Schmidt & Bender Short Dots (Updated: 12/5/17)

I've been a HUGE fan of the S&B Short Dot for a very long time.  I finally managed to save up enough coin to acquire my first in late 2007/early 2008.  Since then, I have had the rare privilege to own/use nearly every model in the Short Dot suite with few exceptions.  The only models I have not had are the early Short Dot II w/ #2 post reticle, and the new 1.1-8x24 High Power.  I figured I would share a few observations of use and some pro/con comparison between the models.

1.1-4x20mm Short Dot CQB - While this is far from being my favorite, I probably have the most time behind this optic.  One of my biggest gripes is that the front focal plane combined with the thin lines of the CQB reticle do not allow for optimum use for dot/reticle on the high and low ends.  What I mean by this is that on 1.1x, the reticle is very faint and one requires the use of the flash/short dot feature.  This means that one must be mindful of the battery and battery life.  On the flip side, the flash dot is very large at 4x and can cover/obscure smaller targets at distance.  That said, I have had no difficulties and find I like to run the optic around 1.5-2.5x with the dot for most practical purposes.  Personally, I prefer the non-locking turrets as it makes for a lower profile and the dials are easier to zero.   Reticle pics: https://imgur.com/a/2qBzw

 

(B) 1.1x20mm Short Dot #7 -  The #7 crosshair variant only comes in the non-locking turrets.  Unlike the CQB variant, the duplex crosshair gives visible aiming reference with the absence of the flash dot at 1.1x.  However, at 4x the crosshair is VERY pronounced...bordering on too big.  The flashdot suffers from the same qualities as the original CQB variant (too big at 4x); however, the #7 is fully usable through its whole magnification without the flashdot in the event of a battery failure.  Given the beefy reticle at 4x and lack of ranging/hold stadia, this optic isn't the best for precision and is more of an RDS/magnifier alternative.  I feel that this variant is inferior to the Short Dot LE.

1.1-4x24 Zenith LE - The Zenith Short Dot LE is the shorter, updated version of the Short Dot II.   Unlike the x20 CQB, the LE has a 2nd focal plane reticle.  This means that the reticle remains usable and large through all magnification while the dot remains equally small.  The trade-off is the lack of ranging/hold stadia in the reticle.   For a fast, easy, short-mid range optic for those that can't or don't want to use RDS w/magnifiers, this is my favorite.  Reticle pics: https://imgur.com/a/Ibr56

1.5-6x20mm Short Dot - With a P3 reticle, there is less clutter than the CQB reticle and is a bit more usable.  The front focal plane aspect has similar issues as the CQB at high magnification and the flash dot at 6x, but the P3 reticle is more visible at 1.5x for use without the flash dot (in the event of battery failure).  With only 50cm of marked elevation adjustment and a super long body, I found it lacking.   I found the field of view better than one would expect for such a long, narrow optic, but not nearly as forgiving as its little brothers.   My model also had no NV dot settings.  The first setting was daylight visible.  I swapped this optic from 5.56 SPR's to 308's, but it never really fit anything well.

1-8x24 Short Dot CC I waited a long time for this bad by.  The "CC" or "no (noticeable) parallax" feature is nice, the revamped CQB "light" reticle is a bit disappointing.  It's very thin and difficult to pick up in some cases.  I feel that this optic shines for close quarter, but lacks for quick work at distance.   In other words, I would put this on a gun that mostly does close range work, but with the strong possibility of distance as a secondary....a 13" SCAR heavy or 12.5" 417 for example.  2nd Focal plane means the mildot reticle isn't proportional on magnification other than 8x.  Reticle pics: https://imgur.com/a/D8z49

ETA (12/5/17): Short Dot CC is being sent back to S&B...information to follow.

1.5-8x26 PMII Short Dot - I had no intention on getting one of these, but I just sorta fell into one.  This one surprised me.   My biggest complaint is the size of this monster, but it's no worse than a CQBSS.  I am finding this to be a bit better of a do-all than the CC.  I was pleasantly surprised that the flash dot isn't huge and unusable at 8x; however, my astigmatism is causing some issues with the dot on 1.5x and I have the "Aimpoint tail" effect on with this dot on low magnification (I don't have this issue with any of the above).  The turrets are just the old, PMII single-turn; easy to use, no bullshit.  This is the opposite of the "CC"; ideal for an SPR/precision work, but capable fore close up work in a pinch...no need for a piggyback red dot.  Reticle pics: https://imgur.com/a/qJ3N6

1.1-8x24 High Power - Much like the above, I had even less interest in this optic.  Again, timing and circumstance allowed me to get my hands on one for a price that I was comfortable with.  If one thinks the center horseshoe will be bold enough (either with or without illumination) for close quarter use, think again.  It's doable on 1.5-2x in a pinch but it pales in comparison to the 2 entries above for reliable up-close use as one has to remember this optic does not have the Short Dot/Aimpoint-ish tech...it's illumination.  The BDC reticle...where to begin.  BDC's scare me.  I want them to be precise enough that they match up to my round reasonably.  Yet, I hate being married to one rifle/load/velocity.  The jury is still out on this one, but after much debate, I do like having the wind stadia for reference without a bunch of busy Horus-y bullshit.  Obviously such an optic is meant for a 16" SR25 style rifle, but I could see it on an SPR/DMR as well or perhaps a compact bolt gun (Q's Fix, GAP Gladius, XM3, etc).  Reticle pics: https://imgur.com/a/SmDAR

 

 

The biggest complaints on S&B's are always cost and weight.  Most of the 4x models can be had well under $2k....sometimes in the 1600+  range from time to time when they come up.  Regarding the 8x models, I got lucky, but nothing near MSRP. 

Honorable mention: 1.1-4x24 Zenith #7 - I picked one of these up at a ridiculous price in the hopes of running it like a poor man's Short Dot LE.  For the price, I feel that it is a worthy substitute considering the LE variants are tough to find and even more so at good prices.  For some reason I found the optic a little less "forgiving" than its PMII brothers.  It might have been the longer tube, but there seemed to be a smaller eye box than the others.  Obviously there would be no NV settings either for the flash dot.  

 

Reticles

 

Short Dot collection circa 2010

1.5-8x26 on 16" SPR

1-8x24 on 14.5" 416

CQB & LE for training

1.5-6x20 on the "MSG-3k"

Short Dot's and HK's

 

Original Post

A few data points on the subject matter . . .

 

 

Optic Observations (1 - 4X Variable Scopes)

 

 

 

Bright light! Bright light!

 

The pic below shows a view looking through an Aimpoint M4S with its illumination at the highest setting. The target in the view has two very bright, white photography lights shining on it from a distance of less than 2 feet; basically the brightest ambient light that I was able to produce indoors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, here is a pic using the exact same setup of lights and target, except this time the optic used is a Schmidt & Bender Short Dot LE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the two views, side by side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horton Sees a Hue

 

The pic below shows a view looking through a Short Dot LE with the magnification set at 1.1X. The chimney in the middle of the view is approximately 100 yards away. Notice the orange leaves and bricks, the green shingles and the white and yellow aluminum siding. Also notice that the only hue, in the view, that remotely resembles a shade of blue, is the small patch of sky near 3 o’clock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colors

 

There has been a lot of bandwidth devoted to the color of reticles as of late, particularly the color green. Pictured below is a view through a Trijicon TR24-G, which has the green triangle reticle. The scope is “aimed” at a target that is 25 feet away, in a pitch dark room!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the same view, only this time looking through a Trijicon TR24-R, which has the red triangle reticle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both views, side by side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, here are the same scopes, in the same set-up, with the only thing different being a switched-on SureFire X300 white light attached to the left rail of the handguard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radioactive.

 

The major weakness of most optics that utilize tritium and fiber optics to illuminate the reticle has been the “washing out” of the reticle when aiming into a brightly lit area from a dark area. The Trijicon TR24 series of Accupoints has vastly improved this situation, although not completely eliminated it.

 

The view below is looking through a TR24-G that is in a darkened area of the house, looking into a brightly lit area. As you can see, the fiber optics are not being fed enough light to brightly illuminate the reticle and the tritium is having a hard time overcoming the brightness of the target area. The reticle is certainly still usable, although not ideal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the type of situation in which scopes with battery powered illuminated reticles really shine (no pun intended.) The next picture shows the same set-up as above, but looking through a NightForce NXS 1-4 x 24 at 1X magnification with the illumination on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again the same set-up, this time looking through a Short Dot LE at 1.1X magnification with the illumination on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ruler of Truth

 

Pictured below is a view of an Aimpoint M4S with a metal ruler running through its field of view and beyond. Notice that the lines formed by the top and bottom edges of the ruler continue uninterrupted when passing through the Aimpoint’s field of view. Notice that the numbers and graduation marks are the exact same size, both inside the Aimpoint’s field of view and out. This is “true” 1X magnification; that is to say, no magnification at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next view has the ruler running through the field of view of an EOTech HoloSight. Again, the lines of the ruler continue uninterrupted and the ruler remains the exact same size inside the EOTech’s fied of view and out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, let’s apply the Ruler of Truth to what many have called a “true 1X” optic, the Trijicon Accupoint TR24-R. The magnification ring is set to 1X in the view below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can clearly see, the lines formed by the edges of the ruler are shifted when running through the field of view of the TR24-R and the ruler is clearly larger inside the field of view of the TR24-R; that is to say, the ruler is MAGNIFIED.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ruler of Truth applied to a NightForce 1- 4 x 24 NXS with the magnification ring set to 1X reveals the same findings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ruler of Truth applied to a Short Dot LE with the magnification ring set to 1.1X shows little difference from the NightForce NXS on 1X.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In truth, since the “true 1X” scopes are not truly without magnification in the truest sense of the word like an Aimpoint or EOTech, the only thing that truly matters is, can these optics be easily used with human binocular vision; that is, both eyes opened and focused on the target at the same time? The answer is a resounding yes, just as it is with the Short Dot LE at 1.1X magnification.

 

 

 

 

Focus On The Front Sight

 

 

Here's a view of the front sight when looking through an Aimpoint M4S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This view is looking through a NightForce NXS 1-4 x 24 at 1X magnification.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 O'Clock High

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weighing In

 

 

Trijicon TR24 with LaRue SPR-E mount:

 

1 pound, 6 ounces

 

 

 

Aimpoint M4S combined with Aimpoint 3X magnifier, both in LaRue mounts:

 

1 pound 6.8 ounces

 

 

 

 

NightForce 1- 4 x 24 NXS with LaRue SPR-S mount:

 

1 pound, 7.5 ounces

 

 

 

Schmidt & Bender Short Dot LE with a LaRue SPR-E mount:

 

1 pound, 11.1 ounces

 

 

 

 

…..

There is iron in your words and awesomeness in this post.  Well done.

-------------------------

IT'S A COLT.  THEY'RE LIKE THE HK OF GUNS.

  

The Most Reverend Consig

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joined: 28 Nov 2004: 0037hrs        Location: The worst run state in the U.S

Nice comparison. Although I have to call shenanigans...the Eotech actually looks like it appears to work....how many pics did you have to take to catch the reticle lit up?

 

------------------------------------- "A True Warrior knows neither Left or Right"  Looking for a doc who can fix my allergies.. Stupid People and IED's...

Hello POINTBLANK4445,

Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with Short Dot scopes. Useful info is hard to come by.

I have used 1.1-4 CQB for years without issues, but as you said it is not at it's best in 4x. Mil hash lines are just too thick.

Now I'm considering 1.5-8x26 for SPR type rifle and would highly appreciate if you could provide even more intel about that model.

I presume you have P3 reticle? Any change of reticle pics at 1.5x and 8x?

Is the illumination dial spring loaded locking type like on 1.1-4 CQB and does if have off positions between on positions?

 

P210 posted:

Hello POINTBLANK4445,

Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with Short Dot scopes. Useful info is hard to come by.

I have used 1.1-4 CQB for years without issues, but as you said it is not at it's best in 4x. Mil hash lines are just too thick.

Now I'm considering 1.5-8x26 for SPR type rifle and would highly appreciate if you could provide even more intel about that model.

I presume you have P3 reticle? Any change of reticle pics at 1.5x and 8x?

Is the illumination dial spring loaded locking type like on 1.1-4 CQB and does if have off positions between on positions?

 

P210, 

I'm really enjoying the 1.5-8x26mm.  The illumination does not have the spring loaded locking; the illumination and wind/elevation are just like you would find on the older single turn 3-12x or 4-16x PMII S&B's...which I like (keeps things simple).   For these, there's sort of a middle "off" setting betwen number settings, but it's not much of one like with the locking short dot.  With these types, I store the optic on "off".

Mine has the P3 mildot reticle.  I like having the solid duplex posts as a reference points.  And while the P3 is a little dated for say a precision bolt gun, I do just fine with it on my SPR's.  I used to have images of the CQB reticle in this model, but the owner deleted them from the host site unfortunately.  They were what one would expect, but not totally cumbersome at 8x.  I still like the P3 better though.  

I'm looking to get a complete catalog of ALL the Short dots I have currently at min/max magnification both with and without the flash dot.  

 

 

 

 

 

Does the "CC" no-parallax feature ACTUALLY work? I am VERY perceptive to parallax up close on 1x. For example, my K16i exhibits it strongly. Not as strong as others, but I can easily notice it. I am tempted to run it on 2x most of the time to get rid of it, as my eyes will naturally "switch" to the magnified view vs. getting "confused" and blurry on 1x.

WS6 posted:

Does the "CC" no-parallax feature ACTUALLY work? I am VERY perceptive to parallax up close on 1x. For example, my K16i exhibits it strongly. Not as strong as others, but I can easily notice it. I am tempted to run it on 2x most of the time to get rid of it, as my eyes will naturally "switch" to the magnified view vs. getting "confused" and blurry on 1x.

Despite the tongue lashing I received on another forum (my fault for posting there in the first place), I'll give my $0.02 on this one. 

I'm of the mind that with the limitations of the human eye, looking through a series of lenses at a point in the distance, there will always be parallax or the possibility of parallax.  I think whether said parallax significant enough that it is perceived is the question.  Even Aimpoints are not 100% parallax free.

The "CC" feature is interesting.  When dialing down from higher magnification into "CC", the sight picture seems to come back up in power just a tad and..."settle in" I guess you would say.  I was highly skeptical that the "CC" could boast "parallax free", but I think it has achieved as much as an optic of this type can.  I've tried the scope at room-length distances (12-20ft) on small targets.  I don't see any significant shift off target.  Likewise, the image on the "CC" setting is the closest to that of the naked eye as I have been able to achieve (at least with out some fine-tuning to a slightly higher magnification).   With that said, this optic is relatively new to my collection, and I have  not spent the amount of time with it that I have with some of the others...there may be some subtleties that I have not discovered yet.  At this point, I believe they have the perceived parallax down to the point where it isn't going to be noticed compared to those that struggle inside of say 15-20 yards.  

I saw a video review that showed the reticle on the 1-8CC throughout the magnification range, and it honestly looked to me like it was impossible to use on 1x without the illumination, and on 8x, the reticle did not offer a lot of "data" like many SFP reticles in that magnification range do. It made it seem like "Good for CQB with the dot on, not much good any other time for anything else." Then again, that's just a YouTube, and I have 0 hands-on with it. Have I just missed the boat?

In real time, the reticle isn't as bad as it seems in that video, but it is very thin and hard to pick up.  The 1-8x CC is VERY dependent upon the flash dot for complete versatility.  If it goes (battery failure), you're going to get slowed way down at any magnification.  The reticle is the biggest weakness of this variant (in my opinion) in that it fails to exploit some of the benefits of the 2nd focal plane for this type of optic...might as well be FFP.  

This is why I like the 1.5-8x26mm better.  The 1.5x is not as good as the "CC" for close-in work, but it's 95% of the way there...and the 1.5-8x26 does not become a burden if the flash dot can't be used.  I think THIS should be the 2nd FP scope and the "CC" be the FFP.

On that note, I'll be out today and will try to get some pics of some of the reticles in various settings.  

Yeah, it's not that bad in real life.  I snagged some good pics today, and that should give you a much better reference.  I got 4 different scopes all from the same point looking out over the same area.   Click on each link to open the respective album.

1.1-4x20 CQB

1-8x24 CC

1.5-8x26 P3

1.1-4x24 SD LE (#7)

Just for reference:

1st rise: 350 yards approximately

2nd rise: 650 yards approximately

Farm property in the background: 2.3 miles

 

Also, each optic depicted should have its highest and lowest magnification setting with and without the flash dot.  I believe each flash dot was on setting 10 out of 11 with the exception of the 1.1-4x20 CQB which was on 9 out of 11.  

PB thx for taking the time w/ this detailed thread, very well done IMO.

Nothing significant to add here, only S&B glass I have is a 1.1-4X24 Zenith LE (SFP) but did I see a skeletonized B. Packer Redi-Mod in your top pic. from Friday?

Joined: 3.28.09            

Location: NETX

MG in TX posted:

PB thx for taking the time w/ this detailed thread, very well done IMO.

Nothing significant to add here, only S&B glass I have is a 1.1-4X24 Zenith LE (SFP) but did I see a skeletonized B. Packer Redi-Mod in your top pic. from Friday?

Good eye, it's one of the old BP/Blue Force Redi-Mod's on my retired "workhorse" AR.  

 

pointblank4445 posted:
MG in TX posted:

PB thx for taking the time w/ this detailed thread, very well done IMO.

Nothing significant to add here, only S&B glass I have is a 1.1-4X24 Zenith LE (SFP) but did I see a skeletonized B. Packer Redi-Mod in your top pic. from Friday?

Good eye, it's one of the old BP/Blue Force Redi-Mod's on my retired "workhorse" AR.  

 

Recognized it b/c I run the same on my SBR, something like 10yrs now also w/ a tan SOPMOD, small world.

Joined: 3.28.09            

Location: NETX

pointblank4445 posted:

 

1.5-8x26 PMII Short Dot - I had no intention on getting one of these, but I just sorta fell into one.  This one surprised me.   My biggest complaint is the size of this monster, but it's no worse than a CQBSS.  I am finding this to be a bit better of a do-all than the CC.  I was pleasantly surprised that the flash dot isn't huge and unusable at 8x; however, my astigmatism is causing some issues with the dot on 1.5x and I have the "Aimpoint tail" effect on with this dot on low magnification (I don't have this issue with any of the above).  The turrets are just the old, PMII single-turn; easy to use, no bullshit.  This is the opposite of the "CC"; ideal for an SPR/precision work, but capable fore close up work in a pinch...no need for a piggyback red dot. 

 

 

 

 

I'm very curious about the 1.5-8x26.  OpticsTradeEU finally posted a YouTube review of it a few days ago and I'm interested in the reticle options.  I've seen it available with the Short Dot CQB and P3 reticle, but the video review mentions Mil-Dot CC?    

First, if you are dead serious about buying one, PM me and I can point you in the right direction.  

I'm the same as you; I have only seen the old CQB and P3 reticle versions available.  There is no "CC" setting for the 1.5-8x26 (obviously).  My guess is the reviewers got their models mixed up.  Personally, I like the P3 the best for this magnification range.  From what I remember seeing, the CQB is not as bad as one would expect, but the mil marks were plenty thick at 8x.  

Newest development on the 1-8x24 CC Short Dot...it's out of service and going back to S&B Service and likely back to Germany...

I began using it on my swat rig as my do-all optic so I didn't have to keep switching uppers for warrant services depending on staffing or assigned placement.  Everything was going great (this thing was built for LE use) and I smoked our dmr qual last month.  

Some time between now and last month when I did a demo with the gun, something got fucked up internally.  On 8x, everything past 25y or so is blurry as shit.  Focus is in the same place, and even maxing out focus on the "-" side, I can't get a crisp image any more.  I kind of wonder if whatever makes the CC or "parallax free" setting what it is isn't stuck or out of whack.  Everything's fine 4x and lower, but as you increase magnification, it gets worse and worse.  

No damaging events to note and it's only been on 5.56's.  Will report as info comes in.

 

WS6 posted:

Durability has always been one of the negatives of t he S&B, along with weight, from what people have told me.

(Trying to phrase this in a professional, Lightfightery way)

That's why I quit listening to "people" years ago.  It was"people" told me Leupolds were good to go back in the day... lying bastards.  You got to get some new "people" or get your hands dirty.

I've had about 20 S&B's in the past 11 years.  I have beat the fuck out of some of the original PMII line (4-16x42, 5-25x56, and 1.1-4x20's the most) and have come back more.  Half of them have seen their fair share of actual use just outside the confines of the flat range to get scratched, soaked, and dented but still work as intended mechanically.  But in the end, that all means nothing because either broken scope/my scope hasn't broke stories are a dime a dozen.

I've had Kahles, NF, Leupolds, Premiers, Vortex and others (in both LPVO and big boy scopes) in that same time and there is not a brand of optic that has not made a return trip back to the home base or service center; it's the nature of scopes as they are mechanically sensitive equipment.  Any time I hear someone say an optic is "bomb-proof", it's very telling.  S&B has burned a lot of bridges to their customer base a variety of ways and you will find that weighing into a lot of opinions on the net.  

What I believe to be the problem here is model specific and not exactly brand specific.  

In my time exploring and using optics, I have never seen a more polarizing topic in precision shooting than "what's the 'BEST' optic".  If/when someone tells me they haven't sent any scope back, it's like a parts breakage on a gun...they just haven't been doing it/used it long enough (or they don't know enough to know it's broke yet).  

Mileages may vary...

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