A little while back, I got a chance to play with a pre-production model of the new Leica Tempus red dot sight. I only had a day with it before it had to go back, so rather than experimenting with equipment, hooked it up to me 10mm carbine and headed to the range.
I spend a lot of time with different red dot and holographic sights and at one time or another, I have had damn near all of them in my hands. Still, new ones keep coming out and I mostly gave up on trying to keep up.
I have developed some preferences, of course.
With holographic sights, I really like Vortex UH-1. It is built like a tank and is my choice for applications where I may want to run it with a magnifier.
On handguns, I have had exceedingly good luck with Docter and Shield. Shield’s diminutive RMS and RMSc are my favourites for handgun use, although Doctersight III is doing quite well on my 10mm Glock as well.
On carbines, I am really fond of Shield SIS, in addition to the aforementioned UH-1.
Leica Tempus is a different approach than the SIS and for some applications, I expect it to be an exceedingly nice option, although I will not make any overarching conclusions until I have spent some time with a production piece.
What I did so far was gran a few other red dot sights I had on hand and look at them side by side with the Tempus.
Tempus is a little bigger than typical compact red dots like the Doctersight and Shield with a substantially larger window. On a carbine, the bright red dot was exceedingly easy to pick up.
In the picture above, the Tempus is on the carbine, Doctersight III is on a long slide 10mm Glock (the slide was cut for me by Winkle Design, who I can not recommend enough. Fantastic quality), Shield SIS and RMS are sitting on the bench, Shield RMSc is on my Glock 43.
The TNW carbine has a very heavy bolt that seems to slam hard in both directions, which I thought will make a good impromptu durability test for the Tempus. No issues after a couple of hundred rounds.
I purposefully avoided looking at any of the published specs, in order to form an unbiased first impression. The dot size in this one was 2 MOA, but 3.5 MOA is also available. I’ll try to get a 3.5 MOA one to play with when production units get here.
I have no idea how long the battery lasts. I’ll test that. It does have auto shut off. Dot brightness is manually adjustable from very dim to very bright. Easily bright enough for a bright California day.
Whatever voodoo Leica did with the aspherical lens worked. The dot is very well defined, distortion is virtually non-existent and, at 50 yards, it has the least visible parallax I have ever seen on a reflex sight.
Like with all red dot sights, there is a little bit of a color cast, but it is not bothersome.
The mounting pattern is the same as for the Doctersight, but the footprint is different since the aluminum body of the Tempus is larger. ADM Doctersight mount worked fine, but the plate on my Unity Tactical slide, wouldn’t.
The Tempus works off of the rather common 2032 battery, which I like. I try to stay away from sights that use strange batteries.
To give you an idea of the difference in window size, here is the Tempus side by side with Shield SIS:
With the Shield SIS, the body of the sight is my coarse aiming tool: at very close distance, whatever is visible through the window is toast if all I want is a center of mass shot. I do not even have to look for the dot when I go fast.
With the Tempus, when you speed up, the body of the sight almost disappears and all you see is that bright dot on the target. Both methods work. When I get a production Tempus, I’ll take it to a carbine class with me and see how it holds up and how I get along with it on a longer term basis.
One last thign to mention is that the Tempus comes with a protective cover that snaps on and makes it look a little more like an Aimpoint style tube-type sight. Illumination control buttons are accessible with the cover on. It might help with glare in bright light and, in general, is not a bad thing from the standpoint of protecting the sight. It barely adds any weight and gives just a little more protection from the elements.
In a nutshell, my “one day impression” of the Tempus is very positive. Stay tuned for more.
6 Responses to “First Look: Leica Tempus Red Dot”
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Looks really good. Do you have time to go over micro red dots? Purchasing a G40 soon and am looking at options.
Sure. Which ones are you looking at?
Happy 4th bratan. I’m looking at the RMR, Viper, Doctor, Leupold, and Steiner. And any cheap chinesium options.
Happy 4th to you too. RMR has the best marketing and there are a lot of them out there. I am not as gung-ho about them as most people, but they work. Trijicon can be a little tricky to work with if something goes wrong and you will need fairly tall sights. Doctersight III is a very nice red dot, but I can’t quite figure out what Docter is doing for distribution in the US. Leupold DeltaPoint Pro is very good, but you need seriously tall sights again. This one has the tallest base of them all. Vortex Viper is decent, especially for the money. Its reputation for durability is not quite as good as RMR and Deltapoint. I have not tested Steiner MRD, so I can not address that one. That having been said, my preferred red dot sight for handguns is Shield RMS series. RMS for regular slides and RMSc for narrow ones. These sights, when properly mounted, work for regular height iron sights for co-witnessing and appear very durable so far. I have three different ones and they work quite well. http://opticsthoughts.com/?p=1949
Hi ILya, Thanks for your first impressions! Info on the Tempus seems to be very scant at the moment, so any advice is greatly appreciated. Do you think the Tempus is a viable option for handguns? I understand it is quite tall, by comparison, to other red dots. In particular, I am looking at it for a Ruger Mark IV setup for competition style shooting. It might seem odd to consider this sight for the Ruger, but I am such a fanboy of Leica optics that I want one badly…
I would need to check with Leica if they intended it for handguns. It is a little on the large side, so I do not know if I would try to get it to work on a semi-auto. Co-witnessing could be tricky. However, I could easily imagine it on a hunting revolver where a red dot sight typically replaces the rear sight, so there is no co-witnessing requirement.
For the Ruger Mark 4 with its fixed PIcatinny rail, I do not see why it would not work. Now, since your aiming point is a little higher above the bore, you will need to practice your pesentation some, but it should work well.
One of the things I really liked on the prototype Tempus I played with was how little parallax it had, so it should be a good option for a rimfire handgun.