Sighting in With Sightmark
This article written by Bill Thomas originally appeared in the United Kingdom magazine Airsoft Action. Sightmark products were supplied by U.K. dealer Scott Country International.
In the UK we sometimes seem to be all the way “at the back of the bus” when it comes to firearms and airsoft accessories and although our distributors and retailers do their very best keep us up to date with the very latest developments it can take a while for things to reach us. Bill Thomas looks at Sightmark, an optics brand that has finally reached our shores!
It was back at SHOT 2009 (if memory serves me right) that I first encountered the Sightmark brand of optics and from that day forward I’ve been hoping that someone would give us proper access to a superb range of extremely well-priced optics here in the UK!
I was so impressed with what I saw all those years ago that I invested in an original Sightmark Ultra Shot Reflex Sight straight away. The Sightmark series of reflex sights, even back then, was designed to create a lightweight, yet extremely accurate sight. Not only that but they were very well priced too, under $100 in the USA. The Ultra Shot was Sightmark’s biggest and baddest sight in the reflex line and was incredibly lightweight for its size. It came with a built-in, integrated rail mount, which fitted all standard bases and was able to withstand even heavy recoil from larger calibers; no problems with airsoft then. This, with the ability to choose between four different reticle patterns, made the original Ultra Shot an unusually versatile sight. With a wider field of view than most other reflex sights on the market and a limited lifetime warranty, the Sightmark Ultra Shot was literally in a class by itself!
But time moves on inevitably, and although there were some half-hearted efforts to bring the brand to the UK it was never made particularly available…until now! Luckily for us, Scott Country International has now taken over the distributorship of Sightmark in the UK.
Time and technology continue to move on unabated and luckily enough for us in the airsoft world, faster communication means even faster dissemination of information. Now as regular readers will know, I’ve been following the roll-out of some excellent Cannae Pro tactical gear (also courtesy of Scott Country International), and when Paul there spoke to me about their new brand, Sightmark, he was, of course, preaching to the converted.
What he sent me to try was a “combo platter” of the very latest Wolverine FSR 1×28 red dot sight along with a rather nifty flip to the side 3x magnifier, which makes an incredibly versatile package! Designed for short-range engagements, the Sightmark Wolverine FSR is specifically built for the AR platform. A digital switch controls the brightness of the 2 MOA red dot reticle with a 28mm objective lens that is specifically engineered for rapid target acquisition.
The durable FSR model weighs only 349g and is built for a lifetime of use. Fogproof and nitrogen purged, the Wolverine family of sights is designed to provide you with the ability to take aim in a variety of conditions and temperatures ranging from -22 to 122 F. The Wolverine FSR also has an IP67 waterproof rating and is submersible to three feet.
The 3x Tactical Magnifier Pro offers versatility by increasing the magnification of both red dot and reflex sights to give greater range. In one swift motion, the new flip mount design makes it fast and easy for shooters to increase their magnification for accompanying sights creating a greater engagement range in any situation. This durable magnifier has been redesigned to provide increased eye relief, along with an upgraded rubber armor housing to give increased durability, providing 3.5 inches of eye relief. The Sightmark 3x Tactical Magnifier Pro is also EOTech and Aimpoint compatible.
Overall the standard of finish and fit is superb, and the glass itself is absolutely crystal clear on both optics. The feel of both models is one of durability and once rail-mounted they are locked 100% in place. Now personally I like to run a magnifier as close to the sighting optic as possible to avoid light ingress and potential “flare,” and the Sightmark version allows you to run it really close, a big plus. I also like to have my magnifier flip to the left so that it’s protected against my body, and once again this is easily achievable; the flip also means that you can still run and access “irons” should you need to.
When I need to test optics at a greater distance than my own 30m range allows, I’m lucky to have Darkwater Airsoft just down the road from me and I’ll head on there to use their facilities. Jon (aka “Posh”) has also been testing some of the optics offered by Scott Country International so I asked him if he would like to contribute to this article, and this is what he had to tell me:
“Chatting away with our friends at Scott Country International I was asked if I’d ever heard of Sightmark? “Who?” Was my reply.
Paul there went on to explain that they were a real steel optics company based in Mansfield, Texas and how they produced high-quality optics at very reasonable prices. We were chatting about Darkwater Airsoft’s upcoming MilSim “Grey Slate 2” and how well the thermal imaging units they provided the Heresy Group has been received by the attendees at the first game. Paul said that I should try out the Sightmark Ultra and the Pulsar Challenger Optic combo. With that, the deal was done.
Two days later a very well-presented package arrived. The SIghtmark Ultra Shot comes in a very generic looking box with branding. So far, so samey. The charm is found when you get through the security seals and remove the lid. Inside you’ll find a neoprene pouch stitched to the shape of the optic and zips firmly along the bottom. You’ll also find the quick release mechanism, adjustment tools, cleaning cloth and instruction manual. The Pulsar Challenger isn’t quite as exciting, a branded box, the unit and instruction manual.
On first inspection, the Ultra Shot is a weighty but not heavy, solid well-constructed bit of kit. I have the all-black version but there is also a Tactical Tan version. The two simple operational buttons are on the left side of the optic and comprise of “Power and Brightness.” Nice and simple. The rear of the unit has the reticle selector which, unlike Airsoft replicas, has a stiff lever and sturdy “click” feel when swapping. When activated the brightness levels cover all light conditions and are red/green switchable. The reticle is clear and bright with excellent target marking. In night vision (NV) mode, the reticle is clear and crisp with minimal glare when on low and viewed through the Pulsar Challenger NV optic. I thought this was pretty cool; the fact that you can mount it to a J-Arm and make it helmet compatible is just an added bonus!
The real selling point for me though was that whilst chatting with Scott Country, they told me about the “no quibble warranty.” Essentially, if the lens gets shot out during airsoft games, they’ll replace or repair. What more could you ask for?
The Pulsar Challenger NV is a Gen 1 optic so not the best available on the market, but it performed really well when combined with the Sightmark Ultra Shot (mounted to my rifle) and the pricing of the unit is excellent for those wishing to take the plunge but not having to re-mortgage the wife! Once I had figured out the focus, I was able to hit a target 40m out using the inbuilt IR light and using an external IR torch (flashlight), I was hitting 60m targets with a degree of accuracy. A perfect set up for beginners to night vision.
I would strongly recommend the Sightmark Ultra Shot to any airsofter or target shooter. It’s a solidly built bit of kit with a lifetime warranty, all for the cost of a good replica.
So, there it is in a nutshell! Scott Country International have shown a great willingness to be involved in the airsoft community and thanks to them we in the UK can now access the entire range of Sightmark products. In addition to some (for “real steel” world) keen prices there’s a whole new brand to explore. Sightmark has proved globally that they are here to stay and with an upgraded lifetime warranty (designed to “keep you in the field with products that are built to perform; in the event of defect in materials or workmanship, Sightmark will repair or replace your product immediately”) choosing one of their optics is a total no-brainer!