First time I used a Leupold CQ/T it was mounted on a friends M1A. It seemed to me an impractical combination as it was mounted really high making it awkward on the M1A and I’d much rather have more magnification on a .30 cal. That aside, I found the CQ/T rather interesting.
The Leupold Close Quarters/ Tactical is a real odd duck of a scope that really came out before its time. Before the 1-X variable power craze of nowadays, there was the 1-3x CQ/T. It is fast and easy to switch between 1x and 3x because the entire ocular section of the scope (up to the rail) rotates. The Leupold CQBSS received rave reviews for this feature, but it was in the CQ/T long before it.
Most of the CQ/T scopes have a circle dot reticle (much like the Eotech) that can be illuminated in amber or red. The circle dot is always visible. Before it was discontinued Leupold did finally make some with their CMR reticle, an ACOG like bullet drop chart(BDC).
Reticle is 2nd focal plane. It is eteched At 1x the Dot is 3 MOA and the circle is 18 inches at 25 yards (~69 MOA), at 3x the Dot is 9 MOA and the circle is 6 feet at 200 yards (~34 MOA). The math is much simpler if you round to 72 and 36 MOA which I think was the intent.
Illuminated reticle is bright, but still somewhat lacking outdoors. The adjustment has 12 positions including OFF and night vision modes. The reticle will blink if you have a low battery. I couldn’t get a good picture outdoors of the illuminated reticle so here is an indoor one.
Adjustments are a simple 1/2 covered turrets.
Weirdly, you have a removable container to put the battery in. If you had several you could do quick battery changes, and this also would protect the optic should the battery leak. It doesn’t slow down battery changes, but makes the process different from other optics.
The mount is rather weird. The CQ/T has a narrow section so that it can mount to an AR15 carry handle. Unlike other scopes that can do that, this one has 3 threaded holes to give different eye relief options.
The rail mount is two piece and pinches the scope to your rail. Solidly mounts the scope but makes it annoying when you are taking it off or moving it.
I am really impressed by the CQ/T and I think it is a good scope, but it is just shy of a great scope. Leupold seemed to make some odd design decisions regarding it. For example the rails on the scope, they should have either gotten rid of them, or gotten serious with low profile adjustment so that there would be a usable amount of rails. The circle is huge, I think they would have been better off with a 1 MOA dot and a 19-20 MOA circle. A mount that doesn’t get all loose and floppy when you are removing or attaching it would also have been an improvement. The battery pack was an interesting idea but could be replaced with a simpler cap. I think the biggest possible improvement would have been an illuminated horseshoe reticle with an ACOG like BDC.
I went and read some old reviews of this scope and the complaints were generally about cost, weight, size, and eye relief. I think this came out in a time when people were not used to spending a good bit of money on an rifle optic. Now people gladly spend large sums for AR optics. This scope is 17.5 oz, so it is heavy, about twice the weight of an ACOG. But to put it in perspective it is a 1/3 pound lighter than the similar Elcan Specter DR. To me it doesn’t feel overly large or heavy on an AR. Eye relief seemed fine to me, but unlike a reflex sight, you still have strict limits on where you can place your head to use it.
I put this scope on my 5.45 AR (pictured in the first picture) and did a little bit of rapid fire and shot some clay pigeons at 50 yards. I found the CQ/T to be very fast and easy to use. I like it, but I feel it is just shy of being a great optic. I would not recommend it because it has discontinued, not to mention there are now 1-6x scopes that are similar size, weight, and MSRP. I think that is a shame because I think with just a little work it could have been exceptional. Lastly, there are some being sold really cheap lately, if you want one, now might be the time to get one.