Optic Review: MSE’s AQC-1C Reflex Sight

Most reflex sights only offer one type of reticle, and the user is locked into it. However, the most unique thing about MSE’s AQC-1C model is that it offers three reticles which the user can change at the push of a button.

Left button: Brightness control. Center button: On/off. Right button: Reticle selection.

Left button: Brightness control. Center button: On/off. Right button: Reticle selection.



Red dot reticle


“Accurate Shooting” reticle


“Quick shooting” reticle

The AQC-1C comes with a PTT (Push to Talk) style cable that can activate the sight, cycle through the reticle options, and also control the brightness level.

The PTT button inside of a provided nylon cover, secured by velcro on the forearm.

The PTT button inside of a provided nylon cover, secured by velcro on the forearm.

View of the support hand with the thumb on the PTT button.

View of the support hand with the thumb on the PTT button.

One thing I noticed while testing this feature is that it could overwhelm/confuse the user. If the button is pushed quickly and you miss your option, then you have to press the PTT button multiple times to cycle back. If you’re at the range just having a casual shooting session then this isn’t a big deal, but in higher stress situations I could see this being a potential problem.

One small critique is that I think the PTT cable could be longer. For users who like having their support hand further toward the muzzle, there doesn’t appear to be a longer cable available.

The reflex sight has a large window, coming in at 1″ x 1 1/3″, which greatly aids the shooter in target acquisition. It comes encased in a “composite reinforced polymer body” that looks like it can withstand the typical bumps and drops when mounted on an AR-15, or other rifle. For those of you familiar with the EOTech design, the AQC-1C is very similar in shape.

Profile view of the AQC-1C on an AR-15.

Profile view of the AQC-1C on an AR-15.

The scope was developed by LTC (Ret) Mikey Hartman, a 20 year commander of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) marksmanship and sharpshooting school. Researching prices online for the MSE AQC-1C reflex sight, looks like you can find it for $600-700. Command Arms (CAA) is the exclusive importer and distributor of MSE sights.


Chris Cheng

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion and author of “Shoot to Win,” a book for beginning shooters. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career.

He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. He resides in San Francisco, CA and works in Silicon Valley.



  • noob

    neat! can you lock the PTT button to just be in control of the “on/off” function? or do you have to go through all the options while using it?

    also if you hate the PTT button and prefer the back of the optic buttons, can you just unscrew it from the body and plug the hole with a cap of some kind?

    • REMOV

      The PTT allows you to turn the red dot, cycle through first and second rectile and turn it off. There is a cap you can mount when you don’t want to use the PTT.


      • noob

        thanks 🙂

    • sianmink

      All I’d really want a control like that to do is to turn the sight on, much like a CT laser. Nice to not have to fiddle with the optic if the rifle needs to operate Right Now.

  • noob

    here’s an interesting thing: the sight comes with a training video written by its designer, who has trained half a million IDF soldiers over 17 years of service as commander of the IDF shooting school.


    I wonder if the video and exercises might be worth the price of the sight itself.

    • Thomas Gomez

      I do like that sight. The designer in the video seems like a pretty solid instructor.

  • rjackparis

    so the sights activate when you hit the tape switch?

    anyone else see a problem with this?

    if you’re getting driven in, what’s wrong with pushing/moving the sight during/after/slightly before dismount?

    who’s going to change what they’ve trained their eyes for on the fly?

    what does this offer over a motion activated sight, or one that shuts off 8 hours after the first button press?

    the term solution searching for a problem comes to mind.

    • noob

      according to the video in my comment below (the one about the training manual) it has a motion activated function that turns on the sight when you move it, and a 30 minute shutdown if no motion is detected.

      the tape switch cycles though the sights functions, but if you hate it you can remove it and plug the socket with a cap.

      • Lamont J Balongue

        EXACTLY… you can program it to go to sleep after 10 seconds of non movement or 10 minutes.

  • JaredN

    The answer to a question I’ve never asked. More widgets on your gun != better.

  • skusmc

    I really thought I remember reading somewhere that his sight had a motion option that turned on the sight when you moved the rifle.

    • NotoriousAPP

      I never understood why the firearms industry doesn’t integrate more MEMS senors into it’s technology. These sensors are cheap and well utilized in many other industries and can be tuned for various g-shock (i.e. recoil).

      • erwos

        Round count on your optic would be AWESOME.

    • DiverEngrSL17K


  • allannon

    Like many of the comments below, I’m ambivalent regarding one-the-run changing of reticles and such.

    I’m also not a 17-year IDF vet, though, so I’ll withhold judgement. Maybe the IDF personnel like to switch reticles with range or something.

    • erwos

      The only time I’ve ever seen a useful switchable reticle was on the discontinued Pride Fowler Action-4 reflex sight; it had a useful secondary reticle for using less-lethal shotgun loads. Outside of that very niche use, I just a plain-jane red dot. Switching “on the run” is a complete non-starter a feature, and I’d need serious convincing that it had a real use. And, frankly, switching brightness levels on the fly seems almost as much of a gimmick. This sight would sell a heck of a lot better if they had dumped the alternative reticles and the cable, and priced it closer to $450.

      For the money, I’d much rather buy a Mepro M21, M5, or MOR.

    • Kinda like my M21

  • Hom Os

    I would not buy this because it is an Israeli product.

    • Leonardo Padrino

      Alrighty then, thanks for adding to the discussion.

  • gunslinger

    being a red dot newb, why this instead of this one http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2013/08/15/lucid-hd7-sight/?

    • Rob in Katy

      This one is probably like the Eotech, much wider field of view. I have both and the Lucid is like a typical scope, very narrow and probably not the best for QCB. It also doesn’t work the best with both eyes open like the Eotech or ACOG. The Lucid looks like looking down a paper towel roll, it blocks your peripheral view. It is good for plinking with a 22lr. Hope that helps from a very non-expert.

      • gunslinger

        thanks. I can belive that LHD would have a smaller FoV compared to EOT (Aimpoint?)

        • Lamont J Balongue

          Aimpoint has the worst FOV of ANY red dot on the market… Not sure why everyone says otherwise???

  • Lance

    Never cared for red dots over Iron sights and scopes. not as accurate at longer ranges. Its a bit BIG for the function. Prefer Trjicon Reflex or AIM point over this.

  • ColaBox

    Hey Chris, out of curiosity, does the cheek raiser on your rifle aid or hinder your ability to use iron sights at all?

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    I happened to purchase an AQC-1C with the PTT cable some months ago and have been very pleased with the features, reliability, durability and general performance of the sight. The huge sight window is also a great asset in almost instantaneous target acquisition, especially in the “both eyes open” mode.

    As REMOV and Noob have noted, the sight reverts to standard push-button operation when the PTT is removed ( the PTT plug-in port on the sight comes with an O-ring sealed threaded cap ), so it provides the user with added versatility as far as choice of control preferences is concerned.

    The trade-off? For one thing, I would strongly recommend that any MSE user spend time — and plenty of it — becoming intimately familiar with the cycling of the control sequence, particularly when using the PTT. Consistent practice ( until use of the system literally becomes instinctual and second nature ) is vital to getting the maximum benefit from this sight. The AQC-1C offers so many features that switching in mid-stride can be almost disconcerting without this level of familiarity. Once mastered, however, this sight will reward the user with a very high level of user-friendly versatility.

    Having said this, the AQC-1C is not the reflex sight for everybody. Many will prefer the relative simplicity and proven performance of an Aimpoint, Trijicon, EOTech or Meprolight M21, and will not need the additional options the AQC-1C ( or any of its brethren ) offers. One could set the controls of the AQC-1C so that it provides just a limited number of preferred functions, but then why spend the extra money for features one is likely never to use?

    In the end, it’s really about what works best for you and your requirements / preferences. Think it through carefully, then make your choice.

  • ak1134

    I’ve seen this thing.The wire is kinda janky Its not bad, but for 6-700 dollars i’d rather stick with an EOtech or an Aimpoint H1or T1. I don’t know why you would make an inferior product and charge more than the industry standard. Doesn’t make sense.

    • Lamont J Balongue

      You really have no clue about this product do you?
      If you put this sight up against all the others, this would win hands down… It does EVERYTHING those other sights do but better!

  • mig1nc

    Anybody know what the difference is between the AQC-1, AQC-1B, and AQC-1C are?

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      MSE currently offers nine versions of AQC reflex sights ( twelve if you count the color variations on the Reflex Sights in Category “A” below ), and these can be divided into two basic categories as follows :

      A. Reflex Sights :

      1. AQC-1 — Uses one 3.6V AA lithium battery ; window size = 30mm x 35mm

      2. AQC-1B — Uses one 3.6V !/2 AA lithium battery ; window size = 25mm x 34mm

      3. AQC-1C — Uses one 3V CR123 battery ; window size = 25mm x 34mm

      Other than the choice of battery types, all three versions have the same exact options and functions. There are minor dimensional and weight differences due to the need to accommodate different-sized batteries, plus the differences in viewfinder window size.

      The AQC-1, AQC-1B and AQC-1C designations refer to versions available in basic matte black ; tan-colored versions are also available, and these are distinguished with a “D” suffix, i.e., AQC-1D, AQC-1BD, AQC-1CD.

      B. Reflex Sights With Built-In Infra-Red Laser Designators :

      1. AQC-2 — Uses one 3.6V lithium battery ; wndow size 30mm x 35mm ; has IR laser designator

      2. AQC-2C — Uses one 3.6V lithium battery ; window size 30mm x 35mm ; has visible laser designator ; black body

      3. AQC-2CD — Uses one 3.6V lithium battery ; window size 30mm x 35mm ; has visible laser designator ; tan body

      4. AQC-2D — Uses one 3.6V lithium battery ; window size 30mm x 35mm ; has both visible and IR laser designators ; black body

      5. AQC-2DD — Uses one 3.6V lithium battery ; window size 30mm x 35mm ; has both visible and IR laser designators ; tan body

      6. AQC-2DE — Uses one 3.6V lithium battery ; window size 30mm x 35mm ; has IR laser designator ; tan body

      The AQC-2 sights are all basically the same and offer the same wide range of options and accessories, the major differences being in the number and type of laser designators as well as body colors.

      It appears that all AQC-1 and AQC-2 sights can use the same common accessories, such as the remote PTT switch and QRA ( Quick-Release Adaptor ), the latter being a dual QD mount that replaces the standard dual thumb-nut mount. Also, all AQC-1 and AQC-2 sights do provide NV ( night-vision ) mode capabilities, and share all the other listed features such as battery-saving sleep mode, motion activation, triple reticle choices, et al. The manufacturer’s stated battery life varies from 1500 hrs. ( 1/2 AA lithium battery ) through 1875 hrs. ( CR123 battery ) to 3000 hrs. ( 3.6V AA lithium battery ).

      It should be noted that I had a QRA on back order for three months and was recently informed by the retailer I had placed the order with that it had been “discontinued”. Whether this means that MSE has discontinued production of the QRA pending introduction of an improved version, that MSE has decided against further production of the QRA altogether, that MSE is trying to fulfill military and LE orders first and is being overwhelmed, or that the retailer I used is no longer carrying the QRA, is open to question.

      Hope this helps a bit.

  • I’d love to see another article from Chris after a few range sessions. I found it interesting that the center dot is actually the same in all reticles. I was expecting larger transitions between each.

    Also, this red-dot does have IR brightness settings for use with night vision, which is always a plus in my book.

  • José Pulido

    I was hoping this would be a simple American version of the Mepro M5(maybe with a more EOTech-like reticle) when I saw the thumbnail, answering my want for an “EOTech” with a more Aimpoint-like battery life.

    Not sure if I’m very disappointed or just kinda disappointed.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Er, Chris —- I think you meant to say “PTT ( Push To Transmit ) style cable” in Paragraph 2 of your article, not “PTT ( Push To Talk ) style cable”. 🙂