Let’s talk about cheap sights for AR platform guns, mostly because I am cheap. I recently have had a chance to test four sights, two red dots and two sets of iron sights. Two of these I bought, and two were provided as test samples. We’re going to cover the freebies in this installment, both provided by the same company. I actually purchased these sights on Amazon and was immediately reimbursed via Paypal, before I wrote the reviews.
Feyachi RS-25 Reflex Sight
Feyachi Gold offered to send me a sight to test, their RS-25. Uhhh… do I want a free red dot? Let me think… I made it clear that the sight would receive an honest review and they sent it anyway, which speaks well of their confidence at least.
The RS-25 retails at Amazon for just shy of $50, and I’ve looked at $50 Red Dots before so I was prepared to be unimpressed. When the sight arrived I was surprised- it was well packed, had complete instructions written in good English, came with a spare CR2032 battery and an Allen wrench for installing and adjusting the sight. More importantly the sight is solid, machined from 6065 aircraft aluminum. Reading the manual it said that the sight would withstand an 800G shock, and could be used with large-caliber weapons with heavy recoil- even with spring-air rifles (which are notorious for messing up sights with their bi-directional recoil.)
The sight seems very solid, but it does not appear that the electronics are sealed against immersion; you can see what appears to be a circuit board and a wire underneath. Fair enough, they make no claims that it’s fully waterproof. It doesn’t look like casual wetting will disable it. It mounts on a standard Picatinny rail and is secured by Allen screws with the provided wrench. I mounted it on my AR 9mm, and while it is a bit lower than my normal optic it’s comfortable enough and easy to use.
The sight has a wide field of view- 15m@100 yards, and has four different reticles selected by a lever at the back of the sight. These are a 5MOA dot, a 10 MOA dot, a crosshair and a circled dot. I tried to photograph the different options, but no luck, so here’s an image from the manual:
The sight has a knob on the right (which is also the battery compartment) to adjust the brightness. There are eleven different settings, and 11 is bloody bright. The top setting might be useful at high noon on a glacier, but I mostly used it from 1-6 depending on the lighting.
The optics are clear and almost entirely distortion free, unlike most cheap red dots I’ve seen. The coating cuts glare in bright light, but seems to make dark areas slightly clearer and brighter. Neat trick; I dig it. So how’s it work on the range? Like a red dot sight. A pretty decent red dot sight. It was easy to zero, with positive clicks of the adjustment screw, and soon bullets were hitting where I aimed them, if not actually where I was trying to aim them. I was able to produce reasonable off-hand groups at 25 yards and ran several strings of double-taps at ten yards. I found I preferred the circled dot, and used it most of the time. I dismounted the sight and remounted it, and it held zero. (for COVID reasons I was at Champion Arms indoor range, so 25 yards was the max.)
OK, but is it durable? I decided to find out. It’s pretty standard to drop the sight a few times from whatever height seems appropriate, but this has never struck me as a useful test. Since I wasn’t about to drop my rifle repeatedly I had to come up with alternat6ive means.
A Pittsburgh 16oz. dead-blow hammer seemed just the thing, and I whacked the sight fairly hard on the battery housing, top and sides. Hard to quantify exactly, but I was trying for harder than one might casually bang the sight into something in normal use. I didn’t really expect to break the sight, so I was not too surprised that it continued to function. I ran a target out to 25 yards, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t hold it’s zero! I was actually kinda’ impressed.
So, picking nits: I’d rather have it mount with a coin-slot knurled nob. I’m not keen on needing an Allen wrench both for mounting and adjusting the sights. That’s pretty much it. It’s functional and pretty tough, but to me the fact that it doesn’t seem to be fully waterproof disqualifies it from field use here in the Pacific Northwet.
I rated this a conditional 5 stars on Amazon, because for someone looking for a light-duty optic for plinking, a range toy or even home defense I can’t see how you could do better for $50.
Feyachi 45 Degree Offset Iron Sights Flip Up BUIS Rapid Transition Backup Front and Rear Iron Sight Set
Lord, that’s a mouthful, innit’? First things first- I have zero experience with this sort of offset sight. Nada. You probably already know this, but these are generally used in conjunction with a magnifying optic. Need to shoot fast at close range or broke your scope? Tilt the gun and keep shooting. That’s the idea anyway. I don’t have a magnifying optic and my current flip-up sights co-witness with my red dot, so I don’t really need these.
So, again these came decently packaged with an Allen wrench for mounting them, but no manual or instructions. The sights are solidly made from aluminum, and seem reasonably tough for what they are. Truth be told I may have mounted these backwards, but tilting the gun to the left was awkward, so I stuck ’em on the right. Deal with it. They fold nice and flat, and at the press of a button on each sight they pop up and lock in place. Press the button again to fold them flat. The work just as they should, and I found I could press the buttons without shifting my grip with either hand.
The front sight is height adjustable without tools, and the rear sight has a knob with nice, positive clicks for adjustment. I was able to zero them at twenty five yards with no problem at all. The rear sight can flip to offer either a Ghost Ring or peephole sight, and both shot to the same POI. Flipping the sights up and down over and over did not affect the zero, and the sight picture will be familiar to anyone who has used an M16.
I gave these a four-star rating on Amazon, mainly because the front sight rocked back and forth a bit when locked in the upright position. It didn’t seem to have any practical effect at the ranges I was shooting at but at longer ranges it might… and besides, it was the only thing about these sights that felt sloppy so it stood out.
I won’t be replacing my flip-ups with these sights because I don’t need to… but if I did need offsets I’d be fine with using these. This set of sights costs a bit under $30, and if you want back-up sights on a budget these will do the the job.
…I’ll be reviewing a red dot and flip-up sights I actually paid for.
Hope you are all well and safe in these uncertain times.
Michael Tinker Pearce, 8 July 2020
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