Mil-Dash V. MOA Riflescopes

What Happens in a Riflescope… MATTERS

Years ago, I learned (the hard way) just how important the features on your riflescope really are when it comes to long-range shooting. Granted, when you’re shooting just a few hundred yards, you have some leeway when it comes to the reticle plane, the reticle itself, tracking, return to zero, chromatic aberration, etc.; however, there isn’t much room at all for a compromise on any of these features as you extend your distance game.

The author, Kevin Reese shooting a precision rifle long-range with a Sightmark first-focal plane riflescope
My money is on a first-focal-plane system for long range… and for me, the Mil (MRAD) adjustment and reticle system.

I was asked to field-test an optic from 100 to 1,000 yards. The problem was, the optic was completely ill-prepared to handle any long-range work and barely accomplished mid-range shooting at just 600 yards. While the riflescope was touted as a long-range optic on a 6-24×56 and 30mm tube platform, the nuts-and-bolts features included a red/green illuminated mil-dot second-focal-plane reticle and 1/4-MOA per click windage and elevation turret adjustments, as well as adjustable parallax and diopter.

I assure you, it’s easy to create a mess when you begin with messy parts. There was little (actually nothing) to like about an optic that, itself, was a contradiction. Some things should never be mixed—beer and whiskey, water and gasoline… MOA and milliradian. Consider the latter. In our shooting world, while minute-of-angle (MOA) is 1.047 inches at 100 yards and usually adjustable at 1/8- or 1/4-MOA per click, a milliradian (Mil or MRAD) measures 3.6 inches at 100 yards and is most often adjustable at increments of .1 Mil. As examples, we’ll consider the most popular—1/4-MOA and .1 Mil.

Adjusting ¼-MOA per click moves you approximately .26-inch. at 100 yards while .1 Mil shifts your position of impact (POI) about .36-inch. The important takeaway here is obvious, the incremental values of MOA and Mil are not the same. Again, at closer distances, the problem won’t matter much. Unfortunately, at longer distances, reticles, their subtension values and their focal plane really do matter. Make sure, on a fundamental level that your turret adjustment type (Mil or MOA) actually match your reticle (Mil or MOA). Moreover, determine whether you need a first- or second-focal-plane optic.

Green and red illuminated mil-dash reticle by Sightmark
With mil-dash, precisely identifying the center of one line to the next for accurate, reliable and repeatable holdover is quick and easy.

The difference in focal planes is easy to understand in terms of magnification. On a second-focal-plane system, adjusting magnification does not change the size of the reticle. Increasing or decreasing magnification does not change your reticle size. The problem? The incremental measurements of the subtensions are not consistent. Generally, the appropriate MOA increment (1.047-inches) is only true at one magnification, either at the highest setting or at a power annotated by a mark.

Conversely, first-focal-plane reticles do increase and decrease commensurate with the optic’s full range of magnification. As a result, the subtension values on a first-focal-plane reticle are consistent no matter the magnification power setting. The result is reliable adjustability at all known distances, as well as the added benefit of stadiametric-type ranging based on the target size and fact that subtension values never change. For this difference alone, my money is on a first-focal-plane system for long range… and for me, the Mil (MRAD) adjustment and reticle system. To that end, however, there is another critical reticle feature when considering milliradian-based optics—Mil-dot and Mil-dash. So, which is better?

While some might suggest it depends on your shooting, my take is—not so much. Unless you’re trying to find that sweet spot of balance between speed and precision, or have trouble identifying fine subtension lines, mil-dash is a better option every day of the week and twice on Sundays, especially as you extend your distance game and, depending on the focal plane, increase magnification. When it comes to accuracy, the greatest threat to precision shot placement, as it relates to this topic, is a mil-dot covering more of your target face. At best, your potential accuracy is only as small as the area of your target covered up by the obstructive black dot while a fine mil-dash subtension line essentially leaves your entire target face unobstructed. The area a mil-dash covers is essentially negligible.

three riflescopes
The Citadel line of riflescopes is designed for long-range precision shooting and competition.

Subtensions also are used for holdovers and are measured from the center of one line to the next. With mil-dash, precisely identifying the center of one line to the next for accurate, reliable and repeatable holdover is quick and easy. With mil-dots, the shooter is left with estimating the center of a mil-dot to the center of the next mil-dot, leaving room for error; moreover, even if you’re using a first-focal-plane reticle, the mil-dot increases in size as you increase magnification—a rather annoying reality when you’re trying to keyhole shots at 100 yards or beat up a 10-in. steel plate at 1,000. Good friend, Sightmark Pro Staff shooter and winner of History Channel’s Top Shot, Season 2, Chris Reed, said it best when he quipped, “You can’t hit it if you can’t see it.”

Unfortunately, while many top competitive shooters and snipers alike prefer first-focal-plane riflescopes with premium glass and mil-dash reticles, they often are quite expensive, running from $2,000 – $4,000. Fortunately, in January 2018, Sightmark introduced two first-focal-plane riflescope lines boasting illuminated mil-dash reticles, Latitude and Citadel. While Latitudes turn heads with an average price point of $800, the new Citadel lineup includes two FFP riflescopes–a 3-18×50 and 5-30×56, both with .1 mil adjustments and red-illuminated mil-dash reticles–averaging a jaw-dropping price point of $479-$516.  Citadel riflescopes even include Sightmark’s lifetime warranty.

Are you a mil-dot/mil-dash type of person or MOA? Tell us which one and why in the comment section.

Laying Today’s Optic Foundation—A look at Sightmark’s New Tactical Cantilever Mounts

As an outdoor writer often ridiculously busy working with and writing about rifles, I routinely work with more than one rifle at a time. That said, I’m often working with only one or two optics, depending on the content type, distance and other factors. As an example, I may write about long-range shooting but only utilize a single long-range scope. By the same example, I may employ a close- to mid-range scope to rapidly engage targets at shorter distances. Still, I do exponentially more complete optic-with-mount swapping than traditional optic mounting when it’s time to shift gears.

I’m not alone in this practice. The truth is, optics can cost quite a bit, some may cost two or three times what one might pay for the rifle. With a problem like that, who wants to break out the torque driver and optic leveling set every time they need to move a scope from one platform to another? Past experiences have been time-wasters, even a bit frustrating when you realize you don’t have the right tools with you; moreover, who wants to carry tools everywhere? Honestly, as a gun writer, I carry more than I should already. Sometimes, I have so much gear to carry, I look more like I’m headed out on a duck hunt than an afternoon on a shooting range—I need one of those little off-road wagons!

Man shooting a WMD Guns Big Beast rifle long-distance with a Sightmark Pinnacle riflescope and tactical Cantilever mount
Using the Sightmark Tactical Cantilever Mount

Fortunately, in recent years we’ve seen a pretty significant push in the world of single-piece mounts and in the realm of such mounting systems, serious innovation. Cases in point—the new Sightmark 30mm and 34mm Tactical Cantilever Mounts. While single-piece mounts look decidedly similar, they often are not. First and foremost, you have junk and then you have quality mounts. More than cost, a solid indicator of quality and performance is the warranty. Sightmark’s Tactical Cantilever Mounts include a lifetime warranty—not bad for a sub-$100 product. Yes, a willingness to back a product for a lifetime says a lot about the product and the company.

I had the luxury of spending quality time with Sightmark’s latest and greatest prototype Tactical Cantilever Mounts during a long-range shooting demonstration with Green Top in Ashland, Virginia. Event attendance was bursting at the seams with a longer line than I expected of folks hungry for long-range shooting, up to 600 yards—a chip shot for some of us here in Texas but in Virginia, I understand, distance shooting like that is anything but commonplace. Still, we shot steel, starting with a large square plate and ending with what appeared to be a 1-MOA steel gong. Top shot of the day was an elderly woman hitting the 600-yard steel plate no her first shot. She listened to my coaching, squeezed the trigger, I saw the splash and called her hit, and then she smiled wide, saying, “I’m telling my friends I’m never shooting at 200 yards again!”

Experiences like hers, or for that matter, the similar experiences of hundreds of shooters that day on two amazing rifle systems, a McRees Precision BR-10 and a WMD Guns Big Beast, both world-class match rifles in their own rights and both chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, generally don’t happen with shoddy rigs, mounts and optics. The shooters and rifles did their parts, the optics—for these rifles, Sightmark Pinnacle 3-18×44 TMD and Sightmark Latitude 6.25-25×56 PRS first-focal-plane riflescopes—delivered razor-sharp sight pictures and the precision-machined Sightmark Tactical Cantilever Mounts ensured the optics were rock-solid throughout the shooting experience. After a full day of long-range shooting, the optics still held zero—a testament to the scopes and the mounts.

Sightmark’s new Tactical Cantilever Mounts feature vertically-split rings with four retention screws each, aircraft-grade 6061-T6 aluminum construction, a durable matte black finish and, as mentioned previously, a lifetime warranty. Sightmark Tactical Cantilever Mounts are available in both 0 and 20 MOA platforms, for 30mm and 34mm optics, with fixed or locking quick-detach mounting systems perfectly compatible with Picatinny rails.

Click here to check out the 34mm Cantilever Mounts.

How to Use the Sightmark Pinnacle TMD Reticle

Sightmark Pinnacle riflescope mounted to a rifle at the gun range
The advanced Pinnacle riflescope is designed to perform flawlessly in competition and at long ranges.

While there is quite a bit going on inside a riflescope’s tube to get you on target and keep you there, the Sightmark Pinnacle’s TMD reticle is designed to help you successfully use holdovers, determine appropriate windage and elevation adjustments, range targets and even acquire zero or sight in.

The Pinnacle’s tactical mil-dash reticle, also known as the TMD reticle, is made of referencing points—including crosshairs, subtensions, subtension or referencing lines, numbers along the vertical and horizontal axis and a grid pattern in the lower half of the reticle some people refer to as a Christmas tree.

Let’s look at each reticle element and learn how they can be useful.

Crosshairs

The first and most obvious element of the TMD and most other reticles are the crosshairs. Crosshairs are comprised of the primary vertical and horizontal axis referencing lines that intersect at the reticle’s center point. You may see optics sometimes that consist of only crosshairs. Crosshairs create an initial point of reference for all other referencing information on the reticle and serve as an integral part of the point of aim when sighting-in a firearm or shooting at a distance where a bullet’s trajectory change is negligible. Of course, crosshairs also become the point of aim at greater distances when mechanical windage and elevation adjustments are made, at least until you run out of adjustment—possible even with the Pinnacle when shooting extreme distances.

Subtensions and Subtension Lines

Subtension is the distance a reticle covers at a certain range. Subtensions are the spaces between the subtension lines, also known as referencing lines or hashmarks. Just to the right of the vertical axis line and below the horizontal axis line to the right of center, there are numbers 2, 4 and 6. Each number references the corresponding hashmark’s distance from center. On the Pinnacle 3-18×44, each subtension is 0.5 mil, at least until you reach the top of the vertical and far right of the horizontal axis. The subtension lines for those final 3 mils reference 0.2 mil. These subtensions and hash marks are vital to using holdovers and ranging targets, especially on first-focal-plane optics.

Pinnacle TMD tactical mil-dash reticle illustration
The Pinnacle’s tactical mil-dash TMD reticle gets you on target and keeps you there.

Hash Marks

As examples, if you held the reference line on the horizontal axis above 2 on the bullseye, you would be holding 2 mils left—the reticle’s crosshairs are now 2 mils to the left of center mass. If you place the hashmark referenced by the number 4 on the lower half of the vertical axis line on the bullseye, you are now holding over 4 mils. As a final note, if you held between 2 and 4, your holdover would be 3. More finite vertical holdovers in this example might position you at 2.5 or 3.5 mils. The same applies for windage.

Remember, each subtension line is 0.5 mil. Of course, this is only true through all magnification ranges on a first focal plane riflescope. As they relate to second-focal-plane riflescopes, subtensions and subtension lines are only accurate representations of standard mil, or MOA on other scopes at a single power of magnification. This is the primary reason why long-distance shooters prefer first-focal-plane riflescopes like the Pinnacle 3-18×44.

Subtension Grid

The further we move from the crosshairs, the more difficult it becomes to acquire precise holdovers. Holdover is when you must aim above your intended point of impact to compensate for bullet drop. Since the lion’s share of holdover aiming occurs below the horizontal axis, the Pinnacle’s TMD reticle includes a subtension grid that widens as you move further down the vertical axis. If you were to use 4 up and 2 left as holdovers, you would hold the mark in the grid located 4 mils below the horizontal reticle and 2 mils to the right of the vertical axis on the bullseye.

Subtensions are also great for rapid zeroing or sighting in. For this example, we will use 100 yards as our distance. Shoot the target and note the shot placement. Now, place the crosshairs on the bullseye again and determine how many mils your bullet hole is away from dead center.

If the subtension lines revealed your shot was 2.5 mils below and 2 mils to the right, you would adjust your elevation turret up 25 clicks and left 20 clicks, considering each click is 0.1 mil of adjustment. Take another shot and you should be on the bullseye or left with only fine-tuning. If you’re zeroing, don’t forget to set the Pinnacle’s zero stop now, which guarantees an instant return to the original zero. You can find that video tutorial on Sightmark’s YouTube channel.

Ranging targets using subtensions can be a quick, relatively accurate way to acquire distance data without the use of a laser rangefinder or other technology; of course, to do so really requires a first-focal-plane scope like the Pinnacle 3-18×44 or, perhaps a second-focal-plane scope set on a single power of magnification. Again, the beauty of a first-focal-plane system is that the incremental values represented by subtensions, lines and numbers, never changes at any magnification. Subtensions mean the same at 3 power as they do at 18 power, whether the target is right in front of you or 1,000 yards away.

Windage and Elevation Axis

Remembering the Pinnacle 3-18×44 is based on mils with 0.1 mil turret adjustments helps us understand some quick math. 1/10th mil, most often referred to as 0.1 mil, moves your point of impact 0.36 of an inch at 100 yards. This is equal to 1.8 inches per .5 mil and 3.6 inches at 100 yards per full mil of adjustment. Simplified, because subtension lines on the Pinnacle’s reticle are based on 0.5 and 1 mil increments.

This means a 36-inch tall by 18-inch silhouette would span the vertical height of 10 mils and the horizontal width of 5 mils at 100 yards. So, an adult figure that filled 10 vertical mils and 5 horizontal mils of your reticle, would be an estimated 100 yards away.

Since 0.1 mil at 100 yards is 0.36 of an inch, we know 0.1 mil represents 1.8 inches of adjustment at 500 yards. Extended out from 0.1 mil to a full mil, we then know a full mil represents 18 inches at 500 yards. Since the target is 36 inches tall by 18 inches wide, we know it should fill 1 horizontal mil and 2 vertical mils. If so, that target is 500 yards away.

At 1,000 yards, we can double that. We know 0.1 mil is 3.6 inches of adjustment at 1000 yards and a full mil is 36 inches of adjustment at that range. So, the target we’ve been looking at would fill 0.5 mil on the horizontal axis and 1 mil on the vertical axis. Understanding the adjustment values of 0.1 mil, 0.5 mil and 1 mil at 100 yards and then extending out over yardage, coupled with identifying your target and possessing basic estimation knowledge of its size, means you can range any identifiable target with some degree of accuracy simply by utilizing the subtensions and hash marks in the Pinnacle’s reticle.

Click here to purchase a Pinnacle riflescope.

Do you have questions about using the TMD reticle? Leave them in the comment section and our product experts will answer them!

First Time Hog Hunt, Lifetime of Memories

I remember the first time I set my gaze upon feral hogs like it was yesterday. Dense morning fog had just lifted to reveal an unruly sounder rooting under an oak tree on the edge of a steep finger well off the beaten path in California’s La Panza range. It was my first hog hunt and while I did not kill that weekend, the hunt stayed with me, gnawing at me like a tick to get back out there. Seriously—and not from experience mind you—I liken hog hunting to crack or some other stranglehold drug—you absolutely can get addicted your first time out. I didn’t kill on my second, third or fourth time out either. Even my fifth, sixth and seventh time were exercises in futility; however, my addiction stayed. Every hog I saw fanned the fire.

Thermal image of a hot gun, hog is down
Writer Kevin Reese recalls his first night time hog hunt, made even more thrilling with digital night vision and thermal imaging.

To be honest, I don’t recall how many hunts it took to drop my first hog, but I do remember the experience well. It was an early morning rifle hunt and I was walking to the corner of a wheat field when I heard the grunts. I had seen pigs from afar but this was the first time I heard them. I froze and scanned to my right to see a half-dozen rooting up a soft patch of dirt at a tree line some 50 yards from my position. I shot a large sow and learned quickly how little they sometimes bleed. With virtually no blood trail to go on, I conducted a methodical sweep of the area. After a solid two hours of combing, I had to laugh silently to myself. While I thought she had made good distance before she expired, I found her less than 15 yards from where she was shot; she had bolted out of sight then circled back.

I also remember my first night hunts—first with a bow, then with night vision and thermal. What is spooky to some, simply added excitement to my nighttime experience. New sounds shattered the silence in every direction—locusts, the intensified volume of lulling cattle, even the shrill scream of a cougar rose the hair on the back of my neck on that first dusk ‘til dawn hunt. And, of course, the screeches, barks and grunts from agitated hogs crashing into a freshly rooted area had my heart beating out of my chest. Admittedly, I bow hunted hogs for years before stumbling upon the thrill of night hunting with digital night vision with a Sightmark Photon.

While my firsts have been many and decades of chasing critters and filling freezers in the making, nowadays, my favorite pursuits are those spent with new hunters and reveling in their firsts, especially those late-night experiences where an entirely different outdoor world is busy playing out. Not long ago, I had the pleasure of witnessing a first hunt. The hunter was equipped with an AR-platform rifle and Photon RT Digital Night Vision Scope as we scouted on freshly planted crop fields just south of Waxahachie, Texas. With amazing folks at Three Curl Outfitters at the reigns, we rolled down a handful of farm roads, scanning with thermal monoculars. As the night rolled on, we continued glassing fields and adding to the collection of empty energy drink cans on the truck floor. The time was right, the weather was right… but our timing had not been right at all. I laughed to myself several times as I imagined large sounders of hogs dropping down into the fields we scouted just seconds after we passed—who knows? They may have. Just as we began to tucker out it happened. “Pigs!” Our guide stopped the truck and glassed with his thermal monocular to confirm. Yes, finally, they were there, a half-dozen or so near a tree line on the opposite side of a field nearly 1,000 yards out. We parked the truck, slid out onto the road, then quickly and quietly filed out onto the field.

With the wind in our favor, we closed the distance pretty quickly—especially given the trek across uneven terrain was over a half-mile—the last few hundred yards in stalk-mode. When the guide finally stopped us, we were no more than 75 yards away from the few remaining pigs—half had ventured back into the trees during our stalk. We quietly fanned out side-by-side, lowered the handguard of the rifle down into the into the cradle of the monopod and settled in.

Two men dragging a dead wild hog through a field seen through the view of digital night vision
My first hog fell 15 yards from where I shot it.

I stood close by. Instead of a rifle this time, I had my smartphone. Amazingly enough, the Photon RT, Sightmark’s latest model, includes built-in video and Wi-Fi. Most importantly at this moment of truth, the Wi-Fi had allowed me to connect to the scope and to watch the first-time hunter’s display remotely on my device. The beauty of it was obvious—I was better able to coach him quietly while maintaining a shooter’s perspective of his reticle, overall field of view and the small sounder of pigs completely unaware of our presence.

Once we were set, the guide asked us to confirm when we had “eyes” on the targets. We confirmed and I watched his reticle on my phone lower and settle onto a sweet spot just behind the largest pig’s ear. The guide counted down, “three, two, one.”

At one, the first shot shattered the deafening silence, dropping the first pig where it stood, it never budged an inch. As hog hunting sometimes goes, especially with new hunters, the rest of the hogs made it into nearby trees, disappearing instantly under the cloak of a tangled thicket.

It was his first kill ever and on a wily old sow. I smiled to myself in the darkness as a flurry of high-fives and hugs made a quick round. Decades later, I still recall the sudden rush of adrenaline, when my emotions suddenly were not my own… and a mix of tears and laughter, perhaps best described as elation, reverence plain old uncontrollable jitters. I had been a mess and now some of those feeling had rushed back being fortunate enough to share this defining moment with him. There, on that field trimmed neatly in hues of midnight blue and silver, another hunter was born.

We would love to hear your first hunt stories. Share them with us in the comment section.

Living and Leaving: It’s all About a Legacy

Revelation

The heat from his little body radiated into mine as beads of sweat raced down his cheeks, mixing with the stream of tears carving their course for the tip of his tiny chin. “Hold me tight, Daddy!  Hold me tight! Please, hold me tight!” His pleas filled the room as he continued to sink into me, pulling my arms ever tighter around his chest. Finally, the nurse had her sample; with a little luck, we would have our answer within a week. After all, how long should a father have to wait to find out if his son has Leukemia?

That day I realized there is no lifetime guarantee on tomorrow, what we do today must outlast us. Building my legacy, and helping him begin his own, has become more than just a sappy dad’s goal; it has become the very fabric of our bond.

Man and son dressed in camo walking toward a watering hole.
Form the fabric of your bond outdoors by teaching your children valuable lessons of love, freedom and heritage.

Just a few nights after receiving the miraculous news our son had tested negative, I tucked my son in with a kiss and headed toward his doorway.

“Daddy?” I watched him search his bedroom wall for the right words. “When I get older, can I have your truck?”

I smiled, “Why do you want daddy’s truck?”

Still searching the wall, he responded with an answer that took my breath away, “So I can take you hunting.”

It never dawned on me, what he was taking from our trips to the woods was something he wanted to give back to me; our trips were really something special to him. I hadn’t realized the most precious aspects of my legacy were being formed in the woods. If you’ve ever wondered what your purpose is, keep reading!

Why on Earth Are We Here?

Introspection and outdoor observations revealed opportunities as obvious as the blood-trail of a heart-shot hog. Appreciation for life – including wildlife, love, family, freedom, heritage, stewardship, ethics, integrity, conservation, preservation and yes, even death, all play out here upon the majestic stage of our great outdoors.

The first time my son sat with me in a blind on a hog hunt, we watched several does walk across the field with two fawns in tow.

“Which one would you shoot, Daddy?”

 “The big doe in front, son.”

“Why that one?”

“Because the other two are younger and the one in back has those two fawns to look after.”

“Why don’t you shoot it then?”

“It’s not deer season. We have to wait until the season opens.”

A boy and a man dressed in camo, with rifles slung over their shoulders walk away from a deer stand
While hunting together, I’ve taught my son ethics, stewardship and integrity.

In 30 seconds of conversation, he learned I genuinely love both wildlife and the outdoors. It was a lesson in both ethics and stewardship. He also learned about integrity; he’s heard me many times, “What you do when no one’s looking is what really matters. That’s the stuff character is made of.” He saw my words in action and they stuck like glue.

Jacob was with me when I caught the biggest bass of my life. You should have seen the look on his face when I pulled the fish from the water. He touched it repeatedly before finally petting it down its slick side. I reveled in his nervous excitement as he watched my entire fist disappear into the fish’s mouth. His excitement quickly turned to doom and gloom when I told him to say goodbye as I lowered the bruiser back into the water.  “Maybe someone else will get to catch their biggest fish now.”  He smiled, “Maybe me?”

“Maybe so, he’s in there waiting for you to catch him.”

Purple, gold and scarlet hues of a sleepy sun gave way to silver light dancing on the water as we finished cleaning our fish and stowed our gear. Great memories and another lesson were born; my son understood what giving back to our outdoor heritage is all about.

The opportunities to teach our children the core values our country was founded upon are endless when you search for them outdoors. Whether you are fishing, hunting, camping or hiking, never lose an opportunity to teach your children lessons, they shape the men and women our children become.

An Ounce of Reflection

A man and his young son give high five after firing a long-distance precision shot from a rifle.
Hunting with a McRees Precision .308 rifle and Sightmark Photon digital night vision riflescope.

To this day, Jacob’s pleas to hold him tight still haunt me; recalling those few minutes still invokes emotions that are tough to swallow back. Yet, my darkest hour gave way to my greatest awakening; realizing I am not promised another day with my son shattered my someday-soon attitude and replaced it with the hope that my legacy will add to a mosaic of memories and actions serving to build his legacy for what I hope is many, many years to come.

My son once told me I was his hero. It wasn’t long ago my words echoed his as we sat and hunted together, watching lessons unfold for both of us. Our outdoor world, whether a stone’s throw from suburbia or seemingly endless miles off the grid, is exceedingly special. Out there, in wild places brimming with untamed creatures and still void of man’s industrial “touch”, our legacies grow together.

And, for this particular dad, the notion that the fabric of his own legacy—woven with mine in those special moments we shared—now veils him in such character there seems little left to teach him, means if tomorrow didn’t come for me, I would be alright with that.

 

 

 

Hunt Day and Night with Photon RT Digital Scope

Night vision optics like Sightmark’s Photon RT digital riflescopes and the sensors used in these devices have come a long way in a short period of time. Traditional night vision optics generally referred to as Gen 1, Gen 2 and Gen 3, have lost a ton of ground to digital night vision over the past several years, partly because of improved imaging and partly because of versatility.

Downed black wild boar
Take the Photon from day to night hunting.

While traditional night vision devices would have suffered irreparable damage if used during daylight, today’s digital riflescopes are perfectly compatible with daytime use. In fact, Sightmark Photon RT series digital scopes incorporate a special scope cover with a peephole designed to allow the perfect amount of light into the optic for crisp, richly contrasting digital imaging.

Hunt till You Drop!

Why is this important? It’s critically important, at least to Texans and an increasing number of forward-thinking states, because hunters can now use digital scopes like the Photon to hunt deer during daylight hours, then shift automatically to night hunting for feral hogs, predators and varmints. Like weekend-warrior football, playing both offense and defense, I like to call it “iron man hunting.” Honestly, if you can handle it, your hunt can last a solid 24 hours… or longer. Hunt until you drop!

Man hunting with a rifle with night vision scope mounted to it. He's wearing camo and a hunter safety orange vest
The Photon scopes have improved sensors and a 640×480 AMOLED display.

Until recently, the Sightmark Photon XT 4.5×42 was a favorite digital night vision riflescope among hunters. For a mere $500, you could have quality digital night vision, also compatible with daytime hunting, with imaging on par with Gen 1+, encroaching on Gen 2. Hunters jumped at the game-changing opportunity. Even better, the Photon XT included video-out capability, so hunters enjoyed more success and were capturing memories forever. Unfortunately, the video quality could be better, and people have struggled with finding seriously reliable DVR recorders capable of handling recoil.

Sightmark RT digital riflescopes are successors to the long-reigning Photon XT. Sightmark’s new Photon RT digital line of optics includes an improved sensor and 640×480 AMOLED display for detailed imaging for both day hunting, as well as night hunting. The Photon RT also features built-in video recording, an increased detection range compared to Sightmark Photon XT scopes, more powerful onboard infrared illumination, and Stream Vision App-compatible WiFi for viewing the display on a connected smartphone or tablet, remote control, transferring files, and downloading firmware upgrades. The Sightmark Photon RT digital riflescope even includes onboard video, eliminating the need for problematic DVRs, or pesky cables and really improves video quality.

Iron Man Hunting… Just How We Like it in Texas

Picture of three deer.
In Texas, we are allowed to hunt deer during the day with digital scopes.

If you’re down our way and think you’re up for a little iron-man hunting yourself, think about what types of optics may best fit your needs. It certainly makes sense to consider a day/night rifle scope designed for both day and night use to eliminate unnecessary trips in and out of the woods to change equipment.

Click here to shop the Photon line of digital riflescopes.

Do you use a digital night vision scope when you hunt during the day? If so, tell us your experiences about it in the comment section.

 

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