We have a lot of articles on super expensive optics around here. That’s all well and good and I enjoy reading about that stuff too. I own some relatively pricey stuff but understand not wanting to shell out $3000 for a scope of some kind. I can’t shoot any better with a $3000 scope than I can with a $1000 Leupold or a $750 Vortex Viper PST so I won’t drop that kind of coin on something I don’t even see as being worth their price tags. Furthermore many people simply cannot afford it. So today and here in the near future I will cover some budget optics choices I know that work well. First up the Sightmark 3X Magnifier.

Now before saying “Sightmark!!  this guy is a dumbass” hold on a second. I used EoTech magnifiers on active duty, I own one now and I also own Vortex 3X magnifiers. So I have plenty of experience with top-tier products. I am simply saying for a guy/gal on a budget this thing works. For 80$ from Dunham’s Sporting Goods this Sightmark 3x magnifier is a pretty darn good value. It works, period.20130830_194416_resized 20130830_194440_resized

The Glass: I was pleasantly surprised at its brightness and clarity. For the price difference there is no room to complain. It has the usual fog/waterproof purging to the aluminum body of the thing. The adjustment screws to center your red dots reticle in the magnifier are both easy to use and have held it center since I first set it. I don’t shoot any better with an Eotech or Vortex magnifier than I can with the $80 dollar Sightmark.

The Mount: They call it the slide to side. It snaps in place and off to the side with adjustable screws on springs with a plunger. So it is adjustable for tension, I like that feature. You can make it as stiff to move or easy as you want. I made mine a bit stiffer than when it came out of the box. The mount returns to the same place every time. As I said before my reticle has stayed in the center. This mount is easy to use, quick, returnable and seems sturdy enough. The mount to your rail is a “quick release” and adjustable for tension as well. It’s a winner to me for being so cheap.

That’s really all there is to the thing, decent glass and a decent mount. A few tech specs and we’ll wrap up. The tube is 30mm, the objective is 29mm and it weighs in at 6.7 ounces. It is water, fog and shock proof. It comes with a lifetime warranty. Yes, a lifetime warranty, that right there means something. If all else fails you can get a new one for free. Short of some kind of “blunt force trauma” so to speak I really don’t see what can break on it. The unit has co-witnessed all of my EoTech sights and my Vortex red dots as well. I can’t say for any other brands but I would think any sight roughly in that height range this will adjust to it.

20130830_194459_resizedSummary: That’s enough on an $80 item. The thing works folks and I have no issues with the quality for the price. I just came in from ringing 4 inch steel spinners again and again with this unit behind an Eotech 552 on a Smith M&P 22lr rifle. That’s the niche it fits for me, my M-4ish 22 training rifle. Why spend five times as much on a “real” one when $80 has me shooting just as straight on my training plinker? It just makes good sense in this case and for anybody pinching pennies. Would I take this unit to WW3 with me? No, because I do have Eotech’s and Vortex’s…but I would if it was the only one I had. Try one out, I don’t see you being disappointed for the money spent.20130830_194523_resized

As always thanks for reading and train often.

By: Cary Kieffer