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Barska SWAT 3.5-10×40

Barska SWAT 3.5-10×40

I originally planned to review this scope as a part of my “inexpensive scope” comparison that included Vortex Diamondback, Burris Fulfield II, Redfield Revolution, etc.
The other scopes in the comparison are inexpensive, but very competent for the money.  Very quickly it turned out that the only thing the Barska has in common with those scopes is the price. In every other way possible, this is a truly sorry excuse for a rifle scope.

Leatherwood Professional 2.5-10×44 Hawke Frontier 2.5-10×44 Barska SWAT 3.5-10×40 Mueller Tac II 3-10×40 Nikon Monarch 2.5-10×42
Length, in 13.2 12.5 14.5 12.6 12.6
Weight, oz 18.1 14.4 24.16 15.5 15.7
Main Tube 30mm 1 inch 30mm 1 inch 1 inch
Field of View, ft@100 yards 47.2 – 11.9 35.3 – 9.2 29.2 – 9.4 36 – 11.4 40.3 – 10.1
Eye Relief, in 3 5 – 3.7 3.3 3.4 4 – 3.8
Click Value, MOA 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/4 1/4
Adjustment Range, MOA >120 55 >90 90 70
Street Price $240 $130 $165 $270 $400
Now, if you simply look at the specs and the pictures you might get an impression that this is high quality product.  Sure, the Field of View is pretty narrow, but otherwise it certainly has a lot of features: 30mm tube, illuminated MilDot reticle, exposed finger-adjustable knobs, etc.  Don’t let any of that fool you.
Honestly, there is no need to go into a whole lot of details.  I’ll start with the good part: once zeroed, (and if you do not touch any controls) it remained mostly zeroed.  Enough so to shoot some decent groups at the range.  That is pretty much it for the good parts.
Now, onto the not so good parts:
  • POI shifts with magnification changes
  • 1/4 MOA clicks, are only sometimes 1/4 MOA.  The rest of the time, depending on how the stars align, the oscilate betweem 1/8 MOA and my shoe size.
  • every optical aberration I could think of is present
  • tunnel vision is the worst I have seen in a loooooooong time
  • illumination is too bright for low light, but not bright enough for daylight
  • totally useless in low light; you find yourself thinking: “who turned off the light?”

That is pretty much it.  I’ll take iron sights over this scope any day and twice on weekends.  Perhaps more pertinently, for the same money or less there are quite a few perfectly competent scopes out there.

I tested it on an AR15 to make sure that recoil is not an issue.

Here is a link to OpticsTalk discussion on this:
 Posted by at 2:25 am