The 36 yard zero is considered the best combat zero for fighting rifles. This is because at this distance, all hits will land within the point of aim on a BC zone size target, making it the optimal zero for the 5.56 caliber bullet.
This means that shooters do not need to memorize holdover and can expect their rounds to hit within a human size target, as seen in our collected results.
3 Reasons To Use A 36 Yard Zero
- ~5" shot group for anything between 25 - 300 yard
- Eliminate mental processing for 36 yard zero holds, Just point and shoot (Rifle cant can affect grouping)
- Increased probable combat effective hit every time
Shot group as tight as a ~5" circle [CQB & mid range distances]
The 36-yard zero is a versatile option, providing an optimal balance between close-range and long-range shooting. It's similar to a 50 yard zero but the POI are a bit more tighter for shooting within 350 yards.
At 36 yards, the bullet's trajectory will be 4 inches above the point of aim, and at 300 yards it will be about 2 inches below the point of aim, providing a suitable point of impact for distances between 25 and 300 yards.
Download Vigilance Elite 36 yard zero target for a 25 yard range use
25 vs 36 Yard Zero Comparison
Most shooters typically choose the 25-yard zero as their default zeroing distance, however, the 36-yard zero offers a more precise grouping for various engagement distances.
While the 25-yard zero is suitable for shooting at 25, 300 and 400 yards, it requires careful holdover compensation for accurate targeting at 150, 200, 250 and 450 yards. The points of impact are more spaced apart from one another for a 25 yard zero than a 36 yd zero.
36 VS 50 Yard Zero Comparison
The 50-yard zero offers a similar feel to the 36-yard zero, and provides an even more tighter grouping between 25 and 250 yards.
However, at 300 yards, the bullet drops nearly 5 inches below the point of aim. As a result, the overall shot group size is around 9 inches, and holdover compensation is necessary for accurate targeting at that distance.
If you don't want to memorize this type of hold over up to ~350 yards, staying with the 36 yards enable you to shoot further. If you just shoot up close, going with the 50 yard zero is just as good.
Zero Comparison - 36 VS 100
The 100-yard zero provides even tighter shot grouping than the 50-yard zero, within the distance range of 100-200 yards. However, beyond 250 and 300 yards, the bullet's trajectory drops significantly, resulting in a total shot group size of 12 inches.
As far as getting point and shoot combat effective hits within 100 yards. Both zeros are similar.
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556 36 Yard Zero Test Results
Using 55gr 5.56mm
X95 High Optic Height Over Bore - Test 1
The distance between the optic and barrel do affect the shot group. Check this out:
X95 with EOTech on Unity Tactical FAST mount ~ 4" optic height over bore total
EOtech 36 yard zero test on X95
Increased optic height + X95's height over bore do stretch the overall POI about 2.5 - 4" apart compared to standard 1/3rd co-witness optic height.
Standard 1/3rd Co Witness Optic Height - Test 2
AR15 with Vortex AMG 1/3rd co-witness optic height
Features Vortex AMG UH 1
Shot groups are packed much tighter with 1/3rd co-witness height than X95
Who Introduced The 36 Yard Zero
The 36 yard zero idea was initially introduced to the community by Shawn Ryan (Vigilance Elite) Former SEAL.
Watch how he explains it:
Who Can Benefit From 36 Yard Zero?
People who can benefit from a 36 yard zero are:
- Competition shooters
- CQB Home defense
- Great for multi purpose rifles
Less thinking nor memorizing holdover is required.
How much drop for a 36 yard zero at 25 yards?
The difference is about 0.5" - 0.7" for a 36 yard zero at 25 yards. Assuming no significant optic height over bore.
Note: You MUST scale the image to 100% for accurate print results
How Does A 36 Yard Zero Perform For CQB Distances?
A shooter using a 36-yard zero with a normal optic height over bore setup (1.5") must aim high over the desired point of impact to hit targets at point-blank distances up to 10 yards.
The bottom hash mark of a 68 MOA ring reticle from the EOTECH helps by providing a holdover of 2.5 inches above the intended point of impact at about 5 yard point blank distance."
Use 36 Yard Zero For Offset Optic?
Sure why not.
For the best result, please make sure the offset optic aligns with the bore when canted - It minimizes offset.
Zero it like this if you can:
As the content creator of badassoptic.com, My background in the firearms industry and shooting sports gives me the experience to recommend tried and true products and keep away subpar ones.