Since learning to shoot about 15 years ago, and more particularly in the last 10 years since starting New Jersey Gun Forums, I have been blessed with the ability to shoot a wide variety of firearms and accessories, everything from entry level handguns to rifles and shotguns which can purchase a decent house somewhere in the Mid-West.
One constant in the gun world is that much like in every other hobby, there is, within a certain segment an equipment race, to have the latest and greatest gear that you would find going into war zones. While I am generally not opposed to spending more money to get a well crafted and reliable gun like a Knights Armament AR, optics in particular is an area where I feel 95% of gun owners would be spending money on features they will never use.
Trijicon ACOGs, NightForce, Elcan SpecterDR, Aimpoint, you get the idea.
Yes, they are brilliant optics with great quality glass and ruggedness to withstand a war zone. The question is, for the non-military buyer, do you need to pay for the ruggedness when 90% of the time the gun will be in the safe and 9% of the time the gun will be at the range? Do you need to spend thousands of dollars for the slight chance that you will drop the gun in the middle of the lake in the 1% of the time you are out boating with it? (boat, gun, lake joke).
What got me thinking about this question is doing some testing with the Sightmark Wolfhound 6x Prismatic sight. I subjected the scope to the advertised specs and it passed with flying colors. I drenched the optics with a bottle of water and even dropped the rifle (on purpose) to see whether it holds zero or still works.
I then escalated the test and dunked the optic in a contain of water and left it there, running, for over an hour. This would surely kill it, right?
And the optic continued to function.
Sightmark compares this to the ACOG 6x optic and at no time do they ever state that it is a better optic. They do however point out that you are getting comparable features for a whole lot less.
Yes, the ACOG does not use any batteries and instead lights the reticle either via the fiber optic strip or tritium. The Wolfhound uses a battery. In either case, if the battery dies, you still have the reticle, it just won't light up red or green.
The ACOG is also made out of 7075 aluminum versus the 6061 aluminum used in the Wolfhound. The ACOG is also submersible to 328 ft of water versus just 10 ft on the Wolfhound.
The question is then the following, rather than spend thousands more on buying ruggedness that you will never likely use, is the gun owner better off buying a "good enough" optic and investing the difference in ammo and training instead?
Here is the video review of the Sightmark Wolfhound 6x44 Prismatic and Mini Shot M-Spec Reflex Sights