While red-dot sights used to be something of a novelty, the past decade’s military actions have shown their worth. As a result, these days, they’re pretty much standard fare on military and law enforcement rifles. That’s carried over to civilian competition and personal defense weapons, as well.
Once you accept the place of the dot sight, the next question is, Do you run it by itself or in conjunction with a magnifier? At close range, a non-magnified dot makes for fast and accurate work. As you start to step out a little farther, being able to see your target better never hurts.
Even at ranges as close as 50 yards—say, across a parking lot or down a hallway in a school or public building while engaging an active shooter and being able to positively identify the threat and take a precise shot, possibly while avoiding noncombatants—a little magnification makes a big difference.
“THE P7 IS A RUGGED, COMPACT-MAGNIFIED COMBAT OPTIC THAT PROVIDES FEATURES TYPICALLY OFFERED ONLY ON MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE OPTICS.”
If you’re looking for that magnification, you can add a magnifier behind your existing red-dot sight, and that’s what a lot of folks do. It’s a viable option, but it does take up more rail space and adds weight and additional cost to your weapon’s platform.
Another option is a combat-capable, magnified optic such as the excellent Trijicon ACOG sights. ACOG’s are fantastic sights, as the U.S. Marine Corps has found out, but they definitely aren’t in everyone’s budget.
If you like the capability of some magnification and a ballistic holdover reticle in a single compact unit but don’t have an ACOG budget, you might want to check out the P7 4x Weapons Optic from LUCID.
RUNDOWN OF THE P7
LUCID has been offering its non-magnified HD7 optic for the past four years, so the company has a lot of experience in the combat optic field. It has also done extensive in-house testing, as well as field testing by both law enforcement and military sources.
The gen-2 HD7 sight is still a great option if you don’t need magnification and sells for a very reasonable $249 MSRP. LUCID had been getting requests for a magnified version of the HD7, however, and that eventually culminated in the P7 Combat Optic.
The P7 uses a rugged cast-aluminum frame covered in a rubber-armored coating that’s 100 percent water-, fog- and shockproof. The P7 includes a built-in Picatinny rail mount, which makes for a rugged one-piece unit with fast setup on your rifle right out of the box.
The P7 uses an illuminated reticle powered by a common AA battery with a two-hour auto shut-off capability that gives 2,500 hours of life. The battery is housed underneath the optic and is accessible via a leashed cap on the front of the unit. It has 10 brightness levels and an auto brightness sensor that lets you concentrate on shooting instead of constantly adjusting your sight as you transition between lighting situations. If you don’t need the illumination, the basic black reticle works just like any conventional non-illuminated optic.
Magnification on the P7 is a fixed 4x with a 3.25-inch eye relief and a 25-foot field of view at 100 yards. The heart of the optic is what LUCID calls the “P7 Reticle.” The reticle consists of a 4 MOA circle with a 1 MOA zero dot in its center. Coming off the circle is a set of parallel wings with .25-inch MOA windage dots.
Extending below the circle is a reference drop bar—which LUCID refers to as a “measuring tape”—also with .25-inch MOA dots to allow for bullet drop compensation. The large 4 MOA circle framed by the windage and drop bars makes for fast target acquisition at close range, whereas the 1 MOA dot and drop and windage dots allow for precise shots at longer ranges.
The 4x magnification allows you to readily identify a suspect and confirm whether he is armed. Additionally, the magnification lets you reach out at longer ranges with more precision than iron sights.
MOUNTING AND USE
Mounting the P7 is absurdly easy. Because it is a one-piece unit, you don’t have to mess with rings or a separate mount to verify whether your optic is aligned correctly in the rings. You simply take the sight out of the box, add a battery, drop it on your Picatinny rail and tighten the bolts.
The longest part of the process for me was adding the battery. While it is in a convenient location, it can be a little tight getting your fingers in there to change batteries. In addition, when new, the battery cap was a little finicky and hard to get lined up and screwed down tight. This cleared up fairly quickly, however, after swapping the battery out a couple of times. Maybe, I just got used to doing it. Either way, it wasn’t a big issue; and, with a 2,500-hour battery, you won’t be doing battery swaps all that often. When you do, you can stuff any AA you happen to have into the sight to keep it running—no specialty batteries to worry about here. I like to run lithium AAs in lights and sights when I can. But in a pinch, I can even raid a TV remote for batteries for the P7. I tried the P7 on a Beretta ARX-100 I was testing, as well as one of my ARs. I found it easy to mount and sight-in with both rifles. At distances inside 50 yards, I had no problems dropping the 4 MOA circle on target and getting good, fast hits. I had some concerns the magnification might be too much in close, but that didn’t prove to be an issue.
When I crept out past 50 yards and toward 100, I settled in behind the optic and relied on the 1 MOA dot while framing my target in the 4 MOA ring. This let me get good precision out of the rifle from a supported shooting position. My range limitations didn’t allow me to take full advantage of the bullet-drop compensation in the P7 reticle, but it was easy to see the graduations, and it seemed to be an intuitive system to learn and use.
• No problems dropping the 4 MOA circle on target
• Good, fast hits
RUGGED AND COMPACT
The P7 is a rugged, compact-magnified combat optic that provides features typically offered only on much more expensive optics. At an MSRP of only $439 though, LUCID gives you those capabilities at a price many shooters will find a lot more affordable. The price also makes it more practical for outfitting multiple rifles with the same optic to ensure familiarity when swapping rifles.
LUCID is pretty confident about the quality of the P7 and will back it up with a limited lifetime warranty. And when you use it, you’ll have confidence in your shooting, as well.
LUCID P7 4X Weapons Optic
MATERIAL: Cast-aluminum frame WEIGHT: 19 ounces
RETICLE: P7 MOA
BATTERY: (one) AA
OCULAR LENS SIZE: 25mm
FOV: 25 feet at 100 yards OBJECTIVE LENS SIZE: 30mm EYE RELIEF: 3.25 inches MAGNIFICATION: 4x
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the March 2016 print issue of World of Firepower Magazine.