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What’s the deal with running two optics on one gun?

While it can seem a little cluttered or unnecessary, mounting an offset red dot or set of irons can do a few things for a weapon system.

Dual Optics - Elk River Guns

Jae Seifert, Owner of Elk River Guns shooting a custom 3-Gun race rifle: Aero precision M4E1, 16” faxon Big gunner barrel, superlative arms adjustable gas block, ultradyne apollo compensator, with a Primary Arms 1-6 FFP ACSS optic, Holosun 407C on the offset, Geissele SD3G, V7 Ti BCG, unrivaled technologies UDB buffer

Mounting two optics on a rifle, a practice commonly referred to as “dual optics” or “co-witnessing,” serves specific purposes in certain shooting scenarios. This approach involves attaching both a magnified optic (usually a scope) and a non-magnified optic (usually a red dot sight) to the rifle. Here are some reasons why someone might choose to mount two optics on a rifle:

Dual Optics on Rifle


Different shooting situations require different levels of magnification. By having both a magnified optic and a red dot sight, shooters can quickly switch between the two optics based on the engagement distance. The magnified optic is used for longer-range precision shooting, while the red dot sight provides rapid target acquisition at close to medium ranges.


Where targets can be as close as 1 yard or as far as 600+ yards on the same stage, having an MOA mounted at a 45 degree angle is usually faster than having to change magnification on your primary scope during a timed event. On PCC or Shotgun optics can be set up for an alternate zero like Slugs on a shotgun or 100 yards on a PCC or just to help with hard leans which can be common at some matches.
Offset Red Dot


Setting up a scope as your primary target acquisition tool and a red-dot mounted offset gives you versatility in making a long range set up shot vs. a quick shot at shorter range without having to resort to iron sights.
Dual Optics Red Dot


Having two optics can provide redundancy in case one optic malfunctions or becomes damaged during use. This is particularly important in critical situations where a failure could have serious consequences.

Quick Target Acquisition:

Red dot sights provide a parallax-free aiming point that allows shooters to keep both eyes open and acquire targets rapidly. This is especially useful in dynamic or fast-paced shooting scenarios.


Dual Optics- both eyes open

It’s important to note that while dual optics can offer advantages, they also add weight and complexity to the rifle setup. Additionally, there can be challenges in maintaining proper sight alignment and zeroing for both optics. Shooters should carefully consider their specific shooting requirements and preferences before opting for this setup.

Part of our bespoke firearm design services involves understanding how you are going to use the set up and how to interface a dual optic setup with the gun it’s going to be installed on. At Elk River Guns we don’t just sell you the part, we consult with you regarding what you want, how it will be used and then we make sure its set up right on your rig.