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Using the Primary Arms MD 06 Red Dot Sight on an SBR

| December 23, 2013 | 0 Comments

If I have to use my short barreled rifle, I expect it to be at ranges of 100 yards or less. This covers all of the major types of mass shootings that have happened in America: school shooting, mall shooting, work shooting, and flash mob shooting.

I also expect to shoot in either daylight or night time conditions.

I also plan on a lot of innocent people around.

All of that adds up to short range target acquisition as fast as possible.

To help me accomplish this, I’ve installed non-magnifying optics on all of our SBRs and bag guns.

The most common optic we own is the MD 06 red dot sight from Primary Arms. At less than $90 before shipping, it’s a great value. Just make sure you train with it first before calling it good.


The MD 06 has a 3 MOA red dot that is a great size for use at 100 yards or less. The intensity of the dot can be adjusted from 1 to 10. In the brightest Minnesota summer days I only turned the dot up to 6.

A CR2032 battery (one included) powers the optic. It’s supposed to be good for 1000 hours at the “5” setting; we leave ours on all the time at 1 (lowest) and have yet to have a battery go dead on us. We store a spare battery in the grip of every rifle / bag gun and check batteries every third Friday of the month and whenever we handle the firearms.

The MD 06 attaches to any standard picatinny rail. It does not come with a sight base or riser. In the case of my SBR AK47 that’s fine, as I want the sight to sit as low as possible. We have a detachable riser mount on our AR pistol and most of our other full-sized rifles.

One thing I like about the MD 06 is that it’s relatively low profile and despite its multiple protrusions is pretty snag free. My primary instructor Erik Pakieser calls this his “blanket test.” Nothing on your rifle should snag if you throw a blanket over it and then pull it off quickly.

The MD 06 optic sits low, which is great for short barrel rifles with a short sight radius.

The MD 06 optic sits low, which is great for short barrel rifles with a short sight radius.

The MD 06 and similar models from Primary Arms isn’t as svelte as an EOTech, but I bought optics for four rifles for the price of one 512 optic.

I have two critiques about the MD 06, one of which probably won’t apply to you. The other may or may not be a deal breaker for you.

The first critique is that the emitter (the part that makes the dot) isn’t always securely mounted inside of the unit. I discovered this when two of the sights I purchased refused to hold zero. After a full magazine in two rifles (The She-Shepherd and I were sighting in at the same time) we realized the dots weren’t holding steady. I could move the dot by shaking the unit violently — which was easy for me to do after wasting a lot of time with the optic. I returned these to Primary Arms and they quickly sent us replacements. The replacements have been 100%.

I think this was a manufacturing defect with a specific run of their MD 06, as I haven’t had a problem with units I bought before or after this batch.

The other thing that may bother you is that the emitter is located in such a way that it’s very obvious and noticeable. A fellow student remarked that his eyes went to the emitter first, and the dot second. I could see this happening: the emitter is at an angle and is much larger than the dot.

The MD 06 has stood up to some fairly rough treatment. I don’t throw my guns around to prove the durability of my optics like some instructors, but I did crash into the ground and several obstacles with my optic while running drills. I’ll be doing some vehicular-based training this year, which may also incur some bumps and knocks. It has also held up in moderate rainfall I encountered while attending classes.

Most importantly, the sight has held zero after carrying it around every day in a backpack for about a year.


You’re going to be hard pressed to find a better price to performance optic than the Primary Arms MD 06. I recommend you shake the optic vigorously when you first get it, and try to determine if the optic’s emitter is properly installed. After that you should be good to go.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.
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