Category Archives: Optics

Why You Need Iron Sights

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This is part one of a three-part series on sighting options for your rifle. This first entry covers iron sights. READ MORE

iron sights

SOURCE: Springfield-Armory Armory Life, Kit Perez

While the AR-15 (or “Modern Sporting Rifle”) continues to balloon in popularity for competition, hunting, and defense, there is one facet of it that does not seem to get that much attention: iron sights. Why is that? Many people who are enamored with the AR-15 are equally infatuated with optics. Whether it is magnified optics or red dots, both types of sights are tremendously popular compared to iron sights. So, with optics coming to the forefront of shooter preferences, why and when would someone want to still run iron sights? Fully knowing what a basic set of irons are capable of might be half the battle.

Always On
The misperception of iron sights might stem from the various upbringings we have all had with firearms. If you were introduced to guns as a child with a single-shot, bolt-action .22 Long Rifle with iron sights you likely progressed from there to bigger, better and more modern firearms. Other factions of shooters may have joined the arms bandwagon later in life and began with an AR-15 with an optic, or potentially a different scoped rifle. If you initially skipped over iron sights in your start with rifles, it would be admittedly difficult to regress back to “lesser” technology. Unfortunately for that aforementioned group, lacking a rudimentary understanding of iron sights means you’re missing a basic skill of marksmanship.

When the conversation of “should you use iron sights,” or at a minimum understand them, comes up, I immediately think of Murphy’s Law: What can go wrong, will. Moreover, the technology in optics can fail. Whether it’s a battery dying or glass being irreparable damaged, if you have back-up iron sights you can always remain in the fight, hunt, or competitive event.

Old-School Rangefinding
So, removing the thought of Murphy’s Law from your mindset, why else should you understand and deploy iron sights? For one, the width of a mil-spec front sight post (FSP) can be used to measure the relative size and distance of objects. A mil-spec FSP such as the one present on the Springfield Armory SAINT AR-15 is 0.07” wide. Some fast math tells us that is loosely 3.2 mils at 100 meters.

iron sights
The SAINT’s rear sight has two peep apertures you can use — one is for normal aiming and the other for quick, close-quarters shooting.

More people should become comfortable and familiar with this view because if your optics fail this may be all that you have to work with, for better or worse.

The military teaches that a mil-spec FSP at 150 meters is the average width of a military-aged male’s torso (approximately 19” across). So, for example, if a whitetail deer is facing you straight on and your FSP completely covers the deer’s chest, that particular deer should be at loosely 150 meters. While this is a very primitive ranging technique, in the 21st century it’s great knowledge to keep tucked away in your mind. And it always works. No batteries to run out or glass to break.

Even More Options?
With many sets of iron sights such as on the SAINT, you also get multiple rear apertures through which to aim. Sometimes they’re referred to as day-time and night-time peeps (small and large) while more modern shooting manuals identify each aperture as being utilized for normal shooting and faster close-quarters target acquisition. The ability to have two choices in a rear aperture and greater awareness by not being forced into “tunnel vision focus” with an optic can be quite valuable.

iron sights
While you might think you don’t need those iron sights that come on your SAINT rifle, they are actually a highly capable aiming system.

Since iron sights can serve a two-fold purpose in their peeps and there are handy secrets in their dimensions, when should you use them then? Some of the best applications are for hunting and competition. If you’re going to be participating in a 3-Gun competition, an educational carbine course, the Tactical Games or a similar style AR-15 course of fire, then iron sights could be immensely valuable. In regards to hunting, the ranging ability and fast target acquisition could be handy for unpredictable game appearances. Also, when Murphy’s Law finds you, the likelihood of a nearby gas station stocking your obscure watch battery for your primary optic will be abysmally low. When you’re competing or hunting, it’s often better to “have and not need iron sights than need and not have.”

iron sights

So, if you just added an AR-15 to your arsenal and are thinking of stripping the factory iron sights off of it, think again! They offer a lot of value. Possibly consider using them as a back-up and know that you’ll be more informed and prepared. Be safe out there, and happy shooting!

Adam Scepaniak
Adam is a manager at The Guns And Gear Store in Waite Park, MN. He’s also a writer for the NRA Shooting Sports USA, TheFirearmBlog, Sierra Bullets, All Outdoor, OutdoorHub, and Boyds Gunstocks. He is a Glock and Smith & Wesson Certified Armorer as well.

Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

Nikon Pulls Out Of Rifle Scope Business!

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According to reports from retailers and vendors in the firearms trade, Nikon has discontinued rifle scopes from its line of sport optics. READ MORE

nikon

Details are not as prevalent as rumors just now, but retailers and vendors, including Midsouth, received notification from Nikon that the manufacturer will continue to produce other sport optics such as binoculars, rangefinders and spotting scopes, and that production of Nikon’s line of rifle scopes will be (or has been) discontinued — meaning that once current stocks are gone, they will not be replenished.

These reports have are said to have been confirmed by sources who contacted Nikon’s advertising agency in the United States.

The news first came courtesy of a story on Nikon Rumors. “This rumor is coming from vendors: Nikon is supposedly slashing production of some of their sport optics product lines. Apparently they’re being told that all scopes and red dots are discontinued.” Sources cite the reason as losing the marketplace battle because of competition from Vortex and Leupold.

nikon

GET ‘EM BEFORE THEY’RE GONE FOR GOOD HERE

 

REVIEW: Optic Ready Glocks for Concealed Carry

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Glock G17 and G19 Gen4 Modular Optic System (MOS) guns are ‘game changers’ according to the author. Read more about this new trend in carry guns HERE

glock mos

Wilburn Roberts

There are times when you don’t notice a shift in the paradigm, but with the new Glock G17 and G19 Gen4 MOS (Modular Optic System) pistols the move is obvious and clear. Concealed carry pistols equipped with optics are the next stage in the evolution of defensive pistols.

Glock has taken its most popular models, the full-size G17 Gen4 and compact G19 Gen4, and created MOS variants. The MOS variants that feature a small cover plate just forward of the rear sight. After removing the plate and replacing it with a mounting adaptor the user can mount a reflex red dot sight such as the popular models from Trijicon, Leupold, Meopta, C-More, Docter, and Insight. What this means is, a shooter can acquire a target faster and shoot with more accuracy while doing it with a pistol meant for personal protection. Red dots are not just for competition shooting and hunting any more.

mos mount
The optic-ready mounting is easily accessible.

Glock introduced the MOS (Modular Optic System) variants a few years ago. The G34, G35 and G41 Gen4 received the MOS treatment making them easier to equip with a red dot sight for competition shooting. Glock did the same for the 10mm G40 Gen4 MOS. The addition of an optic increases the shooter’s effective range. Mounting a reflex red dot sights increases the speed and aiming accuracy over traditional iron sights — well, plastic sights in the case of Glock. With a red dot, all a shooter needs to do is focus on the red dot and place it on the target. Traditional sights have three planes — rear sight, front sight, and target — that need to be aligned for accurate shooting. Adding a red dot simply seems to be the natural progression for concealed carry pistols.

Fobus IWBL
I hauled the larger G17 with Delta Point in a Fobus IWBL holster, which required no alterations.

I recently had the opportunity to test a G17 Gen4 MOS and G19 Gen4 MOS. I mounted a Leupold Delta Point to them. At the range, I found I was more accurate and faster on target when compared to the same guns using only iron sights. Drawing the G17 and G19 from concealed cover, I experienced a bit of a learning curve. Make sure your concealing garment is out of the way. The optic is obvously higher and could potentially snag.

The transition from iron sights to optic also requires the shooter to aim differently. In my case, I needed to slightly lower the muzzle of the pistol to acquire the red dot within the sight’s window. Within a few magazines and practice draws, I was comfortable with the optic sight and the smaller groups in the paper downrange indicated my accuracy had improved. I’ve particularly grown fond of the G19 in a DGS Arms CDC (Compact Discreet Carry) kydex appendix holster, which I modified to fit the new Glock equipped with the Delta Point. I hauled the larger G17 with Delta Point in a Fobus IWBL holster, which required no alterations.

discreet holster

The size of the sight does mean the optic has the potential to snag, but proper training should alleviate any fumbled draws. The battery means you need to replace it on a schedule so you are not caught with a dead battery — both are easily managed. I also used the Delta Point as an improvised handle to rack the slide. Not something I would normally do, but I want to see if the mount held and if the sight went out of zero. I had no issues. The pistol ran like you would expect Glocks to run — flawlessly.

optics accuracy
Accuracy is better with optics!

With the G17 Gen4 MOS and G19 Gen4 MOS, Glock is redefining the conceal carry pistol, making the pistol easier and faster to aim, which is an advantage. And we all want the advantage.

glock mos specs

Check out dot optics at Midsouth HERE

leupold dot sight

Check out details from GLOCK HERE

 

VIDEO: Shooting With Leupold’s Custom Dial System

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Leupold’s CDS gives shooters the opportunity to get a truly custom scope. Read about and it and check out the VIDEO. MORE

leupold cds

SOURCE: Leupold

The Leupold Custom Dial System (CDS) provides a simple way to compensate for ballistic performance customized for your rifle and load.

Each CDS is unique, taking all practical ballistic and environmental factors into account. It’s laser-inscribed just for you! Once the CDS elevation dial is installed, just range the target, dial to the correct position, aim dead-on, and hit the target.

CDS takes into account all of the following:
Cartridge & Caliber
Bullet Weight
Bullet Make/Brand
Bullet Type
Ballistic Coefficient
Muzzle Velocity
Average Elevation
Average Temperature
Sight Height
Zero Distance

The CDS System works by laser-inscribing your scope’s elevation dial to match your load, velocity, and conditions based on the information you provide. Your CDS-equipped scope will be in perfect sync with the way your rifle and load shoots (handloads included).

Check out this video by Leupold with Fred Eichler and Leupold’s Tim Lesser.

It’s amazing! WATCH IT HERE

Check out more amazing Leupold Products Here!

REVIEW: Burris XTR II Riflescope 5-25x50mm

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Looking for a super-clear long-range scope with all the bells and whistles? This one delivers all the most-wanted features at a lot lower price than its competition. READ ALL ABOUT IT

burris scope

Major Pandemic

One of the trends I am seeing in the market are optics manufacturers really starting to push themselves again to deliver exponential jumps in quality. The Burris’ premier XTR II lineup at this year’s SHOT show is a great example. The XTR II is Burris’ new flagship optic line. The Burris XTR II 5-25x50m was a must for a top end Devil Dog precision rifle build.

burris xtr ii
Burris XTR high precision self centering 0-40 MOA mounts were used to provide ultimate flexibility and precision.

First off let me say that I was disappointed with how the demise of Devil Dog Arms unfolded, however they still made one of the best quality AR format rifles in the industry complete with premium Black Hole Weaponry barrels and HiperFire Triggers. This Devil Dog .308 has proved to be an exceptionally accurate gun with the capability to easily deliver groups in the 1/2 MOA range — the high power crystal clear capabilities of the XTR II 5-25x50m allowed me to take advantage of that accuracy. The SCR Mil Reticle also allowed a lot of data for on-the-fly windage and elevation compensation adjustments without the need to touch the dial.

The original XTR v1 line of scopes was a huge success for Burris, but customers were asking for even more. Not only did Burris deliver a crystal clear 5-time zoom range on this XTR II 5-25x50mm optic, but they upped the tube thickness by 25-percent over the original. Burris also configured the optic design as a First Focal Plane (FFP) scope. FFP is the hot feature among precision and sniper-style shooters. It, in essence, zooms the reticle along with magnification changes. The result is that whatever holdover you have on the BDC or Mil-dot is the same at any magnification, in this case from 5X all the way through 25X. The big thing is that this design makes elevation and wind holdovers simple and easy without having to think about what magnification you are on. If you have a 5-MPH cross wind on a 300-yard target and that is the second dot down and a quarter mil over based on your zero, then no matter what magnification you are on that same holdover will deliver the same shooting solution. Pretty cool. When comparing this to a standard BDC equipped standard second focal plane scope, the reticle does not zoom, so your hold at the maximum range is not the same at any other magnification level.

XTR II
This XTR II was mounted on a Devil Dog 308 to take advantage of the accuracy potential of the Black Hole Weaponry match barrel.

I choose the SCR (Special Competition Reticle). This is designed to offer the faster-paced long range shooter a significant amount of data including 1/2 Mil-Dot markings, 1/10 Mil-Dot ranging brackets, and an extended illumination reticle. The goal of the design was to provide the shooter with all the data they needed to take the shot quickly and accurately whether they reached for the turrets or used the precision Mil-Dot hold over points in the reticle. Once a shooter knows their bullet drop holds based on Mil-Dot target sizing, they can quickly take a precision shot extremely quickly even at multiple targets at different distances.

First Focal Plane Mil reticle
The Burris XTR II 5-25 optics features a First Focal Plane Mil-based reticle.

FIT, FEEL, FEATURES, & FUNCTIONS
There is a lot to love about this high-tier optic. At around $1400 on the street, it’s priced up there with the premium Japanese and German scopes, but, for the quality it is considerably less expensive than many with similar features at double that price. The glass is unbelievably crisp and clear, and this is what you get in the higher tier.

Burris has everything packed into this optic with the exception of laser ranging including the new style thicker and heavier duty and allegedly brighter 34MM tube, big audible click turrets with MRad adjustments matched to the Mil-Dot reticle (as they should be). And the reticle is even illuminated.

I generally have serious gripes about illuminated reticles because most companies try to deliver sunlight red dot illumination brightness, however in this case Burris delivered perfection. Too many times, manufacturers make illuminated reticles far too bright for the night work they were originally developed for. The illumination on this 5-25x50mm XTR II delivers 11 settings of illumination plus “OFF” positions between each setting so you don’t need to cycle through all the brightness settings just to turn the reticle illumination on or off.

XTR II subtense
The sub-tense of the reticle can be used in a variety of ways according to the shooters needs.

Burris even has a well-thought-out side-focus knob. Then there is the huge magnification range! Normally you would see a 3-10X or 3-14, but here we have a scope that can deliver everything you might need on close targets all the way out to very long distance.

XTR II knobs
The XTR II line feature heavy audible click turrets which make adjustment precise.

FINAL THOUGHTS
This optic has lived on a few builds already but settled on my Devil-Dog-based AR .308 build.

I am not one of those who likes or enjoys figuring out the math on a reticle calibrated for 25X when I need to be at 5X of magnification. For me, simpler is better and I like the FFP concept both in theory and in use. Literally just print out a ballistics card noting all the holdover points for your pet round and you are good to go at any magnification. This is a great optic which deserves to be on a rifle that can match its precision, and that’s the reason I tightened it onto one of my most expensive and accurate AR10 builds.

xtr ii

READ MORE FROM BURRIS

Shop All Burris at Midsouth Shooters Supply

xtr ii specs

Major Pandemic

[Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. Click HERE to learn more.]

TN Wildlife Resources Foundation Elk Sponsored Raffle

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Elk Raffle Designed by TWRF
Want one of these?

The 2018 Tennessee Elk Conservation Tag was awarded to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation (TWRF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit. This coveted tag will be raffled off on August 16, 2018, and the proceeds will benefit elk habitat restoration efforts in Tennessee. One lucky winner will be selected to participate in the Fall 2018 Rifle Elk Hunt on North Cumberland WMA in the premier Elk Hunting Zone 1.

The hunt dates are October 13-19, 2018. If the hunter has not been successful in Zone 1 after 7 days, then all the zones will be available for an additional 7 days. EHZ 1 is a 6,827 acre zone that has been hunted since 2009. The zone was rested during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The zone has a very high success rate and contains multiple wildlife openings.

Bass Pro Shops will sweeten the deal even further by outfitting the winner with a brand new Tikka T3X Lite Stainless bolt-action rifle in 7mm Rem Mag topped with an Oculus Pro Team HD 3x9x40mm rifle scope.

Oculus Pro
Oculus Pro Team HD 3x9x40mm rifle scope

That’s right… for only $10 per ticket you get a chance at a once-in-a-lifetime hunting opportunity and a prize package valued at more than $1,000. There is no limit on the number of entries per customer. 90% of the proceeds from the raffle go directly to the Elk Restoration Program.

Tikka T3X Lite
Tikka T3X Lite Stainless bolt-action rifle in 7mm Rem. Mag

Take your best shot at a Tennessee trophy elk and enter today!

The raffle winner will be announced at the TFWC August 23-24 meeting.

elk hunt

Tennessee state law requires that you must be at least 18 years old to enter. You need not be present to win. The winner must be a U.S. citizen eligible to legally own a firearm according to federal law. The winner is responsible for all taxes and fees associated with the prize, and must possess the required licenses and permits to participate in the hunt.

To purchase your ticket, head over to the Foundation’s website https://www.twrf.net/store/2018-elk-tag-raffle or the TWRA website https://gooutdoorstennessee.com The cost is $10 per ticket and there is no limit on how many a customer may purchase (handling fee may apply).

NEW: Sig Sauer BDX

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Sig Electro-Optics unveils Ballistic Data Xchange (BDX) rangefinders and riflescopes. VERY COOL! Read more…

SOURCE: Sig Sauer Press Release, May 4, 2018 —

SIG SAUER® Electro-Optics Transforms Hunting with the launch of BDX™

Sierra 3 BDX 3.5-10x42mm
Sierra 3 BDX 3.5-10x42mm.

The SIG SAUER Electro-Optics division unveiled their all new Ballistic Data Xchange (BDX) rangefinders and riflescopes with integrated Applied Ballistics® and wireless Bluetooth® technology. This groundbreaking BDX technology enables interoperability and key ballistic holdover information to be exchanged wirelessly between SIG SAUER BDX Electro-Optics products. The foundation of the BDX system was designed for simplicity and ease of use. SIG SAUER BDX requires no new learning, and uses the same tools hunters and shooters have been using for years.

How does BDX work? The BDX rangefinder and riflescope system is simple, fast, and intuitive. Simply download the “SIG BDX” app available for Android or iOS smartphones, pair the KILO BDX rangefinder and SIERRA3BDX riflescope, set up a basic ballistic profile, and then you’re ready to shoot or hunt. Once you are in the field, range your target as you normally would, and the KILO BDX rangefinder will utilize onboard Applied Ballistics Ultralight™ to instantly send your dope to the scope via Bluetooth. Using your basic ballistic profile the ballistic solution is calculated for your target and will instantly illuminate on the BDX-R1 Digital Ballistic Reticle with windage and elevation holds in the SIERRA3BDX riflescope. A blue LED on the riflescope power selector indicates that the BDX system is paired, and when the reticle has received new ballistic holdover and windage data from the rangefinder. “Rangefinding riflescopes of the past have had two major shortcomings: they are either big, boxy and heavy, or extremely expensive,” said Andy York, president, SIG SAUER Electro-Optics. “The revolutionary and affordable BDX system packs advanced ballistics technology into a simple platform that looks just like the rangefinder and riflescope that every hunter is using today. It is extremely simple to use; range a target, put the digital ballistic holdover dot on target, pull the trigger, impact. Incredibly accurate and extremely simple, just connect the dot.”

Connect the Dots

The BDX family of rangefinders includes: KILO1400BDX, KILO1800BDX, KILO2200BDX, KILO2400BDX, and KILO3000BDX rangefinder binocular. These rangefinders include many of the legacy features that the KILO name was built on: Lightwave DSP™ digital rangefinder engine, Hyperscan™ with 4 times per second scan rate, RangeLock™, and the Lumatic™ auto-adjusting display. Available in 3.5-10x42mm, 4.5-14x44mm, 4.5-14x50mm, and 6.5-20x52mm, the SIERRA3BDX riflescopes have the look, feel, weight, and size of traditional riflescopes. They feature HD glass for superior resolution and optical clarity, 30mm main tubes, side-focus parallax adjustments, and the LevelPlex™ digital anti-cant system. The BDX-R1 Digital Ballistic Reticle is the evolution of holdover, providing a ballistic solution out to 800 yards with 1 MOA of accuracy.

Rounding out these superior features is SIG SAUER’s kinetic energy transfer indicator: KinETHIC™. KinETHIC provides assistance in assuring an ethical hunt by indicating when energy on target drops below a threshold that can be set by the hunter using the BDX App. “Ethics in hunting are a contract we make with ourselves based on the standards we as sportsmen adhere to as a group, what we feel good about personally, and respect for the game and our hunting traditions,” said Andy York president, SIG SAUER Electro-Optics. “KinETHIC is a feature that asks the hunter to make an educated and ethical decision beforehand by taking into consideration what the velocity and energy capabilities of your bullet and load are to deliver a killing shot. It then lets you know if the shot you are about to take will fulfill this contract. If not, it provides a visual affirmation to stalk-in closer. Knowing your maximum effective hunting range is more than just knowing what you can hit.”

KILO BDX Rangefinders starting at $249.99 MSRP
SIERRA3BDX Riflescopes starting at $499.99 MSRP

Available at Midsouth Shooters in mid July, but you can PRE-ORDER yours HERE!

All SIG SAUER Electro-Optics are covered by the SIG SAUER INFINITE GUARANTEE™, and electronic components under our LIMITED 5-YEAR warranty. Please see sigsauer.com for full details. 

SEE MORE HERE

REVIEW: Leupold FX-II 4x28mm Handgun Scope

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Looking for a high-performance scope to realize the accuracy potential of your handgun? Get a good one… READ MORE

leupold handgun scope

by Major Pandemic

During my review of the EXTAR AR15 pistol, I saw that it had accuracy potential far more than what people give the AR15 pistol format credit for. This pistol deserved a fitting optic that could take advantage of the accuracy without diminishing its close-range capabilities. I chose the Leupold FX-II 4x28mm scope. This scope has enough magnification to exploit the potential of the AR15 pistol format but also plenty of eye relief for arms-length aiming.

EXTAR
Adding this Leupold FX-II brought out the full accuracy potential of this fine EXTAR pistol.

FIT, FINISH, FEEL, FEATURES & FUNCTIONS
Leupold has a long and well-deserved reputation for high-quality optics. Leupold really only makes two pistol models: the FX-II fixed power 4X magnification and the VX-3 variable power scope.
Compared to a rifle scope, handgun optics are actually subjected to higher than normal recoil due to the lower weight of the firearm, and the sometimes very powerful cartridges being shot in handguns. In the past, some shooters used triple or quad rings to help distribute recoil more evenly to the scope tube and provide more rigidity. The reality, though, is that lower quality optics just do not hold up to the punishment some handguns dish out. Leupold pistol scopes are famous for their durability on heavy recoiling pistols. And they have a warranty that will put anyone’s mind at ease.

The Leupold 4x FX-II pistol scope offers all the usual Leupold optic features including their Multicoat 4, Xtended Twilight Lens System, Diamondcoat II and other proprietary image, reflection, light transmission, and durability enhancements. Leupold also delivers some impressive gas waterproofing which actually increases image quality as well.

The 4x FX-II features Twin Bias Spring Erector System, Super Fast-Focus Eyepiece, Lockable Fast-Focus Eyepiece, Clasic/Standard Lockable Eyepiece, Micro-Friction 1/4 MOA, and 1/4 MOA Finger Click. With a 1-inch tube diameter 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum main tube the FX-II delivers a simple mountable scope with very common and less expensive rings.

leupold fx
Leupold makes some of the finest and most durable optics on the planet.

Most people incorporate far too much magnification on both handguns and rifles. The 4X Leupold FX-II handgun scope delivers a usable magnification that is not frustrating to hold steady at arms-length. Once you up magnification beyond that, you can become frustrated with a reticle which keeps jumping around unless shots are taken from an very stable rest. 4X magnification on a handgun is just right and provides the precision needed to reach out beyond distances that eyesight and iron sights can deliver.

Having shot behind a number of handgun optics, the biggest challenge is having an optic that delivers a large enough eye-relief box/window. If the eye-relief box is too narrow, the shooter is constantly fighting the distance the gun is from the eye to see the full field of view and reticle. The Leupold delivers a huge flexible eye-relief box which enables you to concentrate on the target and not finding the right scope mount length.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The Leupold FX-II Handgun scope delivers a proven and reliable design which is specifically built to take the increased punishment a handgun can deliver even the really big handgun rounds like 45-70 and even .308. Obviously the EXTAR 5.56 AR15 pistol didn’t even phase this scope, however it did deliver a super light pistol which when equipped with a scope was more than accurate enough for varminting and plinking all the way out to the 300-yard-line.

leupold fx-II specs

Check it out HERE at Midsouth
Leupold information HERE
Extar

Major Pandemic

[Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. Click HERE to learn more.]

 

Leupold Debuts the VX-Freedom

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VX-Freedom-Warm_BannerAds300x250

Relentless Reliability: The Leupold VX-Freedom

Innovation is in the very core of the American spirit – we aspire to be independent, to build our own solutions, to constantly improve. It was that core trait that drove Marcus Leupold – son of Fred, the legendary co-founder of Leupold & Stevens, Inc. – to throw aside a riflescope that failed him and build something better. More than 70 years later, that spirit still thrives at Leupold, and it’s embodied tenfold in the new VX-Freedom line of riflescopes.

You want relentless reliability? The VX-Freedom delivers it. You want elite optical performance at a price you can’t ignore? Consider that box checked. You want to unleash your rimfire rifle, dominate from any tree stand, or tag out across an open draw? The VX-Freedom’s got you covered.

The entire VX-Freedom line is designed, machined, and assembled right here in the U.S.A. with one purpose in mind – to give you the freedom to put a Leupold on any long gun you own, knowing it will perform for a lifetime.

VX-Freedom_3-9x40-CD

Elite Optical Performance
Only a company with Leupold’s history and engineering expertise can deliver an American-made optic that boasts performance and affordability like the VX-Freedom. You’re looking at best-in-class optics – crisp, clear images with unmatched edge-to-edge clarity. It’s complete with military-spec lens coatings that provide abrasion resistance, protecting the riflescope in the most challenging terrain. As Tim Lesser, vice president of product development for Leupold & Stevens, Inc., explained, the new line has been built from the ground up to deliver on the promise of the Leupold brand.

“The VX-Freedom is built to deliver the versatility and performance hunters and shooters have come to expect from our brand,” Lesser said. “Whether you’re looking for your first scope or your fortieth, there will be a VX-Freedom that’s purpose-built to suit your needs.”

VX-Freedom_Hunting

Rugged Reliability
Every scope line that comes out of the Leupold factory is “punisher tested and verified” – a relentless process of pounding the optic in a way that replicates a lifetime of abuse. On top of that, it’s engineered to disperse energy during every shot, which adds to its rugged nature. Finally, the VX-Freedom’s new, ergonomically advanced power selector ring is low-profile but provides exceptional grip, making it easy to use even in the cold, wet, or while wearing gloves.

Let There Be Light
It’s no secret that the first and last 20 minutes of any big game hunt are often the most crucial – it’s when the animals are most likely to be up and moving and when you’re most likely to get a shot. Thing is, that’s also when there’s not much light to work with, and you can’t hit what you and your optic can’t see. That’s why the VX-Freedom line incorporates Leupold’s Twilight Light Management System, a proprietary lens coating system that increases the amount of usable light that reaches your eye.

VX-Freedom_Power_Selector

Translation: Your optic will still be able see Bullwinkle during those last five minutes of legal light, even if your naked eye can’t. That means you’re more likely to be calling buddies to help you pack out a kill under the stars.

Unparalleled Versatility
At launch, the VX-Freedom will be available in some of the industry’s most popular magnification ranges: 1.5-4×20, 2-7×33, 3-9×40, 3-9×50, and 4-12×40 – all featuring second focal plane reticles and 1-inch maintubes. They’re great for muzzleloaders, rimfire rifles, and centerfire rifles. But Leupold didn’t stop with just improving the riflescope design, they also decided to offer three brand-new reticles with the VX-Freedom. Alongside the standard Duplex and Pig-Plex offerings, the Freedom is available with a Tri-MOA, Rimfire MOA, or UltimateSlam reticle.

VX-Freedom_Gold_Ring

The Tri-MOA reticle is designed to fill tags – hash marks in 1-MOA increments give you precise reference points for quick, accurate shots, and the upper portion is clear, making it easy to keep an eye on the game animal in your sights. The Rimfire MOA reticle stretches your favorite plinking rifle’s legs out to 200 yards and beyond. The vertical hash marks are set for rimfire rifle ballistics at 1-MOA increments. The UltimateSlam, meanwhile, offers hold points from 50 to 300 yards for muzzleloaders and shotguns.

Built to Last
The VX-Freedom series is everything you’ve come to expect from a Leupold optic. It’s tested to the very same ruggedness standards as the company’s top-tier riflescopes. It’s also backed by the Leupold Full Lifetime Guarantee – you’ll be able to put it through its paces and not have to worry about it holding up.

VX-Freedom_Dials

“We’re relentless because we know our consumers are relentless,” Lesser said. “At the end of the day, you don’t quit, and you don’t back down. Our products won’t, either.”

Click Here to check out the new Leupold VX-Freedom at Midsouth Shooters Supply!

SKILLS: Misconceptions About Pistol Sights

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The sights are your connection to the target. Don’t buy into myths surrounding choices in a sighting system for your handgun. Read about it!

SOURCE: NRA Publications, Shooting Illustrated
by Tom McHale

What’s that old saying? A lie, told often enough, becomes truth?

We gun people are often guilty of a related thing. That would be passing along hearsay comments over and over, until they become assumed fact.

pistol sight big dot

Some of the things that I’ve heard a thousand times relate to gun sights. You know, observations like “Big Dot sights are too big to be useful” or “they’re not precise enough!” I got an itch to put some of these handgun sight myths to the test so I could start to separate truth from hearsay.

Let’s take a look at a few of the more common handgun sight myths.

Big Sights Aren’t Precise Enough
To test this potential myth, I figured it was a good time for the first annual Shooting Illustrated Math Fair. In this inaugural event, we’re going to use really basic geometry to see exactly how big that Big Dot sight looks down range. In other words, at realistic handgun shooting distances, how much of your target is covered by the Big Dot sight?

Since this is supposed to be fun and informative, I won’t be a buzz kill and share the math in excruciating detail, but it’s pretty simple. We know that the shooter’s eye is the starting point. We also know that this particular Big Dot Sight is .18 inches in diameter because I measured it with my reloading calipers. We also know, that in my specific case, the front sight is about 24.5 inches from my eye when I’m shooting. Seriously, I measured with a yardstick. So now we have a proportional relationship. At a distance of 24.5 inches, the sight is .18-inch wide. As a result, we can easily figure out how big that sight appears at other distances.

Don’t fool yourself. Even “big” sights don’t cover an appreciable percentage of the target at reasonable distances.

Here’s how much the Big Dot covers at various ranges. Keep in mind that the Big Dot is a circle, so “coverage” of the target down range is also circular. The sizes I relate below reflect the diameter of that circle.

BIG DOT SIGHT

Clearly, Big Dot sights aren’t intended for NRA Precision Pistol Matches. Rather, they’re made for self-defense handguns with the emphasis on speed, clarity, and “good enough” accuracy at self-defense ranges.

What’s the bottom line? When you look at the real numbers, that huge front sight doesn’t cover much of your target at all. At 25 yards, it’s just 6.6 inches, and that is a much farther distance than 99.9 percent of defensive shooting scenarios. If you can shoot into a 6.6-inch group from a distance of 25 yards while someone is shooting at you or charging with an ax, then please submit your application to be my permanent bodyguard! At more realistic self-defense distances like 3, 5 and 10 yards, we’re talking an inch or two of target coverage by that front sight. Even at a whopping 100 yards, if you can hold well enough, you can easily hit a standard 19-inch-wide self-defense target. Yes, your front sight will overlap it, but just a little. To me, this precision myth is exactly that — a myth.

Big Sights Aren’t Any Faster
The idea behind using a large front sight is that your eye can pick it up really quickly as you raise your gun to target. There’s no ambiguity or confusion about which dot is the visible area is the front or rear. In fact, XS Big Dot brand sights don’t even use rear dots. Rather, the rear sight is a shallow “V”shape, much like the rear sights on lever-action carbines from the Bonanza era. I don’t know if Ben Cartwright gets royalty checks or not, but he should.

So, is this approach to handgun sights faster? I decided to find out by performing some semi-scientific testing. Since I’m writing this article during the great Charleston Monsoon of 2015, my shooting range has been unusable, being submerged in water. So I decided to get creative and put my LaserLyte Reaction Tyme targets to work along with a Beretta Px4 Storm, a LaserLyte Cartridge Laser, and a set of XS Big Dot Sights. My plan was to set up two Reaction Tyme Targets in my (relatively) dry living room and recruit a couple of people to shoot for time using the standard Beretta Px4 factory sights. Then, I would install the Big Dot sights and repeat the process, comparing before and after times. If nothing else, I figured this would be a great way to burn off some “four days of non-stop rain” stir crazy.

pistol sight on target

I recruited two shooters, neither of which had any experience with Big Dot Sights. I set up the two Reaction Tyme targets about four feet apart at a distance of 12 feet. The idea was to hit one and have to transition to the other quickly. My thinking was that would exercise the sight acquisition part of the experiment. Each shooter fired 10 shots alternating between targets. The “hit” area on the Reaction Tyme targets is only about a two-inch circle, so shooters had to aim, even at a distance of 12 feet. Only hits counted, so each shooter had to stay on a target until it registered a hit with an audible beep.

What were the results? Each shooter completed three timed runs and I averaged the results. Shooter A completed the course using standard sights with an average time of 12.6 seconds and Big Dots sights in 8.0 seconds. That’s a 36.6-percent speed improvement. Shooter B averaged 20.4 seconds with standard three-dot sights and 17.2 seconds using the Big Dot configuration. That’s a 15.2-percent improvement.

While not completely scientific, the results were pretty clear. Each shooter reported seeing the dot much faster and commented that there was not a need to “focus and line up.”They simply covered the target with the dot and pulled the trigger. The rear “V” sight just fell into place naturally.

Iron Sights Aren’t Accurate
People often refer to the inaccuracy of iron sights. That’s not exactly a true statement. Iron sights are plenty accurate. It’s our ability to line the sights up properly and consistently that is the issue. The accuracy capability of shooting with iron sights is really more about the limitations of our eyesight and our ability to hold those sights steady shot after shot.

Very rarely is the firearm the reason we don’t shoot accurately. Sight radius plays a part, but the shooter’s role is far more important.

Here’s what I mean. Like the precision scenario we discussed earlier, the accuracy potential of shooting iron sights boils down to a proportional relationship. In this case, we’re concerned about how much or little the front sight moves relative to the rear sight. If you put your handgun in a vise or perfectly mounted Ransom rest, your sights are going to be in the exact same position for every single shot. The minute you rely on human eyesight to line up those sights for the next shot, you’re limited by your vision.

A real example will help illustrate my point. Suppose I fire a shot at a 25-yard distant target using the same Beretta Px4. Now, I settle back into my sandbag rest to fire a second shot in the group. It’s up to me, the shooter, to make sure that the front sight, rear sight, and target are all in the exact same alignment as they were for the first shot. What happens if my front sight is just .01 inch out of perfect alignment relative to the rear sight? Let’s find out.

handgun sight radius

The sight radius of my Beretta Px4 is 5.77 inches. That’s measured from the rear of the rear sight to the rear of the front sight, or the parts that my eye actually sees. If my front sight drifts just .01 inch in any direction relative to the rear sight, that translates to 1.6 inches off target at 25 yards. If we were using a gun with a 2-inch sight radius, the error down range would be even larger. Considering that many modern production pistols care capable of shooting one to two-inch groups at 25 yards when in a Ransom Rest, that’s a big deal.

What does all this mean? When you read about “accuracy” of any given handgun, know that unless machines are involved, what you’re really getting is an indication of that pistol’s ability to be shot accurately. That may depend on the quality or type of sights, the sight radius and the overall ergonomics of the pistol. Viewed another way, a pistol with a 10-inch barrel may or may not be more accurate than one with a two-inch barrel, but it sure will be a heck of a lot easier to shoot accurately. If a human shoots those two guns from sandbags at 25-yard targets, they’ll almost certainly get better groups with the 10-inch gun. That’s because it’s easier to aim precisely with its longer and more forgiving sight radius, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the gun is more accurate.

We shooters tend to pass around too much hearsay information and consider it truth. It never hurts to be a bit skeptical and think things through on your own or even test them if possible. Heck, your life may one day depend on it.