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Top 5 Magnifiers for 2017

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Eotech G33 STS Magnifier

The Eotech brand of optics is most well known for their Holographic red dot sights. Not to rest on a single product Eotech expanded into a magnifier. The G33 magnifier is a 3 power magnifier that mounts on any picatinny rail system. The magnifier comes equipped with a quick detach mounting system. The optic is quite lightweight, weighing only 11.6 ounces so there is no considerable bulk added to your weapon. Once equipped the device gives 7.3-degree field of view, which is wide and still allows for easy target engagement.

If you’ve read alternative specs on the G33 it bears mentioning the G33 STS is the shorter and lighter magnifier that replaced the standard G33. In would be easy to think the Eotech G33 is only designed to function with Eotech optics but this isn’t true. It will function with nearly all standard height and size red dot optics, this includes most Aimpoint and Vortex optics. Of course it will function flawlessly with Eotech optics. This increased compatibility is limited to standard or full sized optic, and does not work with miniature optics like some of the small Trijicon red dots.

One of the coolest features is actually the mount the magnifier is equipped on. The mount keeps the actual magnifier on a hinge. The hinge keeps the magnifier in place to be used in coordination with a red dot. The thing about combat is that it’s always changing. You may go from fighting at 300 yards to fighting at 3 feet. The magnifier needs to get out of the way and needs to do so in a hurry. With this hinged based system, you simply ‘flip’ it out of the way. The hinge system simply flips the optic out of the way, leaving your red dot ready for close range shooting.

The Eotech G33 is also waterproof and full submersible up to 33 feet underwater. The optic is sealed to protect the lenses from water, and from internal fog building up. Like Eotech’s standard red dots it super strong and designed to take quite a bit of recoil. Like most magnifiers it does suffer from short eye relief syndrome with only 2.2 inches of eye relief. This means higher recoiling rifles can cause some issues, however, it’s unlikely a high powered rifle would be equipped with a red dot optic.

Using the G33 is remarkably simple. It mounts behind the optic of course. Attaching the optic to the mount is very simple, and getting everything set up only takes about 5 minutes. Running a 200-yard range with a magnifier is easy and the magnifier makes target identification much simpler. A standard red dot isn’t giving you a zoomed in view of a person who may or may not be a threat.

A magnifier makes it possible to identify potential threats and even individuals with facial recognition. It also makes hitting smaller targets easier. Smaller targets are very easy to hit at shorter ranges as well. At 50 yards you can hit tiny targets with way more precision than a standard 1x red dot.

The G33 is a moderately priced magnifier that comes in at right around 500 dollars.

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Aimpoint 3X-C

 Aimpoint 3X-C
Aimpoint as an optics company produces a variety of different magnifiers. There are three different model 3 power magnifiers and one 6 power magnifier. This model is the Aimpoint 3X-C, and this model is designed for the civilian use. It’s also priced appropriately for this use. The Aimpoint 3X-C is priced at under 250 dollars and keeps the reliability and strength you are used to from Aimpoint optics. The Aimpoint 3X-C is only 4 inches long and weighs a mere 7.8 ounces. This is one of the lightest magnifiers on the market, and is extremely compact.

The 3X-C is designed to work with Aimpoint optics. It will likely work with other, similar red dots from companies like Vortex or Bushnell. Aimpoint only guarantees the 3X-C will function with their optics. However, with the fact Aimpoint is one of the most popular red dot optics in the world, I don’t think this isolates the optic. The 3X-C’s lightweight and short nature makes it the perfect companion for small and lightweight carbines. The 3X-C is great on submachine guns or pistol caliber carbines like the Kel tec Sub 2K.

To keep the price low, and too allow greater customization for the end user, the optic does not have a mount. You’ll need to supply your own mount for this system. So it isn’t ready to rock and roll out of the box. There are plenty of high quality mounts available and La Rue makes some awesome one piece, lightweight mounts. Aimpoint also offers some unique and interesting mounts. There are two mounts designed to get the magnifier out of the way when necessary.

This includes a twist mount to get the optic out of the way by simply unlocking and twisting the optic. This actually removes the optic from the mount and separates it from your weapon. The second mount is the flip mount. The flip mount itself flips the magnifier out of the way of the red dot. This leaves the magnifier hanging on the side of the weapon. This system is what I prefer and it’s more intuitive and simpler to use.

If you go with the Twist mount you can use easily detach the optic and use it as a monocular. The rubberized armored coating protects the optic and makes it feel better in the hand when used as a monocular. This is a good option because it’s not always safe to just point your weapon at people and things when you are scanning. It’s also less fatiguing to scan holding a rifle versus holding a monocular. It’s simply safer and follows the four rules of gun safety.

Once you decide on a mounting option the 3X-C will effectively extend your shooting and visual range. This makes hitting targets behind cover, and hitting small targets a lot easier. The system mounts behind the optic and functions with even the small Aimpoint optics perfectly. For the price this is one of the most affordable and effective magnifiers from a major red dot manufacturer.

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Vortex VMX-3T Magnifier


Vortex and their optics are associated with affordability and quality. Vortex’s line of red dots like the Sparc and Strikefire have a stellar reputation as a good choice for a red dot on a budget. The VMX-3T magnifier takes the same route. Priced at under 200 dollars, with a flip mount, the VMX-3T is the best choice for a tactical rifle on a budget. There are more affordable magnifiers sure, but this is the most affordable model that is perfect for tactical applications. Be it home defense, or police use the Vortex VMX-3T can hold its own. It’s a tough and well-made optic that is also backed by an excellent overall warranty.

The Vortex VMX-3T is as you can probably predict a 3 power magnifier. As I mentioned it comes equipped with a flip side mount that send the optic to the left when you need to go back to close range shooting. This added feature is an awesome attachment. It makes the optic ready to use out of the box, and sets you up for success in tactical applications. I’m a big fan of these flip mounts because of how fast you can transition from close to long range shooting. In combat you could be clearing a building, and then being positioned on a roof to take further shots. You don’t need to waste time doing something complicated.

The VMX-3T’s optics are fully multi coated to increase light transmission and reduce glare, this gives you a clear and consistent sight picture. You expect this on the more expensive Aimpoint and Eotech optics, and it’s nice to see on a more affordable option. The optic is also sealed from water, dust, and debris. When positioned correctly behind your optic you are going to get a 38-foot field of view. This gives you a nice and fair field of view of the world in front of you.

The VMX-3T is compatible with most red dot optics. The big compatibility factor is the ability to mount an optic at a standard height. This makes the VMX-3T a good option for a wide multitude of different optics, including Vortex’s own red dot line of optics. The VMX-3T functions very well on an AR 15, but it’s a bit long for smaller and more compact firearms. This would be a poor companion for older SMG or SMG styled weapons like the MP5.

The VMX-3T weighs a total of 11.9 ounces and is 4.3 inches long. It’s not the smallest or lightest magnifier, but when you consider the price it’s hard to gripe about this. The VMX-3T is very intuitive and when paired with the Strikefire 2 it makes you effective at least 300 yards. You can reach out further if you have a little more skill of course.

The VMX-3T system functions very well for tactical use. It’s tough, simplistic, and dependable. If you are caught on a budget this is the lowest priced tactical magnifier on the market. You can’t go wrong with the Vortex VMX 3T

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Primary Arms 3X LER Magnifier


The use of red dots for hunting is actually on the rise. In environments where a scope simply doesn’t make sense hunters are ditching iron sights for red dots. They’ve discovered the benefits of a red dot much like military and police forces worldwide have. Hunting in environments that are constantly changing from brush to clearings can create a challenge for some hunters. The use of a magnifier makes it possible to easily transition between hunting over through thick, brush environments to wide open clearings.

If you are looking for an affordable and capable hunting magnifier the Primary Arms 3X LER is perfect. LER stands for long eye relief, and on average offers a half inch longer eye relief than other magnifiers. So why is this important? Well, hunting firearms are often more powerful than tactical defensive rifles. More Powerful rifles have more recoil. Calibers like the 308 are popular for hunting and when paired with a Browning BAR, BLR, or an AR 10 are excellent hunting rifles. The same could be said for a shotgun using slugs, there is a lot of recoil, and you need that longer eye relief.

The Primary Arms 3x LER can be used for a few different roles, including recreational shooting and competition. In my opinion it really succeeds in the hunting realm. The Primary Arms 3x LER is water and fog resistant and shockproof. It does have a rubber armor sleeve that keeps the optic protected from bangs, and falls. Even taking the long eye relief into play the Primary Arms 3x LER has a 37.93 field of view. There is an integrated diopter that lets the user focus the magnifier very quickly, which keeps things clear and ready.

The magnifier doesn’t have an integrated mount, so that is an additional purchase you’ll have to make. Primary Arm does produce a very affordable and high quality flip mount for this magnifier. The Primary Arms LER is of course functional with the majority of Primary Arms AR height red dots. The LER is compatible with any AR height red dot sight.

Primary Arms is well known for producing both high quality and affordable optics. Their red dots are a perfect companion for the Primary Arms 3X LER.

The price is under a hundred dollars! That’s very affordable for a specialized long eye relief optic. Like I mentioned it doesn’t have a mount, but mounts are available and quite affordable. You can go as cheap as 25 dollars for a simple mount. The Primary Arms flip mount costs 50 dollars, but is a solid contender for an affordable flip mount. The Primary Arms LER is a solid contender, and looks through it is surprising. It’s incredibly clear, and very bright. It’s cleared than you’d expect from a 100-dollar magnifier. If you are a hunter looking for an affordable option for your red dot equipped hunting rifle, then the Primary Arms LER is likely a perfect fit for you.

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UTG 3x Magnifier

UTG 3x Magnifier
If you are a hardcore gun nut like myself you own multiple guns, sometimes multiple of the same model. Sure some guns have a distinct purpose. You have one for concealed carry, for home defense, for hunting, and may be a few other uses. A lot of guns are kept around for just one single reason. For fun. Fun guns make up the bulk of my collection. As much as I’d love to outfit them all with Eotech this and Aimpoint that it’s not realistic or affordable. For my fun guns I use affordable optics.

The UTG 3x magnifier is a perfect magnifier option for a fun gun. A fun gun is often used in competition and for casual plinking. The UTG 3x magnifier is a great fun gun option because it is very affordable, simple to use, and it functions surprisingly well for it’s under 70-dollar price tag. This Magnifier has a 42mm center height for use with standard AR height optics. The UTG 3x magnifier isn’t the smallest magnifier and it isn’t but the lightest. It is functional and reliable though.

The optic features a generous amount of rubberized coating to provide bump and fall protection to the optic. It also comes equipped with a mount that offers flip to side ability. This included mount is a nice touch and does give the user that ‘tactical’ feel and is extremely handy when running casual competition. It’s routine for matches to have targets between 20 and 200 yards in action shooting sports.

The UTG 3x magnifier will mount on any picatinny rail and is easy to adjust and center. The field of view is surprisingly wide and the lenses are quite clear. It’s surprising how clear the picture is when you consider the price of the optic. The UTG 3x magnifier is also a great option for airsoft players not looking to break the bank equipping their airsoft guns with actual optics.

The UTG 3x may lack the refinement, and the go to war durability of other optics, but for the price you are getting a well-made piece of gear. It’s a great option for modern sporting rifles like the AR 15, or fun guns like the Hi Point carbine.

The UTG 3x Magnifier makes hitting targets out to a few hundred yard a heckuva lot easier than using a normal red dot. The magnifier pairs perfectly with a wide variety of UTG’s own quality red dot optics. For a little over a hundred dollars you can configure an optic and magnifier from UTG. These aren’t optics designed for war and combat, but are perfect for casual shooting, and amateur shooting sports. The UTG makes outfitting a wide variety of rifles possible.

The UTG 3x magnifier makes it possible for you to simply try a magnifier before investing in an expensive one. This magnifier and its flip to side QD mount is an excellent option for those on a budget, and it provides a great value. In fact, there are plenty of mounts that cost more than this optic and mount.

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