more often than they are used at 600. That said, this would be an excellent coyote scope for 500+ yards with something like a .22-250, where you need the optics, and have the round that can match the optical power.
4. BARSKA 8-32×50 IR AO Excavator IR Target Dot RiflescopeReview
Excellent value for the money
For the money, it is an excellent value. It is not, however a super quality scope. It has some concerns at the higher end of the power scale, where the quality of the glass is lacking enough to manifest it on the viewport. Most people shooting this price point for a scope are mounting it to a gun that isn’t capable of actually using the full power of this scope by the numbers anyways. That isn’t an indictment on the buyer or user, but rather the point that this scope offers a lot for the money.
High end numbers even if they are unusable at the highest levels.
Good accessories package included with it.
It shows its quality at the top end of the spectrum in use. That is to say: it is not as quality as it needs to be to fully be capable of the specifications it touts.
What it’s good for: those who need a simple, capable scope out to 300 yards or so, and don’t want to have to apply for a second mortgage on their house. The all-in value of this optic is very high, but it does have its limitations. Know what to expect and don’t try to put this on a $5000 counter sniper rifle and you will likely be pleased with the performance. It can generally keep up with any mainstream value priced gun on the market without a bunch of hurdles.
A seriously good scope for a budget riffle build, this is a straightforward easy choice for those who need a bargain price point with good quality to 150-200 yards without all the perks of the more expensive rifle scopes. Yes, the glass is not amazing, but it’s usable. Yes, the build quality is not amazing, but it’s very good; and that’s before you include the fact that it’s priced at the same price as less than a week’s worth of coffee at your local Starbucks to buy one of these.
Glass quality is lower end.
Not the best durability.
What it’s good for: budget rifle builds about which, you aren’t sure yet that you want to invest heavily on a scope but still need an optic to have some fun with it. The quality is seriously amazing for what you pay for it.
Power – as in the magnification of the glass to show the target to the shooter.
Objective lens size – The amount of light (corresponding to the diameter of the lens – the bigger the better the light gathering is) that is let into the view on scope.
Tube size and mounting – the size of the actual mounting tubes that allows the scope to be put onto the rifle (we left pistol scopes out of this article).
NOTE: the objective lens and the mounts are important because you have to be able to fit the scope onto the rifle, so you’ll need to know the height of the scope at the mounting location and the tube size to get the right mounts and rings for putting the scope onto the gun.
What is Magnification?
It’s a relatively simple calculation. The magnification number is usually first in the technical name of the scope. For instance, we will take our first scope in the list as an example: Nikon Buckmasters II 4-12x40mm Scope with BDC Reticle in this example the magnification of the scope is from 4x to 12x (4 times the size as actual ranging up to 12 times the size as actual, in the scope).
The second part of the technical specification is the 40mm objective lens. This means that the objective lens is 40mm across its face. The larger it is, the more light it can capture, to reflect back onto the image, giving more detail and better attenuation to the eye of the target.
Most scopes are listed for sale in this way. If they aren’t, it’s an easy bit of research to find out the two most important pieces of information.
Please note: not all optics or glass for that matter, are created equally. Premium glass will perform better than cheaper glass. But that does not mean you cannot get very good comparative value for much less money if the general parameters are close/match.
What is Field of View?
FOV or field of view is the amount of the target area you can see at different magnifications at different distances. The further away the target is, and the closer you want the details to be in the FOV, the smaller the FOV will be.
The field of view is the reference information that frames the target, in conjunction with the target. From a practical perspective, with higher quality scopes you’ll see more and with greater clarity.
What is Eye Relief?
Eye relief is the amount of distance it takes to position your eye to see a full view of your scope’s objective lens. This means it is how close your face will need to be to see the complete projection of the target in your lens. The eye relief will have some effect on the mounting and placement of your scope.
What is the Difference Between Focal Planes?
Focal plane is the reference to your reticle size relative to the magnification in the scope.
FIRST FOCAL PLANE: The first focal plane is where the reticle size changes based on the increase or decrease in magnification.
SECOND FOCAL PLANE: The second focal plane allows for the reticle to stay the exact same size in the viewport regardless of the amount of magnification that is applied to the scope.
Knowing this basic information will give you the tools you need to make a more informed decision about which scope will perform best for you and your needs.
If you are unsure about how a specific scope fits into the grand scheme of things, you can view each of our listings “What it’s good for” section. What follows, is a list of our favorite scopes for long range shooting that are also under $500.
When you need to find an optic that can take you out to extreme distances, but you aren’t ready to spend 3 times what you would on a top tier rifle on just the optics, the $100-$500 range is a very nice place to be. Some of our best choices in this price range are actually closer to 100 than they are to 500. That’s an interesting point, because it proves that for basic utility, when the optical clarity at super long distances and the proprietary perks aren’t the main focus, you can get very good value at the lower price points.
Note: these aren’t scopes that can barely handle a .22LR at 100 yards; this list of the contenders for the Best Long Range Rifle Scope Under $500 is a list of capable, versatile scopes that can legitimately provide value in the field going after big game or on the competitive circuit for competition and target shooters.