Red dot scopes - how usefull in very low light?


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dave3006
January 25, 2004, 02:18 AM
I am thinking about a Eotech, Aimpoint, or Trijicon Reflex II for my Mini-14 for a night situation. How useful are Red dot scopes when the light is very, very low? Assuming you have identified your target 100%, can you see the red dot when it is dark?

I have used tritium dots on my shotgun and handgun in almost complete darkness. They work great with almost no light at all. Do the red dots perform as well?

Again, this all assumes you have properly identified your target...

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tc300mag1
January 25, 2004, 02:25 AM
Not worth a Damn excuse the language i have stronger words i would use didnt get a shot at a buck becuse of one couldnt make out the deer from the background with it and me standing in middle of road.

Was last few mins of daylight and past time i could. shoot at my blind so i headed to truck and heard one moving as i got to truck. couldnt get rifle off back as afraid to spook it. Was able to get 44 Mag out of shoulder holster and try to aim with red dot on setting of one i couldnt tell the deer from the backstop of woods..

The lens are coated to reflect the red dot but that makes them Dimmer even in broad daylight that a regular scope.

Needless to say red dot came off that Night

MiniZ
January 25, 2004, 11:33 AM
Depends on what dot you have.

I don't have an Eotech or an Aimpoint, so I cannot comment on them.

However, the dots I have do have adjustable brightness settings. Mine work great in low light(provided I can identify/see the target).

DMK
January 25, 2004, 12:03 PM
becuse of one couldnt make out the deer from the background with it and me standing in middle of road. tc300mag1, just curious, were you aiming with both eyes open?

Derek Zeanah
January 25, 2004, 12:06 PM
I've used a Comp M2 and PVS-14's to good effect on the low power settings. With both eyes open it seems to work well even without night vision. Certainly better than the wide aperture rear sight on M16's (the only night ranges I've attended).

Note that this is with one of the more expensive red dot systems, not a $50 BSA deal.

standingbear
January 25, 2004, 12:17 PM
very useful on my ruger comp model.i took some rats in a barn that went running about and stopped to see what had scared them.i prefer it to a scope for faster pickup on the scurring lil rodents in low light range.this after trying a redfield pistolscope and losing them in the shadows and having to find them again.works great on squirrels and rabbits now too for the same gun.bad thing is remembering to turn the thing off or the batteries get weak and its useless without good batteries.

ScottsGT
January 25, 2004, 12:30 PM
I have a BSA illuminated Cats Eye scope. First time I took it out in the evening and tried it, I didn't like the illumination. Battery died, and it's been dead for three years now. Even on its dimmest setting, it blinds you. Works great for shooting into shadows on a bright day, but that's all its good for. I imagine a red dot would be the same. Good for target shooting, but not for hunting in the evening or early morning.

dave3006
January 25, 2004, 01:06 PM
Kind of a mixed response. It sounds like they do not work in near pitch darkness like a common tritium insert on a handgun sight?

DMK
January 25, 2004, 01:17 PM
It sounds like they do not work in near pitch darkness like a common tritium insert on a handgun sight? Even Tritium night sights won't work in near pitch darkness. If you can't be see your target, seeing your sights or reticle isn't going to help much.

I've never shot anything in the dark, but I've played around with my Novak Tritium night sights, BSA red dot and Millet red dot at night, inside and out with no lights on. With the lowest setting on the red dot, I'd say my Novaks and the red dots are about the same brightness. I think I actually prefer the red dot over the green sights. The night sights have the advantage of not needing batteries of course, but I have no problems with putting the sights on the target if I kept both eyes open and on the target. If you close one eye and look at the sights/red dot you may lose a dim target.

In this scenario I think the red dot is better since it's designed to be used with focus on the target and the red dot superimposed over it(which is why they are often mounted well foreward, scout style). With night sights, you are supposed to be concentrating on the front sight. By focusing on the target, you are pretty much point shooting. Of course, it is *much* more preferable to put a flashlight on the target, but I wanted to see what a worse case scenario would be like.

dave3006
January 25, 2004, 01:37 PM
There is an exception to almost all the so-called "gun truths".

You may have to fire in near pitch darkness. You could have a confirmed bad guy shooting at you in a pitch dark area. You return fire to the location of the noise and muzzleflash you just saw. You don't have your flashlight for some reason. However, it is obvious someone is trying to kill you in this dark, dark room. You need a way to aim towards the bad guy. The trijicons on my Glock can be seen in complete pitch darkness. I wanted to know if the red dots perform the same way.

You don't necessarily have to illuminate your bad guy to tell he is trying to kill you.

DMK
January 25, 2004, 01:39 PM
You may have to fire in near pitch darkness. You could have a confirmed bad guy shooting at you in a pitch dark area. You return fire to the location of the noise and muzzleflash you just saw. You don't have your flashlight for some reason. That's exactly what I was talking about in my last two paragraphs.

I'd rather ID my target if possible, but you're right. You may get into a situation, where you know beyond a shadow of doubt that there is only you and another person or animal who is trying to harm you. If you just want to pump 30 rounds of .223 into a dark corner, you don't even need sights. Even then though, it's best to get the first round on target rather than night blind yourself and give away your exact position with the muzzle flash of a miss. Every situation is different and you have to decide what's right when you are in it.

You need a way to aim towards the bad guy. The trijicons on my Glock can be seen in complete pitch darkness. I wanted to know if the red dots perform the same way. IMO, comparing the Novak Tritiums on my 1911 and the Millet red dot on my AK, they do. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the darker it is, red dot may even have a slight advantage over the night sights because they work better with a focus on the target rather than focus on the sights.

B27
January 25, 2004, 01:58 PM
The Meprolight Reflex on this AK works so well in low light or just plain dark-

http://www.fototime.com/2A792546AB536E0/standard.jpg

-that I prefer it for that use to the Aimpoint Comp and Eotechs I have mounted on other guns.
As previously stated, these sights must be used with both eyes open to get the full advantage.
Do that, and this Meprolight gives you a good sized orange ball in your field of view right where you shots will land. And no turning it on and off or adjusting the brightness.

www.meprolight.com

DMK
January 25, 2004, 02:04 PM
Nice rifles B27! I love that CZ Mannlicher :cool:

Is that lever an 1894C carbine?

B27
January 25, 2004, 02:26 PM
Thanks DMK!:)
Yep, that's an 1894CS .357 with a Docter Optics mini red dot sight on it.
Gives 7Up cans at fifty yards hell.:D

3 gun
January 25, 2004, 04:02 PM
Red dots work best when you keep both eyes open. If you can see your target without the sight you will be able to see the target with the sight. Red dots will even allow you to use them with a lens cap on the front, if you're worried about glare from the lens. As long as you keep both eyes open.

I use a Millett SP1 and on its lowest setting of 1/11 I can see and hit steel plates long after the regular scope and iron sight guys have finished.

KW
January 25, 2004, 04:25 PM
My EOtech 552 is perfectly visible in any lighting condition. The lens (if you want to call it that - it's just some plastic) is perfectly clear. I can adjust the brightness up enough that I can look right at a 100watt light bulb and still make out the reticle, or I can adjust it down enough so that it isn't blinding me even in pitch black. The 552 also has a nightvision mode which gives you a whole nother range of adjustments if you using nightvision gear. I don't have an Aimpoint, but my understanding is that they are much the same - just dial in the brightness where you need it and they are good to go.

444
January 25, 2004, 07:03 PM
Red Dots are very useful in very low light.
You can see the dot whether there is any light or not simply because it is electronic.
I have used my Aimpoint ML2 mounted on an AR15 in several night shoots at formal training classes. Anyone who tried it immediately realized that this was the only way to go short of actual night vision gear and as long as you can see and identify the target, night vision gear really has nothing to offer over the red dot. At one of the classes (Gunsite 223) the instructors had three students offer up their rifles for us to try; one with iron sights, one with a red dot, and one with a Trijicon Scope. We were firing at silhouette targets and steel plates at 100 yards. They had a road flare lit behind the target so it was backlit. This is a situation that many detractors of night sights never consider: you can see the target, but not your sights. An example might be where you are in a building shooting at a target outside and the target outside has moonlight or street light on it, but your sights don't. Anyway, obviously with the iron sights, you couldn't see them at all. The red dot was fine. I hit a steel plate at 100 yards as fast as I could yank the trigger. The Trijicon was also very good, however I would choose the red dot for a general purpose sight.
Brightness: If you buy a good quality dot sight, you can adjust the brightness. On the Aimpoint you can adjust the brightness down to the point that you can use it with night vision goggles.
Battery life: The current Aimpoint has a battery life of 10,000 hours. That means that if you never shut it off, it would last for a year and 51 days on one battery.
Both eyes open is the way to shoot a red dot. If you can see the target, you can hit it, providing your skills are up to the task.
Cheap optics: A rifle scope or optic is a precision optical instrument. In addition it is designed to withstand the punishment of recoil and ruff handling. You simply can not get a cheap precision optical instrument. People seem to be willing to spend the money on a good quality rifle, but when it comes to the sights (the interface between the rifle and the target) they try to cut corners and save a few sheckles. This is a mistake that is paid for everytime (providing that you actually use it).
Target ID. Using a red dot in no way precludes you from also using a light. I have a red dot on my AR along with a Surefire 900 series weapons light.

It has been proven by the US military that optical sights are the way to go for combat rifles. They have shown that a much higher percentage of first round hits are made with an optic over iron sights. It is really the best of both worlds: night or day.

eatatjoes
January 25, 2004, 07:08 PM
my only red-dot experience comes from using the russian Kobra, but it can be adjusted to a very effective night time setting and i remember reading a review that stated something to the effect it improved daytime shooting up to 2x and night shooting up to 5x.

tc300mag1
January 25, 2004, 07:39 PM
DMK yes i had both eyes open usualy dont shoot that way but there wasnt enough light to be able to pick the deer out hard as i tried .. Since i only say 2 deer this season and that was one i wont use red dot again ..

could i have got it with iron sights?? yeah i think so i could make it out well enough not looking though the red dot .. Could i have shoot at it with best guess and hit it with dot probley but dont take shots like that.

444
January 25, 2004, 07:45 PM
I wasn't there, so I can't offer any advice, but it seems kinda strange that you could see the deer, and you could see iron sights, but you couldn't see a dot that is lit up with a battery. :confused:
Or maybe you are saying that you could see the deer, but when you looked through the sight you then couldn't see the deer. But if you had both eyes open, your weak sided eye wouldn't have been looking through the sight ? :confused:

Whatever works for you is the best. I have just never run into this problem and can't envision it.

As was mentioned before, even if you close the front dust cover on your red dot, you can still see the dot fine. In fact, if you are shooting with both eyes open, you don't even realize that the dust cover is closed. You still see the dot appear on the target whether you can see through the sight's tube or not.

Chindo18Z
January 25, 2004, 07:47 PM
Dave: If you stick to the professional grade optics (Eotech & Aimpoint), you will have zero problems seeing the red dot under any lighting conditions. The Aimpoint & Eotech models have click adjustable rheostat which allows for setting brightness from very dim (for viewing thru night vision devices) to very bright (like looking at a little ruby laser spot). The Aimpoint dot is visible in the darkest tunnel, hallway, or forest and also visible in the brightest desert or snowfield. Of course, you do have to click it to the setting you like best...

444
January 25, 2004, 07:58 PM
How do you decide where to set the dot brightness ?
For quick use with a flash sight picture, it doesn't matter. For more precision use, you look through the tube at the dot. If the dot is too bright, it will not appear to be a nice round dot, it iwll be skewed somewhat. If you turn the brightness down, you will reach a setting where the dot is nice and round yet also very easy to see. This setting changes with the amount of ambient light. On my Aimpoint, I might use a setting of 3 at night. During the day I might use a setting of 7-8. A couple seconds of experimentation is all that is required. This does not greatly effect your shooting, it just makes for a nice clean sight picture.

What about real precision shooting (Note: I am not talking about a benchrest match) ? Doesn't the dot cover the target making a precise shot impossible ?
No. What you need to do is zero your dot so that the very tip of the top of the dot corresponds with the POI at your chosen range of zero. Then you use the dot like the tip of a front iron sight. For a COM shot, it doesn't matter. But, if you need to place a round at a very exact point, you simply place the very top of the dot on that spot just like you would a front iron sight.

tc300mag1
January 25, 2004, 10:06 PM
I could see the dot just not make out the deer though the red dot not enough light. Might work for other but not for me . I had it on the lowest setting and just couldnt make it out though the red dot site ... its hard to explaine

Bartholomew Roberts
January 26, 2004, 10:12 AM
am thinking about a Eotech, Aimpoint, or Trijicon Reflex II for my Mini-14 for a night situation.

Have used all three sights, though not on a Mini-14.

How useful are Red dot scopes when the light is very, very low? Assuming you have identified your target 100%, can you see the red dot when it is dark?

The Reflex is less useful than the EOtech and Aimpoint. It has a darker coating on the lens to reflect the reticle and while it works OK in a universally dark setting, it performs poorly in varied light/dark conditions (from darker areas into lighter ones - like say an urban area at night). The EOtech and Aimpoint are both great in these situations provided you adjust the reticle to the correct intensity. Assuming you can see the target, you can hit it with the Aimpoint or EOtech.

birddog
January 30, 2004, 04:52 PM
I have a Propoint 2 on my slug gun, and it is far superior to open sights both in target aquisition (fast!) and low light. I am switching it over to my Taurus .44 mag today. The trick is, as many posters have said, keeping both eyes open which will appear to superimpose the dot on the target / deer. In low light conditions, dial the dot down to its weakest power to reduce scope glare. In my experience, if you can't make out the target because the dot is too bright, you are well past legal shooting light.

Joel

fix
January 30, 2004, 04:59 PM
The simple answer is yes. You can see the dot just fine. Target might be another story, but the dot will be visible. Given a choice of being able to see my sights vs. seeing the target, I think I'd rather be able to see the target. White lights are essential to low light gunfighting.

uglygun
January 30, 2004, 05:13 PM
The dot can virtually leap out at you in low light shooting....

This is a picture I took awhile back to show what a co-witness looks like on an AR15 with the backup iron rear sight viewing in line through the red dot optic.

With the rear sight folded down it's less cluttered and the dot is even easier to isolate for quick shooting.


I use a blue tint filter for my Surefire light, the red dot against blue background makes it stand out even more.
http://home.bak.rr.com/varmintcong/14.5in/Viewthrough.jpg

Marko Kloos
January 30, 2004, 08:39 PM
One of the reasons why I prefer red dots over scopes on my long guns is the fact that they work exceedingly well for me in low light and darkness.

mrcr0603
January 31, 2004, 06:10 AM
Originally Posted By tc300mag1:
Not worth a Damn excuse the language i have stronger words i would use didnt get a shot at a buck becuse of one couldnt make out the deer from the background with it and me standing in middle of road.


I didn't see it mentioned .... but what brand of sight was this that you were using?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I started with Reflex's, and now have Aimpoint M2's on my AR's.

I cannot comprehend a low/no-light situation in which I CANNOT see the dot in my Aimpoints.

No reflection off the lens to cut out the dot, no weird-??? optic construction to cause any kind of weird sighting problem.

I can imagine though that if you've got a POS dot sight with a F'd Up lens system, then a situation like the one quoted above is going to occur.


Chris

birddog
January 31, 2004, 08:58 AM
{{Was last few mins of daylight and past time i could. shoot at my blind so i headed to truck and heard one moving as i got to truck. couldnt get rifle off back as afraid to spook it. Was able to get 44 Mag out of shoulder holster and try to aim with red dot on setting of one i couldnt tell the deer from the backstop of woods..

The lens are coated to reflect the red dot but that makes them Dimmer even in broad daylight that a regular scope.}}

It was just too dark. A regular scope might have given you a few more minutes, yes, but if you couldn't tell the deer from the woods behind it, it's time to put the gun away and head for home. I shot my best buck -- a 22 inch 8 pointer -- with a red dot in extremely low light, but there is definitely a cutoff point, if only for safety's sake.

tc300mag1
January 31, 2004, 11:36 AM
Your right it was just too dark for the red dot as i said i couldnt make otu the deer thorugh the red do but could with plain eye sight no problem. With out it i would have had anther deer if you hunt till last mins of daylight as i do the red dot dont work for me with perfect vision i know it wasnt me who couldnt see it soon as i lowered red dot i could make out deer well enough to see it had 3 points on one side and at least 2 on other

mrcr0603
January 31, 2004, 11:53 AM
tc300mag1 - What brand red dot sight was it?


Chris

tc300mag1
January 31, 2004, 11:59 AM
Aimpoint or propoint i dont have it handy to check. Ill tell ya for sure after this weekend i left it in My dads shooters box which is at his house

mrcr0603
January 31, 2004, 12:02 PM
Originally posted by tc300mag1:

Aimpoint or propoint i dont have it handy to check. Ill tell ya for sure after this weekend i left it in My dads shooters box which is at his house



Thanks!


Chris

j.wise
February 1, 2004, 09:18 AM
tc300mag1, I must admit I was confused by your first post, but I think I now understand your point of frustration.

If I understand you correctly, the coating on the glass of your red-dot was the problem, not necessarily the aiming point (illumination from the red-dot.) I have a cheap BSA red-dot that is similar, in that it makes everything darker when you look through it. Granted, with both eyes open it doesn't matter, but it would make identifying a target "through" the tube more difficult.

My Eotechs I have on my ARs don't have this drawback. Their lenses are completely clear, and do not darken the target area. However, if it was dark outside, and you had the Eotech set on the brightest setting, I'm sure the illumination from the red-dot (actually resembles a clock-face, not a dot) would drown out the target area and make it difficult to identify the target. As stated, simply dial-down for darkness, and the problem goes away.

MaceWindu
April 30, 2004, 01:14 PM
The reflex II from Trijicon is fine in all lighting situations. It comes with a polarized lens that you attach so that the reticle does not wash out in daylight. A simple turn of the polarized lens and whamo clear reticle. No batteries, holds zero, VERY durable.

I have an EOTech 552 also, and its fantastic.


MaceWindu

Bartholomew Roberts
April 30, 2004, 02:34 PM
The reflex II from Trijicon is fine in all lighting situations.

Try firing from a dark firing line to a target that is being brightly lit (either by a streetlight, headlights, flashlight, room lighting, etc.).

Your reticle will disappear. You can crank up the polarizing filter to make the reticle reappear; but now the lens is darker and impedes your ability to see in low light. It basically becomes an occluded eye gunsight.

fix
April 30, 2004, 02:59 PM
I concur with Bart. The most common scenario where this is displayed is when firing from inside a dimly lit building on a target that is outside in direct sunlight. It is frustrating, to say the least.

MaceWindu
April 30, 2004, 03:14 PM
Well it comes down to what works FOR YOU....Not every reflex sight works for EVERY situation, issues: batteries - moa of the dot - too big - too small, etc.

I have 3 types that I use for different purposes. If someone could come up with one that is perfect for all and have it cost efficient then they would have...

The Reflex II works fine for ME so I bought it, I have never had the problems of which you speak...so I guess I will keep it. As far as which is the BEST....this debate will rage on as a long as the 1911 vs Glock.. :rolleyes:


MaceWindu

MaceWindu
April 30, 2004, 03:16 PM
Isn't this why you shoot with BOTH EYE's Open when using a REFLEX sight?

It's made to assist you on a faster target acquisition not for you to come to DEPEND on it alone...correct?

MaceWindu

Bartholomew Roberts
April 30, 2004, 06:03 PM
Isn't this why you shoot with BOTH EYE's Open when using a REFLEX sight?

Yes, that is what I meant by using it as an occluded eye gunsight. The difference is that an occluded eye gunsight is sighted in with the dominant eye blocked, so the sight is still on target.

With a Reflex (or Aimpoint or EOtech) being used this way, the sight was sighted in with the dominant eye looking through the glass, so you will now have a different point of impact compared to your point of aim. At room distances, it won't be enough to make a difference on an IDPA sized target; but if a partial target or longer distances become an issue, it will create misses.

The Reflex works well for a lot of people; but it just isn't the best sight out there anymore. The military stopped using it in favor of the M68. Even its manufacturer Trijicon has produced the Tripower to replace it. At $441-$517 for a new one, there are a lot of new sights that offer more in my opinion. Try your EOtech and your Reflex side-by-side in the lighting I described and you'll understand my point much better.

Like you said though, if it does what you need it to do and you are happy with it, then that is all you need.

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