Are you “dot-curious?” Have you been wondering what all of this fuss about pistol-mounted red-dot sights was all about? Or, conversely, maybe you’ve got a red-dot-equipped pistol already, and you’re looking for a backup without going broke. Maybe you’re just looking for an affordable optic you can mount on a pistol or carbine and get some learning. Whatever your reasoning, if you’re looking for an optic that’s going to work without costing more than the gun you put it on, the folks at Swampfox Optics might have just the thing.
The Kingslayer (Swampfox is named after Revolutionary War leader Francis Marion, a.k.a. the “Swamp Fox,” and the company’s optics are named with a Revolutionary War theme) fits RMR cuts, weighs 1 ounce and has a presumptive battery life of 1,500 hours. It comes equipped with an automatic shut off after 4 hours, offers ten levels of brightness and is powered by a single CR1632 battery. The battery is accessed via a tray on the right side of the optic, so no removal from the mount is needed to replace the battery. Controls are minimal: there’s elevation and windage adjustments on the top and right side of the optic, and on the left side are the simple brightness controls.
Interestingly, two reticle options are available. There’s the standard 3-MOA red dot, of course; but there’s also a green circle-dot reticle available, with a 3-MOA center dot and a 65-MOA circle, a fairly standard setup. Since the Kingslayer also comes with a picatinny mount for a carbine or shotgun, this makes sense - it’s a good dual-purpose sight, like many of the pistol-mounted optics. If you’re considering multi-purpose roles, this might be the way to go; if you’re a traditionalist get the single dot. Either way, you’re good.
Filling the lens, the circle-dot arrangement is fast to acquire, but requires concentration for precision distance shots.
For a multitude of reasons (okay, the range is closed), we’ll cover the range testing separately. In dry-fire practice, the Kingslayer has been reliable and easy to acquire. A couple quick points about the reticle: While the circle-dot arrangement is easy to pick up, as it pretty much fills the screen, care needs to be taken when making precision shots. Talking to Scott Jedlinski of Modern Samurai Project, he did mention that the large outer circle is what draws your eye -- which is good -- but it also significantly reduces precision. Now, of course, you can and should be using the 3-MOA center dot for precise work, but if you’re new to pistol dots it’s darn tempting to use the faster circle.
The second point about the reticle has to do with the green color. It’s on the light side, so increased brightness (decreased battery life) will be needed in bright light or against green backgrounds (i.e. if you’re on an outdoor range). It’s definitely not a deal-breaker, it’s just something to be aware of if you’re on the fence regarding color choice. The red dot might be a superior choice if it’s something with which you are more comfortable. When it doubt, stick with the traditional red.
However, with the dot dialed to the appropriate brightness, it is super easy to pick up the circle in presentation. Drawing from concealment, using a standard silhouette target, I was easily able to meet my 1.5-second par time. Finding the dot was not a problem, however I’ve been fortunate to have had instruction in proper presentation, which really does make a difference. I can’t stress how important getting instruction is when getting started with a pistol-mounted red dot. The single biggest reason I’ve heard for folks not getting into red dots on handguns is finding the dot quickly - take a course, seriously.
Bottom line, and this is the (good) elephant in the room: The MSRP on the Kingslayer is $219.99. It’s available for well below $200 around the internet. It can double as a carbine or shotgun optic. There’s just about no reason not to have one - it works, it works well, it’s a great way to get started in the pistol-mounted dot world or just equip a carbine. You can use it as your primary pistol dot, easily - or, if you believe in being prepared for anything, set up a second pistol with a Kingslayer as a less expensive alternative. Quite simply, it works and it won’t cost a fortune - really, what more reason do you need?