LoPro Combo Flashlight (Visible and IR) and Green Laser
This Columbus Day I celebrated in true American fashion, a Zulu Foxtrot T-Shirt, Kryptek Valhalla pants and several hundred rounds slung at the, ever terrifying, Paper Menace. For the day’s festivities, I was privileged to Test & Evaluate two optics from Sightmark. The first optic I fielded was the Sightmark LoPro Mini Combo Flashlight.
I was pretty excited when I got this guy out of the box. Reminiscent of an LA-5 (military version) only in a more compact and lighter package. The stealth jet fighter exterior heightened my interest in this sexy little package. I quickly mounted it to the front of my Seekins Precision 300 BLK OUT and was extremely pleased to see that at my preferred laser positioning, top mounted, my Sig Sauer Romeo 3 reflex sight easily cleared the LoPro.
One of the unique and highly desirable qualities I found in the design of the LoPro was that they placed a button switch for the laser and the light on either side of the body. This means from the top view that you have buttons on the left and right side to manipulate your optic. This lends itself well for alternate shooting positions and off-hand shooting.
Additionally, the LoPro comes with a pressure pad. A pressure pad is used to remove the triggers on your device, so you can manipulate it from somewhere on the gun and not necessarily on your optic. The design of the Sight Mark’s switch pad is unique in my experience. It has a long male end that gives it a lot of connectivity internal to the optic. It also has a very thick and extended base where it connects. This is good because it ensures the longevity of the pad, trust me you don’t want to switch up a pad after you’ve got your gun all dolled up, taped up and just how you want it. Then tear it all apart to switch out your pressure pad, I might have hard feelings about this from a camo wrap job I did at work. The downside is that the pressure pad is very ridged at the base, decreasing the flexibility of the cable and making it harder to place your pad.
An interesting feature of this piece of equipment is the way in which you zero. Instead of having a screw head or hex head adjustment, it has two knobs that are adjusted by hand, this gave me mixed feelings. On one hand, no tools! On the other, it wouldn’t be very difficult to bump your laser and throw your zero off. The tension of the zero adjusters is low, which on a long hike or rigorous adventure has the potential to throw your zero way off.
At the range, I was a little disappointed. On a classic overcast rainy Washington day, it was extremely difficult to make out the laser from any kind of distance. The green laser failing to show up well on any kind of organic or inorganic material I sighted on. This I disliked solely because I view all optics as a fallback, in case your primary fails.
The light failed to show up very well either, yes it was daylight so it is understandable why these features failed to make much of an impression. The design of the light was also interesting. The front of the light twists to adjust the brightness and also to turn on a strobe feature. With this strobe feature, the design of the zero adjustments and the brightness of the laser and light, my conclusion is that is a great home defense or close quarters optic. It has some limited operational spectrum but if you want a laser light combo to clear rooms or take down a home invader I think this is a solid choice for a reasonable price tag of $240.
The Ultra Shot M-Spec Reflex Sight was another interesting design by Sightmark. In fact, I discovered something new about some red dot optics. For the majority of my time using any kind of reflex sight, I have used an EOTech. The EoTech uses a laser to shine the reticle onto a plane of glass. An EoTech also has a secondary plane of glass behind the laser to protect it. I had never realized that this was the way holographic optics worked. I had always assumed that the optic was simply a computer image rendered onto a screen. Once I had a close look at the M-Spec I saw the light from the laser and followed it to its source. This also leads to the discovery of the same set up on my Romeo 3 and eventually, how the EoTech’s themselves are designed. What I found unique of the M-Spec in this regard is that it has a retractable hood built into the frame. This gives a shooter the option to cover the laser from inclement weather or just give his optic a badass new look. When you are out in a wet environment this can be a lifesaver. The hood prevents excess moisture for rain falling on the glass. While it won’t keep all of the water off of it, it also won’t be drenched and completely fogged out.
With the Ultra Shot mounted on my LMT Ar-15 I found the controls to be simple and straightforward. There are four control buttons, brighter, dimmer, on/off and infrared. To my delight, they were located on the side of the body. This allowed me free access to the controls while mounting my Leupold D-EVO 6x behind the M-Spec. Unlike the LoPro, the UltraShot has flat head zero adjustment screws. Not only were they low profile, with a common head they were in my favorite design. A flat head area that has enough surface area that a shooter can adjust it with the rim of a cartridge. I prefer this design because if you are making adjustments in the field, or simply forgot your tools, a spent or even unspent cartridge makes adjustments a breeze.
The M-Spec offers a great field of view making target transitions a breeze without sacrificing accuracy. The parallax in the optic is minimal and gets better the farther out the target is. Parallax being a shift in zero when the proper sight alignment isn’t maintained. Sightmark designed the optic so that while it isn’t parallax free it does minimize the effects of parallax, the further out the target. This makes precision close quarter shots more reliable in heated engagements, while also increasing long range accuracy.
I didn’t Ranger smash or otherwise test the integrity of the Ultra Shot’s design but from what I observed, researched and observed I believe it is reliable and solid. It has an automatic off switch after 12 hours to conserve battery and while operational it has a motion sensor that will put the optic into a sleep mode. This sleep mode will automatically turn off once the M-Spec is moved. On Amazon the Ultra Shot sells for a cool $240, making this an affordable option for anyone looking for a holographic sight.
John Gobby is a member of 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment. He has served with them for eight years and seven combat deployments. He has experience with both tactical direct action, tactical reconnaissance and covert operations. Recently he has started participating in competition pistol shoots and has a passion for long range shooting.