Recently I mounted a NC Leapers UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Tactical Rifle Scope, AO, 36-color (http://guntoters.com/blog/2018/03/23/leapers-utg-3-12×44-30mm-compact-tactical-rifle-scope-ao-36-color/) on my favorite modern sporting rifle and it made a world of difference in how I viewed the world, at least at the local range.
While the scope is extremely useful for sighting in on targets quite a distance away, I needed something to use for general shooting as I do on most occasions at my friendly gun club and range, the indoor shooting distance of such as twenty-five yards. I consider this a more than likely distance (or closer) that I would be shooting at in defense of homestead, but yet could use at greater distances should the need arise. Obviously, a magnified optic as I put on it was overkill for the most part at ‘range’ distance. What I needed was a good optic that was not going to break the bank, would be effective at short distances (or to medium distances if I needed to shoot that far), and worked well with the platform to which it would be mounted.
I have a couple of red-dot sights and they seems to work well, with the exception of my astigmatism rendering the nicely-round dot into an irregular shape, trying to obtain a co-witness with my fixed sights without the use of adapters, and being able to adjust windage and elevation without special tools. I have looked at reflex sights that are electronically-controlled via push-button inputs, some with multiple sighting images to work with, and some that are well beyond my general means of cash flow.
Recently I was introduced by my friend at my LGS to the NC STAR DRGB135 that is a “tactical” sight with a dot color that I had not used before – blue. The NC STAR DRGB135 is an inexpensive sight that has, for the most part, positive reviews with a few negative reviews thrown in regarding adjustments and such.
Looking over the features of the NC STAR DRGB135, we find…
- Unlimited Eye relief
- Black anodized aluminum construction
- Three brightness settings for the Red, green, blue dots
- Unlimited eye relief
- Black anodized aluminum construction
- Three brightness settings for the Red, Green, Blue Dots
- 30mm Cantilever Weaver Style Mount for mounting onto most Weaver Style/Picatinny rails
- Red, Green and Blue LEDs (Light Emitting Diode) 100% safe for the eyes
The NC STAR DRGB135 comes with flip-up lens covers that seem to work well. Power to the unit is supplied by a single CR2032 that is housed in the rheostat knob beneath a battery cover that seals out moisture and dirt.
Specifications for the unit are shown below.
- Length: 5.0”
- Width: 2.7”
- Height: 3.1”
- Weight: 8.9 oz.
- Objective Lens: 35mm
- Mount Length: 2.68”
- Magnification: 1X
- Reticle: Red, Green, Blue 3 MOA dot
- Click Value: 1 MOA
- Lens Coating: Platinum
- Battery Type: CR2032
The unit was very easy to mount just in front of the flip-up rear sight. Surprisingly, when I turned the unit on, the co-witness could not be better. The dot was perfectly centered on the tip of the front sight.
The unit has a single mount that requires a wrench to tighten to the rail.
The windage and elevation knob adjustment caps have a rubber retainer that helps them from straying off when the caps are not mounted. The rubber retainer; however, like to move with the cap, and removing or installing the caps are a two-handed affair; one to hold the retaining strap from moving while the other hand tightens or loosens the caps. In my world, I do not see these straps in the future.
Elevation and windage adjustment is made using a small screwdriver or dime. The adjustment clicks seem positive. If you are used to .25-inch click adjustments, you will find that this sight is very quick to bring your POI into where you want it. At twenty-five yards, that means only four clicks to move one inch. This is not a sight for precision work, but it will work for “general target acquisition.”
The actual sight mount is a six-screw affair that holds the aluminum housing of the sight in place. The cantilever mount if facing forward, but the sight could be remove, the mount faced rearward, and the sight remounted. Of course, this would mean re-zeroing. So, the way it is mounted works for me and that is a good thing.
The sight looks great on the MSR, but what is more important is how it does when shooting little projectiles at a great rate of speed.
The color selection/rheostat is stiff to operate, but I would rather have it stiff than loose (such is a man’s lot). I was pleasantly surprised at how well the blue dot worked for me. Although irregular in shape (my astigmatism and not so clear corrective lenses) the blue dot really stood out against a target. Perhaps, it is because I am used to red and green dots and my eyes are viewing something different. Or, perhaps the blue dot is really an effective color to use.
At my indoor range, I usually find the lowest brightness setting adequate so I used this setting to zero in the sight.
Operation is straightforward:
- Turn the rheostat knob to any of the letters “R, G, or B” to turn the unit off and to select a desired color.
- Turn the rheostat knob to a number that corresponds to the selected color for the desired brightness (3 is the maximum brightness level).
- Return the rheostat knob to the selected color to turn the unit off.
- Adjust elevation and windage:
- Turn the Elevation Adjustment counter-clockwise to move the dot down. Turn the Elevation Adjustment clockwise to move the dot up.
- Turn the Windage Adjustment counter-clockwise to move the dot to the left. Turn the Windage Adjustment clockwise to move the dot to the right.
Each click of adjustment changes the point of impact. This means that the markings on the Windage Adjuster stating L → will actually move the dot to the right. This also means that the markings on the Elevation Adjuster UP → will move the dot down.
Surprisingly, the sight was almost on and took only a minor adjustment for windage. Moving from a bench-rest position to a “stand-and-deliver” position is where the dot sight really shines. I was pleased with the initial results. Only time and use will tell if the NC Star DRGB135 is worthy for the long haul.
While it may not be a high-end sight, for my purposes it seems to do the job.
UPDATE – 04/26/2018
Unfortunately, this update is not a positive one. A second trip to the range yielded no too pleasant results.
I had planned to run two 20-round magazines of ammunition. My first four shots were placed on target exactly where I wanted them, and it went downhill from there. After I completed shooting the first magazine I pulled the target forward to observe the results. Much to my display, a group of impact formed about one inch to the right of point-of-aim.
I checked the mount and it was secure. I then popped the front and rear sight into place to check the co-witness. Sure enough, the dot had drifted to the left. Since the dot in this sight acts like a front sight, that meant that round were impacting to the right, which they were.
I adjusted the dot to the right to restore my co-witness and placed the target back downrange at a distance of twenty-five yards. Another twenty-round magazine was expended and again the results were viewed. This time, the group seemed to hold to point of aim. However, my confidence in the sight is waning.
Another trip to the range will be the deciding point; keep the sight or return to my roots and mount a suitable magnified optic that I can trust.
NC Star DRGB135 Ncstar, Tactical Red/Green/Blue Dot Weaver Mount scope: https://www.amazon.com/DRGB135-Ncstar-Tactical-Green-Weaver/dp/B008NCH91K