When it comes to optics, especially for modern sporting rifles and handguns, there are a lot of options available these days. The first thing you need to do is figure out your intended use, whether you need magnification or whether a red dot is best.
Most people will start looking at their budget; that’s always a tough one for a lot of folks. You want durability and quality, but you often can’t or don’t want to spend as much as you did on the firearm just to be able to shoot it.
If that’s the position you’re in, a couple of new models from Sightmark and TruGlo might be what you’re looking for.
Sightmark makes an extensive line of red dots and magnified optics, but what I had a chance to work with is the Wolverine lineup—the 1×23 CSR and 1×28 FSR. These are two rugged red dot units with features well above their modest price points. Both are of similar design and construction; where they differ is that the FSR is designed for AR platform rifles and uses a 2 MOA dot. The smaller CSR is designed for shotguns and short-barreled rifles and uses a 4 MOA dot.
Both are constructed of a one-piece 6061-T6 aluminum body covered by a rubber-armored shell. The battery compartments are located on the left side of the optic tube. Windage and elevation knobs are located in the traditional positions (on the top and right side of the tube) and are tethered to prevent loss.
The lenses are scratch resistant and feature an anti-reflective lens coating. The fog-proof tubes are nitrogen purged. Operating temperature is -22 to 122 (F), and both have an IP67 waterproof rating and are submersible to 3 feet.
There are two night vision settings and eight brightness levels. Both units are powered by AA batteries that provide an impressive 50,000-hour battery life on the “medium” setting. Both models come with an adjustable-height Picatinny mount for easy, out-of-the-box mounting.
I used the Wolverines on a pair of AR pistols, putting the CSR on my 10.5-inch 5.56 and the FSR on my .300 Blackout. Mounting was fast and simple, and sight-in proved quick, as well: Both pistols were sighted-in within five shots.
The dots were bright, very crisp and easy to see, even for someone with an astigmatism (like me). Weight on the CSR is just 10.3 ounces, and the FSR is a touch heavier, at 12.3 ounces. While neither model is a micro red dot, both are still lightweight and don’t add much bulk to the gun.
MSRPs: $155.99 for the CSR; $179.99 for the FSR
TruGlo TRU•BRITE 30 Series
If a magnified optic is what you need, TruGlo offers two options in its new 30 series tactical scopes: a 1-4×24 model and a 1-6×24 model. Both scopes uses a 30mm tube and come with two pre-calibrated bullet drop compensator (BDC) turrets calibrated for 55-gain .223 and 168-grain .308 for target engagement out to 800 yards. It uses ½-inch MOA adjustments and positive leaf spring click adjustments.
The reticle is what TruGlo calls its Power Ring Duplex Mil-Dot pattern. It’s a crisp, clean reticle with easy-to-see mil-dot graduation with a center diamond for fast target acquisition. The reticule is basic black, unless you select either the green or red illuminated options engaged by a separate dial on the left side of the scope body.
A single CR2032 battery powers the optic. A quick throw lever is affixed to the power knob on the 1-6x model that allows you to rapidly choose between magnification levels. On 1x, particularly with the illuminated reticle on, the TRU•BRITE can be used at close ranges like a red (or green) dot sight.
The tube is nitrogen filled for fog-proofing and is also waterproof and shock resistant. The scopes come with flip-up scope covers and a solid, monolithic mount made of aircraft-grade aluminum.
My test optic was the 1-6x model, and the monolithic mount made it a breeze to mount the scope to any rifle with a Picatinny rail. It ended up landing on my Palmetto State PA-10 .308 and proved a great fit for that rifle. The 30mm tube brings in a lot of light, and the reticle was very easy to use and see. The mount also sat so that I didn’t catch the fixed front sight in my scope picture. The ability to rapidly switch between 1x and higher magnification was also a welcome feature.
MSRPs: $184 for the 1-4x model; $270 for the 1-6X model
Whether you need the simple, quick acquisition of a red dot or something a little more precise to reach out farther, let your wallet rest comfortably—Sightmark and TruGlo have got you covered with affordable options for your shooting needs.
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the October 2016 print issue of Gun World.