Nikon P-223 3×32 Scope – A Budget ACOG? ~ VIDEO

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U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- In life, you can never be too good looking, too rich or have too much ammunition – but you can definitely have too much magnification. Which seems counter-intuitive; how could making your target clearer and larger be bad?

Ask any deer hunter how hard it is to find a target in a 12 power scope from a stand that’s starting to move. It’s like playing Where’s Waldo with your face six inches from the page – you might get lucky, but you’re more likely to get lost.

The Nikon P-223 is a budget-friendly, feature-packed rifle ideal for AR-15s.

That’s one of the reasons that the US military chose the Trijicon ACOG for combat troops. It gives them increased precision, range and target identification speed without sacrificing too much situational awareness.

And while I love my Trijicon ACOG, I’m acutely aware that shooters on a tight budget can’t always spend $1,000 on a fixed power combat optic. So what’s a solid alternative? A Chinese-made optic of dubious quality that looks neat and cost $50?

Nikon P-223 3×32 Scope.

Now, most of you are probably thinking, “But Nikon isn’t a budget brand, will this really save me any money?” The answer is yes, but it also is dependent on knowing what makes an optic expensive. That way shooters can buy a quality optic without paying for features they don’t need.

Ruger Mini14 With Nikon P223
The author normally mounts the Nikon on his various AR-15 rifles/carbines but found it also works great on the Ruger Mini-14. Though it would be even better with some shorter rings.

So what’s the Nikon P-223 3×32 Scope secret? Prime. Not Amazon, not Optimus, but prime lenses.

At least that’s the term that photographers use to describe a fixed-magnification lens. See, without all the intricate internal components of a variable magnification scope, shooters can get a piece of quality glass for a price that leaves cash for buying ammo. But more than that, by going with a fixed-power scope, shooters actually get much better light reception.

Nikon P-223 3x32 Scope Turrets
The Nikon P-223 3×32 Scope features half MOA windage and elevation turrets.

How can the Nikon P-223 3×32 Scope get better light reception? Think of it this way: Take an old paper towel roll and a toilet paper roll. Shine a flashlight through both at a wall. Which one produces a brighter image? The shorter toilet paper roll.

Since most variable optics change their magnification by moving two lenses further apart, the scope’s body must be larger and longer. This equates to more weight, increased cost, greater odds of breaking and because the light is traveling through more lenses, worse light reception.

Nikon P223 Reticle BDC
The Nikon P-223 3×32 features a BDC with subtensions for 200, 400 and 600 yards.

Recommended: Nikon P-223 3×32 Scope

So why do I recommend this Nikon P-223 3×32 Scope above other fixed-power offerings on the market? Price-to-quality and features ratio. There are likely more feature-rich optics on the market that may even outperform the Nikon P-223 3×32, but none of them combine the quality and critical features at such a low price point.  The Nikon features a .223 BDC, spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets and can be bought for under $150! The BDC has subtensions for 200, 400 and 600 yards, a one-inch tube, and the optic features 3.4 inches of eye relief. While that last number might not impress everyone, the TA34 ACOG is only about 1.5 inches.

So why buy something like an Elcan Specter or Trijicon ACOG? Durability. While I’ve had this Nikon for a few years and never had any issues, I’ve also never dropped it on concrete while mounted to a rifle, or been shot at while using it. And while that’s not very likely to occur while hunting whitetail deer, if I ever need an optic for a serious, potentially two-way shooting range situation, I’ll likely grab my Elcan or ACOG. But if I were on a tight budget, I would in no way feel under-gunned with this quality, affordable optic from Nikon.


Jim is a freelance writer, editor, and videographer for dozens of publications who loves anything and everything guns. While partial to modern military firearms and their civilian counterparts, he holds a special place in his heart for the greatest battle implement ever devised and other WW2 rifles. When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.Jim Grant

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