The firearms industry has been on a crusade to reduce the size and weight of nearly every aspect in their product lines. Phrases such as "light is right" and "ounces equal pounds, and pounds equal pain" are often tossed around as sound reasoning. If you're spending long days in mountains hauling heavy equipment, weight management should be at the forefront of your planning. But how do these mantras apply for purposes such as home defense, the law enforcement professional, or teaching a spouse to shoot?
Micro red dots are currently in vogue for their light weight, but they may not be the right choice for every shooting scenario. Micro sights constrict field of view, which means that consistent head placement behind the optic is required. And that can be difficult if you need to quickly see the dot. This can exacerbate tunnel vision for those untrained to overcome such effects.
A red dot with a giant screen improves our field of view, which makes this big-window-type of optic very useful for close quarters battle (i.e., home defense). Large lenses have proven to be useful when shooting from and around vehicles or when used with night-vision devices. They're even great for teaching new shooters how to shoot. A large sight picture provides plenty of peripheral observation, assisting with target acquisition, and increasing the speed of follow up shots.
We've heard many optics manufacturers state that when shooting with both eyes open, field of view doesn't matter. This is a theory that's not always practical in real life, especially for those not dedicated to regular practice.
Steiner is no stranger to the defense oriented optical market. Its latest R1X red dot sight is a cross between a micro- and full-size battle sight.
The unit offers a small footprint while still providing a full tactical picture. You get excellent situational awareness thanks to its wide field of view. The large, 32mm window reduces tunnel vision, while increasing target acquisition and hit probability during rapid-fire strings or on moving targets.
A feature unique to the R1X is that if offers the shooter the ability to select between two different reticles. The first is a single red dot, while the second reticle is a three-dot stadia reticle. The center dot is 2 MOA and represents a 50-meter zero, while the three other dots are 4.1 MOA and represent your 10-, 7-, and 5-meter aiming points, all of which can be incredibly useful in and around confined areas. The reticle selection is quickly toggled with a single press of the center crosshair embossed button.
The reticle intensity is controlled by two of the three, external rubber buttons. The closest to the user is up, while the furthest is down. Seven levels of illumination are available: two are night-vision compatible and five are daylight settings. The unit will automatically turn off after 13 hours to conserve battery life, which Steiner suggests is 750 hours.
The integrated mount positions the center aiming point at the absolute co-witness level, putting it 30mm above the rail. It is ideal for use on a personal defense weapon (PDW), a short-barreled rifle (SBR) or on an AR pistol. A riser is included to allow for a lower third co-witness, which is positioned 38mm above the rail and provides an unobstructed view when the sight is used in conjunction with a 12 o'clock mounted Steiner DBAL-A3 or similar laser/IR laser/illuminator.
The battery compartment houses a pair of CR2032 watch batteries and is located on the right side of the unit. They're held in place by four, flat head screws which are easily adjusted with the rim of a cartridge case. As with all Steiner optics, the R1X is fogproof, waterproof to 33 feet, shockproof and parallax free.