Review: Strike Systems 1x40mm Red Dot Sight -
Value For Money8
Item Name: Strike Systems 1x40mm Red Dot Optic
Item Type: Optic
After spending a year airsofting with my faithful ebay special red dot sight, I decided it was time to upgrade to something a bit swisher. For me looks form a major part of whether I’ll fit something to my RIFs or not – if it looks (by the twisted yet beautiful standard of firearms) good then it may have a place on my RIFs.
However, unlike some airsofters, I won’t put something on my guns that makes them slower to use, or hinders how they function (with one exception – that would be the charging handle I have fitted to my M4, which is purely aesthetic and can snag on clothing/webbing).
I headed to JD Airsoft to try out optics on my M4, as they have quite a range. I initially had my eye on a T-1 or Eotech clone, however a friend had pointed out the Strike Systems 1×40 Red Dot.
Strike Systems do a range of optics, both clones of real ones as well as their own models. Invariably, there is a trade-off between function and looks, with the better looking optics often having unusable or dim reticles, or an exorbitant price tag.
Of all of the sights I tried, this one came out tops. Looks wise it isn’t the prettiest optic, however it does look good. Effectively a simple tube, the optic has plain glass lenses front and back, with a beautifully red-orange coated reflex lens behind the front protective lens. Machining quality on the body of the scope is acceptable – scrutiny of the mounts shows some poor quality marks, and one of the screws has been mounted at quite a wonky angle.
When I bought the optic I noticed that the mounts had been poorly machined, after some persuasion I convinced the staff to exchange the one I had bought with a better quality one. Out of the box it comes with two CR2032 batteries, a well written instruction manual and that is it.
The sight features 11 brightness levels, making it useful in low light conditions, but also ensuring usability in bright light (strong summers day with no clouds). The dot is crisp and sharp, and unless viewed far to the extreme left of the scope retains its shape. Parallax is roughly conserved (as it can only ever be in a red-dot, a laser based holographic is the only way to really eliminate parallax), however it is significantly better than some far more expensive units (T-1 clones in particular).
As always, picking the dot up on camera is going to be tricky. A lot of the reflections are from the lens of the camera I used.
The optic sits very low to the bore on my rifle – too low for co-witness, however as the lenses are so large target acquisition is quite easy. The optic (while useable) is a bit too low for my taste, and I have ordered a QR riser rail that will lift the optic by .5″.
Crisp – almost too crisp – trades are kept to a minimum.
When it came to mounting the optic I discovered that one of the two brackets/screws that made up the mount would not lock to the rail on my Dytac receiver’s rail. As this rail (like 90% of airsoft AR-15 uppers) is off-spec, I tried it on my Dytac Invader RIS (much more on-spec) and found that it locked up without being over-tightened, however it was still slightly loose. The QR rail I fitted the scope to for final use was bang on spec and sure enough the optic locks up nice and snugly against the rail.
One major drawback of having lenses so large is BB-strike – I don’t fancy skirmishing with this until I’ve sorted out some thick polycarbonate covers for the front and back lenses. I’ll be getting some aluminium scope covers machined up, however the outer diameter of the lenses is just under 45mm (.5mm or so), so if you can get clear scope covers at that diameter then you may be able to sort something out quite easily. I doubt that these covers will fit between the scope and rail system without a riser.
Zeroing the scope is easy to do, the supplied instruction manual indicates the adjustment per (very pleasantly audible) click from the zeroing turrets, which are hidden underneath light-weight thin aluminium covers. The adjustment is 1″ at 100 yards, or 1 MOA.
Before getting this review online the riser (all 120 glorious cheaply forged grams of it) arrived. It really does make a difference to how the optic looks on the gun (think a t-1 on a riser on steroids), and makes it far more comfortable to aim. The riser is a clone of the A.R.M.S. #17DR base, and for me it reflects one of those aspects that a lot of people in the hobby aren’t that fussed by, but really gets me far too exited, and you’ll see why in my review of said piece of kit when I get round to it.
To summarise – for 40 quid this is an incredible optic, however more will need to be spent in order to protect it. The riser has cost me £20, and I am not yet sure how much the lens protectors will cost.
The lenses are incredibly clear, the coating is effective (increasing the contrast between the reticle and the target) and targets are very easy to acquire. For plinking in your garden this is definitely one to consider, and I will definitely be running this as my primary optic as soon as I can sort out some heavy protective covers for the lenses.
As and when I get the covers made I’ll update this review.