While doing a bit of a 'stock take' of my burgeoning airsoft collection I noticed I have several bits and pieces that I haven't really covered in my airsoft reviews. None the less some of these are quite interesting - if you are a airsoft-geek - and notable among these is my little optics collection.
I have collected these four optical sighting systems
1. King Arms Aimpoint red-dot replica
This was the first optical sight I ever bought and I got it at a nice knock-down price from a guy I met during a skirmish who was upgrading to a more 'Gucci' version. This version of the Aimpoint is one of the older models which takes the small round watch battery power cells which fits in the illumination intensity control (the newer Aimpoints take standard AA type batteries in a cylindrical compartment).
There isn't much to add about this type of sight, it is just does what it 'says on the tin'. It provides a red dot of variable power and of no magnification but which can be adjusted for windage and elevation. It just works.
There is a bit of ghosting if you turn the intensity up to maximum, but kept on a medium setting it provides a nice quick visual reference point for snap shooting.
There are no licensed brand markings on this model and these days it can still be picked up for new at even less than I paid for it three years ago second hand. It's no-nonsense and reliable and has a couple of after-market accessories available for it, like a kill flash (good protection for the objective lens) and things like the Butler flip up lens covers, but that's about it.
In the field it worked great, provided sufficient illumination in even bright sunlight and is hardy enough to take quite a lot of knocks. My only negative comment would be that as it has no magnification it doesn't offer any advantages for mid to long range woodland games, but you have the option of adding a separate x3 magnifier scope if you like to solve this issue.
Lastly, this Aimpoint does may not come with a set of fixing rings to attach it to your AEG's rail. I bought a nicce cantilleaver mount that provides a means to still see your weapon's iron sights through a hole below the red dot sight itself. But there are a huge variety of differnt ring systems avalable quite cheaply.
2. Multi Reticle Holo-sight or 'Poor man's EoTech'
I got this small light-weight holographic red dot sight to go with my Glock 'Assasin' pistol - in the end even this small optic was too bulky for pistol use but I can see how it would be terrific for a SMG for CQB.
It's cheif advantage is that it is a small framed 'open' holographic sight - it's chassis is not bulky and in no way blocks any of your vision in use. However, this strength is also a weakness as - unlike the boxy EoTech - it appears to be quite flimsy and not up to taking very many hard knocks. Chief among these would be a BB hit on the objective plate, and I would strongly advise the purchase of a plastic lens protection shield to stop any lens breakages.
In operation this is quite a versatile sight, with several options of reticle (target cursor) from simple red-dot to small cross-hair types (three in total). Like my Aimpoint replica it's pretty basic and offers no magnification. It has a means of adjusting windage and elevation and comes with built-in rail attachment which is fastened to your weapon rail by means of two integral Allen screws.
3. A.C.M. Relica EoTech 552 red dot sight
I bought this sight specifically to go with my DSA SA58 replica to give it that SWAT look!
Buying a EoTech replica can be a bit of a mine-field as there are so many cheap copies on the market. I did a fair amount of research on the web before deciding to buy the A.C.M. made model. The crux of the problem is that even the more expensive airsoft EoTech replicas have their flaws. The quite expensive Hurricane variant, for example, is known for it's lack of brightness in high sunlight conditions.
Cheap Chinese clones, on the other hand, are noted for their bad ghosting, so I was left with looking for something in the middle price range. Overall a lot of people were quite complimentary about this A.C.M. model, and said that it compared well with even the Hurricane version. So I bought it.
In use the EoTech is only a little more advanced than my bog-standard Aimpoint - but a whole lot more cool looking!
There are two different colous for the targeting cursor - red and green - and variable brightness control. I have to say at maximum brightness - like most red dot based clones - there is a modicum of ghosting, but at mid setting the clarity of the cross-hair is acceptable. You have no choice of targeting cursor type, but the default cross-hair and circle type is very practical, being well suited for closs and medium range work (though is perhaps not fine enough for longer range target aquisition).
The A.C.M. EoTech is built like a tank (albeit strong plastic). It has a large encasing hooded chassis, but the objective lens is unprotected so the addition of an after-market clear protective cover is advisable. It is also not magnified, so if you do want to work in ranges from medium to long you will have to purchase an addtional magnified optic (there are many of these on the market now for reasonable prices).
NOTE: A word of warning about buying magnifiers. I have bought two magnifier lenses now - to go with both my Aimpoint and EoTech red-dots - and none have been completely suiutable because of the rail mounts that come with them. For these magnifiers to work correctly they must have mounts that hold the magnifier at a corresponding height so that it alignes with the lens of the red-dot sight you are using. This is easier said than done and the rail fittings that came with the magnifiers I have bought have either been too low or too high and so I have to try out other types to find ones that compliment my sighting optics. Not easy as it's a case of 'suck it and see'. Take care when buying your magnifiers and try to ensure the sight fixing that comes with it is apprpriate to your red dot.
4. Strike NGCS
Gulp! This was one of those 'mad moment' purchases and this optical sight replica is one of the most expensive accessories I own - it even cost more than a few of my AEGs! But to be honest I fell in love with this sight the moment I saw it, and the credit card magically found its way our of my wallet before I knew what was happening.
I got this sight to compliment my Type 98 AEG for medium-long range woodland 'counter sniping'. My Type 98 has proved itself - with it longer barrel and three-round burst facility - to be a good anti-dote to those guys with the M14s and M16 SPRs who like to do a bit of stand-off sharp shooting. But, the only problem I had was that my Aimpoint red dot - while allowing quick acquisition of a found target - is unmagnified and did not help me in my search of the distant undergrowth for these pesky would-be snipers.
The Strike NGSC is a variant of the familiar ACOG scope, and is a true scope rather than a red dot sight. It has a x4 magnification and an illuminated cross hair which is ideal in shaded woodland situations, but also - importantly - has a secondary sighting option of a close-range fibre-optic open sight on top of it.
While some ACOG sights come with an elementary three-prong iron sight on top, and some more expensive clones offer the addition of a mini-red dot 'Doktor' sight clone in piggy-back configuration for close-in work the Strike has a very novel low-profile fiber-optic dot sight system over the top of it's scope. This fibre-optic adds a passive illuminated point of reference for close-in work that offers quicker target acquisition than a bog-standard iron sight but which is also not a bulky as a piggy-back Doktor sight (although with use I do find that this fibre-optic sight works best in brighter sunlight - being passive it does require an ambient light sourse to work well).
The look is certainly unique, which is quite nice as I am not a big fan of the ACOG style sight and this is one of the reasons I have not bought one of the much cheaper priced ACOGs. The other reason I haven't bought a cheap ACOG is that not all ACOG clones are actual scopes at all, but simple red dot sights disguised to look like ACOG scopes (be aware of this and be sure to check if you are in the market for an ACOG).
The true ACOG is a x4 magnified illuminated SCOPE and not a red dot sight. But even though there are illuminated scope versions of the ACOG out there - these tend to be a bit more expensive than the mock-ACOG red dots - once you add a Doktor sight on top you are starting to talk about £80+ for a good version. My Strike model is still considerably more expensive than that, but the point is that it is far more unique in it's looks than the now rather pedestrian looking ACOG.
...Anyway, I could go on trying to justify why I spent so much on it, but I won't bore you! I just liked it's looks and having a chance to look at it now I must say that the standard of finish is superb (Strike Systems seems to be a trade mark of ASG).
The Strike NGSC comes with an integral rail fixing mount which fixes to a rail using to large screw bolts which are easily fastens by hand or more securely by screwdriver or even a smal coin. On the side of the sight are two 20mm mini-rails either side, so you can attach a smal laser or illuminator.
5. A.C.M. replica of Russian Kobra red-dot.
OK, this is a bit niche - but if you are into Russian Army loadouts and want a red-dot for your AK then this is the only replica out there for you!
I've already done a pretty detailed review of this - the blog version of which you can see >here< - so I will just add the video version to re-cap. But as I say, this is teh *only* Russian military red dot which is available in replica form - so you will either want it or not. Your only other option is to buy the real thing!