New Optics Getting a Look from Troops

Rapid Reticle’s new CQLR-1 appears to be gathering a following in Afghanistan. From what we’ve been able to tell there are some PSCs, elements of 1-134 CAV and a couple of SOF units putting the optic through its paces in Afghanistan and so far opinions seem favorable.

CQLR on the range in Afghanistan.

The CQLR is a 1-4x optic you range within the scope. At 1x it’s a reflex sight with small center reticle but the whole tree pattern is used to aim. According to Rae Pride, at 4x a shooter typically limited to 300m yards of effective shooting to hit targets consistently out to 400, 500 even 600 meters. “It gives every individual soldier much more effective range,” she advised. “The brackets to the right of the holdover line help determine the range just by the relative appearance of the enemy’s head; at 100 yards a combatant’s head will fill the crosshairs, making range estimation obvious.”

The CQLR is most commonly used on 5.56mm platforms like the M4, though it’s been deployed on shorter barreled 7.62mm weapons like the SOCOM. It’s also in operation on some SCARs, though we were unable to get our hands on a picture. Either way, Rapid Reticle suggests the CQLR is effective for most Joes and Janes out to 600, after which other optics would be better employed. Shooting out to 600 yards requires no manual adjustment, and it allows for windage corrections up to 10 miles per hour. There’s also an illumination feature that for low light conditions.

One thing we find interesting is the way some shooters are dual mounting the CQLR with the SOPS Compact, putting the latter on the forward end of the optic at a side angle. Apparently these guys are patrolling with the CQLR set at 3x or 4x power and just canting the weapon to 45° and using the SOPS Compact when they need to engage someone up close and personal. (The SOPS Compact will dual mount ACOGs and other optics if the appro

CQLR on patrol with host nationals.

priate mounting pieces are used.)

In addition to US military personnel, law enforcement agencies (including Orange County Sheriffs Department and LAPD) are evaluating both optics for use with police units. The militaries of Australia, Singapore and Japan are now shooting the SOPS Compact and some Coalition SOF units are reportedly testing the CQLR-1.

We’ll be testing them both ourselves soon and will let you know what we think.

More on PFI’s Rapid Reticle optics here.

About the Author

The Mad Duo
Richard Kilgore and Jake Call enjoy something of a celebrity status among action figures and 1/1 scale trigger-pullers alike. They are world renowned for their wit, objectivity, keen tactical insight and utter lack of exaggeration or hyperbole. They leverage tens of thousands of hours of training and operational experience to the betterment of all mankind (and shooters). When not saving helpless school children from terrorists, rescuing damsels in distress and removing insurgents from the gene pool, they write, blog and support single dancing moms one dollar bill at a time. This provides much needed wisdom and perspective to the vast community of trigger-pullers that so desperately hungers for it. You can reach them at or if you're not a SISSY.
  • $500 less than the Elcan SpectreDR, but still more than an ACOG? Might be alright.

  • Lance

    Id never give up my ACOG for one but for a none tritium scope its ok. I bet they work better for a M-14 than a 5.56mm gun.

  • FormerSFMedic

    This story brings up a concern of mine. A lot of the soldiers in OEF want to be able to reach out further because of the terrain, so they go to variable power scopes like this one. That is the wrong solution for a few reasons.1) Even 1 power variable scopes have eye relief, and at 1x they don’t run like a reflex. Shooters need to shoot 100’s if not 1000’s of rounds to be proficient at using the 1x. This is training time that conventional troops don’t get, and running this optic would be a mistake without that training. 2) The concept of running a mini red dot at the 45 degree is a solid technique, however this is also something that has to be trained considerably.3 gun shooters shoot 1000’s of rounds to master this technique. Just look at the pic above of the soldier running his 45 red dot. His technique is clearly suffering. In the stress of combat, there is no compromise in fundamentals. 3) The majority of soldiers really only need a 0 magnification red dot. If they had the proper training they would know that their aimpoint can easily get them out to 500m. Maybe a 3x magnifier could be of some help in some situations. This would still allow the shooter the ability to run closer ranges without the compromise of eye relief and parallax issues.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that our conventional soldiers need more trigger time a better weapons training. Trying to correct deficiencies with gear and accessories is always a bad idea. Where I come from call that a training SCAR.

    • bugkill

      Exactly! When I got assigned to group, the operators trained us (SOF Support) on how to employ our m4a1’s for further engagements. I was an infantryman before I went to the support side of the house and the training that I got during my time in SF far exceeded what I learned as an infantryman when it came to employing my weapon and being more proficient with it.

      All these combat units wasting money on stuff that may be cool on your weapon need to stop and take a strong look at the way they train their men as being shooters. I found the infantry to be lacking in overall shooting skills and despite the fact that the main emphasis should be on squad and platoon tactics, there still needs to be strong training on shooting and extending the performance of the m4 and other rifles.

      I was amazed out how well I could extend the performance of my m4 running my eotech and also my irons (gotta be proficient with both). Instead of spending money on expensive optics and the such, they should invest the money towards more 5.56mm, 7.62mm, and 9mm, to use at the range.

      Practice beats any new optic.

    • I gotta say, I run a TR24G in 1-4x, and I can, and could since day 1, pick it up and shoot it like a standard reflex optic without issues, so I’m not sure where you’re getting the idea that it takes retraining, etc.

  • JW417G

    I agree…aligning the front and rear sight takes longer than finding one focal plane (red dot / reticle) and generally requires you to close one eye. Keeping both eyes open with a 1X optic is better for situational awareness and less eye strain. Variable optics gives you options. Any shooter will have a better chance of scoring hits at distance with variable power optics than with a straight 1X red dot or with iron sights. I run a CQ/T on my rifle and at 1X I have a greater field of view than with an Aimpoint. And, I run both eyes open with no problems. The eye relief issue is a training issue. As long as you mount the optic at the right spot to accommodate your normal cheek weld ,and you continue to practice your normal cheek weld, then there are no issues. Then you have the ability to power up the magnification for targets at greater ranges. Powered optics also helps with identification at distance. Equipment won’t make you a better shooter, but it can enhance your current skill level. However, you still have to invest in the trigger time.

  • Anti P.O.G.

    I can talk $hit on Ford all day, however unti l I drive one and prove if the product is good or not no matter how experienced of a driver I can not comment on Ford. I have had my RRCQLR-1 with the Sops Compact attached for a year now. I have put at least 1,000 rounds down range with the set up. I truly believe these scopes are top of the line and I will not be down range without PFI again. In the past 8 years I have had a lot of training with a variance of Optics and Weaponry. I do agree that you need to be familiar with your Optic and Weapon System. This particular set up is very simple to adapt to if you have had any bit of experience behind a scope. The RRCQLR-1 and Sops compact has proved itself to me from Long Range to Short Range, and also in the Oh $hit scenario.

  • FormerSFMedic

    I think some of you took my comment personally and out of context a little bit. If you guys run a 1-4 optic all the time and have become proficient at it then that is great! What I’m talking about are conventional Infantry soldiers throwing on an optic like this 2 months prior to deployment or even when they get in country, and then having to use that optic to engage threats in combat. A 2 month pre-deployment in a conventional unit does not give the shooter the round count required to become familiar with the issues of running a variable optic. I do believe that these soldiers would be better off running a 0 magnification red dot or similar optic.

  • Etomer

    I switched to the PFI CQLR on my race AR after trying a variety of optics mainly because it has the BDC reticle AND it’s a FFP scope. The speed and ease of use for the CQ portion at 1x easily allows for both eyes open engagement and targets at further distances are a snap by just dialing up the magnification and aligning the proper stadia (after confirming distance with the 3sided ranging “box” if distance is unknown/unconfirmed). It couldn’t be easier nor faster and training with it is more about deciding which magnification level to use than anything else; it’s a natural transition from any optics to this one. Try one before just chalking it up to a smoke and mirrors gadget, money wasnt an issue when deciding on the scope for my rig and the PFI made the cut ahead of much more expensive options. The combo with a SOPS would alleviate the need to adjust magnification levels and acquisition at 45 is a natural transition by just chanting the rifle naturally. Folks really need to try out a product/setup at the range and not just in their armchairs at home; to each their own though…