AK Optics Primer
Before you buy your AK-47 optic you’ll need to think about what your using your rifle for. Home defense? Hunting? Range toy?
There is a plethora of optics available for the AK platform. The most popular, by a long shot, are “red dot” sights which are lightweight and easy to use in a wide range of lighting conditions. They offer the advantage of rapid target acquisition — even if it’s a moving target. This makes them excellent for self-defense, hunting, plinking and shooting at paper or metal at the range.
AK-47 optics are available in a wide spectrum of prices ranging from $100 or less for products from Primary Arms to military-class gear from companies such as Trijicon or BROWE that will cost $1,000 or more.
Most red-dot sights are not magnified. That said, you can get separate optics from several manufacturers that will provide magnification, but they are not cheap.
There are several excellent, inexpensive red dots available from companies such as Primary Arms, Vortex, Burris and others that work very well with the AK. Or you can go high-end with Trijicon or Aimpoint.
The majority of red dot sights fall under the classification of “reflex sights.” This means the aiming reticle—whether it be dot, triangle or chevron, is projected forward from a point behind the objective lens (the lens closest to the object) and is then reflected off the back of the objective lens assembly toward the shooter’s eye. Although it seems like a laser beam is projecting toward your target, this is not the case. The reflex sight has no laser and does not emit a substantial amount of light towards the target.
Holographic sights essentially use the same technology as the reflex sight in that a sighting reticle is superimposed on your view via a hologram. Without getting into the sordid details, I suggest you do a search for “holography” to get a better understanding. Holographic or holosights are popular with a lot of AK users and I suggest trying one out at a dealership to get a feel for them.
EOTech Weapon Accessories and Burris are well respected manufacturers in this space. Prices for holographic sights range from $50 to more than $1,000, if you combine them with magnifiers.
For further reference, UltiMAK’s web page provides an excellent explanation of the application and use of electronic sights.