I recently got the chance to check out some of Sightmark’s optics. I’ve had one of their reflex sights on my carbine for a while, and it has held up very well. I get consistent groupings and rugged dependability without the price-tag of an Aimpoint or EOTech, and for 3-gun and home defense, it serves it’s purpose well. I had only 1 issue with it, and once I contact Sightmark, their stellar customer service sent me a new item, upgraded from the one that conked out on me, and a return label for the defective product. I like that, companies that want to keep you happy. And bonus, their products come with a lifetime warranty.
Now that all of that is out of the way, for the price point – roughly half the price of an EOtech – who has had their issues with quality control this year, you can get a night vision compatible sight that holds zero and has respectable groupings without breaking the bank. I tested out the LQD reflex sight on a Palmetto State Armory build I did earlier this year- just a bare-bones mil-spec carbine with a 16 inch barrel and Magpul furnture. I only say that so you know I’m not shooting an accurized 20″ AR with stainless everything and match grade internals. It’s a milspec with a mid length gas system – It’s a fine rifle all the same, and capable of MOA groups with the right ammo. This sight, once zeroed, made holes within a half inch of one another at 50 yards – consistently. The magnifier tightened them up a bit – but also allowed me to make adjustments without having to walk out to the paper. Overall, I found them both to be very well built – giving you a combo capable of CQB and mid range engagements for still less than an Aimpoint or EOTech.
I recently did a pistol build (review forthcoming) and decided to slap these on there and see how they fared. I wasn’t too confident I’d be holding good groups at more than 15 yards, as it’s a 7.5 barrel with a pistol length gas system.
I was pleasantly surprised. Below is a picture of me sighting it in, and the nice group center of the target is a 25 yards, no magnifier, with the buffer tube welded to the cheek. Pretty combat effective with a pistol AR platform.
Now, shooting aside, let’s look at the product. The LQD Reflex sight in Night Vision compatible – and also rather rugged – with an Ip68 waterproof rating, making it able to be submerged to 40 ft. It also has a locking quick detach mount, ensuring it doesn’t come off the weapon unless you want it to by moving a side tab, and then flipping a lever. The metal housing is lightweight aluminum but rugged, and it runs on easy to procure CR123 batteries. The parallax allows you to place it pretty much anywhere on the rifle, and that’s a plus. On the carbine, I run it right over the ejection port. On the pistol, way more forward to allow for me to cheek weld the weapon. The 65 MOA circle and dot reticle is clear, and adjustable brightness, with a nice visible dot in the center of the standard circle. Overall, very easy to use and intuitive, with 1000 hours of battery life to boot. In addition, it has a motion sensor that is pretty neat – where it turns on when you come up on target, although I would prefer to manually operate it.
Pros: Great value. It has a clear reticle, is night vision compatible, easy to detach and mount. It also has some other bells and whistles like motion sense. Long battery life too!
Cons: I would be doing our readers a disservice to say that this can take a beating like an EOTech or Aimpoint, as I haven’t torture tested it. I know many people who have beat the sh!t out of their EOTechs and Aimpoints and they’re still going. Not saying this sight won’t do the same – but I cannot confirm nor deny those capabilities.
Now as far as the magnifier, I really like it. I was pretty apprehensive about using another piece of kit on top of a rifle – after all, it’s just another moving part to worry about. I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of use, how rugged it was despite being a flip to the side magnifier, and the ease of adjustment with the windage/elevation knobs. Once you get your reflex zeroed, all you really need to do is some minor tweaks to make point of aim your point of impact. That I suspect was the issue with the 50 yard grouping – I didn’t really establish holdovers, but I bet with proper zeroing you can make this magnifier a point of aim/point of impact device.
It’s very sturdy, especially on the hinges where it flips, and the eye relief is decent. You have to have it set up on the right spot on the rail to have a good view, but that’s just figuring out which rail slot is best, and depends on both the person and the weapon. It’s 55mm eye relief, if you want exact specs. Be advised, this won’t work with all reflex sights but works flawlessly with the one mentioned above. Given their outstanding customer service, I’m sure you can give them a buzz and they can let you know if it’s compatible with your rig.
As far as how it’s secured, it’s got this cool QD-esque system where you torque it down with a screw. Very solid and easy to operate. It also has positive clicks both in place, and off to the side, and doesn’t flop back into place when you don’t want it to.
Pros: Clear image, great target acquisition, sturdy construction, easy to attach and detach. Also easy to adjust and rezero, and a good value.
Cons: A bit cumbersome, but it goes with the territory.