13 Best CQB Optics – Reviewed 2021

Close Quarters Battle, CQB, is also known as self-defense in the civilian world. It is a matter of life and death and the distances involved are close, which means you need an CQB optic that is up to the challenge and won't fail when you need it most. We've rounded up our picks for the best scopes for close quarters battle use.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR BRIGHT IMAGE

Meprolight MOR Self-Powered Day-Night Reflex Sight

Meprolight MOR Self-Powered Day-Night Reflex Sight

  • Diameter: 30mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 5.85 in
BEST FOR CRISP IMAGE

HOLOSUN HS507K-X2

HOLOSUN HS507K-X2

  • Diameter: 19mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 4.72 in
BEST FOR DURABILITY

Vortex Viper

Vortex Viper

  • Diameter: 24mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 1.8 in
BEST FOR ACCURACY

Trijicon SRO

Trijicon-SRO

Trijicon SRO

  • Diameter: 22.5 mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 2.2 in
BEST FOR FAST TARGET

Sig Sauer Romeo

Sig Sauer Romeo

  • Diameter: 20mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 1.6 in
BEST FOR QUALITY

MARK 8 CQBSS 1.1-8X24

Holosun Paralow HS503G

  • Diameter: 20mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 2.44 in
BEST FOR MEDIUM RANGE

MARK 8 CQBSS 1.1-8X24

MARK 8 CQBSS 1.1-8X24

  • Diameter: 34mm
  • Magnification: 1.1 - 8x
  • Length: 12 in
BEST FOR NIGHT VISION

Vortex Optics Strikefire II

Vortex Optics Strikefire II

  • Diameter: 30mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 5.6 in
BEST FOR WEATHER

Leapers UTG ITA Red/Green T-Dot Sight

utg red dot reviews

Leapers UTG ITA Red/Green T-Dot Sight

  • Diameter: 32.5mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 4.25 in
BEST FOR RELIABILITY

Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight

Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight

  • Diameter: 38mm
  • Magnification: 1 x
  • Length: 5.1 in
BEST FOR CLARITY

Trijicon ACOG 4 X 32

Trijicon ACOG 4 X 32

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 4x
  • Length: 5.8 in
BEST FOR EASY TARGET

SeeAll Original Open Sight

SeeAll Original Open Sight

  • Diameter: 30mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 4.48 in
BEST FOR BRIGHT IMAGE

Meprolight Self-Powered Reflex

Meprolight Self-Powered Reflex

  • Diameter: 30mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 4.48 in

Let's look at some of the criteria we're using to judge them. 

Batteries

Today's red dot sights run on lithium batteries with a truly impressive battery life, but that does not mean they last forever.

Change the battery every six months regardless of use.

If your home defense weapon stays put, say next to your bed in a drawer, then you can use a scope with the "shake awake" feature. In other words, you pick up the gun and the scope turns on. After a few minutes of not moving, it turns off.

If you have an every day carry (EDC), then a shake awake will not work because the scope will stay on all the time, you will drain the battery in a few days, despite what the company may say.

You need fast access to the on-off button for your EDC. So far, few makers offer red dot scopes with a pigtail. This is a serious oversight. A pigtail switch means you can keep your hands on the gun and not the scope when you need to turn it on.

Up Close & Personal

This is not long range sniper rifle territory.

Self defense with firearms almost always takes place at distances of less than 21 feet.

With firearms, that is point-blank range. It does not mean accuracy is assured. It does not mean you will hit the target with every shot.

Take a look at police shootings, which is where we have the most evidence in self-defense shooting situations. The Times-Picayune and The New Orleans Advocate talked to shooting experts. Peter Scharf, a criminologist with the LSU School of Public Health said despite the close ranges, police miss with a lot of their shots.

Further, CQB shots are often taken when adrenalin is pumping. It is unlikely you will have the time to draw, take careful aim and squeeze off a precise shot. As the NOLA article explains, that kind of shooting under combat conditions is Hollywood fiction.

Speed Is Necessary

When you are sitting in a deer stand, you have time to look down the tube of a scope, adjust the focus and check distances. You don't have the luxury of time in a self-defense situation.

You need to eliminate the threat as fast as possible. The NOLA article points to a video of three officers doing rapid fire. They shot 37 times in four seconds. That is more than 12 shots per person. Figuring each officer shot 12 times, that's three shots per second.

A long tube slows you down considerably.

Eyes On

CQB scopes let you keep both eyes open and focused on the target. This also means you have enough peripheral vision to see anything else that may be incoming. Traditional rifle scopes put all your attention down the tube with your shooting eye.

Moving Targets

In a CQB situation, you should expect the target to be moving. Deer move, but unless they are spooked they move slow. They also tend to stand still a lot. Paper targets never move, unless you are on a specialized course with a way to make targets move.

Staying on target at 15 yards with a high magnification scope just won't happen.

Fast Sight Picture

In a CQB situation, you must get a fast sight picture. Get on target, and keep that target within the sight frame of your optic. You don't have time to find the target again after each shot. 

Most CQB optics use a simple 1-4 MOA illuminated reticle, whether it's a red dot, prism scope, reflex sight, or holo sight. These are great options for quickly acquiring targets and putting rounds center mass even in high-pressure, low light situations. 

Zeroing them in is a breeze since you're not looking for the kind of absolute precision that a high-powered target shooting scope can offer, and the design of most CQB optics also sidesteps common eye issues such as astigmatism that could impact the sighting and shooting process.

Your sight picture needs to keep the target in frame as much as possible during the recoil. (Harsh recoil is very bad for CQB situations, but that is an article for another time.) You do not need any magnification level. If you get magnification, keep it to 3x or under.

CQB optics can come with tubes, but they need to be short. A tube means you have to line up correctly behind the optic to see down it. Single-pane red dot optics offer the fastest target acquisition picture you can get in an optic.

If you want a tube red dot scope, make sure it short. Get one with maximum eye relief as well. If you can hold the gun at arm's length and stiff get the right view down the scope, that is perfect. In most cases, you will want to look at a low power variable optic, or LPVO, for this role.

Focal Plane

A major advantage of CQB optics v. iron sights is the focal plane. With iron sights, you have to focus on the rear sight, the front sight or the target. With a CQB scope, you focus on the target and the red dot is already there on target.

focal plane

The second big advantage is parallax, where the dot appears in relation to and on the target. With iron sights, you have to be lined up exactly right. With a red dot sight, you can still see the target and the dot in a straight line.

If you have to shoot from an awkward position or angle, this makes a lot of difference.

Co-Witness

The ability to co-witness, use the iron sights by looking through the CQB optic is a good idea. Some optics have elevated riser mounts that let you use the iron sights under the optic.

I prefer flip-up iron sights and looking through the pane of the optic v. having to look beneath the optic through the mount. That's just my preference and other shooters will prefer the other way.

Short Platform

CQB defense weapons need to be short. Handguns are ideal, with carbines coming in second place. If you have a tax stamp for a short-barreled rifle, so much the better. The pistol-length AR 15s, AK 47s and carbine attachments for pistols like Glocks and Colts are also good choices.

A .30-06 with a 30-inch barrel is not a CQB weapon.

If you are into scatterguns, the Mossberg Shockwave or the Remington Tac-14 are excellent choices.

12 Best CQB Optics

1. Meprolight MOR Day- CQB Night Reflex Sight

best cqb optic

The Meprolight MOR is our top CQB pick for a lot of reasons. 

The red dot is powered in three different ways:

  • A fiber optic that draws in ambient light. This does mean you need enough light where you are to make it work
  • Tritium. This radioactive version of helium is the same stuff that makes glowing iron sights work. It does decay over time, but instead of suddenly dying, it fades.
  • Two AA batteries that are independent of each other. You can buy a AA battery at ant decent convenience store. You cannot get those specialized batteries from the local gas station

It has a pigtail switch. The switch comes out of the front of the scope and attaches to the barrel with a Velcro strap. Some might prefer pigtail on the receiver. This CQB scope was designed with the military in mind so a forearm attachment makes more sense. That is less wire to hang up or get in the way.

It has a red laser and an infrared laser. Infrared is used when you don't want your target to know you just lit them up.

With a pic rail mount, it is 2.4 inches. Without, it is a short 2 inches.

Reticle choices are:

• Bullseye
• Triangle
• Open X
• 4.3 MOA Dot

TECH SPEC

• 1 MOA click value
• 35 MOA elevation and windage adjustment
• Waterproof
• AA batteries

Meprolight MOR  Reflex Sight

The price of Meprolight MOR Self-Powered Reflex Sight varies, so check the latest price at

Reflex Sights

A reflex red dot sight has the single plane of glass. It does not have a tube. It has a pane housing.

Some reflex sights require a special mount. Others attach to a pic or weaver rail. You'll need to check the product details carefully to see if you need to order a mount.

2. Holosun HS507K-X2

cqb scope

Holosun's CQB holographic sights are appearing on more and more competition guns. They are just that good. 

This version has the "shake awake" feature. You can customize the amount of time it stays on. You can even turn shake awake off and let it stay on.

The 2 MOA center dot is in the middle of a 32 MOA circle. Some shooters like that circle as it provides a more clear frame of reference.

TECH SPEC

• 12 brightness choices
• Waterproof
• CR1632 battery
• 1 MOA click value

HOLOSUN HS507K-X2

The price of HOLOSUN HS507K-X2 varies, so check the latest price at

3. Vortex Viper

cqb sight

The Viper sports a huge 6 MOA dot. This is too much for shooting at distances much over 50 yards. For CQB, this is actually a benefit because you find the dot and get it on target much faster than a small dot.

The lens is 24mm. This optic goes on a weaver or pic rail. It comes in black or FDE.

The brightness adjustment is on the left side.

The Viper is also compatible with a 3x Vortex magnifier.

TECH SPEC

• 10 brightness choices
• Waterproof, shockproof, fog proof
• CR2032 battery
• 1 MOA click value

Vortex Viper

The price of Vortex Viper varies, so check the latest price at

4. Trijicon SRO

rifle scope with red dot on top

This Trijicon offers a very wide field of view through the lens with a 25x22.5 mm sight window, and of course you can also expect the legendary durability and functionality that Trijicon is known for. You can choose from a 1, 2.5 or 5 MOA dot. For CQB weapons, the larger 5 MOA dot is just fine.

Buttons on each side of the optic allow you to adjust the brightness settings.

TECH SPEC

• 8 brightness choices
• Waterproof, shockproof, fog proof
• CR2032 battery
• 1 MOA click value

Trijicon SRO

Trijicon SRO

The price of Trijicon SRO varies, so check the latest price at

5. Sig Sauer Romeo

cqb scopes

Sig Sauer got started producing handguns. It branched into handgun optics. These CQB reflex sights are often intended for use on a Sig but serve just as well on other firearms.

This CQB sight has a 3 MOA dot. Other Romeo models have a 3 or a 6 MOA dot. Brightness controls are on top of the sight. The sight can be motion-activated.

TECH SPEC

• 8 brightness choices
• Not waterproof
• CR1632 battery
• 1 MOA click value

Sig Sauer Romeo

Sig Sauer Romeo

The price of Sig Sauer Romeo varies, so check the latest price at

Tube-Style CQB

These scopes are a hybrid, somewhere between a reflex scope and a full tube scope. They are much shorter than a traditional scope, but have more than one lens, hence the tube. That can come with low magnification levels. Thanks to their larger objective lens, light transmission through these optics is usually superior to smaller, more compact options. 

Many of these are shotgun or carbine scopes. The length of the tube will determine that. The longer tube version, over four inches, are best used on a scattergun or short rifles.

6. Holosun Paralow HS503G

cqb sights

This Holoson offers what the company calls an ACSS reticle, which is just a 90-degree angle (a chevron) pointing up. Beneath this are three pre-set ballistic drop calculator (BDC) holdover dots. Depending on your gun and ammo, the dots will reach to 600 yards. If you really need to shoot to 600 yards, you should get a different scope.

Pre-set ranges, once you sight in are:

• 5.56 NATO / 5.45x39 from 100 to 600 yards
• 300 BLK (supersonic) / 7.62x39 from 50 to 450 yards
• 12 gauge 1 oz. slug from 25 to 150 yards
• 7.62x54R from 100 to 600 yards
• 7.62 NATO / .308 Win from 100 to 600 yards
• 300 BLK 220 gr subsonic from 50 to 150 yards
• .22LR 40 gr from 50 to 175 yards
• 9mm carbine 115gr from 25 to 200 yards

This one is 2.44 inches long and offers unlimited eye relief. A high rise mount that attaches to a rail is integral to the scope.

Holosun says it is waterproof to a meter, but some YouTube videos show water can get into the CQB scope. The company also says this scope should not be exposed to extreme weather conditions.

It comes with a motion-activated function. It is compatible with some magnifiers.

It has a 2 MOA dot.

• 11 brightness choices
• Water resistant
• CR2032 battery
• 1/2 MOA click value
• 100 MOA elevation and windage adjustments

Holosun Paralow HS503G

The price of Holosun Paralow HS503G varies, so check the latest price at

7. Mark 8 CQBSS 1.1-8X24

leupold cqb

The Leupold Mark 8 is a true CQB rifle scope. It comes with either a 5 MOA dot or a mil-dot reticle. It is a first focal plane scope.

The front bell is a paltry 24 mm. This is not a scope for hunting at twilight. The small bell is meant to reduce the weight and size of the scope for combat situations.

Being a Leupold, this scope comes with one of the best warranties in the industry. It is also one of the toughest since Leupold produces optics that have to stand up to the harshest conditions.

TECH SPEC

• 8 brightness settings
• Waterproof
• 150 total MOA adjustment range.
• .1 milrad adjustments
• 92-14.7 field of view at 100 yards

MARK 8 CQBSS 1.1-8X24

The price of MARK 8 CQBSS 1.1-8X24 varies, so check the latest price at

8. Vortex Optics Strikefire II

cqb scopes

Revised in 2019, the Strikefire Red Dot II is a true red dot scope in that it uses a tube. You can pick a red or green dot. "Red dot" refers to the original scopes like that that all came with a red dot. It measures 5.6 inches and has unlimited eye relief.

It has a 4 MOA red dot and a 30mm front lens. It is compatible with a Vortex magnifier. At the two lowest light settings, it is also compatible with night vision gear. Brightness buttons are on the left side.

You can get a cantilever mount if you want to co-witness.

TECH SPEC

• 11 brightness choices
• Not waterproof
• CR2 battery
• 1/2 MOA click value
• 100 MOA elevation and windage adjustments
• 30mm ring

Vortex Optics Strikefire II

Vortex Optics Strikefire II

The price of Vortex Optics Strikefire II varies, so check the latest price at

9. Leapers UTG ITA Red/Green T-Dot Sight

cqb optics

The Leapers UTG ships with a quick detach mount. The tube is 38mm and compact, 4.2 inches, so you can't get a set of commercial rings on it anyway.

The scope has a T-dot sight reticle, which is their way of saying the reticle is two windage bars and one elevation bar beneath the 4 MOA dot. You can switch between green and red.

A great feature of this scope is the ability to co-witness, something not always available in this style scope. Just don't turn on the light and flip your sights up. You are ready to do. The Leapers UTG can be used with a magnifier as well.

TECH SPEC

• Infinite adjustment brightness
• Waterproof
• CR1620 battery
• 1/2 MOA click value
• Elevation and windage travel range not listed

Leapers UTG ITA Red/Green T-Dot Sight

The price of Leapers UTG ITA Red/Green T-Dot Sight varies, so check the latest price at

10. Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight

aimpoint rifle scopes

Aimpoint has been around for years. This high-quality CQB red dot scope from the Swedish company is one of the more popular versions.

It has 10 brightness settings with four of these compatible with night vision devices. It has a 2 MOA dot and a 38mm front lens. It is 6.7 inches long.

Aimpoint says a new battery can last for several years of continuous use. Still, replace it every year. You do not want to grab your gun in an emergency only to find out the battery is dead. A good way to remember when to change the battery is the week before deer season opens.

TECH SPEC

• 10 brightness choices
• Waterproof - 150 feet.
• DL 1/3N battery
• 1/2 MOA click value
• 70 MOA elevation and windage adjustments
• 30mm tube mount ships with scope

Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight

The price of Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight varies, so check the latest price at

Tube Scopes

11. Trijicon ACOG 4 X 32

close combat optic

The Trijicon ACOG 4 X 32 comes in at 8.25 inches long. The tube length puts it here instead of below.

It does not use a battery. A fiber optic on the top gathers available light and channels it to the dot in the scope. It also uses Tritium for illumination in dark situations.

The fiber optic is encased in a heavy tube to protect it from damage. It comes in red, green, amber. The reticule is two windage arms with hash marks and one elevation arm also with hash marks. It has a single colored dot in the center and a dot to either side.

The 4x magnification delivers 36.8 field of view at 100 yards. The picatinny rail mount is integral to the CQB scope.

Some US military units use this high-end scope. The ranging reticle is calibrated for the 5.56 NATO round (.223) out to 800 meters, making it an effective and versatile option for both close and medium range shooting.

TECH SPEC

• Waterproof
• 1/3 MOA click value

Trijicon ACOG 4 X 32

Trijicon ACOG 4 X 32

The price of Trijicon ACOG 4 X 32 varies, so check the latest price at

No Battery Needed

If the idea of changing batteries annoys you or, worse, you are worried the battery will die when needed most, look into no-battery needed CQB sights. For some, you do need some external light to make the optics light up enough to be seen. Others use Tritium, the same stuff in glowing iron sights, to provide illumination.

Tritium is a radioactive version of helium. It does fade over time, but won't suddenly die.

12. SeeAll Original Open Sight

SeeAll The Original Open Sight

The See All uses a fiber optic block instead of a line. This sight functions a lot like iron sights. However, you can focus on the target instead of the front post. This one promises to be parallax free as well.

You have a choice of a crosshair or a delta (triangle) point. 

See All is made in the United States and has a lifetime warranty. The company also promises if you do not like it, you can send it back.

SeeAll Original Open Sight

SeeAll Original Open Sight

The price of SeeAll Original Open Sight varies, so check the latest price at

13. Meprolight Self-Powered Reflex

cqbss scope - fde

Developed with help from the Israeli military, this scope is designed to meet a fighting force's need for up close fighting. The no-battery nature means the scope is always ready to go. No need to turn it on, adjust the lighting and so forth.

This Meprolight uses both tritium and fiber optics to collect light and funnel it to the reticle.

Meprolight produces a variety of optics for the shooting and hunting crowd. This scope comes with a choice of reticles:

• 4.3 MOA
• 5.5 MOA
• Bullseye
• Triangle, sometimes called a Delta
• A X reticle. think crosshairs rotated 45 degrees.

This scope has an eye-relief of .4-4 inches of eye relief, so it's not really suited for handguns.

It is compatible with some night vision devices.

TECH SPEC

• Waterproof - 150 feet.
• 1 MOA click value
• 35 MOA elevation and windage adjustments
• Quick detach mount ships with scope.

Meprolight Self-Powered Reflex

The price of Meprolight Self-Powered Reflex varies, so check the latest price at

Final Thoughts

No matter what optic you put on a CQB weapon, you need to train with it. Pull the mag, open the bolt, then lock the receiver open. Practice sweeping your surroundings when no one else is there. Do it with the lights on and off.

References:

Featured Image sootch00

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *