The ed­i­tor in­ves­ti­gates the prac­ti­cal­ity and pit­falls of red-dots as ri­fle sights

Air Gunner - - Contents -

The ed­i­tor tries out Nikko Stir­ling red-dot sights, at the range

Ire­mem­ber many years ago when the Sin­glePoint and Aim­point sights were launched, think­ing I’d love to give them a trial, if only I could af­ford to. I was a schoolkid back then and my pocket money didn’t run to such lux­u­ries, but I’m pleased to say things have moved on a bit, now!


First, the range of red- dot sights is ab­so­lutely huge, and sec­ond, I’ve just had four lead­ing ex­am­ples de­liv­ered to my of­fice from Nikko Stir­ling, care of High­land Outdoors. All four Nikkos have Pi­catinny mounts, which makes them per­fect for fix­ing to a ri­fle, and while I was fa­mil­iaris­ing my­self with the sights’ var­i­ous fea­tures, I thought I’d turn this re­view into a two- parter. This month, I’ll cover the po­ten­tial of these red- dots, and then next month, I’ll take my favourite model to the range and sim­u­late a bit of rathunt­ing. There’s a prob­a­ble third part to this, be­cause if I feel the red- dot is up to the job of rat- hunt­ing, I’ll give it some real work to do.


We all know how well red- dot sights work on pis­tols. The ‘di­rect’ aim­ing ca­pa­bil­ity of that sin­gle dot keeps things fast and sim­ple, and pis­tol shoot­ers with the need for speed and ef­fec­tive­ness, rather than Olympic pre­ci­sion, have long built their com­pe­ti­tion hopes around red­dot sights. The ques­tion is, will that trans­fer to ri­fle shoot­ing? I grabbed a Weihrauch HW110 K and set off to find out.


My very first in­ves­ti­ga­tions into us­ing a red- dot on a ri­fle proved the ‘speed’ po­ten­tial within min­utes. I was shoot­ing at rat- type tar­gets at rat- type ranges and there was no doubt that I could hit them faster than when I used a con­ven­tional scope. Out to 15 yards, I found I could con­nect con­sis­tently with small conkers from our horse chest­nut tree, faster than I’ve ever been able to. I’m prob­a­bly talk­ing frac­tions of a sec­ond faster, but it seems re­ally quick at the time.


The vari­able-in­ten­sity, multi-for­mat aim­ing dots, avail­able in red or green at the flick of a switch, meant I was never ‘search­ing’ for my aim­point, no mat­ter what the light­ing con­di­tions. Also, all of the sights I tried are ul­tra­light and have no ef­fect on the bal­ance of the ri­fle. The four sights I have cost be­tween £ 51.95 and £79.95, and they all have in­te­gral mounts, so they are ex­tremely af­ford­able, too.


The Pi­catinny mount­ing rails ob­vi­ously won’t fit stan­dard scope grooves, so most air­gun­ners will need to buy mount­ing adap­tors. These aren’t ex­pen­sive, but they’re an on- cost which needs to be con­sid­ered.

Then, there’s no tar­get mag­ni­fi­ca­tion avail­able, and that could be im­por­tant. Just how im­por­tant, I’ll find out next month, but so far it’s not hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact – un­like the pel­lets on those conkers!


My task next month is sim­ple; I’ll com­pare the ac­cu­racy of us­ing these red- dots against my nor­mal hunt­ing out­fit, with the scope set on its low­est mag­ni­fi­ca­tion. I’ll also run through the var­i­ous fea­tures of the sights and de­cide if I’m go­ing to take one into the hunt­ing field. These sights are al­ready fun to use and their po­ten­tial could be con­sid­er­able. Tune in next time for the verdict!

“there was no doubt I could hit them faster than when I used a con­ven­tional scope”

Easy to fit, sim­ple to use, fast and af­ford­able - these Nikko Stir­ling red- dot sights could be just the job for rat­ting

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