The world of red dot
sights has grown to overflowing with styles, designs, and of
course prices. From
Aimpointís CompM4 at $700 plus dollars to BSAís
22 Red Dot sight for 22 rimfires at $25, and the rest at every
price level in between. No
matter the price, or the design they all fall into basically two
telescope tube type where you look through it like you do a
regular telescope, and the upright window type.
Both basic designs come in many shapes, cosmetic appeal,
The tube type will
give you a number of red dot options, and not all dots.
There are circles with the red dot in the center, crosses
called crosshairs, and red dots of many different sizes. And
even a model from Cabelaís that has a crosshair through
a circle..... personally I find on a rifle or pistol I would
rather use a normal low power telescope than a scope bodied red
The window type,
called Reflex Lens, also has circles with the red dots inside,
and a number of sizes of the red dots within the sight itself
for the shooter to select according to his needs in target
acquisition. After testing them extensively I really like the
reflex or open window type.
They are faster, and easier for me to use, especially on
22 rimfire pistols.
After looking over
many in a well stocked gun store, trying a number of them on my
guns, and checking out a blistering number of catalogs selling
all kinds of red dot sights. (I was testing to see if the less
expensive types were as good as the expensive ones, as clear, as
rugged, and as quick to target.)
I met with a few surprises along the way.
Just to make this
review possible, I tested three and I set an upper price at
$100. So before we
describe the values and short comings of the ones we tested in
that price range, let me say... as usual you get what you pay
for. From the Trijicon
line, the Aimpoints, the EOTech, and many others in the
$500 range and up, they are as expected, very fine.
Their clarity is top notch, rugged, easy to zero in, and
rock steady on holding their zero
One of the surprises I
found was duplication. For
example, BSA puts out two excellent window type red dot sights.
The MPDS model is a compact window sight with a 30mm
window and four adjustments for red dot sizes, and a coated
lens. It has clamp
on system that can be put on any type of base, even grooved 22
rimfire bases. I mounted it on a Target 22 rimfire after testing
it on a a brutal kicking load in my 35 Whelen Improved, (a 290
gr. Roundnose at 2550 fps), it has passed both with top of the
class marks. I
think Iím going to keep it on the Beretta mod. 87
Target auto. (See photo).
And the second is the
BSA RMDS with a 32mm window (see photo). The manufactures call
them reflex lens. The RMDS is longer than the PMDS, and really
it is for rifles but can also be used on autoloaders.
It also passed the 35 Whelen test with top grades.
I have had telescopes that couldnít take the punishment
these two sights took. They
even took more than my shoulder did.
But the interesting part is they are $49.95 for the PMDS
compact, and $79.95 for the RMDS, available from many venders
like MidwayUSA. Hereís
the surprise, ATN
offers their Ultra Sight in the Cabela's catalog for $99.99...
and it is the same sight as the BSA RMDS.
And I have seen the PMDS in other catalogs at prices that
range up to $199 from many different companies... companies
other than BSA. And
I have seen it cheaper at $40 from SIGHT MARK. So the
buyer must shop and compare... many of these sights are
obviously made overseas and purchased by many companies that
have their name put on them for resale at all kinds of different
I also tried a very
inexpensive Barski 1x25mm CO-11220. It offers itís red
dots sizes in both red and green.
For those that find red difficult to see (which means you
are slightly color blind, and probably blue eyed), the green is
very nice. The Barski was $29 but the window or lens doesnít
look like itís large enough to be 25mm, so for a 22 rimfire
shooting standing still targets, it would be alright.
I put it on a CZ 452 mod.2500
22 rimfire rifle. And for the price it works very well. (See photo).
And talk about
duplication, two sights may be slightly different in style but
give the same service and shooting abilities at vastly different
costs. The BSA PMDS is so close to the Truglo TruPoint
Open red dot sight in clarity, size,
and ruggedness, and since it is $180 cheaper, you really
have to weigh the difference in what they offer in dot sizes and
styles for the extra cost.
They both have coated lens, both have variable sight
sizes, both can take heavy recoil, both have long battery life,
excellent sight adjustment, and both keep their zero very well.
The Truglo is lighter, and has a cover that shuts the
sight off. The BSA
What I like about the
window type is the dot can be anywhere in the window, if itís
on your target and you fire thatís where the bullet is going.
That gives very fast target acquisition, especially for
multiple targets or moving targets.
They are deadly on running southwestern jackrabbits...the
tube type red dot scopes donít give that same speed ability on
moving targets. With the large window type reflex lens and 22
rimfire ammo run through my Acuírzr, itís a deadly combo on
So the word to the
wise is shop around. Look
at the offerings in the local gun stores, check the catalogs,
check the web sites that sell shooter equipment. Check the real
differences, not just cosmetic, but lens size.. very important..
Dot sizes and styles, are the lens coated, does the red dot show
up well during a very bright day, red dot sizes down to very
small are important for longer distance shooting... the 4mm and
such are fine for 50 yards or so.
But out at 100 to 150 yards or more, that size and larger
will cover too much of the target.
My opinion on red dot
sighting systems changed when testing these.
I had no real feeling for them.
I still donít go for the tube type... of course I have
not had a chance to test the top of the line tube types, that
may make a difference. But the right reflex lens of 30mm or
more, coated, compact and rugged, has won a place on some of my
firearms...... and that states a lot.
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