In the end, I decided against lights, batteries, bells, and whistles. I went with the Nikon 3x32 fixed power carbine scope. I've mounted Nikon scopes on the most accurate bolty 30-06 I own, as well as my laser-like 10-22 heavy barrel target rifle. Both optics are crystal clear and a joy to shoot with. That being the case, I decided to stay with Nikon on this rifle as well. The P-223 scope series seems pretty much designed for the AR family of rifles, with this 'Carbine' model being specifically made to serve at short to moderate ranges on top of 16" 5.56 carbines.
It features a reticle with three heavier lines and the upper one lighter. At the center, a fine crosshair, and two horizontal aiming bars below it. The single power optic is designed for the 55 grain .223 round, to be sighted in at 200 yards with the center crosshair. That being done, the two bars below it represent aiming points for 400 and 600 yards. The scope is short, as befitting something designed for a carbine. Only just a bit over 8 inches long. It's not particularly heavy either, which makes sense for it's intended use. The target style adjustment turrets (1/4 MOA per click) are designed to have the scope sighted in, and then lift to reset at zero. This allows one to dial around with abandon, while still being easily returned to zero. These turrets are also the only quibble I have with the scope, so far (Pre-sight in and range testing). The idea of adjustment turrets that don't lock, and can be changed every time I case, carry, or bump the rifle.... AARRGGG. We shall see if I can live with that, or if it becomes an issue. I will say this, they don't turn *too* easily, so perhaps they won't change with every stray breeze and brush.
The rear of the scope has a marked and easily (but stiffly) adjustable focus to bring the crosshairs into crystal clarity for the shooter. For mounts, I chose the Warne extra high quick detachable units, made of real honest to God steel. Yes, they are heavy. Yes, they don't look tacticool. YES.... they are tougher than a pissed off MMA champion. The mounts are high enough to get the scope up to a comfortable altitude on the AR platform. Also, they are high enough to have the rear scope bell easily clear a folded BUIS. Coupled with the 'quick detachable' feature, that means a folding backup sight can be left in place and sighted in, with only a few moments needed to pull the optic and get the sights into play. Why? Because stuff breaks, that's why. Two is one and one is none, and blah blah blah.
The reality is the Old Fat Man has had three scopes break in the field, over his life. Also, several red dot optics have come a cropper on me at inopportune times, including the vaunted Eotech. Battry's go dead, ya know? Contacts corrode. Crosshairs go kerflooie sometimes. Hell, even the best mount made can snap the hell off, given a stupid enough maneuver like falling down a bank. Yup.... been there, done that, have the 'stupid dents' to show for it.
These Warne mounts use SIX steel screws on each mount to attach to the scope. Four in the bottom and two more on top of the scope. Each ring must be fully disassembled to install on the scope. The 'quick detachable' feature is a lever actuated screw mount with a squared stainless steel captive key to locate the unit on the rail (or Weaver base). A darn nice feature of these mounts; Once the scope is installed on the rifle, the levers can be lifted and turned to index in any position the shooter desires. With luck, I'll be on the range tomorrow. After sighting in, I'll be detaching and reattaching the optic multiple times till I am comfortable with how close it comes back to zero. I'm not expecting miracles, but hey.... a man can hope!