Schmidt & Bender Short Dots and other High $ LPVO's (Updated: 9/15/18)

I'm still on the fence about it. When I compare features, capabilities, specs, etc. with other optics in the same class, it seems the juice just isn't worth the squeeze for a swap, unless my goal is to change the role of the rifle altogether, which isn't in the cards. Just entertaining the thought, not really committed to going through with it. The S&B pretty much answers the mail in every way except maybe overall size and weight (which isn't all that bad really considering it's role), but I prefer it over the Leupy Mark 6 for example. The ATACR has an arguably better Horus reticle option and is more compact, but the weight difference is negligible. The Vortex Razor G2HD is a solid option, but it tips the scale on being too chubby. Would love to have one on a dedicated bolt action precision rig though.  The Steiner T5xi seems to be a good candidate, but not sure if that would be a step down.  And of course we have the offerings from Minox, Kahles, USO, etc., but again, not sure they'll offer something over the S&B. For now it'll sit pretty on my MWS, which I plan to outfit with a 6.5 Creedmoor barrel sooner or later. It's been the primary optic for that particular set-up and at this point it would seem strange to have another optic sitting on top of it. First world problems. 

 

This is interesting, especially as the electronic SIG sights and LRFs I have seen are... fine, not great. 

http://soldiersystems.net/2018...ated-marksman-rifle/

Updated – US Army Selects SIG Optic For Squad Designated Marksman Rifle

Earlier this year, the Army conducted a Limited User Evaluation of the Squad Designated Marksman Rifle. Based on the M110A1 Compact Semi Automatic Sniper System program, SDMR consists of a 7.62 NATO G28 rifle built by Heckler & Koch, equipped with an OSS Suppressor and Harris Bipod. The missing piece was the optic.

The Army’s Program Manager for Soldier Weapons invited industry, through the Tailored Logistics Support program, to submit 1-6x variable optics for the evaluation. They selected the SIG Optics TANGO6 1-6x Optic...

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

I do not have experience with the Sig optics, in the 1-6x24 space, I'd be more likely to go Vortex Razor HD-II or the K16i. And the Kahles preferentially because it's that much lighter.

Joined: 30 May 2003                  Location: SE PA

shoobe01 posted:

This is interesting, especially as the electronic SIG sights and LRFs I have seen are... fine, not great. 

http://soldiersystems.net/2018...ated-marksman-rifle/

Updated – US Army Selects SIG Optic For Squad Designated Marksman Rifle

Earlier this year, the Army conducted a Limited User Evaluation of the Squad Designated Marksman Rifle. Based on the M110A1 Compact Semi Automatic Sniper System program, SDMR consists of a 7.62 NATO G28 rifle built by Heckler & Koch, equipped with an OSS Suppressor and Harris Bipod. The missing piece was the optic.

The Army’s Program Manager for Soldier Weapons invited industry, through the Tailored Logistics Support program, to submit 1-6x variable optics for the evaluation. They selected the SIG Optics TANGO6 1-6x Optic...

 

I won't be testing any SIG scopes.  

Of all the proven scope/optic manufactures out there with established legacies and longevity in the game, the Army decides to roll the dice on a company still relatively new to the optics world and who outsources design and development of their entire line while producing nothing optics related in house.  Makes about as much sense as Sig winning the MHS contract.   

So after running the ATACR and having had the opportunity to compare it to the Mark 6, I definitely feel the ATACR is the overall better optic and superior in several areas. One item to note up front is that the ATACR, like most LPVOs, is not a true 1x, and I did detect some slight magnification at the low end, so essentially it's more or less a 1.1-8x. Whereas the Mark 6 appears to be more of a true 1x in terms of what you're seeing when looking through the glass. Shocking I know. However, I suspect this would not be a deciding factor for most people, and it is easily overlooked when you consider the other areas where the ATACR shines.

At 1x there is virtually no edge distortion in the ATACR, whereas it is noticeably visible on the Mark 6, and this holds true across the power band. I compared each optic at 6x, and the ATACR appeared to have slightly more magnification (read: slightly less FOV), but the optical clarity was superior to the Mark 6. I was able to make out finer details when viewing objects at a distance, and the image appeared brighter and the colors had more pop. At the low end the ATACR clearly had the larger eyebox, which translated into being more forgiving when set at their respective max power settings. Chromatic aberration was more prominent on the ATACR at 8x, but I've yet to come across any top tier optic that doesn't display this to include the likes of S&B, Kahles, etc. Nevertheless, it's not as sensitive to slight head movements as the Mark 6 at max power. Bottom line, the ATACR proved to be the better optic throughout the power range.

The Mark 6 is known for it's nice DLV illumination (but suffers from "flicker" due it being eye-alignment sensitive and not very forgiving as it relates to consistent head positioning), and the reticle illumination on the ATACR at setting 9 was equal to the Mark 6 at its highest setting (7). The FC-DM was "ludicrous daylight visible" when turned up to max power (10), which didn't wash out even against the brightest daytime backdrop. The ATACR also features additional NV reticle brightness settings, giving it even more of an advantage over the Mark 6. I spent Sunday high up in the Rocky Mountains engaging targets at varying ranges (200-500) and had absolutely no problems making consistent hits on steel plates at 500 yards against a wooded backdrop without having to use any illumination at all.

The elevation and windage adjustments are much more refined on the ATACR, crushing the Mark 6 in this area as well. Very positive click adjustments, similar to an S&B in feel, but more refined audibly, and I harbor no doubts that it tracks true (although I did not test tracking). The CMR-W and FC-DM are pretty much equal in capability in my opinion. I really like both, but a slight edge goes to the ATACR for execution considering the thinner mil hashes and a more refined sectioned cross hair, which does a better job of drawing your eye to the center segmented circle. Weighing in at 6 oz. heavier than the Mark 6, the ATACR feels much more robust, yet does not necessarily feel that much heavier than the Mark 6. The weight difference did not affect the balance of the rifle at all (SR25 ACC). The ATACR gets bonus points for the added PTL and beauty rings if you decide to run it uncapped.

To be perfectly fair, the Mark 6 is still a very capable scope, and the fact that it can still hold it's own against the ATACR is a testament to it's design. However, the ATACR takes it to another level overall, refining the areas where the Mark 6 could use improvement, and I personally feel it's worth the price of admission.

Regarding chromatic aberration...it's more of a product of the spec/dimensions than that of the maker.  The S&B 1-8CC had a notable amount while, I don't observe it in the 1.5-8x26mm.  Likewise, I remember my a few of my NF NXS compacts had a fair amount of it.

Thanks for the insight on the ATACR...still trying to figure out if I'm going to give it a whirl or not.  I like most of what it's about but I've never had much use for the circle-dot style centers.  Probably going to take my other 1-8's out and ruminate on it while I shoot.

"Pain, we endure...faulty weaponry, we do not."

After going through a few LVPO's (P4Xi, Trijicon 1-8, Eotech 1-6), I finally worked my way up to a Kahles K16i.  Even on my 12.5" SBR, that optic is stunning in its clarity, light weight, eyebox, and the reticle is very fast for my eyes (using the S1).  I recently used it at a class, and even in awkward positions, I could see the reticle pretty easily and put good shots out fast.  It has so far blown away the other scopes I've owned, and even the 6x with Kahles glass, I believe, is better at mid ranges than the 8x from Trijicon.  The price tag is considerable, and I nearly bought a NX8 instead.  I'm very happy that I didn't, at least for this gun.  If there's a better LPVO out there for a general purpose 5.56 gun, I'd like to see it and be surprised.

"If you can't do something smart, do something right" -Jayne Cobb

 

Joined: 2010.                 Location: NOVA HELL

Agreed 100% on the Kahles.

The Kahles 1-6 from a technical and optical perspective is the king of the hill for the <8x LPVO's.  I kept my Kahles and sold off the Vortex HDII E.  I have some nitpicky things about some controls and reticles, but it was finally able to oust my beloved Short Dot as my go-to general purpose LPVO.

"Pain, we endure...faulty weaponry, we do not."

Just a real quick update, but earlier today I was messing around with the diopter adjustment and noticed that the slight magnification at 1x went away and it appeared to be a true 1x after all. Weird because I didn't feel the need to mess around with it as the reticle appeared to be in perfect focus. Woo hoo! Charlie Mike! 

2018 seems to be the year that I moved optics around on my rifles like a Chinese fire drill.  New prescription lenses and Aimpoint's updated tech saw the return of the RDS back into my inventory. 

I got to spend some time with the old 1-4x's, and after experimenting with the Kahles and Vortex, not all of them retained their luster.  Some are still good to go, but the Short Dot LE now seems noticeably more cramped.   Makes me wonder really how good/bad some of these other scopes really are given that their perception is largely dependent upon the "scope" of their experience (or lack there of).  Some have not had the (dis)pleasure of having to try and roll with older tech and they believe their red-dot-esque "true 1x" is an achievable thing in a series of curved lenses. I've always been a "fuck it, I'll find out for myself" kind of guy but that adds to my reasoning.

 

This past month, I was doing a lot of role-playing in active shooter training (exclusively OPFOR) and I've also been writing some DM policy which has required me to pretty much show the merits (or lack of) for barrel length, ammo selection, as well as 1,2,4,6,8, and 10x max power capability.  I guess what's old is new again...I've found myself taking out the Aimpoint guns in some cases and wishing my SPR's and DMR's had more power...at least 12x (Lord help me I've even looked at the 30mm Tangent Theta 3-15x for 5.56's).   But I guess that's to be expected when one leaves the middle of the pool and swims to the CQB shallow end or long-range precision deep end. 

 

Despite the recent rave about the latest and greatest 6x's like the Kahles, Vortex E Series, and the Leupold (the brave souls that use them seem to like them...so I'm told), my position stays the same.  That is: There is no do-all yet.  There's still a divide between those that can supplant a red dot, and those that are full-fledged precision optics. 

"Pain, we endure...faulty weaponry, we do not."

Good evening Gentlemen,

Really grateful for this thread on these optics.  I have been hovering on making the switch out of fixed/rds combos and have decided to go with a LPV; in part to have less “stuff” on my carbine but also to be able to mount it on different systems effectively (read=lever gun/guide gun for when I am working in grizzly bear country).

 I had a chance to play with both the ATACR 1-8 and Kahles 1-6 and like both for their respective features; but am leaning towards the Kahles due to it being SFP/bigger reticle at 1X for dangerous game.  I know the dot when illuminated works well on the FFP ATACR but battery run time etc. has me being conservative with ensuring effective rounds without illumination.  The Kahles 3G reticle was my favourite of the 4 offerings but didn’t see in the thread anyone having used it.  

That all being said, is the substantial price difference worth the piece of mind for recoil management and durability on the NF?  And can the Kahles handle 45-70?  Not the usual request on these forums but big furry forest creatures are my biggest threat most of the time.

I did not like the NX8 in case that was a suggestion; handled it in store and played with it outside but it just wasn’t as forgiving for quick sight picture like the ATACR and Kahles*

 

Thanks for your time,

Andy

I would say look closely at what the reticles look like at lowest (1x) power in the absence of dot/illumination.  Most of these optics will suck a CR2032 dry.  If you can't use it without illumination at 1x, I would pass on it for a walk-around rifle in dangerous game country.  I've not seen the ATACR on 1x without illumination on.  I've seen similar circle-dots on 1x and they were hard to pick up.  

The Kahles is extremely light which is nice and its simple.  If you aren't really going to mess with a bunch or long-range stuff with the offsets and wind holds, I would stay simple.   Maybe not rule out some of the S&B lines like the Stratos and Exos with that in mind.  

"Pain, we endure...faulty weaponry, we do not."

+1, esp. on battery life when illum. Also: mediocre ergonomics to flip the illum on since it cannot be on all the time, and many are not really, truly daylight bright. It seems awesome, but only a few fulfill that promise of a "zooming RDS." 

And none that I can justify the price of

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

I love my Kahles K16i. When I find the cash, I need a couple more of them. I may try a Vortex on one of my  lighter 14.5 or 16" guns, but I really like that the Kahles is so light.

Joined: 30 May 2003                  Location: SE PA

never_truly_lost posted:

That all being said, is the substantial price difference worth the piece of mind for recoil management and durability on the NF?  And can the Kahles handle 45-70?  Not the usual request on these forums but big furry forest creatures are my biggest threat most of the time.

I'm not sure if CA military qualifies for the NF pro deal, but it brings it down a fair amount, much closer to the street price of the Kahles. NF's Expertivoice pricing is even better, but they've been OOS there forever.

 

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

 

老僧三十年前未參禪時、見山是山、見水是水、及至後夾親見知識、有箇入處、見山不是山、見水不是水、而今得箇體歇處、依然見山秪是山、見水秪是水。


Joined: 2008-07-16

I'm running a Razor-E model now and quite literally the only thing I don't like about it is it's still a couple ounces heavier than I would like which to get down to I really would have to go up to a Kahles K16i.

Are you planning on running this optic almost always on 1x or max power Never_Truly_Lost? If you're planning on running it mostly on 1x I'd go with the SFP options and take advantage of the larger eye box and field of view they offer. 

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

Joined: 9/1/12

Thanks for the replies guys.  Going to run with the Kahles for the time being; running at 1x 90% of the time while zooming in for glassing and carbine use.

 

Once I sort out a 308 rifle (no SCAR option up here) the NF may get a spot in my rifes.

 

Sticking with the 3G reticle; the SM1 just didn’t do it for me.

Cheers,

Andy

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