Written by ILya Koshkin, April 2017
I have been continuing to look at miniature red dot sights. I started a while back with the original Leupold Deltapoint and Vortex Razor and continued on to a bunch of others, most recently DocterSight III and Meopta Meosight III.
Since then, DocterSight III has found a permanent place on my primary AR, mounted on top of the Elcan Spectre OS 4×32 as a close range/backup sight. I took a rifle class with this combination at Frontsight and I am about to take another one in a week or so.
|Meopta MeoRed||DocterSight III||Meopta
|Weight, oz||1.05||0.88 oz||1.29||1.95 oz|
|Window Size, mm||23×17||21×15||23×17||25.7×17.5|
|Dot Size, MOA||3 MOA||3.5 or 7 MOA dot||3 or 5 MOA dot||2.5 MOA dot or 7.5 MOA triangle|
|Brightness Control||Manual, side button||Auto, 3 modes||Auto and Manual modes, front button||Manual, button on top of battery tray, MST|
|Parallax setting||50 yards||40m (44 yards)||50 yards||50 yards|
|Battery Life||1000 hours||not listed||1000 hours||not listed|
|Battery Type||CR2032 Side slot||CR2032 Bottom mount||CR2032
Looking at the specs, a couple of things stand out:
-Deltapoint Pro is notably larger than the others here and also sports the largest viewing window of the bunch
-DocterSight III is the only one without a manual adjustment mode
-They all use the same reasonably ubiquitous battery, but use different means of holding it
-They are all parallax free at more or less the same distance.
I have used all four rather extensively and all were with the smaller of the available dot sizes: 3MOA for the Meopta, 3.5 MOA for the Docter and 2.5MOA for the DeltaPoint Pro. In principle, the triangle available in the Deltapoint is my preferred configuration. I sight the top vertice in for more accurate shots at 100 yards or so (different for different bore to sightline offsets) and for speed I just use the whole triangle as if it was a dot. It works great for center of mass hits. That all worked wonderfully until I developed some astigmatism in my shooting eye. As it always happens, when real life chimes in, principles fly out of the window. A triangle works great when it looks like a triangle with clean lines and vertices. When it no longer does, you go back to using a simple dot. The dot does not look terribly round either, but you learn to deal with it. A slightly distorted dot is easier for me to deal with than a slightly distorted triangle. Generally, if you have astigmatism, a larger dot will usually look cleaner than a smaller dot. I still lean toward smaller dot sizes, but my astigmatism is not very severe and I am a precision guy at heart. With all that, when I am looking for a little more precision, I aim with the edge of the dot and that edge is cleaner looking with a larger dot. I plan to experiment with that a little when an opportunity presents itself.
So far, all of the sights have spent time on both handguns (different Glocks) and rifles (AR15 and/or AR10). All held zero admirably and did not give me any trouble whatsoever in terms of reliability. I have not tried them on shotguns, but I suspect that the pounding they take mounted onto a slide of a semi-auto handgun is a more severe torture test of the sight than anything they get on a shotgun (and a much less severe torture test of my shoulder).
If I had to make a guess on which one seems most durable, I would lean toward the Leupold. However, this is all conjecture since they have all worked fine for me. The Deltapoint Pro does have a steel shield around the screen and is the beefiest of the three. That beefiness does have a downside: it is heavier than the other three sights and getting it to co-witness on a handgun is not straightforward.
In the picture above, the Atom slide is equipped with pretty tall sights and they still do not co-witness. On a handgun that I might use for defensive purposes, co-witnessing is a must. After some research, I found that there is an even taller front sight out there. Leupold offers a rear sight that attaches to the back of the Deltapoint (I did not test that), so you could set up cowitnessing, but options are limited. Another thing, I did not like too much about the Deltapoint is the intensity control.
Dot brightness is controlled by a button integrated into the top of the battery cover. In the picture above, you can see it marked by a large letter L. It is right behind the lens. To adjust dot brightness, you keep pressing the button. Unfortunately, while you are pressing that button, you finger is blocking the lens and you can’t see the dot. I found that awkward, at best. The way I ended up using the DeltaPoint was to set the dot to a medium bright setting that worked adequately well across a range of lighting conditions and avoid messing with it. However, that means it blooms and has a noticeable forward signature in low light (or if I adjust it too low, it is not easy to see in bright light). That more or less wraps up with a negatives. I liked everything else about the sight. Honestly, if Leupold offered it with an optional auto-adjust mode, I would have purchased it. One feature I really liked was the motion activated shut-off. When the sight does not move for a while, the dot shuts off. When it detects motion, it turns back on again. In practical terms, what that meant was that I never bothered to turn it off.
When I set it up on my 10mm carbine, the DeltaPoint Pro was absolutely at home. Of all of these compact sights, the Leupold transitions the best into a primary long arm sight. A pistol caliber carbine is not exactly a long range weapon, but I was comfortably tagging steel plates at 200 yards with it and would be perfectly comfortable taking it hunting with me. Leupold offers the DeltaPoint with a bunch of mounting options and with a riser that gets it up to perfect co-witness height on straight stock firearms (AR15s and the like).
Meopta MeoPro is a much smaller sight and is a further development of the MeoSight III I am well familiar with. The MeoSight III had a control button on the housing, which I generally liked, although it made some mounting options complicated (on my Atom slide, the tall rear sight would have blocked that button). However, the MeoSight III offered both manual dot intensity control and an auto-adjust mode. Unfortunately, if you just turned the sight on, it defaulted to the manual adjust option which always seemed like a bad way of doing things. I would have preferred a single press of the button to turn on the auto mode, with subsequent presses going into manual adjust. The newer MeoRed does away with the auto mode entirely, which might be an indication that everyone except me prefers the manual adjustment. The control button of the MeoRed is on the left side of the lens housing. It sticks out a little and is very easy to engage. What I do not know is how easy it is to engage accidentally. It seems like it would be, but I have not done it. I am having another 10mm slide machined to accomodate the MeoRed. Once that is done, I’ll be able to do a better test of how well that button is positioned.
While on the outside the MeoRed looks to be about the same size as the earlier Meosight III, it has a slightly lower base, which make c0-witnessing easier. The battery is inserted from the side, but there is no pull-out tray for the battery. There is a covered slot. The cover is held by two screws and seems to be a very secure way of holding a battery.
Up to now, I only tested the MeoRed on a picatinny bases, since I do not have a slide machined to accept it. It has a similar footprint to Docter, but different screw locations. I will set up a slide for it and continue testing.
As far as how these three sights compare to each other, that is not a simple answer. The dot is slightly sharper on the Docter than on others, but since they are not of exactly the same size, it is not an apples-to-apples comparison. The lens does look a little clearer on the Docter. Leupold is the fastest on target simply because it has a larger lens. Between Docter and MeoRed, I can not see any speed difference. The lens size is about the same between these two despite what the specifications say. The biggest difference is in the control method, with the Meopta and Leupold having manual intensity control, while the Docter has three auto modes. For the way I use these sights, I prefer the way DocterSight III works. What I do not like about the DocterSight III is the bottom mounted battery. Since the sight has to be removed from the base to change the battery, I have to check and adjust zero every time the battery is replaced.
DeltaPoint is about to head back Leupold. MeoRed is going to spend some time getting beat up by my 10mm Glock. DocterSight remains on my AR15 as an accessory close range sight for my Elcan Spectre OS. It has now survived two carbine classes and many months of practice without skipping a beat, so that is where it will stay.