October 01, 2019
By Brad Fitzpatrick
Red dot optics are rapidly becoming standard equipment on a wide variety of firearms, everything from competition and duty pistols to home defense shotguns and hunting rifles. This red dot revolution has prompted a number of companies to start producing these optics, but the Sightmark Mini Shot M-Spec LQD leads the pack in terms of versatility, simplicity of use, durability and value.
The Mini Shot M-Spec LQD is an ultralight red dot sight that fits securely on the rail of a firearm; mounting or removing the optic takes less than a second thanks to the Locking Quick Detach system. To remove the Mini Shot, simply press forward on the locking lever located on the right side of the base and swing the lever arm away from the sight. Once the sight is in place on the rail, the lever arm is returned to its original position and the tab locks the arm so there’s no chance the sight will accidentally loosen. A tension nut on the left side of the unit allows for fine-tuning the fit of the base to your top rail (lift the tension nut and rotate left or right to tighten or loosen the optic.) Additionally, a recoil bolt fits securely within the cross slots of the rail to eliminate movement.
The Mini Shot comes with two LQD bases, one flat and one elevated. The elevated base is open, allowing the shooter to utilize both their iron sights and the red dot. The dual base system also allows the shooter to match the height of the optic to the firearm for perfect eye alignment every time. When I mounted the Mini Shot on a Rise Armament AR rifle, I used the tall LQD base, but when I switched to a .22 Winchester Wildcat and .308 Mossberg bolt gun, the low sight worked well.
Switching between the bases is fast and easy, too. Using the provided Torx wrench, remove the two screws on the sight and it pulls free from the attached base. You can then swap the bases, and if you’d prefer, you can leave the low and high bases installed on two separate guns. Best of all, the sight returns very close to the original zero when reinstalled on a firearm. The Torx screws kept the base and optic firmly attached.
The Sightmark Mini Shot M-Spec LQD red dot is simple to operate, even if you aren’t particularly tech-savvy. There are two primary operation buttons: on the left side is an up button, on the right-side a down button, and pushing either of them activates the sight. Then it’s simply a matter of pressing either the up or down button to increase or decrease brightness settings. There are a total of 10 different brightness levels to choose from suitable for shooting in everything from full sun to very dim light, so you can quickly and easily adjust the Mini Shot to the environmental conditions. Hold the down button for five seconds and the unit powers down. If you forget to turn off the optic, you won’t have to worry about killing the battery thanks to the Mini Shot’s 12-hour auto-shot-off feature.
The Mini Shot red dot is powered by a single CR1632 battery which powers the unit from 300 to 30,000 hours, depending on the brightness setting most used. Swapping out the battery is simple; it doesn’t require any special tools and can be done without removing the sight from the firearm.
With its tough and lightweight aluminum body and steel protective shield, the Mini Shot M-Spec LQD is both light and durable. The unit measures under 2 inches long and weighs just 3 ounces with the low base and 3.6 ounces with the tall base, adding very little mass to your firearm. It doesn’t take up much space on a rail, so it’s suitable for rimfire pistols and light .22 rifles.
The rounded lens housing won’t hang-up on brush and the Mini Shot M-Spec LQD comes with a durable non-glare matte finish. The lens housing itself is large enough and thin enough to offer a wide field of view, yet tough enough to stand up to rigorous shooting. The lens itself is clear and there’s very little color distortion. Plus, it’s IP67 waterproof rated, which means it’s protected against harmful dust and is submersible up to one meter (3.3 feet) for 30 minutes.
As previously mentioned, I tested the Sightmark Mini Shot M-Spec LQD on three different firearms, and it performed well on each. While shooting the Rise Armament AR-15, I mounted the Mini Shot on the tall base which aligned the sight with my eye and allowed me to use low-profile flip-up sights as a backup sighting system. The 3-MOA dot is perfectly sized; it’s large enough to quickly engage close targets, yet it’s fine enough for accurate shooting out to 100 yards or more.
I then removed the sight, switched bases – which took no more than two minutes – and installed the Mini Shot on the rail of my Mossberg MVP Scout rifle. Changing point of impact on the Mini Shot M-Spec LQD is quite simple: there’s an elevation adjustment screw located on the top of the unit and a windage adjustment screw on the right side of the sight, both of which can be adjusted without any special tools. Each click moves the point of impact 1 MOA, and very soon I had the Mossberg zeroed. That optic/rifle combination was light and accurate, the perfect setup for hunting whitetails in low light and thick brush or for black bear over bait. What’s more, the red dot allows for very fast shooting.
The last gun I tested was the new Winchester .22 Wildcat semiauto. That gun weighs just 4 pounds, and even a light variable-power scope adds noticeable weight. With the Sightmark Mini Shot M-Spec LQD in place, however, the Winchester was a trim target gun that would also serve well for taking on small game and varmints at moderate ranges.
Three guns, one versatile optic. That’s the beauty of the LQD system; it allows the shooter to rapidly adjust the sight to any firearm platform. At $299.99, the Sightmark red dot is a great bargain. As reflex sights become more popular, there will be more competition in this growing field of optics, but it’s hard to beat the durable, versatile, and affordable Mini Shot M-Spec LQD.
Sightmark Mini Shot M-Spec LQD Red Dot Specifications:
- Optic Type: Red dot reflex sight
- Dot: Red, 3 MOA
- Weight: 3.6 ounces (riser mount installed), 3.0 ounces (low mount installed)
- Height: 2.25 inches (riser), 1.5 inches (low)
- Length: 1.75 inches
- Housing: Aluminum, steel shield
- Color: Matte black
- Brightness settings: 10
- Battery: CR1632 (1)
- Battery life: 300-30,000 hours
- Adjustable: Yes
- Adjustments: Click-adjustable, 1 MOA
- Base: LQD Quick Detach
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