Steiner's totally waterproof M332 battle sight offers a wide field of view and long eye relief at an amazing price.
There's room in the optics world for more than low- and mid-power variable scopes. Variable-power optics are all the rage and they do offer a degree of flexibility that can be comforting. That flexibility comes at a cost, however.
Variable-power scopes will rarely be as robust as fixed-power optics. That's a strong statement, but it's also true. Variable-power scopes have what's called an "erector assembly" inside the main tube. Two lenses slide back and forth inside the erector to change the magnification. Lenses that move introduce complexity and can introduce weakness into any optic, especially when the price drops under $400.
Contrast that with a fixed-power optic, these scopes have no moving lenses, so they are predisposed to handle abuse well. They are usually lighter and more compact than their variable-powered brethren. Lighter and more compact is almost always a good idea.
Historically, the choices of a fixed low-power scope designed for use on an AR-15 or equivalent were relatively sparse. Trijicon was really the only game in town. The widespread use of the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) by the military vetted the concept of using a fixed-power scope in combat. The wide field of view, compactness and durability of the ACOG were big reasons why they were (and still are) so popular.
The ACOG also has one characteristic that was hard to love. Most have a very short eye relief of between 1.5 to 2 inches. This requires the shooter to place their eye very close to the scope, which can be difficult in positional shooting or while wearing a helmet.
Steiner is obviously paying attention to the popularity of fixed-powered optics and has an incredible performer with their M332. The M332 checks all the boxes on why we love fixed-powered optics. It's very durable, compact and has a huge field of view.
The reticle contains ballistic drop compensation for shots at 200, 300, 400 and 500 yards with reticles available for both 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm rifles. The reticle is etched on the glass, so there is no possibility of it breaking or coming loose. Each reticle also has a floating center dot that measures 1.4 MOA making precision shooting an option.
Where the M332 really stands out from the crowd is the combination of a very wide field of view and compact size while still retaining 3 inches of eye relief. This combination wasn't previously available anywhere else.
Extending the eye relief causes a couple of noticeable changes from the shooter's perspective. The first and most obvious is the increased clearance for eye protection, helmets etc. This is especially important when shooting from the prone as this position pushes the shooter's head closer to the optic anyway.
The second, and much harder to articulate advantage, is the increased eye-relief threshold. Eye-relief threshold is the amount of distance longitudinally that the shooter's head can move while still maintaining a full field of view. If you can slide your face back and forth along the stock comb and still have a complete field of view, your scope has good eye-relief threshold.
Passes the Eye Test
An easy test that anyone can do at home is to place the scope (this test is easier if it's in a mount,) on a flat table and shine a light straight into the objective lens. Take a white 3x5 card and move it back and forth along the longitudinal axis of the scope where your head would normally be. When the white dot in the very center gets to its smallest and most clearly defined shape, that is where the shooter would have a full field of view. Continue moving the card and you'll see that the dot remains small and focused for a short distance. That distance is the eye-relief threshold.
The M332 has an excellent eye-relief threshold. This means that when the shooter is in a hurry and drops his head in a less-than-optimal spot behind his scope, he still has a good chance of getting a full field of view. At least as important as a full field of view when in a hurry is the increased likelihood of spotting your own impacts.
Being able to maintain a full field of view through the entire recoil sequence is always a good idea. If you can see where your bullet lands, you know immediately where to send the next one. Under recoil, the rifle moves more longitudinally (back and forth) more than it does laterally (up and down or side to side). Scopes with a longer eye-relief threshold allow for that longitudinal movement while still maintaining a full field of view. The M332 is the King of eye-relief threshold and a big reason why is the long 3-inches of eye relief.
Shooters interested in the reliability, compactness, and relative inexpensiveness of a fixed-power optic should get familiar with Steiner's M332. The wide field of view and long eye relief combine for a very fast and comfortable shooting experience.
Mount: Quick-detach mount
Elevation adjustment: .25 MOA per click
Windage: .25 MOA per click
Reticle: Illuminated, etched, red
Length: 5.5 in.
Weight: 16.2 oz.
Eye Relief: 3 in.