Budget Optics VS Rock? 🤔 Cheap Red Dot Destruction Test!

– Cheap red dots under $100. Are they worth it, or should you cancel that wish.com order and buy once, cry once? Coming up. (Soft music)
(electronic whirring) What is up, guys? My name is John with pewpewtactical.com. Your definitive source for gun reviews, gear guides, and all things that go bang. If you’ve been with us a while, you’ve probably noticed that we have spent a considerable amount of time reviewing high-end
optics for manufacturers, like Aimpoint, EOTech, et cetera. But understandably, most folks aren’t ready
to drop that kind of cash right off the bat if they’re new to the world of shooting. Predictably, there are a ton of lower
cost red dots on the market seeking to corner the
entry-level demographic. But these options don’t
often get attention, or the kind of stress testing we’d apply to their gucci counterparts. So how do you, the theoretical end-user, know if a deal is too
good to be true or not? More importantly, just how much abuse can these things take? Well, we beat the shit
out of a few popular, low-cost optics. And we’re gonna tell you about it. Up first, we’ve got the Bushnell TRS-25, which normally retails for $60, but can occasionally be
found for $40 on sale. While you’ll probably notice that several of the optics we’re testing look pretty damn similar to Aimpoint’s iconic micro t-2. There is actually a good amount
of difference between them, and Bushnell exemplifies this. Right off the bat, you’ll notice that the
view through the optic has a very obvious blue tint to it. Which can throw you off a bit at first, but it also helps the
dots itself stand out pretty vibrantly against the
bright desert-y backgrounds. However, this brightness
does come at a cost, as this thing eats batteries a bit quicker than it’s counterparts. And you’ll likely have to swap batteries maybe once every year or so. Even if you aren’t using
the optic extensively. You’ll probably also experience a bit of a halo glow around
the edges of the glass on higher brightness levels indoors or in darker settings. The Bushnell’s construction is solid, but it’s a pretty no-frills red dot. You’ve got 11 different brightness modes, and a three MOA reticle. Which is a tiny bit more globular than your standard two
MOA red dot reticle, for lack of a better word. Bushnell themselves boasts that the optic is
capable of handling bumps, bangs, drops, and the rough and tumble
environment of the field. Mm-kay We got some trigger-time on the optic and it did great running
a few basic rifles drills out in the desert. This particular model has
actually been in the PPT fam for several years and about 3000 rounds. With the last 1000 or so of that on an AK pistol. But that doesn’t tell us much about the optics durability now, does it? All things considered, dropping your rifle is
probably the most likely accident you could have while shooting out on a range day that might actually effect
the performance of you optic. So, we went about trying
to test just that. With the Bushnell mounted, we shot a group at about 50 yards or so. Cleared the rifle, and then decided to drop it, optic down, towards a large rock. (rifles clatters) Perhaps not the most scientific of trials, but we mainly wanted to see if the optic would hold it’s
previously established zero after a little bit of abuse. Unfortunately, the
Bushnell took a direct hit to the elevation adjustment turret, without the cap screwed on. The turret itself got
knocked off of it’s axis, and this obvious threw the zero way off. The rear lens also sustained
a bit of impact damage and chipped a small portion
out of the 11-o’clock glass. Though the optic itself
was still totally usable, and bright. To be totally clear and fair. We’re not super sure that any optic would survive a direct hit of that sort of impact to it’s elevation or windage adjustment turrets. So… This does, however, seem
like an appropriate time to ask you if you’ve
ever destroyed an optic. If so, what happened? And if not, what is the general level of abuse that you think a red dot
should be able to stand up to. Go ahead and drop your
grammatically incorrect life stories in the
comments section below, and I promise I’ll read them. Up next, we’ve got the Primary Arms Gen-2 micro dot. Which you’ll notice is really similar design wise to the Bushnell. We quite like Primary Arms and have handled a good
amount of their optics before. So, it’s no surprise that the micro dot worked well in the bright ass desert sun, and held a tight zero, despite it’s $89, or so, price tag. Battery life wise, this optic advertises about 1000 hours on medium brightness settings. And it’s definitely outlasted
the average battery life of our Bushnell. Again no-frills and nothing fancy here. The optic works great
and feature a 2 MOA dot and 11 levels of brightness. Although the lens isn’t
tinted like the Bushnell and it isn’t quite as easy to pick up quickly in bright outdoor conditions. That being said, the dot is a bit more crisp, and doesn’t flare around the edges as much as the Bushnell does. Though, we don’t like the
brightness adjustment knob only turns in one direction. Once again, we ran a few drills, got the optic reasonably
zeroed for 50 yards, cleared the rifle, and sent it to a gravelly hell. (Rifle clatters) This time around we wanted to be sure that the turrets being exposed wasn’t going to be an influencing factor in how damage the optic sustained. So, we were sure to screw them back on after our zeroing sesh. However, once more, the optic landed directly on the elevation adjustment turret, which even with the
protective cap installed, smashed it down into the
body of the optic itself, and ruined our previously
established zero. Notably however, the optic sustained no
damage to either lens. Meaning that it fared just a bit better than the Bushnell we
murdered right before it. Next up on the chopping block, we’ve got the AT3 RD-50 micro red dot. Again, another micro T-style red dot. However, this one isn’t nearly as
bright as the Primary Arms and Bushnell variants. And the dot was actually
a little bit harder to pick up during our test runs. Admittedly, this is basically the height
of summer in the mountains and deserts of California, so daytime ambient
brightness is super high. This optic probably isn’t a bad choice if it’s gonna live on a
gun that you take often to indoor ranges, or if you live in a state
where you don’t experience Hell weather for 30% of the year. But your mileage may vary. However, even with the
lower brightness of the dot, you’ll probably experience
a tiny bit of flaring around the edges indoors or in a lower light setting. It should be noted though, that the AT3 has an
advertised battery life of about 50,000 hours. Which is actually pretty impressive, considering the $75 price tag. By this point, you should know the drill. We’ve zeroed the gun and shot a 50 yard group with the AT3. Cleared the gun and then went about our grim deed. (rifle clatters) This time around, the optic landed directly
on the battery cap itself. Which, we were worried might just turn the sight off permanently. However, it lived. And beyond that, the zero remained consistent, and we shot a group similar
to our pre-drop group. While we aren’t huge fans
of the sort of dim reticle, and the stiff brightness adjustment knob, the AT3 does win points
for surviving that drop and managing to stay on target. Lastly, we’ve got the cheapest of the bunch. The Dagger Defense DDHB reflex sight. Coming in at just $40, this guy is certainly in
get-what-you-pay-for territory. The lenses are shiny as hell, and have a bit of a ghosting problem. Though you can switch from red to green, and between multiple reticles, if you find that necessary
for whatever reason. The optic seemed to work well
enough for a few test drills, but the combo of the darker glass, dim reticle, and ghosting issue definitely doesn’t help much with your target acquisition speed, if you’re concerned with that. Going into this, I was going to be very surprised if this thing managed to survive that drop pretty much nowhere that impact occurred. Again, it’s a $40 red dot. However, low and behold, I’m just (beep) with you. The front lines exploded immediately. $40 red dot. However, the optic did stay on. Although, it’s zero was
completely off the paper. Points for surviving that fall, at least somewhat intact. But this is about what we expected. Even if that zero was still there, the spider-webbing of
the optics front glass only enhanced the ghosting of the reticle and turned it into something that more closely resembled a kaleidoscope than a gun sight. It’s also worth noting that
almost all of these optics are mounted on risers, which in theory, could affect the zero of the optic, even if the optic itself didn’t lose zero. We debated taking the risers off to get a more accurate
sense of what the optic is capable of sustaining, but the very low profile of micro dots means that your almost definitely going to have it mounted on a riser if you’re running an AR-15. For the money, we found that the UTG slim risers are the best bang for the buck. And allow you to 1/3
witness with your irons, if you care about that. That being said, a situation in which you drop you rifle completely top down is probably not super likely
to happen in the field. So maybe that’s not a really fair metric to judge an optics durability through. But we do think that the
results are still interesting. The big thing to keep in mind is that these are all
firmly entry-level red dots. And in all honesty, they’re going to be fine for
planking and casual shooting. Which, we imagine, is what the intended end-user is likely going to wind up using them for. However, if you’re doing
anything more kinetic than shooting steel in cargo shorts, we probably don’t have to
tell you that you shouldn’t be cheaping out on optic that goes on a gun that you might have to trust your life to. In terms of recommendations, We’ve got, by far, way more hours invested
in Bushnell’s TRS-25 than in any of the other optics before we broke it in an
entirely manufactured setting. And we have no real qualms about suggesting that you check
it out for casual shooting. However, for just a little bit more cash, you can snag the Primary Arms micro dot, which doesn’t have the flaring
problem the TRS-25 has, and who’s glass didn’t
detonate from a small drop. Again, your mileage may vary. All right guys. That’s gonna do it for us today. Thank you so much for watching. You can check the description below for a link to our best of
the best red dots article, if you’ve found yourself dissuaded at all by this video. But if you enjoyed
watching us destroy stuff. Go ahead and hit that subscribe button, as we’ve got lots more
senseless violence on the way. Once again, my name is
John with Pewpew Tactical. And we will see you next time. Dropping your rifle is probably the most likely oopsie you could have while
shooting at a range day. (Rifle clatters)
(laughs loudly) God dammit! (Soft music) (electronic whirring)

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