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The Full Sightmark Red-Dot Roundup

Sightmark's lineup is well-rounded, with viable optics for many tasks.

The Full Sightmark Red-Dot Roundup
(Photo by Alfredo Rico)

Red dots have one weakness: most units are expensive. But with today’s affordable offerings from Sightmark, you don’t have to break the bank to add a red dot to your next firearm. Read on to learn more about their sight options.

Mini Shot M-Spec LQD  

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The Mini Shot M-Spec LQD is the smallest of these Sightmarks, weighing just over 2 ounces. (Photo by Alfredo Rico)

The Mini Shot M-Spec is the smallest reflex sight of this lineup but is built tough and versatile. The main housing is made from 6061-T6 aluminum and has a steel shroud to protect it from getting roughed up. The Mini Shot M-Spec LQD has an IP67 rating, making it dustproof and waterproof. It has a shockproof rating of 3 feet and is engineered to handle the recoil of a .308 rifle. Further, its operating temperature is -30 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. You will not have to worry about running this unit hard in the sand, rain, snow, or when hell freezes over. 

What makes it versatile is that it uses the popular Docter footprint and comes with two rail mounts. One is low-profile, which is ideal for a defense shotgun, and the other is an AR riser mount. Surprisingly, the mounts are quick-release, making it a breeze to bounce the sight from one AR to another. Typically, reflex sights around this price will not come with any mounts, let alone ones equipped with quick releases. 

The Mini Shot M-Spec LQD carries a 3-MOA dot with 10 brightness settings. The brightness settings are controlled by dedicated Up and Down buttons on the left and right of the housing. Holding the two buttons simultaneously shuts the red dot off. The unit will turn itself off after 12 hours. Battery life is rated at 300 to 30,000 hours. The red dot is powered by a single 1632 coin battery that is top loading — no need to recheck your zero when switching batteries. 

To zero the optic, there are two adjustment screws. The windage and elevation have a total of 110 MOA of adjustment each and are the click type. A small triangle on the turret serves as a reference point for the MOA tick marks on the body. It is available in black or FDE.

Mini Shot M-Spec LQD Specifications

  • Magnification: 1x
  • Reticle: 3-MOA dot
  • Objective: 21x15mm
  • Length:1.73 in.
  • Weight: 2.3 oz.
  • Footprint: Docter
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Battery Life: 300 to 30,000 hours
  • MSRP: $200
  • Manufacturer: Sightmark, sightmark.com

Ultra Shot M-Spec LQD Reflex Sight  

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(Photo by Alfredo Rico)

If you pumped the Mini Shot full of steroids, you would get the Ultra Shot M-Spec LQD reflex sight. The body is made of magnesium alloy, which is 1/3 lighter, stiffer, and more expensive than aluminum. A 6061-T6 aluminum shroud with an integrated retractable sunshade covers the body. The sunshade will prevent backlighting from washing out the reticle, reduce lens glare, and protect the emitter from rain or other inclement weather. 

Its IP rating is 68, making it dustproof and waterproof up to 40 feet. The IP67 waterproof rating is good to 3 feet. The unit is shockproof to 8 feet and manages the recoil of a .50 BMG cartridge. Its operating temperature is from -20 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The view through the 33x24mm objective lens is huge when compared to the Mini Shot M-Spec LQD. It accommodates the circle dot crosshair reticle. The reticle is a 60-MOA ring with a 2-MOA red dot and 5-MOA crosshairs. At 100 yards, the ring is 5-feet tall. At 25 yards, it is 30 inches or the size of an IPSC target. The crosshairs add 5 MOA to the ring height and are useful in identifying when the optic is canted. The reticle has 10 brightness settings and a night vision (NV) setting. Each is controlled by dedicated buttons on the left side of the housing. The benefit to a NV dedicated button is that you can go directly into NV mode without cycling through 10 other settings. 

For zeroing the reticle, windage and elevation adjustments are located on the top and left side of the body. The slot on the turret is large enough to fit the rim of a .223 shell; there’s no need to dig around for a screwdriver. Elevation and windage adjustments have a 1-MOA click value, and each has a total of 120 MOA of travel.

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A night vision mode built into the Ultra Shot M-Spec LQD can be quickly accessed with a dedicated button, preventing the need to cycle through settings. (Photo by Alfredo Rico)

A CR123 battery powers the red dot and has up to 20,000 hours of run time, depending on brightness setting. To conserve battery life, the unit has a 12-hour shutoff and auto motion sensing features. When activated, the motion sensor will turn off the sight after 5 minutes of no movement. When the optic is moved, it powers up. This can be deactivated by pressing the NV and power button simultaneously.

Built into the base is a mount with a quick-detach lever. The Ultra Shot M-Spec LQD reflex sight is available in black and FDE. 

Recommended


Ultra Shot M-Spec LQD Specifications

  • Magnification: 1x
  • Reticle: 60-MOA circle, 2-MOA dot, 5-MOA subtension
  • Objective: 33x24mm
  • Length:4.0 in.
  • Weight: 10.2 oz.
  • Mount: Picatinny
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Battery Life: 200 to 20,000 hours
  • MSRP: $250
  • Manufacturer: Sightmark, sightmark.com

MTS Mini Solar  

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Between solar and battery, the MTS Mini Solar will last 200,000 hours on low brightness. Paired with the T-5 magnifier, it makes for a superb AR optic. (Photo by Alfredo Rico)

For a home-defense AR, the MTS Mini Solar is hard to beat. Its sleek profile takes up little room in a safe, and you will barely feel its 5.5 ounces. The window is large enough to offer a wide view. The 3-MOA dot won’t obscure IPSC targets at 100 yards. 

The body is constructed of 6061-T6 aluminum and contains 22mm aperture glass lenses with an AR red coating. Like the Mini Shot M-Spec LQD, the MTS Mini Solar has an IP67 rating. Since this is a closed body, it has been fog-proofed. Its operating temperatures are -22 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. It is durable and can withstand the recoil forces of a .338 Win. Mag. 

One of its unique features is that it is solar and battery 
powered, giving you a crazy long battery life of 200,000 hours on low brightness setting. When there is sufficient light, the solar panels provide energy to the red dot. In sunlight, the brightness of the dot is determined by the amount of light it receives. The less light, the dimmer the red dot. When the light is too low, the battery takes over illumination duties. There are 10 brightness settings that are manually controlled via the Up and Down buttons on the left side of the body. The photocells are sensitive enough to 
illuminate the dot with good indoor lighting. It is always best to have a battery installed because the dot may disappear if it’s too far from direct indoor light. 

The MTS Mini Solar ships with a low profile and co-witness mount. It includes a CR2032 battery and lens caps.

MTS Mini Solar Specifications

  • Magnification: 1x
  • Reticle: 3-MOA dot
  • Objective: 22mm
  • Length: 2.96 in.
  • Weight: 5.5 oz.
  • Mount: Picatinny
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Battery Life: 400 to 200,000 hours
  • MSRP: $200
  • Manufacturer: Sightmark, sightmark.com

T-5 Magnifier  

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With a quick-detach, flip-to-side mount, the T-5 Magnifier is there when you need it and not when you don’t. (Photo by Alfredo Rico)

One way to instantly increase your effective range is by adding a magnifier. Sightmark offers two magnifiers, a 3X and 5X. 

I received the T-5 5X magnifier for testing. It has an aluminum body, glass lenses, and a quick-
detach flip mount. Like their other optics, this is built to handle hard training. It is waterproof and shockproof and can handle the recoil of a .308 cartridge. At 12.7 ounces and 4.1 inches long, it is light and small.

A swing arm is integral to the mount, allowing you to flip the magnifier to the side when it is not needed. If the dot is a little off center to the magnifier, it can be aligned via two adjustment knobs on the magnifier body. 

I paired the T-5 with the Ultra Shot M-Spec LQD and MTS Mini Solar reflex sight and immediately saw the benefits. Once my accuracy started to wane using only the reflex sight, I flipped over the magnifier to amplify the view. I could see more detail and refined my point of aim to be more precise with my shots. Of the two reflex sights, the MTS Mini Solar was a perfect companion for it on a self-defense rifle.

They are a lightweight and slim combo that slides into my cramped safe easily.

T-5 Magnifier Specifications

  • Magnification: 5x
  • Reticle: None
  • Objective: 23mm
  • Length: 4.72 in. 
  • Weight: 12.7 oz.
  • Mount: Picatinny
  • Eye Relief: 2.25 in.
  • MSRP: $130
  • Manufacturer: Sightmark, sightmark.com

Summary  

I run across too many affordable red dots that sacrifice durability for price. They are best suited for causal days at the range and not taking into a training course or mounting on a rifle that will get regular use. Sightmark’s reflex sights buck this trend and offer an excellent balance of affordability and durability. 




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