by Daniel McElrath - Friday, March 25, 2011
A soldier or Marine requires a magnified scope for work at distance, but an optic with little or no magnification in a close-quarters area. Two scopes on a single rifle can quickly become a burden, so what is one to do?
You can select one scope and hope you guess correctly. You can settle on a compromise that performs neither task well, which means you are going into a life-or-death situation with sub-optimal equipment. Or you can lug two scopes into combat, and hope you have the time and cover to swap them out when needed.
The practice currently embraced by many is to use both a dot sight and, when needed, a separate 3X magnifier unit.
The SpecterDR, part of the company's Dual Role line, features a lever the operator merely throws forward or back to convert the unit from a 1X CQB optic to a 4X precision scope and back again, without changing eye relief.
According to the company's literature, it was created at the behest of U.S. SOCOM, whose objective was "to provide not only a long-range deliberate aiming capability, but also a short-range, positive, rapid aiming capability for Close Quarters Battle…in a single sight."
I acquired one for testing and the stout, shockproof unit is clearly meant for battlefield conditions. Like other Elcan scopes I have handled, it is quite heavy, but expectedly durable.
It incorporates a reticle that can be illuminated two ways. Turn the activation knob one direction and the 1.5 MOA center dot begins to glow—ideal for CQB. Turn that same knob the other way, and the crosshair lights up for long-range work. There are five brightness settings. And, since it's built for battle, the reticle is etched onto the glass. All adjustments are made at the base, rather than in the reticle. Thus, should the batteries ever fail, the SpecterDR remains usable.
It mounts quickly and securely to a 1913 rail with a pair of A.R.M.S. levers on the right. The scope retains its zero when remounted at the same position on the rail.
The star of the show, though, is the throw lever that converts the gun from 1X to 4X magnification. It is located on the left side, just above the base. Press down the grooved oval finger pad on the end of the spring-loaded lever to disengage it and swing it fully forward for 1X or fully back for 4X. Release pressure on the pad and the spring pushes up on the lever, locking it in place. It's so simple that it is easily operated without breaking cheek weld or removing your eyes from the target.
I took the SpecterDR to the training range of the Cobb County, GA, Police Department SWAT Team. Every officer who tried it liked it, variously lauding the convenience, simplicity, clarity and sight picture. They mastered its use almost instantly, and the most common pronouncements were "cool" and "sweet."
The SpecterDR—which is also offered in 1.5X/6X—is an excellent answer to a longstanding and genuine dilemma. It eliminates guesswork and complication in situations where either can be fatal. At this time, it may represent the most-nearly ideal all-purpose tactical sight.
The unit is innovative and tough enough that it will receive a 2010 Golden Bullseye Award from Shooting Illustrated at the 2011 NRA Annual Meetings in Pittsburgh, PA.
Manufacturer: Elcan Optical Technologies
Importer: Armament Technologies: (902) 454-6384
Lens Diameter: 32 mm
Length: 6.02 inches
Width: 2.91 inches
Height: 3.07 inches
Weight: 21.09 ounces
Finish: Hard-anodized aluminum, gray or black
Reticle: Dual-thickness ballistic crosshair with user-selectable red dot, VSOR rangefinder and area-fire circles
Adjustment Range: 120 MOA in .5-MOA increments
Field of View: 146.3 feet at 100 yards at 1X, 34.2 feet at 100 yards at 4X
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