I have a question / comment from a reader regarding the importance of optical clarity when considering a reflex sight. He raises an interesting question that is rarely discussed. It was inspired by my review of Bushnell’s AR TRS-25.
The beauty of the reflex sight stems from one thing and that is its ability to position a reflected visual aid, the red dot, such that it aligns with the bore regardless of head position; this is what makes shooting with both eyes open possible; hence, increasing the speed of engagement. Other than the robustness of the housing and attachment of the light emitting diode, the single most important consideration is the reflective property of the front lens and that is a function of lens coatings.
Clarity of the glass, although nice to have, is not critical. I learned this from a friend and Master Sargent with the 82nd, an Iraq veteran. He demonstrated the point several years ago, by asking me to lower the front cover on my Aimpoint sight, a technique they used when operating in harsh conditions. So, rather than risking damage to the front lens and loosing use of the M68 sight, operators lowered the front flip cover to protect the optic. A technique that I’ve used frequently for no other reason than to assess any limitations employing it. Because you’re shooting with both eyes open any impairment from not being able to look through the reflex sight is inconsequential. However, glass clarity and resolution are very important when dealing with magnified optics where the operator sights through the optic for targeting and observation.
My point in comparing the Bushnell TRS-25 with the Aimpoint T-1 is not to diminish the T-1’s value or performance. Aimpoint remains the industry standard but you don’t need to break the bank to have access to a level of performance that by all standards will meet 100% of your needs. Even governments have budgetary constraints and must therefore prioritize where dollars are spent. But, optical clarity of a reflex sight should not be the critical element in your selection process.