New Reproduction Colt 4x AR-15 Scope by Brownells

In the 1970s and 80s, Colt offered a 4×20 fixed power scope for its commercial AR (the SP-1). These replaced the earlier 3x scopes, and were designed to fit directly to the rifle’s carry handle. They are a simple design, with a duplex reticle, BDC calibrated out to 500 yards in 100 yard increments, and good optics. Well, Brownells found the factory that originally made these scopes for Colt, and they still have the original plans. So Brownells arranged a license to use Colt’s name and logo, and had a new run of scopes made. They use the exact same design as originally done, but with material and quality standards of today instead of the 1970s. A pretty cool accessory for a carry handle AR!


  1. I’m tempted to get one of these just to match to my carry-handle UR if I ever build it back up. I had a Chinese repro of this for a while that wasn’t awful but it wasn’t as ergonomic as a scope on a flat-top receiver. I never got around to kludging up a cheek rest to make it work better.

  2. Friend of mine had one of these, from his dad, who’d bought it and then taken it to Vietnam with him. By the time I saw it, it was beaten to hell and back, but still seemed serviceable. He didn’t have a rifle to go with it, so I never got to shoot it.

    Gotta wonder what the value on that thing was, given that it was an original Realist, not a Japanese Hakko. Plus, he had documented provenance, right down to the original box his dad had gotten out of the dealer, plus receipts and paperwork letting him bring it back. The irony was, he had to get permission to bring it back to the US as a “souvenir”, just like it was an SKS, or something. Ridiculous, but there you are: US Army at its finest logic.

    • I served in the USAF in Vietnam. I returned with a truckload of “souvenirs” but don’t remember any paperwork BS. On my last day, after I had my 214, I carried two VERY full duffel bags to my car… the dumpster was closer, so in they went! A few items, like my scope survived all these years. I wanted no part of the rest of it. my only interest was growing my hair back as fast as I could to blend back in with the world.

      • Different services take different approaches to redeployment. When we flew back through Ali Al Saleem, the AF guys might as well have been VIP passengers. We Army yoicks got ass-raped by Customs and slept in circus tents; the AF folks went through a reasonably civilized process and slept in very nice facilities that we weren’t allowed near, being yoicks. Hell, from the way they had it, we thought they were the flight crews…

        Not to mention, different units within the same service manage things quite differently. When we came out with 4th ID, the customs people from within the unit were pretty casual about checks on things. Next tour, with 101st Airborne? LOL… They about detail-stripped every piece of equipment and unit property we sent back, looking for “contraband”. Not documented? Not going home, even if it was on the goddamn property book from home station, having been signed out by someone in the unit.

        I don’t doubt you had that experience of Vietnam; my friend’s dad sure as hell did not, because I saw with my own eyes the documentation he had to have, which put that scope on the same paperwork a bring-back SKS would have been on.

        Inconsistency is the watchword of any military endeavor, I’m afraid. I’m pretty sure that some Infantry private with a scope would have had it confiscated coming home, but a Major just had some flunky do the paperwork and brought his back.

        I do have to say that for having been atop his issue rifle for most of that tour, it was in really good shape. I don’t know if it was better than the later Hakko products, or just didn’t see all that much field time. No idea at all what he did over there; could have been staff in Saigon or out in the boonies, for all I know.

        • Not to argue but you imply that us AF guys had it really easy. I can assure you that wasn’t the case!
          Here are a few examples…
          My first few days in country, my “luxury accommodations” of the BOQ had bare wooden floors… unfinished. The bed sheets were standard cotton, no silk to be found anywhere! The AC unit (Possibly from K-Mart) was a typical window unit that failed to do much beyond two feet away.
          Then adding insult to injury, I was apparently assigned a roommate… without even telling me! He was a rather large spotted lizard, with an extremely bad attitude that rudely cussed me out for no reason whatsoever! Well F-him too!
          Obviously sleeping wasn’t an option so I decided to go find some food.
          That ordeal began with seating myself, then waiting forever to be served. After a long wait, a 2nd lt. informed me it was “self-service”. Figures… perhaps that explained why there was no wine list.
          My “food” was served up on a stainless steel tray. Not even cheap plates! That of course matched the “silverware” which obviously wasn’t silver, or even silver plate. Just plain ol’ stainless steel with U.S. stamped into it. As if someone would be tempted to steal it! Oh and paper napkins! Guess they never heard of linnen.
          When I return to my “luxurious suite” I realize there is no telephone! Just how in the h*ll did they expect me to order room service without a phone?
          Ignoring my roomie, I finally fell asleep.
          The next day went pretty much as expected except my limo / base taxi was replaced by a Jeep! My driver laughed at me & offered a truck as a suitable replacement. Not even an AMC staff car!
          End of day 2, I return to my room later than expected. The maid had never bothered to come by! The note I left asking for new fuzzy slippers and robe was where I left it. Completely ignored! My bunk wasn’t made up either!
          Pretty much my entire tour was like that. A real “do it yourself” affair.
          It didn’t take long to realize why people say “War is H*ll”… it really is!

          • LOL… Good on you, Jeff!

            I have to acknowledge the sheer horror of your accommodations, though. I’m sure someone got fired over that…

            Vis-a-vis AF vs. Army, however, I distinctly remember the discovery that all the 9th ID FAC team members were getting supplemental pay and/or Basic Allowance for Quarters payments automatically, because they were then living in some of the nicest barracks on Fort Lewis… I mean, they had actual, y’know… 1960’s-era brick buildings.

            At the time, I was on North Fort, in seriously dilapidated wooden buildings that were remnants of post-WWII construction meant to temporarily house returning troops from the Pacific theater. The buildings were designed with something like an intended 5-year lifespan; they were in use into the late 1990s. Watched one of them go from “Hey, that’s funny… Those windows over there are kinda… Glowing-like…” to “F*ck, call the Fire Department, that’s a fire!” within about 60 seconds, ending in what looked like a bonfire someone poured gas on top of inside of five minutes, tops. The building was gone before the fire department drove the six blocks or so from their North Fort station to the scene.

            Also, as an aside, lore had it that the 9th ID had tried fobbing off some of those North Fort buildings on the Air Force detachment. The Air Force simply told them that if they did that, they were pulling the entire detachment, and there’d be zero organic support from them for the 9th Infantry…

            Good times, good times. The Air Force does a much better job of taking care of its enlisted members than the Army does, but then again… They kinda have to. The people they recruit won’t put up with that BS.

  3. I have my original from the early 1970s as well as the new reproduction. Comparing from the outside they are identical except for lens covers. To be honest, I don’t remember if my original came with them or not. I can’t recall the packaging either.
    Inside they are completely different! Even new, the original wasn’t great. At the slightest provocation it would fog. Usually right when you needed it. The only thing that really worked was the iron sights were still usable.
    The new one is crystal clear no matter what!
    I took it from my refrigerator, mounted it on my rifle, in the desert sun and it was flawless!
    It maintains zero even when removing & reinstalling several times. It actually does what it’s supposed to do.
    I received the second (actually both lol) as gifts as I wasn’t interested in paying what I assumed to be too much for a novelty scope. After testing / abusing it, I quickly changed my mind! It’s worth every penny!

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