Shot Day 4: ELCAN Optics


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Derek Zeanah
January 24, 2011, 11:37 AM
It looks someone else took the photos at this booth, so I've missed earlier opportunities to talk about these. In short, I believe ELCAN has some winning products here.

Here's an image hotlinked from the ELCAN site. Bad form, but I want y'all to know what I'm talking about.

http://elcansightingsystems.com/Specter_Family_of_Sights/Dual_Role_Sights/images/SpecterDR_1x-4x.jpg

Disclaimer: I'm something of an optics geek. I've been a photographer for a long time and since my darkroom days I've had a serious infatuation with quality optics. Leica optics have always been at the top of the pile, even those made by Ernst Leitz CANada. I had an older 3.5x ELCAN optic on my FAL, but it was plagued by a couple of problems: The mount was known to be a weak point in the design. If it failed you were out of luck.
The glass was great, but the glass was huge, and very heavy. It was big enough to change the feel of the weapon. It was worth it to me because I really liked the image and light transmission qualities of the glass, but it was a close thing, and I'm more into glass than most people.

So I was interested in what ELCAN was offering, and I was impressed. I wish I had the images to show you some of what they're doing now, and some of the different options. With their lack, I'll cover what stood out. The optics are still great. Instead of using a tritium insert to help with low light, they've moved to an illuminated reticle.
The price is down, though still up there with comparable optics. SWFA is showing about $1,800-$2,400 for most ELCAN scopes right now.
They are pushing a dual range scope. This offers 1-1.5x magnification at the low end, up to 4-6x magnification with the flick of a throw lever. Very fast and intuitive. Seems like a great solution for folks who may need to engage targets at different ranges (3-gun, military deployments).
The mechanism is a set of elements that rotate with the movement of the throw lever. Simple and effective.
It uses a standard picatinny rail mount rather than something proprietary.
Illumination is supposed to have a 2,000 hour battery life, with a minimum life of 300 hours or so.
Waterproof and shockproof.This is sexy glass folks, that's really well thought out. If you're in the market and the price doesn't scare you to death, seriously try to get your hands on one to try it out.

It's near the top of my want list. And for me the price is worth it.

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Derek Zeanah
January 24, 2011, 11:42 AM
You know, I didn't mention glass quality. I'm the guy who went to the Horus booth and compared their scope with the Schmidt & Bender optic next to it and immediately preferred the S&B optic. I really like clear, non-distorted, high-contrast optics and the comparison was clear to me. Those I was with didn't seem to notice/care about the difference, but I would think most people would be able to see the difference in dawn/dusk situations, or other low light conditions.

Anyway, the optics are what you would expect for the price. To try and quantify that would require a competitive review of this and competing optics in some place other than a trade show, but it's ranked pretty high on my "I WANT" list after ~ 10 minutes of looking through them.

Great stuff here.

raz-0
January 24, 2011, 04:45 PM
Problem is 1) it is not new, so they didn't fix anything. 2) it uses a less then optimal removable mount. 3) It has windage and elevation external to the body and a history of it ceasing to function properly.

Which is sad, because otherwise it might be worth saving up the $1800. But every time I start thinking that again, I see more people complaining about the things.

HorseSoldier
January 26, 2011, 10:30 PM
You know, I didn't mention glass quality. I'm the guy who went to the Horus booth and compared their scope with the Schmidt & Bender optic next to it and immediately preferred the S&B optic.

For the relative price points (at least Horus Talon versus S&B Short Dot) S&B glass better be quite a bit better. The Short Dot does have some additional/better ergonomic bells and whistles as well, but the glass itself needs to be a lot better, too.

In short, I believe ELCAN has some winning products here.

The Specter DRs were just starting to make it out in the SOPMOD 2 kits when I ETS'ed and so I only got to play with them a bit before the .mil stopped subsidizing my firearms hobby. On the one hand, I really, really liked the optic and thought the no mag to four power throw lever was a brilliant idea (at the same time I was running a Horus Talon on my rifle, and found that I basically just used no mag or four power anyway). On the other hand, it looked like they had not really addressed flaws noted on their previous models and so I wasn't sure how well they'd hold up and work out in the long run.

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