Cheap red dot sights: what's inside

Discussion in 'Sights, Optics and Lasers' started by CitizenOfDreams, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. CitizenOfDreams

    CitizenOfDreams

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    My shooting accuracy has never been something to write home about, mainly because my eyes have never been too good (wearing glasses since age 5). I was not happy about it, so I decided to try something I could see better than iron sights - namely a "red dot", or "reflex" sight.

    Being not just half-blind, but half-broke, I quickly realized that I could not afford the real thing - $800 Eotech or $500 Trijicon. A $8.99 Konus I could afford, but did not really want to.

    After a few hours of online shopping, I went with Sightmark Sure Shot ($39 from overstock.com). In a few days Mr. Brown (not the senator from Massachusetts, just a UPS delivery guy) brought me a package...

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    Factory specs:
    - 1x magnification
    - 33x24mm lens
    - 35m@100m field of view
    - infinite eye relief
    - anti-reflective red coating
    - water resistant (it's a lie, neither the optics nor the battery nor the circuit board are sealed from water)
    - 4 red reticles (dot, dot+circle, dot+cross, dot+circle+cross)
    - 1 CR2032 lithium battery (a cheap Chinese one was included)
    - 7 levels of brightness plus "off" position
    - 2 hours of battery life (according to my measurements, a good battery should be able to run it least 4 hours at the brightest setting and 3 weeks or so at the dimmest one)
    - .50 caliber maximum recoil (I don't own any .50 caliber weapons, so I had to trust them on that)
    - aircraft grade aluminum (I did not want to bother my friends at the FAA, so I trusted that one too)
    - operating temperature -10C to +50C, or +14F to +122F (I will let someone else test that)
    - dimensions 3.16"x1.14"x2.1"
    - weight 3.8oz
     
  2. CitizenOfDreams

    CitizenOfDreams

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    What does every normal boy do when he gets a new toy? Naturally, he takes it apart to see what's inside.
    The battery holder is made as a part of the brightness switch knob. Nice machined aluminum, but no water seal whatsoever.

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    The circuit board on the bottom side is not protected from the elements either:

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    Same story with the optics: the cover has no weather seal of any sort.

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    The electronic part consists of nothing but 7 resistors connected in series with the LED. The resistor for the brightest setting is 0 ohms, so the battery's internal resistance acts as a ballast (a very poor and inefficient way, but the Chinese do it all the time in their cheap flashlights).
    The contact pads appear to be soft and easily scratched by the wiper, so I don't expect any particular longevity out of this switch.

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  3. CitizenOfDreams

    CitizenOfDreams

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    Well, let's put the sight back together and mount it on a gun... Looks good!

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    The sight picture looks much sharper to my eyes than any iron sights. The blurriness you see in the photo comes from my shaky hands and long camera exposure.

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    To be continued tomorrow, after I take this thing to the range and kill some paper...
     
  4. Steel Head

    Steel Head Tactical Cat

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    I put an EL CHEAPO NC star($26) on my S&W 22A
    It has held zero through 4000+ rounds-----no complaints
    I plan on gettin a BURRIS FASTFIRE but for now I'm happy

    [​IMG] 50ft off hand
     
  5. ricklee4570

    ricklee4570

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    Great pictures! I always wondered how well these cheaper red dots were put together!
     
  6. CitizenOfDreams

    CitizenOfDreams

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    As promised, the saga of cheap red dot sight continues...

    First of all, some nasty surprise. Some time in the middle of my 300-round shooting session I found two chips in the glass of the sight. Not sure if they were caused by the recoil, or by bouncing spent brass, or it was Bush's fault as always. The rest of the sight still works fine.

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    As for my accuracy, it has definitely improved (although still nothing to write home about). Now I need to work on my trigger control, breathing, and holding the gun steady. But my eyes are not the weakest link anymore, I can see where I'm aiming now.

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