“Movement” I whispered quietly while signaling back to my squadmates. We were in a small pre-deployment training center in Texas and the heat was relentless. The movement was across a ridgeline that, if followed, would lead to a small collection of buildings that we were holding. Waves of rising heat distorted the small dots that moved across the ridgeline perhaps 600 meters away. I raised my M4A1 and rested the stock on top of my shoulder and craned my neck to peer through my ACOG gunsight, a 4x optic designed for combat usage. With the magnification I could make out that they were enemy based on their clothing. They had however by this time slipped into cover.
When the gunfight erupted perhaps an hour later in the confines of the village we were in, the 4x magnification of the ACOG severely limited my ability to accurately deliver simunition rounds into the bounding opposing forces as they advanced upon us. Raising my rifle to my eye and looking through the ACOG I only saw a corner of a doorway, or the blur of clothing. Tracking targets in close quarters came down to instinctive snap shooting. Successful shots at mid-range occurred due to familiarity with your optic and excellent reflexes. A reflex sight or holographic sight would have been much better suited to this particular engagement. However at times due to the varying terrain, magnification was sorely needed for engagement or target identification.
Weapon optic technology has advanced at a breakneck pace the last 15 years as the Global War on Terror has necessitated advances in war fighting. One of these advances has been the melding of magnified optic and reflex sight in what we see today as variable powered optics that go from true 1x to 5-6x magnification. Many companies put out excellent products for various purposes and many companies build them with combat in mind. Enter the Steiner M5Xi, it is built rugged and over-engineered in Germany to withstand the rigors of combat. You may know Steiner for their excellent IR laser/IR Illumination products. In any case the company is very familiar with the rigors that non-permissive environments can put on products.
The Steiner M5Xi is a 30mm tube which has an illuminated rapid dot reticle with easy to use bullet drop marks. The illuminated dot has 7 night settings and 4 day settings. The great thing about the dot settings is that between each of the settings there is an off position. This way you can turn your optic directly onto the setting you are most used to so that you don’t have to scroll through the entire wheel of settings. There is a demarcation point between the night and day setting as well on the brightness turret. The elevation and windage adjustments are positive and “clicky”. Zeroing this optic was extremely easy and intuitive. Each click is 0.1 mrad, which is as precise as I need on my particular rifle. Steiner optics also have a re-settable zero in case you want to change the elevation values and need to return to your zero.