Scoping Out The Best Sight For The AR-10 Rifle


“It was a good combat weapon that never failed me,”

In the rugged African Jungles and savannahs, Portuguese paratroopers used the AR-10 to flush out insurgents.

As a matter of fact, the AR-10 rifle flushed out the insurgents so well that the AR-10 rifle earned a reputation for accuracy and reliability — a view shared  by the US army.

AR10. Photo by Le-boulanger CC BY-SA 4.0

“It was a good combat weapon that never failed me,” one Congo police instructor remarked.

And it’s true.

The AR-10 is super reliable, accurate, and powerful. It’s no wonder the AR-10 is now one of the top hunting rifles in the world.

Portuguese páraquedistas armed with AR-10 rifles disembark from an Alouette III helicopter during the Angolan War of 1961-1974.

But it can’t be the top without finding the…

Best Scope for AR-10

That’s right. The AR-10, without a doubt, is a powerful and highly accurate rifle. But if you can’t see your target clearly, what’s the use of dead-point accuracy? Nothing.


Stripped AR-10. Photo by Le-boulanger CC BY-SA 4.0


Now, you must be wondering…

Who Made The AR-10 Rifle?

ArmaLite. A small company that started in a tiny machine shop. ArmaLite was never intended to be an arms manufacturer.

But that’s what they became, thanks to an accidental encounter.

ArmaLite AR-15.

While testing the prototype AR-5 survival rifle, ArmaLite met the man that would design the AR-10 (and AR-15), Eugene Stoner.

Eugene was quickly hired and furiously went to work, nailing out dozens of unique rifle concepts before Stoner settled on the AR-10 rifle.

It was good timing…

Eugene M. Stoner, left, and Mikhail T. Kalashnikov hold the rifles they designed, taken May 1990.

The US Army’s Search For A Rifle

After World War 2, the US army was searching for a replacement for their obsolete M1 Garand.

The top weapon manufacturers submitted their rifles for testing. But the choices weren’t impressive. They were mostly an updated version of the M1 Garand.

That was until the AR-10 prototypes entered the competition (a bit late).

John Garand points out features of the M1 to army generals.

They blew everyone away.

The AR-10 was light, powerful, and some even went so far as to say it was the “best lightweight automatic rifle” ever tested.

And everything was going well until someone decided to screw everything up, leading to…

The AR-10 Disaster

ArmaLite’s president, George Sullivan, demanding that the untested prototype design (the AR-10 with an aluminum/steel composite barrel) be put to the torture test — a cruel gun firing test.

An early ‘Hollywood’ model AR-10 with over-sized flash Suppressor/compensator, at the National Firearms Museum. Photo by Joe Loong -CC BY-SA 2.0

Eugene Stoner was 150% against the idea. Stoner begged Sullivan to reconsider to no avail. Then the testing started.

The US army conducted the torture test and, during the test, something went horribly wrong.

The AR-10’s barrel burst

ArmaLite tried to resolve the issue quickly with the more tested, conventional steel barrel.

Close-up of flash Suppressor/compensator on early ‘Hollywood” model AR-10. Photo by Amendola90 CC BY SA 3.0

But, it was too late. The damage was done.

The US Army wasn’t going to adopt the AR-10 rifle. So…

ArmaLite’s AR-10 rifle lost their contract

Ouch. It was a real blow, but they knew how good the AR-10 truly was.

So, ArmaLite embarked on a different route.

Sudanese Model Armalite AR-10. Photo by marek7400 CC BY 3.0

They were going to sell the AR-10 directly to militaries of other countries. The result? A huge success except for one country: Nicaragua.

The Nicaragua Incident

It’s kind of a funny story actually. ArmaLite hired a very famous arms dealer, Samuel Cummings.

Samuel is the reason why the AR-10 became popular. But he screwed up on his first attempt.

Picture of Armalite AR10: Make: Armalite Model: AR-10 Caliber: 7.62mm

Cummings just secured a deal with Nicaragua for 7,500 AR-10 rifles. Not bad considering they only had 50 in stock.

And that was the problem.

ArmaLite didn’t have many AR-10 rifles in stock. So, Eugene decided to give his personal demonstrator AR-10 to Nicaragua’s chief military commander, General Anastasio Somoza.

AR-10 at ARMS & Hunting 2013 exhibition. Photo by Vitaly V. Kuzmin CC BY-SA 4.0

It was fully decked out with a suppressor and all the bells and whistles. All it was missing was the best AR-10 scope. If it had possessed that feature, it would’ve sold out.

Cummings left, thinking his job was done. Which it was, until the AR-10 nearly killed the general. this happened in the accursed torture test.

AR-10T belonging to Indonesian Police, Brimob (Mobile Brigade Corps). Kapolri Cup 2012 competition sticker seen on rifle stock. Taken at Jakarta Metropolitan Police Expo, April 9, 2016. Photo by Dragunova CC BY-SA 4.0

During an AR-10 shooting test, the bolt log popped off the gun and flew past Somoza’s head, nearly killing him.

To say Somoza was annoyed would be a grave understatement. He returned the AR-10 and canceled the entire order.

But that wasn’t the end of the AR-10. It still had one last trick up its sleeve.

Assault Rifles for sale like the AR-15 and AR-10 hanging on the wall

AR-10’s Comeback Plan

By now, the AR-10 had been a failure. Nobody wanted it. The military, Nicaragua, and very few countries wanted it.

Then, the AR-10 rifle made a comeback.

Suddenly, Sudan placed an order for 2,500 AR-10 rifles. Once countries saw the usefulness and success of the AR-10, they followed suit.

Photo of the ArmaLite, Inc. AR-10T owned by Martin Lotz, founder
Photo by Mlotziii CC BY SA 3.0

Germany, Finland, Guatemala, Burma, Italy, Cuba, and Portugal bought out the AR-10’s limited production.

Read another story from us: A Brief History Of The AR-15: A Classic American Weapon

The AR-10 is so reliable that it was used by the Sudanese Special Forces until 1985. If you prefer the AR-15, you should definitely check out best 300 Blackout scope guide!

If you can’t find the scope for you, visit us at Scopes Field. We’ll teach you how to avoid nearly getting yourself killed like Somoza with his AR-10.

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