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Scopes - to illuminate or not? Help shed some light.....

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...see what I did there?


Anyway, I'm after an ACOG or Elcan style scope (well both actually but mostly because I'm a massive gear whore) and I'm having trouble deciding if going to the length (and cost) of getting an illuminated scope is worth it or not. I get the point with red-dots/holosights, the illumination IS the aiming point, but if you have a reticle sight - let's say an ACOG with a 4/6 ballistic reticle, if it's so dark you can't see the lines, surely it'd be too dark to see the target anyway? On goes the torch and bingo! You can see the reticle again surely?


Also, the fibre optic illuminated ACOGs - surely that'll only work in the light anyway? Isn't that like trying to see if the fridge light goes off when you shut the door?


Educate, verify or vilify as you will....

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Personally, I find that the only point in using optics in airsoft is to help you see your point of aim in low light areas. So basically, it's either an illuminated sight, or it's pointless. Non-illuminated zoom sights are handy for seeing exactly where your shots are going and when they're dropping, but I'd never run with just an ACOG like that, purely because they take too long to sight in at closer ranges and you can't snap shoot up over, or around the side of cover without leaving yourself exposed for too long.

Red dot, EOTech, Aimpoint, or even glow in the dark iron sights, I'd say having at least one of them is a total necessity if you're going to play in low light.

If you're hiding in a pitch black room and you see some movement by the door, you can see there's someone there but you can't guarantee you're going to hit them. You need to see your sights, no matter what people say, you can't be that good at shooting instinctively.

Range to target, and even your own stress levels can make you miss. You start to second guess yourself.

I have a red dot on my ACOG which has an auto brightness sensor, you turn it off by covering the sensor to completely black out the sight. But, even in almost utter darkness, you can still see the dot. It's dim as hell, but in low light that's what you want, because if it's bright, say the minimum brightness setting for a red dot or EOTech, then that's too bright and the glare off it hides your target from view.

The fibre optically illuminated ACOGs will just be completely blacked out if you're inside with no light coming in from anywhere though, it doesn't even have to be particularly dark.

I can't recommend the auto brightness micro Docter sights more highly. I'm thinking of getting some TM glow in the dark iron sights for my Glock as well, because the number of times in CQB when a rifle has been too unwieldy to use, but the lack of visible sights on my pistol has left me in a shitty situation, has just become too regular an occurrence to not lose count.

Illuminated sights imo are a must. But I think electronic auto brightness is better than fibre optic based methods.
Failing that, something with brightness levels you can adjust yourself, but I find they often don't go dim enough, and with EOTechs especially, I've had people ask if I'm using a laser, because from ahead of me, the little laser emitter inside the sight that projects the sight onto the screen, can be seen immensely easily. Sometimes to the point where I've felt a need to turn it off to remain hidden.

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I have an illuminated crosshair on my Elcan.


I love the sight and the fact that its magnified but its physically quite big. Its on the M249 so it can carry it off. Its bright reticle makes it easy on the eye.


Conversely, have just fitted an unlit magnified ACOG on the SCAR, but haven't skirmished with it yet as its my sons gun.


Generally don't play in the dark or very low light so don't think it will be a problem outdoors.


There is a trend for fibre optic and solar sights in real steel. I have been looking at a Hensoldt sight which has a little solar panel, but in Airsoft and where batteries last so long, I would go magnified and illuminated with battery power.


Unlike real steel, these sights aren't that accurate at range and I find the magnification of more use than getting things exactly on the dead centre.

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Ed - my thoughts exactly to be honest. I have a 551 on my SCAR as I mostly play CQB and it gets pitch black at points! I'm happy to go down the illuminated scope route if it's worth it but it seems getting TA01 NSN style ACOG with an illuminated reticle is asking too much! They all seem to be the fibre illuminated ones now!


Baz, what type of reticle does your Elcan have? Is it the ballistic graduated one with a red dot or the illuminated "T" shape?

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