Sightmark Night Raider Night Vision 2.5×50 Riflescope Review

Sightmark Night Raider Night Vision 2.5x50 Riflescope

Sightmark Night Raider Night Vision 2.5×50 Riflescope

I was able to take a few Sightmark demo products out for testing this past weekend. Of them, the Night Raider 2.5×50 night vision riflescope stood out the most. It is designed for short to medium range shooting for calibers up to 7.62/.308. The main body is made of titanium which helps reduce the overall weight (a few parts, like the battery cover, are made of hard plastic). For those not accustomed to night vision scopes, the Night Raider 2.5×50 may seem a bit hefty on your rifle, weighing in at 38.2 oz. on our scale (with batteries installed).

The controls all feel solid with appropriate resistance with the exception of the reticle brightness knob. It adjusted a little too easily for my liking and felt like it could get accidentally adjusted; but does allow for precise brightness control. The objective focus knob is located in front of the power switch and clicks in a way similar to windage and elevation adjustments. There is an extra solid detent marked 100 m which is easily felt and useful for rough range estimation. The power switch has three position options: off, on, and on with IR illumination. A three button remote is also included (power, IR, and “quick start”) that provides operating convenience. There are also two Velcro strips with adhesive that allow you to quickly secure the remote as desired. The remote cord is somewhat tricky to attach to the scope, but is very secure once screwed in. The provided lens cover has a pinhole allowing the scope to be tested or sighted in daylight type conditions and is secured by a rubber fastener. The design of the fastener makes removing or securing the lens cover a bit slow but also ensures it won’t accidentally fall off.

The image is clear for an entry level Gen 1 scope, especially when the IR illuminator is on and within its effective range. There is barrel distortion on the edges, but it is less noticeable than with many Gen 1 devices. I tested on clear moonless night making the IR illuminator necessary in order to see much detail beyond 20 yards. The IR beam width can be adjusted by twisting the lens ring, however, adjusting the beam had little impact on effective range. A human form could easily be detected at approximately 150 yards with the illuminator turned on, so I’d recommend using an additional illuminator for any range beyond 150 yards on dark nights. It is important to note that the integrated illuminator outputs some red light in the visual spectrum. If you point it directly at someone, it is easily seen making it possible to give away your position with it turned on.

Overall, the Night Raider is a solid entry level Gen 1 option for those wanting night vision capability at a reasonable cost. For those looking for a step up, the Sightmark Night Raider line of scopes are also available with improved internal components sold under the Pulsar Night Vision brand name as the Pulsar Sentinal GS and Pulsar Sentinal G2.


Adam Alm is a night vision and outdoor enthusiast. A former Air Force fighter pilot, Adam gained night vision experience in combat missions and, more recently, with commercial night vision products. Originally from state of Washington, he now owns and operates ViperEyes.com with his wife Lindsay.

FNX-9 Review

FNH FNX-9

FNH FNX-9

Short version:
I think I may have a new favorite gun.

Long version:
The local high school that I graduated from way back in 1995 ran a gun raffle to support the football team. Monday evening I got a call to notify me that I was one of the 52 winners. I stopped by the gun store (conveniently right across the street from the high school) Wednesday afternoon. The gun I won from the raffle was a Kahr Arms MK9. I already have a similar pistol, so decided to use the value of the Kahr towards another gun: the FNX-9, manufactured by FNH USA.

Wednesday evening, I played around with the gun to get a feel for the trigger and handling. All felt great and I really liked it. Popped in the Laser Ammo and was very surprised at how well the gun pointed and how nice the trigger was. My wife said I was like a kid with a new toy. Guilty as charged.

Angry Birds Targets

Angry Birds Targets

My four year old son has a bunch of Angry Bird stickers on one wall that I used as targets. I was able to reliably hit the birds and pigs. There were a few that were difficult but in under 3 tries I was able to hit even the smallest of them. The stickers ranged from 5.5″ (red bird near the king pig) to 1.25″ (white bird all the way on the far right) in size. Measured out the distance to the stickers, and the green helmet wearing pig on the far left was 23 feet from where I stood, while the small white bird on the far right was 34 feet from me.

I test fired this afternoon the FNX-9 today.

Trigger has a little bit of take-up, but it is a very clean break. No stacking or grittiness noticeable.

Recoil is very soft, with minimal muzzle rise. The recoil spring is a captive one (meaning it is permanently attached to the guide rod) and must be stiff because it really dampens the recoil. I need to take them side by side but I believe that the FNX-9 may have less recoil than the Beretta 92FS.

The third round did not feed properly. The tip was angled up a bit. I hit the magazine release and pulled the mag, ejected the round and put it back in to the magazine. Re-inserted the magazine and racked the slide and proceeded to fire the remainder of the magazine (15 rounds) without issue. I blame the third round not feeding on the stiffness of the magazine spring. When loading the magazine for the first time, it was extremely difficult after loading the fourteenth round. Number seventeen was almost impossible. I felt it in my thumb for a couple of hours afterward. Upon reloading the magazine today the amount of force needed to load the magazine fully was considerably less. I did not have to exert any undue pressure, even on round seventeen.

Shots hit right where they were aimed, as to be expected. The gun is capable of accuracy greater than my ability to shoot.

Brass reliably ejected in an area roughly 8-12 inches in diameter. Two brass casings did not end up in the pile with the rest.

Grizzly Targets Reactive Auto Reset 220

I have had the pleasure of testing out the Reactive Auto Reset 220 from Grizzly Targets for the past few months. I have to say that I am extremely impressed with this piece of gear and would highly recommend it to anyone. Mine will be a trusty range companion for years.

Reactive Auto Reset 220

Reactive Auto Reset 220

As the name suggests, the target automatically resets after a hit, negating the need to walk downrange to reset your target.

This thing is heavy duty. It’s so strong that it started to tear through the box it was shipped in. The target is heavy enough to stay put no matter the punishment.

Construction

Construction

As with any steel target, it’s important to follow safety procedures. This means maintaining a safe distance and wearing shooting glasses. When firing at the Reactive Auto Reset 220 with a.357 Magnum, I did have a piece of a copper jacket come back and lightly scratch me in the neck. Nothing to worry about as it didn’t even draw blood, but an important reminder that shooting steel is not the same as shooting paper. I did have shooting glasses on at the time.

The target not only met, but exceeded all my expectations. After repeated use, there is very little surface pitting.

Surface

Surface

Honestly, I cannot recommend the Reactive Auto Reset 220 highly enough. Go get one for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

Grizzly Targets

Grizzly Targets

OPMOD Waterproof 10×42 Binocular Giveaway

This month we have a pair of OPMOD Waterproof 10×42 Binoculars sponsored by our friends at http://www.opticsplanet.com. While I didn’t get exactly what I wanted or was hoping for I still got a pretty decent product. This was a pretty simple review for me as all I really did was stay very close to my house and test them inside and outside to give them different light and weather conditions. First lets start with the specs.

Power: 10X
Obj.Lens Dia.: 42mm
Type Of Prism: BAK4
Prism Coating: yes
Number Of Lens: 8 pieces/6 groups
Lens Coating: Fully multi-coated, Phase coating
Focus System: Center
Focusing Lens: Internal
Exit Pupil Diameter: 4.17mm
Exit Pupil Distance: 15mm
Field Of View: 6.3° (330ft at 1000 yards / 131m at 1000m)
Min. Focal Length: 2 meters
Resolution: 4.8″
Diopter System: Right eye piece
Diopter Compensation: ±4
Interpupillary Distance: 55mm – 73mm
Weather Proof: yes
Waterproof: yes, 1 meter for 10 minutes
Nitrogen Filled: yes
Eyecups System: Twist-up
Silica Gel: yes
Dimensions: 34mm x 125mm x 52mm
Weight: 700 gm
Warranty: Limited lifetime repair or replacement

With a list price of $249.99 and an Optics Planet price of $149.99 with free shipping you won’t go broke but at the same time you won’t get the best pair out there, what’s the saying? You get what you pay for, in the case I that is accurate.

Let me now get to the tests I performed on these bad boys. I did quite a few and my favorite were definitely the water and snow tests. For the water test I wanted to put the waterproof feature to the test so I went to the creek out back which is about 3 feet and threw them in for about 5 minutes. While the specs say water proof in almost 4 feet for 10 minutes I didn’t want to over do it because I’m giving them away. Who wants a broken pair? They passed with flying colors, I patted them dry and let them sit for a while and then took a peek through and still as clear as when I first opened them. Now for the snow test, I wanted to see if they would fog up because if you’re out hunting, bird watching or whatever you want to be able to see. I left them outside in the snow for 10 minutes then set them on a table outside in 20 something degree weather then took a peek through and they were still good to go. I then took them inside and let them sit for about 30 seconds to fog them up. I was a disappointed when I didn’t see any fog. But hey that’s what a good pair should do in my opinion.

For ease of carrying they come with their own case and strap so you can either connect the strap to the case or binoculars so you can carry any way you want. They even come with their own nifty cleaning cloth so you can keep them shining like the day you got them.

While I would say if you have hundreds to spend on whatever you want then by all means get the most expensive pair you can find but if you are like everyone else in this economy then I would recommend this product so you can save a few bucks on the product and on the shipping. On a scale of 1-10 I would give this product a solid 7.

The binoculars can be found on http://www.opticsplanet.com or by following this link

http://www.opticsplanet.net/opmod-waterproof-10×42-binoculars.html.

To get entered to win the product reviewed here, all you have to do is like Weapon Blog on Facebook. If you’ve already liked Weapon Blog then you’re already entered. At the end of the month, one lucky person will be chosen as the winner.

Diamondback 380 Review / Giveaway

The Diamondback DB380 – What a great piece to add to your ever-growing collection. I went looking for a good conceal carry firearm and ended up with this very small, 5.25″, pistol. The pistol has an MSRP of around $430. I had seen others fire this same weapon at other ranges and liked what I saw. Before this Diamondback, I never had a chance to fire this specific caliber.

 

    Specs

  • Capacity: 6+1 Rounds
  • Weight: 8.8 Ounces
  • Width: .750″
  • Barrel Length: 2.80″
  • Firing Mechanism: Striker Fire
  • Trigger Pull: DAO 5 lbs

First Impressions
Small, light, great optics – and best of all, they didn’t skimp on caliber size for a pocket pistol. I know some will say a .380 ACP isn’t ideal for defense but lets be honest, how many people are going to keep coming at you with 6 rounds in them? At the very least it will give you time to get away and get help.

Let’s start off with the sights. The DB380 comes with standard 3-dot sights for quick acquisition. When comparing this model to other .380 ACP calibers of the time, most of the other pocket pistols have standard black-post sights. The black-post-style sights are horrible in low-light conditions. In a self-defense situation, I don’t see many opportunities for the “wolves” to corner a “sheep” or “sheepdog” in well-lit conditions. The set that came with the DB380 are not Tritium, or any sort of light-gathering optic, but they are a lot better than most other .380 models.

The gun weighs close to nothing! The firearm (unloaded) rings in at just over 10.1 ounces. This is a little heavier than similar .380 ACP models like the Ruger LCP, etc – but the added weight seems to help with the recoil.

The DB380 comes standard with one magazine. The magazine does not have a finger extension. Without the finger extension, my pinky wanted to slide under the magazine as I have very large hands. This is the smallest pistol I have fired – so it felt a little weird, but after a few rounds, I didn’t notice that my pinky was under the magazine at all. It would fit someone without my fat fingers or a female a bit better than me. All and all still not a bad fit.

The DB380 is set up primarily for right-handed shooters. The ejection port is on the right side, and the magazine release is on the left – for a standard right-thumb release. The magazine release is very stiff – which is a plus for a pocket pistol, and a minus for attempting fast reloading.

The Diamondback company seems to be quite proud of their products. They place their logo and name just about everywhere they can on the firearm and accessories. They even place their name on each side of the magazine. The magazines are engraved both with the logo/name of the company, and with clearly visible loaded-round indicators. This is especially handy on most firearms, to see how many rounds you have loaded into one magazine. I like their attention to detail with this handy feature, but with a six-round firearm, I don’t know if it was entirely necessary.

Cons (in the opinion of some)
There are a few cons with this firearm. There is no loaded chamber indicator. On new-model firearms, a safety feature built in is a loaded chamber indicator. This indicator will generally pop up to signal there is a round in the chamber. The DB380 also has no ACTIVE safeties. Active safeties can be defined as a button, switch, or lever that PREVENTS accidental discharge of firearms. With that being said, the DB380 has internal passive safeties. These safeties include: Double-Action operation ONLY, five-pound trigger pull, and a drop safety. What this equates to is a semi-automatic pistol that acts very similar to a revolver, only with a more crisp and smooth trigger pull.

Field Tests
So far I have tested three brands of ammunition in this firearm:
• Remington 95 Gr FMJ
• Hornady 90 Gr XTP Critical Defense
• Blazer 95 Gr TMJ.

The ball-type ammunition of the Remington FMJ seemed to feed the best into the chamber – but I had the best performance out of the Hornady XTP. I would love to keep the Hornady XTP ammunition in this pistol all the time for self-defense, but as a back up for law enforcement due to the misfeeds I got with these rounds. I believe this is because of the rubber tips that are inserted into the hollow point. From what I have researched on this ammo, the rubber tip is designed to keep the bullet from mushrooming or fragmenting out until it passes through both clothing and some soft tissue. This makes all of the stopping power go into the main part of the body. I have put about 100 rounds of the XTP through the DB380, with around 15 misfeeds. Some misfeeds were bad, since the firearm has no slide lock, it sometimes took one person to rack the slide back and hold it, while another person pulled the misfed bullet out. In a self-defense situation, a misfeed could spell disaster, but a misfeed requiring two people to clear definitely spells death. From what I can tell, the rubber tip was causing too much friction on the feed ramp, causing the misfeeds. A freshly clean gun resolved the problem – BUT after around 12 rounds (2 magazines full) the misfeeds started happening again. I then switched to Remington UMC 88 Gr. Jacketed Hollow Point. After the switch, and about 100 rounds, only one misfeed. This ammo (so far) has the best track record. Although it took a bit of time to find the right ammo for the firearm it is still a reliable gun in a CCW situation, as long as you are carrying the right ammo.

Disassembly
The breakdown/takedown of the firearm is very simple. Many people refer to this DB380 as the “Mini-Glock” – and it breaks down almost the same. There is a takedown lever just in front of the trigger guard. The lever goes all the way through the frame. The first step would be to remove the magazine from the weapon, and verify there is no round in the chamber. After clearing the firearm, point it in a safe direction and dry-fire the pistol. I like to place the firearm in my off-hand (left for me) and use my left thumb and index finger to pull down the takedown lever on both sides of the frame. Once pulled down, use your main-hand and gently pull the slide to the rear position until you hear an audible click. This won’t take much, generally about 1/4″ distance. With the takedown lever still pulled down, pull the slide forward and off of the frame. The barrel and guide rod can be removed, and then you can break it down further by pulling the spring off of the guide rod. This is the basic breakdown for the firearm, and is all that is needed for standard cleaning.

To reassemble – simply reverse the steps. Place the spring back on the guide rod. The barrel and guide rod can then be placed back in the slide. Holding the frame in your off-hand, place the slide back onto the slide rail, and slowly pull the slide into the rear position – as if you were chambering a round. I also like to cycle the firearm a few times by moving the slide back and forth to verify the process “feels right”. The magazine can then be inserted into the magazine well, and the weapon is now ready for ammunition and shooting fun!

Company History
From my research, Diamondback Firearms, LLC is based out of Cocoa Florida. Some of the owners of Kel-Tec have branched off to make this new firearm company. Diamondback have been around for years – just making airboats, and have recently come into the firearms market. Just like all products – I believe a good firearm stems from a good quality, determined manufacturer. From all of the reviews and forums I read, I haven’t seen many bad comments about any Diamondback-made firearm. They are proud of their product and happily stand by it with great warranties.

THE REALLY GOOD PART
I am giving away this firearm and a few accessories around Christmas time. That’s right all you will have to do is find an FFL and pay the transfer fee. Well there is one catch, for me to get the firearm free I had to add a stipulation. You have to sign up and complete the free Firearm Safety course at http://www.dbgunsafety.com. I know, too easy right? Then once you finish just email a copy of your completion certificate to bkeally@nc.rr.com with your full name. Entries can start on the first day this is posted and will go through Dec 20, 2011. I will then draw for a winner on December 21, 2011 and announce it on http://www.weapon-blog.com. In the meantime I will contact the winner by email to get the transfer all set up. What are you waiting for? Get Started…


This guest post was written by Brian Keally.