Leapers UTG 1x30 Tactical Dot Sight Review
Recently I acquired a S&W .44 Magnum Hunter Revolver for review and it came with this UTG 1x30 Tactical Dot Sight. I thought that S&W providing this sight was a very positive statement for them to be including this value line sight with one of their $1200 Performance Center revolvers. If this sight can handle the punishment that comes with being mounted on a .44 magnum revolver, it has the potential to be a excellent sight for many other firearms. Since MSRP for this sight is $38, if it can perform, it would be a great value.
During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturers claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Leapers website on 7/29/12 and gives the Key Features and Specifications for the UTG 1x30 Tactical Dot Sight. The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both. I may also add commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some items if needed.
The sight comes boxed as shown in the next several photos. You can click on any photo in this review to bring up a higher resolution photo allowing you to see the details with more clarity.
Inside the UTG 1x30 Tactical Sight box were the following.
These next several photos give you some overall views of the UTG Tactical Dot Sight.
With the lens caps removed, the sight measured 95mm in length as advertised. With the caps installed, it measured 112mm.
The outside diameter of the objective and eye piece ends measured 39mm. The objective lens diameter measures 30mm. The sight body has an integral Picatinny rail mount. One thing to note in the photo below is that the cross bolts are both full diameter and are spaced to match standard Picatinny rails. Since both are full diameter, you may have issues putting this sight on other type of Weaver rail adapter plates. This was the case when I installed the sight on my Ruger 22 Charger. I had to let the front of the sight extend off the end of the rail adapter. For many sights, one of these bolts is machined flat or they are offset in height so that only one bolt engages in a rail slot.
The front and rear lens caps are identical and have a spring loaded cover that pops open with the push of your finger.
The clamp bar is spring loaded to stay open so installing the sight on the rail becomes easier. The thumb screw are also staked so that they will only unscrew to the point shown in the photo below. I really like this feature because it keeps you from potentially loosing parts.
The sight weighed in at 8.3 ounces and 9.5 ounces with the lens caps. The sight weighed in at 0.9 ounces over the advertised weight.
When you remove the turret covers, you see that the adjustment knob has a set screw.
This set screw is so you can lock your adjustment in place to prevent rotation of the knob under usage. I would imagine this is a good feature to have on a heavy recoil firearm like a .44 magnum revolver. At the base of the turret, you can see a small rubber ring to seal the turret against moisture when the cap is installed.
The turret caps are all aluminum caps.
The illuminated dot can be either red or green and each has 5 different illumination intensities as indicated by the markings shown on the knob below. Not that it was a show stopper, but the green intensity level 5 would only work if you rotated the knob counter clockwise. The illumination intensity was extremely bright and throughout my tests, I kept the sight at level 1 intensity.
The top of the knob has the battery compartment cover. Unscrewing the cover can be done by had and there is a rubber O-ring on the cover to seal the battery compartment from water. The sight takes a single CR2032 battery.
These next two photos show the 4 MOA green and red dot. The intensity level was set to 1 for both photos and they appear very bright. This is also the case when looking through the sight with your eyes. Overall the optic was clear and the image was sharp.
Before I installed this sight on my .44 Magnum Hunter Revolver and shot $100+ in ammunition, I wanted to check it out a little further with some cheap ammunition, so I installed it on my Ruger 22 Charger pistol. Notice the sight is forward on the rail adapter plate because the Weaver style adapter plate slot spacing didn't match the cross bolt spacing on the UTG sight.
The main things I wanted to do is make sure I wouldn't have any issues zeroing in the sight, determine if there is any zero shift due to locking the set screws, and try to understand how parallax sensitive this sight may be. Zeroing was simple like most sights with windage and elevation adjustments and the center group on the target below shows my final zero at 13 yards. To understand the parallax sensitivity, I shot four other 5-shot groups. With each of these groups, I aimed the sight with the dot located 1/4 of the field of view from each side and top/bottom. The groups A, B, C & D show the shift in group location for each of these quadrants for a 13 yard distance. I would consider these shifts in point of impact to be negligible for close range and the sight fairly parallax free for most handgun situations; if you had to make a quick shot at close range (less than 25 yards) all you need to do is get the dot on your target. If you are hunting at longer ranges, most likely you will have time to make sure the dot is centered in the sight and parallax would not be an issue.
These next four 5-shot groups show the windage and elevation knobs with the set screws loose (left groups) and tight (right groups). I though it was interesting that the right groups were actually tighter than the left, but I'm not sure if that is really due to tightening the set screw. Again, these groups were shot at 13 yards and I couldn't detect any significant shift in zero when you tighten the set screw.
After using the sight to shoot the groups above (plus some more plinking), it was clear that a 4 MOA dot is not what I like for precision shooting. Personally I would have preferred a 2 MOA dot.
Next, I installed the sight on a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum Hunter Revolver as shown in the photo below and evaluated this sight while I was in the process of range testing this revolver. You can see the range test results by going to Part 4 of my .44 Magnum Hunter Review. I was impressed with how well this inexpensive sight performed on the .44 magnum revolver. The sight held its zero and I was able to shoot some tight 5-shot groups (~5/8") at .25 yards.
I will admit that I was a little skeptical seeing Smith & Wesson include this value line scope with their Performance Center .44 Magnum Hunter Revolver, but I still thought it was a very positive statement that S&W was making about their opinion of this sight. After evaluating the UTG 1x30 Tactical Dot Sight on two different pistol platforms (rimfire and .44 magnum), I was impressed with the sights performance and it looks like S&W did their homework. My only criticism is that the dot was so bright that I never used it on anything but the lowest intensity setting. Perhaps this may be a good thing because as the batteries decrease in power this gives me the option to turn the intensity to a higher setting if needed. Only time will tell whether this sight will hold up in the long term, but for now, at an MSRP of $38, I would consider purchasing another.