Father’s Day 2019—Gifts for Gun Guys

Sightmark has Father’s Day gifts for shooters. What would dad want more? Probably a new gun…but if you can’t get him that, get him the next best thing—a really cool optic or firearm accessory! Reserve a lane at your local shooting range and take dad out to do what he loves—shoot guns and spend time with you!

Wraith HD 4-32×50 Digital Riflescope

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Digital is the scope of the future. These digital night vision riflescopes utilize a 1920×1080 HD sensor which displays in full-color HD clarity during the day. In night mode, you can choose between traditional night vision green or high-contrast black and white. For better nighttime detection and target acquisition and identification, up to 200 yards, use the removable 850nm IR illuminator. There are 10 reticle choices in 9 different colors for providing the best contrast in various settings and lighting situations. A built-in camera records high-resolution pictures and video. Useable during the day and night, the Wraith is right at home for target shooting, as well as hog and predator hunting at night. Common AA batteries (4) give the Wraith power for up to 4.5 hours. An external Micro USB power input is there for backup.

Check it out here.

Click here to learn more about digital scope technology.

Citadel 5-30×56 LR2

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Have you heard? Long-range is the new CQB. If you’ve been into the shooting sports for a while, you’ve probably exhausted all the tactical training and self-defense drills you have access to. Long-range precision shooting is quickly becoming a hobby of sportsmen. It provides a new challenge, increases your marksmanship skills, plus offers plenty of opportunity to brag. The Citadel rivals any of the much more expensive long-range scopes in features. It has a 5-30x magnification range and 56mm objective lens. A first focal plane, red-illuminated LR2 reticle lets shooters use holdovers across a 6x optical system. Exposed pop-up locking turrets make for swift and smooth magnification changes. Various brightness settings help with contrast in all lighting conditions, including low light for dawn and dusk hunting. The Citadel series of riflescopes are constructed of a single-piece 30mm aircraft-grade aluminum tube with a hard-anodized finish. It includes flip-up lens caps, sunshade and CR2032 battery.

Check out the Citadel here.

Before heading out with the Citadel, save your dad time and money and by having him a laser boresight his rifle at home with an Accudot boresight. Click here to find his caliber.

XT-3 Magnifier with LQD Flip to Side Mount

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If pops already has the reflex or red dot sight of his dreams, make it even dreamier with the 3x flip-to-side magnifier. Magnifiers increase the magnification of your 0-1x red dot to 3x. Using the locking quick-detach mount, mount the magnifier behind your red dot sight for an absolute co-witness. It will extend your reflex sight’s capabilities to help make accurate shots out to 100 yards. Transition quickly back to close quarters with the flip-to-side integral mount. It is windage and elevation adjustable and EOTech- and Aimpoint-compatible. Included is a Picatinny mount and it is shockproof up to .308 Winchester.

Click here to learn more about the XT-3 Magnifier.

Ultra Shot M-Spec LQD Flat Dark Earth

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This military- and law enforcement-inspired optic is designed especially for AR-15, AR-10s and other MSRs with a full-strength magnesium body, patented retractable sunshade and parallax-free lens system. The Ultra Shot M-SPEC has an illuminated 65 MOA circle dot crosshair with 2 MOA center dot reticle for fast target acquisition in up close and personal distances. One CR123A battery lasts up to 2,000 hours due to the Ultra Shot’s motion-sensing auto on and off activation. The low-profile quick-detach locking lever won’t snag or unlatch but aids in quick optic changes when necessary. From extreme low-light to bright day, the Ultra Shot M-Spec provides enough contrast to pick your reticle up quickly with the 10 different brightness adjustment settings. It is recoil rated up to .50 BM and includes the locking quick-detach Picatinny mount, adjustment tools, battery, neoprene cover and a lifetime warranty. This model comes in FDE and black.

Click here to check it out.

LoPro Light and Laser Combo

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Named for its low profile, the LoPro green laser sight and light combo is perfect for your self-defense .223 AR-15, pistol-caliber AR, or SBR (short barreled rifle.) A green laser is visible up to 600 yards at night, 50 during the day and the bright 300 lumen LED light identifies and can even blind targets. A light and laser combo is the perfect AR-15 accessory for home protection, especially in the dead of the night. It has digital push-button and pressure-pad operation. The light has three modes—max, medium and low. It has an integrated 810nm IR visible illuminator for night-vision compatibility. The LoPro works in tandem with the Mini Shot mini reflex sight. It features hand-adjustable windage and elevation adjustments, a 23-hour battery life and is recoil rated up to .308.

Click here to get the LoPro.

Solitude 10×42 XD Binoculars

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Field-tested by the North American Hunting Club, the Solitude 10×42 extra-low dispersion binoculars are optimized to provide the clearest image possible. A straight tube light system delivers the highest light transmission and brightness. The Solitude features superior BAk-4 prism system, rubber armor and twist-up adjustable eye cups.

Get the Solitude binoculars here.

Find where your local Sightmark dealer here.

How will you spend Father’s Day? Tell us in the comment section.

Marathon Hunting Never Looked So Good

Merriam-Webster suggests marathons aren’t just for runners; in fact, by the trusted source’s definition, a marathon is “something characterized by great length or concentrated effort.” Always one to box things up with labels, I had to take up marathon hunting. Of course, I’m also one to stir pots so responses to inquiries were immediate… and effectively repetitive, “What’s marathon hunting?”

The Sightmark Wraith digital riflescope provides full color images during the day and night vision at night for 24-hour hunting.
The Wraith transitions from daytime to nighttime hunting.

In the context of long stalks and even longer sits, marathon hunting is practiced by countless hunters, predominately during deer season and especially during the rut; even my own mother, while fighting stage-4 cancer, clocked 12 hours in a ground blind to take a bruiser 140-inch buck—now THAT’s marathon hunting!

That said, there is another side to marathon hunting most hunters have never considered—hunting from daylight well into the throes of the witching hours, maybe clear until dawn the next morning. Yes, it’s a thing and last I checked (2017,) 17 states even permitted this transition during deer hunting season; of course, it’s worth checking your state and local hunting regulations since those rules seem to change about as often as most people change their underwear!

As permissible marathon hunting relates to those 17 states, hunters could (perhaps still can) legally transition from hunting deer during daylight shooting hours to taking hogs, predators and varmints, or some combination thereof, at night. To this end, here in Texas, some of us take marathon hunting pretty seriously, turning hunting adventures into 24-hour pursuits—yes, we load up on energy drinks.

The Sightmark Wraith offers full-color digital image clarity during the day.
The Sightmark Wraith takes 1080 HD photo and video with a 1280×720 resolution FLCOS display.

Among 24-hour pursuits, the popularity of marathon hog and predator hunting tournaments has increased. Heck, some competitions even go a might further, clear out to 48 – 72 hours; of course, you do get to sleep, at least in your truck for a couple of hours here and there. To be sure tournament losers often are those choosing lazy slumber in real beds. Glory goes to those with the grit to stay at it—no rest for the wicked… or serious marathon hunters, competition or not.

In years past, hunters committed to hunting during the day and continuing into the night also had to change rifles from one with a traditional day riflescope to another topped with some type of electro-optic, i.e. traditional or digital night vision, or even thermal. For folks with limited firearm options, changing optics may be the only solution; of course, then you have to stop to sight-in or at least double-check accuracy before returning to the hunt—and work through such checks (perhaps including shooting) without blowing your hunt altogether.

The Wraith detects targets out to 200 yards.
The Wraith detects targets out to 200 yards.

Admittedly, optics suitable for handling a 24-hour task have been few, far between and expensive, until now. The Sightmark Wraith solves our 24-hour electro-optic problem once and for all without breaking the bank. At an MSRP of $599, hunters can jump into a digital optic providing true HD, full-color digital imaging by day and with the touch of a button, tried-and-true traditional green or black-white digital night vision for post-sunset pursuits. Even better, the Sightmark Wraith boasts up to 1080 HD photo and video capture with a 1280×720 resolution FLCOS display.

The Sightmark Wraith features 1-8 digital zoom, 4-32x magnification, CMOS sensor, 50mm objective lens, ¼-MOA windage and elevation adjustment values and SD card media storage compatible with up to 64gb cards. Photo and video files are self-contained in easy-to-use .jpg and .mp4 formats. The Wraith’s battery life is up to 4.5 hours and can also be powered with a micro-USB cable. The Wraith also includes up to 10 reticles in 9 colors for a customized display and can detect targets out to 200 yards with the included 850nm LED IR illuminator. All this to close with good news. Marathon hunting is hard work. It’s good to finally see a true 24-hour optic up to the task.

Watching the growing crop of videos showcasing the performance of the Sightmark Wraith gives a great perspective on what to expect. Moreover, the recent trend in night vision videos seems to be detection range. Watching some of these videos should not only support my estimation of detection range but also worthy of noting are the increased detection ranges with the help of third-party IR illuminators, even well past 300 yards. Honestly, it’s hard not to get excited about a digital night vision scope at the Wraith’s price point, making the inclusion of full-color HD imaging for daytime shooting a stellar bonus.

Click here to check out Sightmark’s newest technologically advanced digital day/night vision riflescope, The Wraith.

 

Digital Optics Rule—the Riflescopes of the Future are Here

Star Wars' Luke Skywalker with his MB450 macrobinoculars
Luke Skywalker with his MB450 macrobinoculars

My introduction to digital optics doesn’t seem so long ago… but it was. In fact, it was over 40 years ago. My feet barely touched the floor of the theater and I’m sure I was covered in popcorn crumbs—my lips and teeth rosy from Red Vines and Dr Pepper. My father may not have been excited to see Star Wars IV: The Last Hope (1977) but I sure was and since then I’ve often recalled the moment when Luke Skywalker uses his digital MB450 macrobinocular to observe Tuscan Raiders deep in Tattooine’s Jundlan Wastes.

Just a few years later, laden with popcorn crumbs with Red Vines by my side again, I watched young Skywalker use his Model 1000 macrobinocular to observe AT-AT Walkers on the ice-planet Hoth advancing across an open tundra toward Echo Base in Star Wars V: Empire Strikes Back (1983.)

Heck, we even see a feeble attempt at thermal imagery through a riflescope in Navy SEALS (1990,) although it was simply over-exposed, sepia-filtered footage with no signs of heat signatures or a reticle. Of course, I was still in the Marine Corps in the early 90s and had heard of thermal imaging… but I had never seen the technology—it was rare technology for enlisted Jarheads to say the least.

Fast-forwarding to the past decade or so, we saw digital optics in multiple grades and forms leap off Hollywood screens and into the hands of wanting consumers who had more mad-money to blow in a month than I made in a year. Digital optics, more specifically traditional night vision and ridiculously expensive thermal devices were showing up in the hands of more law enforcement officers, predator hunters, contractors and even niche sasquatch and ghost hunting enthusiasts. Before people knew it, Hollywood was in the game again, this time with legitimate products and original footage. Soon after, outdoor television jumped on board and we began seeing isolated night vision footage on hunts.

The future is here. Digital night vision riflescopes are more affordable, higher quality and lighter weight than ever before.
Digital riflescopes are the wave of the future.

The trend continued and just five years ago, we began seeing massive drops in price points, stellar production improvements, and more compact product designs—technological advances that not only make digital optics more affordable but much more desirable, too. While traditional night vision seemed to maintain a higher price point than most people wanted to pay, say $5,000 – $10,000, digital night vision snuck in at a fraction of the cost with similar Gen 1 to Gen 2 detection ranges and image resolution performance—in 2015, the Sightmark Photon XT came in at about $600 with Gen 1+ quality while the Pulsar Digisight N550 jumped in with Gen 2 performance and a price point around $1,500. Thermal also became affordable with some thermal monoculars selling for as low as $3,500 with 240 to 384 microbolometer resolution sensors.

Today’s a good day to be in the digital optic game. While law enforcement and consumer use of thermal imaging optics has exploded, so has usage of seriously affordable digital night vision and more recently digital riflescopes offering crisp imaging around the clock. Costs of thermal riflescopes, monoculars and binoculars, Pulsar branded optics as examples, have dropped to between $1,800 and $8,000 while features have continually and dramatically improved, including 640×480 microbolometer sensor resolution, picture-in-picture, built-in video and WiFi, stored rifle and load profiles, rangefinding technology, customizable reticles, multiple color palettes and more. Even devices costing 4 times as much just 5 years ago did not include these features.

For most hardworking folks with smaller budgets, digital riflescopes have taken their place among the most popular options for affordable, multi-tasking optics with similar user-friendly features as today’s thermal devices. Their recent unveilings capitalize on the advanced technology showcased in recent digital light vision offerings. While thermal and digital night vision can certainly be used during daylight hours, imaging is generally pared down to hues of like tints and colors like blacks, whites and grays. Thermal may offer color palette options but digital night vision has always been the vanilla black and white you see today. Digital riflescopes give you much more than a black and white world. They give you full color.

When it comes to the latest technological advancement of digital riflescopes, color imaging, the Sightmark Wraith goes yet a step further, offering full-color 1080 HD imaging. From dawn to dusk, see the world in your field of view as it was meant to be, clear, crisp and vibrant. When the sunsets, the Wraith makes transitioning to black and white imaging, and even green imaging, as simple and immediate and pushing a single button. If you have ever hunted during the day and had to change optics or rifle systems altogether to continue night hunting, you understand just how valuable and convenient a feature like this can be.

The 4-32x50mm Wraith digital night vision scope can be used to hunt and shoot day or night with removable IR illuminator.
The technologically advanced Wraith is a digital day and night vision riflescope.

Of course, the Wraith offers more, including features only recently added to today’s higher-priced digital optics like multiple reticle types and colors, built-in video, durable water-resistant construction, manual and distance focusing, a weaver and Picatinny rail mounting system and upgradeable firmware. The Wraith also boasts 4x base magnification, up to 32x, and a detachable infrared illuminator. A third-party illuminator, like stand-alone IR illuminators from Pulsar, can be mounted easily to stretch your night vision detection range out to seriously respectable distances—skilled nighttime predator hunter, Bob Abbott recently shared footage to social media of a clearly visible fox milling around a field in the dark over 420 yards away—not too shabby for a $500 digital riflescope!

Click here to check out the Wraith digital night vision scope.

And this is where we are in 2019—a great time to be alive and amazing time to jump into digital riflescopes. Are digital riflescopes going to rule the world? Considering the many iterations of digital now at play in the world of optics, I would have to say yes. Digital technology has effectively invaded virtually every optic type available today—this doesn’t mean every model from every manufacturer. This means we see digital reflex sights, prism sights, red dots, low-powered fixed and variable magnification scopes, high-powered precision rifle scopes, rangefinders and spotting scopes, monoculars and binoculars and yes, most obviously, the optics considered in this article.

As these optics relate to more niche use, including low-light, nighttime and 24-hour activities, many of us agree digital optics, in some form including illuminated reticles, most certainly due rule the optic world. And yes, I do believe it won’t be long before enthusiasts willing to jump into the digital fray find out these optics absolutely do rule!

Do you use a digital optic? Do you think digital optics will rule the world? Comment below!

Optics Glossary Terms and Definitions

In this article, you will learn:

  • Types of optics
  • Basic terms in optics
  • Basic definitions of optics
Optics include riflescopes, red dot sights, reflex sights, lasers, lights, range finders and other accessories that help you see and aim at a target
Optics is the word we use for any type of sight that allows you to see a target better.

Understanding the terms used when describing the specifications and features of the different types of optics made for your firearm will help you decide which optic is best for your needs.

There are many words related to riflescopes, red dot and reflex sights that aren’t commonly used in everyday language but are incredibly important when it comes to describing the features of the optic. Here we describe the basic terms and definitions of optics.

Types of Optics

There are two types of optics you can mount on your firearm—magnified and non-magnified. Red dot tube, reflex, prismatic, holographic, digital and traditional scopes all fall under either of these categories.

These types of scopes are magnified:

  • Prismatic (can also be 1x magnification)
  • Digital
  • Traditional riflescopes

Magnified

Magnification is the process of enlarging the appearance of an object through magnified lenses. For example, a 4x riflescope enlarges the image 4 times the size as seen by the normal, unaided eye. Riflescope magnification can be fixed or variable, ranging from 1x up to 40x and over. The magnification of the riflescope is designated by the first number in its optical configuration. For example, 4x32 for fixed and 3-9x40 for variable.

Prismatic

Black, prismatic weapon sight with 2.8-inch eye relief
The Wolfhound is a prismatic sight and features a 2.8-inch eye relief and 5 MOA aiming dot.

Prismatic scopes consist of various lenses and a prismatic lens set. They provide two benefits—no moving parts in the internal lens structure provide better durability and a higher probability of maintaining zero and prisms provide a folded focal length, reducing the overall length of the housing.

Digital Night Vision

The 4-32x50mm Wraith digital night vision scope can be used to hunt and shoot day or night with removable IR illuminator.
The technologically advanced Wraith is a digital day and night vision riflescope.

Digital scopes use a charge-coupled device (CCD) or complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) and a microdisplay. Light projected onto the CCD or CMOS array from the objective lens is converted to an electronic signal. This signal is then processed and sent to the microdisplay to be viewed by the user. Digital night vision units require the addition of artificial light to create bright images but can be used in daylight conditions.

What is a Riflescope?

A riflescope is a telescopic sight that enlarges the image of what you’re looking at to help aim at a target and shoot accurately.

The Sightmark Citadel riflescope has a 3-18x magnification and 50mm objective lens with red illuminated millradian reticle.
Estimate range and determine shot holdovers with the 3-18x50mm Citadel riflescope.

Non-Magnified

  • Red dot tube sight
  • Reflex open sight
  • Holographic (HWS)

What is a Reflex Sight?

Reflex sights fall into two categories—open and tube sights. Open sights are generally referred to as reflex sights while tube sights are referred to as red dots.

Sightmark Ultra Shot M-Spec reflex sight with yellow lens
Sightmark Ultra Shot M-Spec reflex sight can be used during the day and at night.

Based on a reflector system, a reflex sight utilizes a reflective glass lens to project an illuminated image superimposed on the field of view. A reflective glass lens is used to collimate light from a light emitting diode (LED) to serve as an aiming point while allowing the user to see the field of view simultaneously.

Click here for more on the pros and cons of each reflex open and tube red dot sights.

Holographic Sights

Holographic sights, most notably made by EOTech, use a laser transmission hologram to produce an illuminated reticle or dot. The hologram is illuminated via a laser diode instead of an LED like in red dot sights.

Objective Lens

The objective lens is the lens in which light enters the riflescope and is sharply focused. The diameter of the lens is measured in millimeters and designated as the last number in the scope’s optical configuration, 4-16x44. The larger the objective lens, the more light gathers and the result is a brighter image with higher resolution, sharpness and detail. Larger objective lenses deliver better images in low light conditions, but also create a heavier and more costly riflescope.

Field of View

Reflex sights, due to their heads-up display (HUD) design allow for a wider field of view.
Reflex sights, due to their heads-up display (HUD) design allow for a wider field of view.

The field of view (FOV) is the observable image visible through the riflescope. Field of view is measured in angular (degrees) or a linear field. Linear field measurements are the width in feet (or meters) of the viewing area at 100 yards (or 100 meters.) The wider the field of view, the greater the area you will see in the image. A wide field of view is helpful for close shooting ranges and moving targets. For variable power magnifications, the increase in power will also decrease the field of view.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is the distance between the eyepiece and where the eye sees the full field of view with no dark edges around the image.

Eye relief is the distance between the eyepiece and where the eye sees the full field of view with no dark edges around the image. Long eye relief in riflescopes is important. Recoil from rifles can hit your forehead or eye, causing injury if the eye relief is not great enough. Heavy-recoil rifles need a minimum of 2.5 inches, but 3 inches or greater is preferable. The downside to long eye relief scopes is they generally have a smaller field of view. With variable power riflescopes, eye relief will change. As power increases, eye relief will decrease.

Reticle

There are many different type of reticles

A reticle is a set, or series of fine lines created from thin metal wire, etched glass, collimated light, or a computer-generated image superimposed on a screen. At its simplest form, the crosshair is represented as intersecting lines in the shape of a cross. Reticles are used as an aiming reference, with the crosshair being a representation of the bullet’s point of impact. Reticles are also designed to be used to estimate range to target and quickly designate bullet drop.

Windage and Elevation Adjustments

Windage and elevation adjustments allow the reticle to be zeroed to the point of impact of the rifle. Elevation controls the vertical (up/down) adjustment of point of impact and allows for compensation of bullet drop. Windage controls the horizontal (left/right) adjustment of point of impact and allows for compensation of wind deflection.

Parallax

Parallax is the visual movement of the reticle in relation to the target. This movement is visible when the user moves their head and the reticle appears to swim over the target. Parallax is caused by the reticle not focusing at the same distance as the target.

Exit Pupil

Measured in millimeters, the exit pupil is the beam of light formed by the objective lens that exits the eyepiece and enters the user’s eye. The larger the exit pupil, the brighter the image; however, it is only applicable if the eye’s pupil is large enough to accommodate it. Large exit pupils are advantageous when viewing in low light. Exit pupil is found by the diameter of the objective lens divided by the magnification.

Focal Plane

Reticles are either on the first or second focal plane

Reticles may be located on the First Focal Plane (FFP) or Second Focal Plane (SFP) of variable magnification riflescopes. In FFP configuration, the reticle remains at a constant size compared to the target. In low magnification, FFP reticles will appear small but grow with the increase of magnification. Second focal plane reticles remain the same size to the user while the target size changes.

Diopter Adjustment or Focus Ring

Diopter is the optical power of a lens and is a reciprocal length of focal length. Since everyone’s eyes are different, diopter adjustment compensates for variances between users. In riflescopes, the image is already focused by the objective lens, focus lens, and erector lenses, but diopter adjustment affects how the user’s eye sees the reticle. Typically, riflescope diopter adjustment ranges from +3 to -3, 0 being nominal 20/20 vision.

Milliradian (Mils) and Minute of Angle (MOA)

What Does MOA Mean?

Mils and MOA are understood as the graduation of a riflescope’s windage and elevation adjustment.

MOA is short for minute of angle and is also a unit for angular measurement. MOA is a smaller, finer measurement than one mil. 1 MOA is equal to 1.047” at 100 yards but rounded to 1.” A riflescope with 0.25MOA (1/4MOA) click adjustment means that each click will move the point of impact 0.25” at 100 yards.

Mil is short for milliradian, a trigonometric unit for angular measurement. Mils are a finer, more precise measurement than degrees. A single mil is equal to 3.6” at 100 yards or 10cm at 100 meters.  A riflescope with 0.1mrad click adjustment means that each click will move the point of impact 0.36” at 100 yards or 1cm at 100 meters.

What Does Boresighting Mean?

The goal of boresighting is to get on-paper. The goal of zeroing is to at to hit where you’re looking.

Boresighting is the preliminary alignment of the optic’s reticle (sight line) to the trajectory line of a rifle.

Click here to learn how to boresight a rifle.

Is there a word you don’t fully understand when it comes to describing the features of an optic, sight or scope? Leave it below and our product experts will do their best to answer you.

Citadel Riflescopes: Task Oriented Accuracy… Elevated

The Citadel 1-10x24 features a second focal plane CR1 reticle calibrated for 55-grain .223 ammo.
The Citadel 1-10×24 features a second focal plane CR1 reticle calibrated for 55-grain .223 ammo.

Picking the right scope can seem pretty daunting, especially when the folks around you offer their “expert” opinions, and downright scary when you see some of the price tags. Sticking to a budget is a no brainer. My Pop always quipped, “I don’t care if it’s 20 bucks. If you can’t afford it, it’s no deal… might as well be $2,000.” He said this more than once, in fact, often. While truth certainly lies in “you get what you pay for,” you can get awfully close to unaffordable with very little difference in performance if you pay attention to features, warranty and, of course, the purpose for your purchase.

Riflescopes come at quite a range of pricing, reliability and features, the latter being key. Operating from within your financial arena as foundational to your options, the purpose your prospective riflescope should be the paramount concern. Do you need magnification? What distances do you expect to shoot? Do you expect to use holdovers? Do you prefer MOA, MRAD or perhaps IPHY? Will your riflescope be used for up-close-and-personal target engagement, long-range challenges or mid-range fun? Maybe a bit of a mix?

Sightmark Citadel long-range riflescopes give you more than you pay for in features, quality and clarity.
You get more than what you pay for when you buy a Citadel riflescope.

A perfect example of affordable riflescopes with all the features of high-end optics and a lifetime warranty is the Sightmark Citadel lineup. Citadel riflescopes rise above get-what-you-pay-for optic performance like a fortress on a hill; even better, Citadel scopes deliver big on peace-of-mind with Sightmark’s lifetime warranty and are available in five models, 1-6×24 CR1, 1-10x24CR1, 3-18x50LR1, 3-18×50 LR2 and 5-30×56 LR2, that run the gamut of shooting distances for the lion’s share of recreational plinkers, competitive shooters and long-range precision marksmen.

Citadel 1-6×24 CR1 and 1-10×24 CR1 are tactical-inspired scopes with 24mm objective lenses on 30mm tube platforms. As the Citadel name implies, 1-6×24 and 1-10×24 models include a base magnification of 1x and max of 6x or 10x. With 6x, I can get on target out to 500 yards, even a bit more, quite easily and at 10x, close to 1,000 yards—that may be a stretch for others but, to each their own, as they say. Citadel 1-6×24 and 1-10×24 also feature fine-etched, second-focal-plane, red-illuminated CR1 reticles complete with 11 brightness settings and bullet-drop-compensation, calibrated for 55-grain .223 ammunition with a 100-yard zero, out to 600 yards. Adjustments are MOA with ½-MOA per click windage and elevation, up to 120 MOA total range.

Citadel 3-18×50 LR2 and 5-30×56 LR2 riflescopes are identical, save the magnification ranges and objective lens sizes. Both feature mil-dash first-focal-plane reticles and .1 Mil windage and elevation adjustments. The Citadel 3-18×50 LR1 Riflescope is identical to the 3-18×50 LR2 with one exception, instead of MRAD, the LR1 model is based on MOA, including MOA reticle subtensions and ¼ MOA-per-click windage and elevation turret adjustments.

Click here to shop Citadel riflescopes.

Picture of Sightmark's CR1 first focal plane reticle on the Citadel riflescope.
The Citadel’s CR1 reticle is a first focal plane reticle.

Citadel LR models are designed to take you long-range, even to extreme distances, while base magnifications of 3x or 5x are still comfortable at closer yardage. Designed, however, with long-range shooters in mind, Citadel 3-18×50 and 5-30×56 LR model riflescopes include enhancements most precision marksmen simply won’t consider going without. Those features include hard-anodized 30mm tubes and fine-etched, red-illuminated, first-focal-plane LR1 or LR2 reticles complete with 11 brightness settings, subtension lines and lower-half “Christmas tree” style reference grids, perfect for elevation and windage holdovers. Glass is exceptionally clear and offers razor-sharp fields of view on all Citadel models. Citadel LR model riflescopes are designed to help you get on target out to 1,000 yards and well beyond. Some of that help also comes from fine-tuning your sight picture with adjustable diopter and parallax.

When it comes down to it, you can’t hit what you can’t see—common sense advice I’ve heard, essentially from day one, from parents, mentors and even drill instructors and primary marksmanship instructors alike. With Sightmark Citadel riflescopes, you won’t have that problem; in fact, you’ll even have some extra cash for ammo. What could be better?

Don’t know what type of riflescope you need? Click here to learn more about MIL-Dash vs. MOA

What is the farthest distance you’ve shot? Share your long-range experiences below.

 

Best AR-15 Scope for Coyote Hunting

*Always check your local laws before hunting any animal!*

Coyote hunting is fun and challenging. Coyotes are fast with keen senses, so they spook easily. A successful coyote hunt consists of pre-scouting, sitting still and then being able to shoot quickly but also accurately. Many states consider the coyote a predator and therefore open to hunting all year long, without bag limits and very few restrictions. This makes setting up your predator rifle with coyote hunting accessories that much more fun! Think night vision, thermal imaging and suppressors!

Like hunting any other animal, you need the right gun and the right optics. You’ll be shooting coyotes mostly from mid-range—200-300 yards. Sometimes, you’ll luck out by getting a good shot at dogs at 50 to 75 yards. A lot of coyote hunters prefer a lower magnification scope.

The best time to hunt coyotes is when they are most active. Coyote wander from the den looking for food right after sunset and at dawn when its dark. Because of this, you need an optic or riflescope with an objective large enough to allow in plenty of light, so you get a clear picture in low-light situations—a 40mm or 50mm objective is best. Many coyote hunters, especially those who hunt at night, will choose red dot or reflex sights, thermal scopes, night vision or scopes with illuminated reticles.

Though the type of optic preferred is personal preference, these are our personal favorites for coyote hunting:

Wraith Digital Riflescope

The 4-32x50mm Wraith digital night vision scope can be used to hunt and shoot day or night with removable IR illuminator.
The technologically advanced Wraith is a digital day and night vision riflescope.

The Wraith is Sightmark’s newest and most technologically advanced digital riflescope useable both day and night. With 10 illuminated reticles and 9 colors to choose from, the versatile Wraith goes from long-range shooting to plinking and every type of hunt from deer to hog. The 4-32x50mm scope has a removable 850nm IR illuminator with up to a 200-yard range at night. The Wraith comes with onboard video recording and SD card slot. It will save five shooter profiles, so rezeroing isn’t an issue when you transfer the scope to another firearm. The 50mm objective and 1920×1080 HD sensor help produce a clear, full-color day time image. At night, switch over to classic green or black and white night vision.

Photon RT

Night vision riflescope
Updated features on the Photon RT include a 768×576 CMOS sensor, 40% higher resolution, and integrated built-in video recorder.

The Photon RT 6×50 digital night vision scope detects targets up to 200 yards in total darkness. Also useable during the day, the Photon RT has a 768×576 CMOS sensor, an invisible 940nm built-in IR illuminator and a high-resolution 640×480 LCD display to produce crisp clear images. A 2x digital zoom details far away game so you can be assured of a precise shot. You have a choice of 6 illuminated reticles with 4 different colors to suit whatever environment, weather conditions and targets you’re aiming at.

Ultra Shot M-Spec FMS Reflex Sight with 3x Magnifier

The Ultra Shot M-Spec reflex sight is good for CQB, competition and hunting
The Ultra Shot M-Spec has a host of features
Pair a magnifier with your red dot sight for medium-range shots
Pair a magnifier with your red dot sight for medium-range shots

 

This reflex sight transitions from close quarters to longer-ranges when paired with a magnifier and acquires targets quickly. For red dot sights, the Ultra Shot M-Spec offers the best reticle for coyote hunting—a 2 MOA dot with 65 MOA ring. The wide-angle lens and anti-reflective lens coating provide a clear field of view. It has 10 brightness settings and is night-vision compatible. Offering 3x magnification to any of your reflex or red dot sights, the tactical magnifier has a flip to side mount easily deployed when you need it.

Citadel 3-18x50mm

The Sightmark Citadel riflescope has a 3-18x magnification and 50mm objective lens with red illuminated millradian reticle.
Estimate range and determine shot holdovers with the Citadel riflescope.

With a red illuminated milliradian reticle, you can estimate range and determine shot holdovers for windage and compensate for bullet drop. The Citadel 3-18x50mm is a comprehensive riflescope with a first focal plane etched glass reticle. This scope’s LR2 ballistic reticle and magnification range are optimized for longer range shooting.

Do you hunt coyote? What optics do you run? Tell us in the comment section.

Sightmark Ultra Shot M-Spec Red Dot Sight Review

Not too long ago, if you wanted optics for your “Modern Sporting Rifle”….it was all about the Benjamins. A little over 10 years ago, a startup company called Sightmark came to market. Their products were budget priced and aimed at the civilian sporting community. In recent years, Sightmark has set their sights on more hard-core shooters and the Law Enforcement community—in this case, we are pretty much one and the same. The optics must be rock solid reliable and able to take a beating. Now, Sightmark doesn’t want you to go out and destroy your sight through abuse, but they do want their most durable sights, their M-Spec line, to take everything you throw at it and ask for more.  In short, there are a couple of sights of different designs bearing the M-Spec name and you can rest assured that if it says M-Spec on the side….it’s tough.

Sightmark's Ultra Shot M-Spec reflex sight stays zeroed and shoots accurately, even after rugged testing.
The Ultra Shot M-Spec reflex sight is rated up to .50 BMG. Photo by Jamie Trahan. 

Enter the newest iteration of the flagship of the M-Spec line, the Ultra Shot M-Spec Reflex sight, available with either a direct bolt or locking quick-detach base (LQD.) The particular sight that I tested was the LQD model (SM26034) which was available directly from sightmark.com and numerous Sightmark dealers including Amazon that had it listed for $249.97 as of the time of this writing.

Now, for the official description from Sightmark.com:

Specially designed to handle your hardcore shooting needs, the Sightmark Ultra Shot M-Spec LQD Reflex Sight promises repeatable accuracy, ultra-fast target acquisition and rugged mil-spec reliability in virtually any environment.

Ultra Shot M-Spec features:

  • Wide-angle lens with scratch-resistant and anti-reflective red coating
  • Patented integrated sunshade
  • Illuminated red 65-MOA circle dot reticle with 10 brightness settings
  • Night-vision brightness modes
  • Parallax correction beyond 10 yards
  • Unlimited eye relief
  • Shockproof, dustproof and IP68 waterproof
  • Recoil rated up to .50 BMG
  • Rugged, lightweight 6061-T6 aluminum hood and protective shield
  • Interlock internal locking adjustment system
  • CR123A battery with 200 to 2,000 hours of battery life
  • 1 MOA windage and elevation adjustment
  • Up to 120 MOA of travel

The Ultra Shot M-Spec Reflex Sight also features a low battery indicator, motion-sensing auto on/off activation, digital switch controls, 12-hour auto shut-off, locking quick-detach Picatinny mount and Sightmark’s lifetime warranty. The Ultra Shot M-Spec LQD Reflex Sight is also perfectly compatible with the Sightmark XT-3 Tactical Magnifier (SM19062). It includes adjustment tools, CR123A battery, operation manual and Neoprene cover.

Sightmark's M-Spec reflex sight has a .50 BMG recoil rating and offers the quickest target acquisition.
The Sightmark M-Spec has a 65 MOA with 2 MOA circle dot reticle. Photo by Jamie Trahan. 

Notice that .50 BMG recoil rating?  Impressive to say the least. The M-Spec will provide you the quickest target acquisition available via its 65 MOA circle-dot reticle (with 2 MOA center dot) and will withstand some of the harshest recoil of just about every hunting or self defense-chambered weapon in North America—unless you’re hunting cloned dinosaurs…in that case go with the .577 Tyrannosaur and just use iron sights.

At one point in time, if you wanted a ruggedized sight for your rifle you ended up with two names on the list, EOTech and Aimpoint, depending on the reticle and sight design you preferred. For years, thanks to advances in concept and design, Sightmark has opened that market up wide and brought red dot sights to the public at several price points with many models of their red dot sights that allow you to switch between a single red dot or the circle dot reticle.

The ruggedized M-Spec, tested and reviewed in this article, reigns supreme. For sheer ruggedness, the selectable reticles along with their associated rear facing switch were eliminated and the circle dot reticle was chosen. People are curious by nature, and always want to know how one thing compares to another. That brings us back to the EOTech, as that is what everyone is going to want to compare the Ultra Shot M-Spec to. Looking at the various models, I found the XPS2 to be the closest competitor.

Let’s compare a few details:

 

Sightmark Ultra Shot M-Spec LQD EOTech XPS2-0
MSRP:  $299.99 (sightmark.com) MSRP:  $555 (EOTech.com)
65 MOA Circle-dot Reticle with 2 MOA dot 68 MOA Circle-dot Reticle with 1 MOA dot
4.01in x 2.24 in x 2.32 in 3.8in x 2.1in x 2.5 in
10.2 ounces 9 ounces
IP68 waterproofing (up to 40ft) Submersible up to 10ft
Construction: Magnesium alloy body Construction: Aluminum body
Elevation/Windage adjustment:120MOA/120MO Elevation/Windage adjustment: 40MOA/40MOA
Battery: 1 – CR123A Battery: 1 – CR123A
Brightness levels:  Off, 1-10, NV Brightness levels:  20
NVG compatible NOT NVG compatible
Battery life:  200-2000 hours depending on setting Battery life:  600 hours continuous at level 12
Operating temperature: -22 to 160 degrees Operating temperature:  -40 to 150
Recoil rating:  .50 BMG Recoil rating: .50 BMG
Retractable, built-in sunshade None

If you look at that chart, you can see that the two products are pretty close to one another. A couple of variances that swing one way and a couple more that swing the other. That said, the Ultra Shot M-Spec LQD is a much bigger bargain being between $150-220 cheaper, depending upon who you choose to purchase it from.

The Sightmark M-Spec is waterproof and has a built-in protective hood.
The Sightmark M-Spec retails for $299.99. Photo by Jamie Trahan. 

In real-world use, the sight performed without any issues whatsoever. My team uses a 36-yard zero, so once the M-Spec was mounted, it was brought to the range to zero and testing. I ran several hundred rounds in various shooting drills. Many done with the use of a VTAC-type barricade, and neither my rifle nor the sight were treated with kid gloves. The sight absorbed every single thing thrown at it and wanted more. One feature that I really prefer on this sight is the fact that you only have the choice of the 65 MOA/2 MOA circle-dot reticle. The R-Spec and A-Spec models have a switch on the rear of the sight that allows the shooter to select multiple reticles. I don’t see a need to keep switching back and forth between reticles and I am glad that was dropped on the M-Spec model.

After getting home from the range, I decided to run a little test. The sight was removed via the LQD and tossed into the freezer. According to the freezer’s display, it overs around 20 degrees or so, provided Samsung uses accurate temperature sensors. I left the sight in there overnight and removed it the following morning. I mounted it up and allowed the sight to thaw out on the ride out to the range. A half hour later, the sight was ready to go. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the zero had not shifted.  You can’t ask for much more than that.

If you prefer a bolt-on mount, as opposed to the LQD on this model, Sightmark offers the same sight built just the way you want it. Select the Ultra Shot M-Spec FMS Reflex Sight (SM26035) instead and they’ve got you covered.

Law Enforcement testing of the Ultra Shot M-Spec proved it is accurate and keeps zero.
Even during the toughest testing, the Ultra Shot M-Spec took everything thrown at it. Photo by Jamie Trahan. 

In looking back at some of Sightmark’s initial offerings years ago, to seeing what they’ve brought to the market in current times, I am eagerly awaiting to see what else is in store in the next couple of years. If the current model Ultra Shot M-Spec is any indication, the future is going to be bright as there are no indications that the wizards behind the scenes at Sightmark have any plans on slowing down.

Author’s Note:  M-Spec, M-Spec, M-Spec. You are probably tired of hearing that but that is something earned by this sight, so I chose to refer to it that way. In the new line of Ultra Shots last year, it was announced by Sightmark HQ that there would be three new product lines, R-Spec, A-Spec and the M-Spec. The R-Spec (Range Spec) is primarily directed towards target shooting and hunting. The A-Spec (Advanced Spec) retains many R-Spec features but adds 6 NVG settings. The M-Spec (Military Spec) was designed for law enforcement, hunting and competition shooters. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

Click here to view all Ultra Shot reflex sights. 

 

Open or Tube Reflex Sights—Which Type of Red Dot Sight Should I Buy?

Reflex sight vs. red dot? What are the differences and which one is the best?

The red dot sight is extremely compatible with AR-15s and other Modern Sporting Rifles (MSR) and is the optic of choice for most MSR owners. These sights are the fastest way to get on target accurately and for AR shooters, this is exactly what we need. Unless you are precision shooting at longer ranges, fast target acquisition and a shot that hits where you aim are all you need in competition shooting, plinking, home defense and even predator and varmint hunting. The reflex or red dot sight is the way to go for close quarters (CQB) to medium ranges, where speed is your top priority.

Before we continue, we need to get something straight—a “red dot sight” has become the term most use when referring to a non-magnified electronic sight that projects an illuminated dot (or other shapes) reticle on a target. However, the term is used incorrectly.

 

Sightmark Core Shot A-Spec FMS red dot sight
This is not a red dot sight. It is an open reflex sight.

 

 

And this is a tube red dot sight.

Both open and tube sights are reflex sights, but an open reflex sight is technically not a red dot sight.

Now, most people aren’t going to make fun of you if you refer to either as a red dot sight and will know exactly what you’re talking about, but since we (Sightmark) make both reflex and red dot sights, we’re nerdy about them and use the correct terms.

Open and tube reflex sights operate the same way. This is how they are set apart from holographic and prismatic sights—which aren’t actually red dot or reflex sights at all.

Reflex sights are called so because of the way they work. They work by using a reflective glass lens to align light from an LED to project an aiming point on a glass objective lens. Due to a special reflective coating on the lens, the illuminated red dot is visible only to you and does not go through the other side of the lens. The dot is never actually projected on the target, it only appears that way to the viewer.

Reflex sights, due to their heads-up display (HUD) design allow for a wider field of view.
Reflex sights, due to their heads-up display (HUD) design allow for a wider field of view.

The internal operation is the same for tube red dot and reflex sights; however, when you put a tube red dot sight and a reflex sight next to each other (as shown above,) they look nothing alike. Both are excellent optics with very few disadvantages, yet they do have slightly different specs and features that might make you prefer one over the other.

Reflex and tube dot sights are non-magnified (as mentioned above,) have an unlimited eye relief—meaning you can mount it anywhere along your rail without the worry of scope bite—and work on the Bindon Aiming Concept, meaning you shoot using the sight with both eyes open.

One of the biggest differences between a reflex/open sight and a red dot is the field of view. Reflex sights, due to their heads-up display (HUD) design allow for a wider field of view. The field of view is how much of the image you can see in the window or objective lens. Reflex sights let you clearly see the target as well as what’s around it, giving you a tactical advantage by allowing you to retain your situational awareness.

Reflex sights are also just a hair faster at target acquisition because the dot isn’t as confined in the head’s up display as in the tube style. Some might find, especially competitors or those hunting birds, that peripheral vision is obstructed or limited using a tube red dot sight when transitioning targets.

Reflex sights are more susceptible to the elements, though. Red dots have an enclosed housing protecting the internals. Also, reflex sights have an exposed light path so if anything blocks that path, you lose the reticle. To compensate for this, we’ve added an extendable hood on our new M-Spec reflex sight to help reduce the risk of losing your reticle.

Where the tube red dot has the reflex beat is how bright the reticle is compared with reticles on open sights.

For which one is better, I can’t tell you. Our military uses both tube and open sights, so both have their place. Depending on your usage and firearm, you will find that you prefer one over the other. As a general rule, most people put a tube red dot on their shotguns, a mini reflex sight on their handguns and either on their AR-15.

Which type of sight do you prefer? Tell us which one and why in the comment section.

Click here to shop Sightmark reflex and red dot sights. 

Cant IS a Word in Long Range Shooting

When it comes to long-range shooting, luck is most decidedly not in the cards. Lobbing hundreds of rounds down range and employing some semblance of Kentucky is sure to result in a hit or two somewhere in the mix—it certainly doesn’t demonstrate one’s ability to tackle precision shooting…or maybe it does—but not in a good way. At the risk of raining on someone’s parade, using volume of fire to ring long-range steel does nothing to showcase marksmanship unless that volume is put into practice, not raining lead hoping something hits.

Long-range shooting takes skill and practice but also the right rig. Using Sightmark’s bubble level ring helps with cant.
It takes skill and practice to shoot long-range. A Sightmark bubble level ring helps, too.

To be clear, a shooter’s skill, rig, ballistic and environmental conditions either combine to score a hit at distance or not. Some latitude may apply, good or bad, in any of those long-range shooting elements; however, where weaknesses reside, greater strengths in other areas must compensate—weather conditions may be worse one day while the rig and ammunition capabilities are essentially fixed variables. This means a stronger skill set is required to compensate for the weakness in environmental attributes, i.e. wind, rain, etc.

Fortunately, while some elements like your rig and ammo may be unchangeable on the firing line, they certainly can be strengthened to enhance your skill set and overall accuracy, the use of a cant indicator as an example. Cant is a silent long-range killer, responsible for lack of accuracy more than people care to talk about… and more often than not, people don’t talk about it at all. In a world of cause and effect, perhaps they don’t talk about it because they’ve never been talked to about it and now, here we are talking about it. At close- to mid-range, including those gangster kill shots you see on TV, may not make much of a difference but stretch your shooting to respectable distances and it can quickly become a problem.

Marine Corps snipers not only talk about cant, but they are also trained to understand its effect and correct it; in fact, the Marine Corps sniper addresses it pretty directly, stating just 1 degree of cant shifts point of impact as much as 6 inches at 1,000 yards. Six inches may not seem like much but it can easily mean the difference between success and catastrophic failure at long-range, especially when you consider those other pesky variables like wind, humidity, altitude, spin drift, the shooter’s skill set and yes, the capabilities of both rifle setup and ammo.

The bubble level rings provides cant information to help you be as accurate as possible.
The Sightmark bubble level ring has a highly visible center line for accuracy.

Six inches may just be six inches or compounded with other issues that take you off target altogether (and may be have been a hit given the shooter got those six inches back.) Precision military shooting aside, ask a competitive long-range shooter chasing points on a target face if six inches matters—believe me, it does. There’s a reason Scott McRee, owner of McRees Precision and the producer of world-class precision rifle chassis, embeds a patented M-Lev cant indicator in each of his stocks. It’s important stuff.

Fortunately, somewhere between going without and buying one of McRee’s chassis, a much more affordable option can certainly be had in rail or optic-mounted cant indicators. The Sightmark Bubble Level Ring is a perfect solution, offering precision cant-indicator accuracy, rugged reliability, simple installation, a lifetime warranty and a price point you simply can’t ignore.

Sightmark offers the aircraft-grade aluminum Bubble Level Ring in 30mm and 34mm sizes for quick, single-bolt attachment to your riflescope with evenly disbursed pressure. At the heart of this simple, effective cant indicator lies an embedded horizontal bubble level complete with a high visibility center-line. When mounted, the Bubble Level Ring provides instant moment-of-truth cant information to ensure your shots are as accurate as your skill, environmental conditions, ballistics and the rest of your rig’s capabilities allow. At 1,000 yards, the value in getting six inches back can be, well, invaluable—quite a trade-off considering MSRP on the Sightmark Bubble Level Ring is just $23.99 and includes a lifetime warranty. But what do I know? I’m just an aging Devil Dog with a passion for going long with lead.

The Bubble Level Ring is available in 30mm and 34mm.

Click Here for the 30mm and Click Here for the 34mm.

What Size MOA Red Dot Should I Buy?

Though it may seem a bit overwhelming at first with how many red dot sights there are to choose from, when it comes down to it, there aren’t really that many differences in red dot and reflex sights. Picking a red dot sight is easier than choosing a magnified riflescope—which can feel like the options are endless. After breaking down a few features, buying a reflex sight should be a simple process.

View through a red dot sight aiming at a Sightmark package.
Red dot or reflex sights range in dot sizes from 1 to up to 8 or 9 MOA.

Red dot and reflex sights are relatively simple and after deciding on how much you want to spend (your budget) and the type of reflex sight you want (open or tube,) which features suit your needs—

size, type of illumination, weight, construction, etc.—it will come down to deciding which size dot is best.

Good for rifles, pistols and shotguns, dot sights are a highly effective aiming tool for CQB, close to medium ranges, competition and self-defense. The biggest advantage of a red dot over any other optic or sight is the ability to acquire and hit a target incredibly quick. The size of the dot directly relates to how quickly you can locate the dot in the unit’s head’s up display and how much target area the dot covers. Both these things can significantly affect your accuracy.

What is MOA?

The smaller the dot, the harder it is to see. The larger the dot, the easier to see but less precise.
The smaller the dot, the harder it is to see. The larger the dot, the easier to see but less precise.

The illuminated red or green dot of a red dot/reflex sight is measured in MOA—minutes of angle, a unit for angular measurement of a circle. 1 MOA is equal to 1.047 inches at 100 yards, which we round down to 1 inch. Meaning, the circle (red dot) will appear to be 1 inch in diameter on a target 100 yards out. Therefore, the smaller the dot’s MOA, the harder to see. A larger MOA dot will be incredibly easy to see but may cover too much of the target at further distances to get an accurate shot.

Smaller dots—1 to 2.5 MOA—are used for precise shots at longer distances. 5, 6, 6.5 and larger MOA dots will get you on target faster but will be less precise because the dot will cover a broader area on the target.

Red Dot MOA Size Comparison

1 MOA dots are usually found on “tactical” sights and provide a very precise aiming dot. Yet, those with less than perfect eyesight can struggle with locating the dot, not only on the unit itself but the target as well. To compensate, many 1 MOA red dot sights will be encircled by a larger 60 MOA circle, which also helps with close-range targets. 3, 4, and 5 MOA dots are quicker to acquire due to their larger size and are best for close range targets. Big dots are perfect for speed competition, steel shooting and for those with astigmatism. The most common dot size ranges from 3 to 5 MOA.

A 4 MOA dot is best for close ranges, while a 2 MOA dot is best for longer ranges.
A 4 MOA dot is best for close ranges, while a 2 MOA dot is best for longer ranges.
Smaller dots—1 to 2.5 MOA—are used for precise shots at longer distances. 5, 6, 6.5 and larger MOA dots will get you on target faster but will be less precise because the dot will cover a broader area on the target.
Smaller dots—1 to 2.5 MOA—are used for precise shots at longer distances. 5, 6, 6.5 and larger MOA dots will get you on target faster.

3 MOA is probably the most popular dot size for both target shooting and self-defense, as the dot is clear, and accuracy is still precise at both close and mid ranges. Still allowing rapid target acquisition in self-defense range, a 3 MOA red dot with an adjustable brightness feature will aid in accuracy when shooting out farther because smaller dots appear larger on brighter settings. Competitors that require speed prefer bigger dots like 6, 6.5 or even a very large 8 MOA dot. People who use red dots for handguns at close distances also prefer bigger dots.

We designed the Ultra Shot and previous red dot sights with the dot size that was available at the time. Since then, there have been significant advances in optic quality. Our newest models, like the M-Spec, incorporate the most innovative technology available in reflex sights. About five years ago, we asked AR15.com and Sightmark Pro Staff members which types of reticles they preferred. Sightmark Product Development Director Jonathan Horton says, “Most of our red dots are 3 or 5 MOA which is easy to acquire and still have on-target accuracy at 50 or 100 yards, even with a magnifier. Going bigger is good for short range but you’re covering a lot of your target anything over 50 yards.  If we do a smaller aiming dot than 3, it does provide better accuracy out to 100 but we usually design larger circle (circle-dot) around the dot for better acquisition at close range.”

Most shooters purchase a red dot sight for its original intention—quick target acquisition in a self-defense situation. However, turkey hunters and fast-paced competitive shooters also appreciate the accuracy a reflex sight offers. At the end of the day, choosing the size of the illuminated dot reticle depends on your primary use and firearm you need the red dot for.

What dot size do you like and why? Tell us in the comment section.

To learn how to use a red dot sight and read more about their benefits, click here.

Click here to shop Red Dot Sights.

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