By Jeff Gurwitch
January 9, 2012
For the past 3 months now I have been shooting a Lucid HD7 Red Dot Sight. Now, I know what you’re thinking “mid-range priced optics they don’t work well or don’t last”. As much as I have tried, though, straight up, the Lucid HD7 hasn’t let me down yet.
Specs and Features
Before I get into the HD7’s performance, let me give a quick rundown of its features, and there are a ton. First, and one that I find in particular is a rarity on today’s combat optics and actually an ideal feature for CQB, is auto brightness control. Built into the top of the scope is a light sensor. You can run the scope on a normal setting where you manually control the brightness with push buttons, or, by pressing the power switch and holding for about a second, the scope will switch to auto brightness and the reticle will adjust to the light around you. Now, I say reticle, not red dot, on purpose. Another very notable feature on the HD 7 is that it has four built in reticles to choose from: a single red dot, a circle with a dot, cross hairs, and a circle with cross hair lines coming off it. To switch between reticles you just turn a knob on the left side of the scope.
The HD7 Red Dot Sight seems pretty well built. The entire scope is encased in a rubber coating, adding to its water proofing and ability to withstand dents and dings. The sight attaches to the rifle rails via two screws that come in a built-in mount attached to the sight. The HD7 is powered by a single AAA (1,000-hour run time) that includes an auto shut-off feature built into it that will shut the optic off after 2 hours. The HD7 also can accept a 2-power (2x) screw-on magnifier, but it’s not included with the sight.
Since the HD7 is a rifle sight, the biggest thing I obviously wanted to check was accuracy and durability. So, with that in mind I wanted to run it for at least a few months specifically to see if it would hold and maintain a zero. After three months that has included both semi-auto and full-auto fire, the HD 7 has worked flawlessly. This includes one big concern I had; would it hold a zero switching between reticles? I am happy to report that yes, it does. Whether shooting up close at room distance in fast strings or shooting out to 200 meters at 6 inch plates, the HD7 has held its zero. Now, out of the four reticles, I prefer the single dot the best (I have always preferred a single red dot), but I did find it handy to be able to go from a single dot to something easier to pick up for room distance. Shooting the circle with dot reticle I thought was great for that.
The HD7’s auto-brightness feature works well. Outside in daylight I found the scope worked best all the way turned up in the manual setting, but indoors it was nice having the HD7 in auto mode going from bright-lit rooms to walking into a dark room and not be “red splashed out” by an optic turned too high up. As I went into the darker rooms the HD7 turned itself down.
Side Note: Auto-Brightness and CQB
I’m very happy to see an auto-brightness feature on the HD7. It’s the first full-sized optic I’ve seen since the 1990’s Israeli Elbit Falcon MK II to have it. The reason I’m so pleased to see it is that, in my opinion, a self-adjusting reticle is a necessity for CQB (Close Quarters Battle). Yes, I know, both the Aimpoint red dot and L-3 EOTech HWS (Holographic Weapon Sight) combat optics are kings of the close-quarters-battle optics, but I find them both a little lacking during real world missions in one area. My issue has to do with situations where one is flying or driving into the objective area in black out. In this scenario, I would of course have my sight turned way down so I could get a sight picture in the low light and not be washed out.
Problem is, 90% of the time, as soon as we hit the objective and dismount, the amount of light in the area is usually pretty high from streetlights and buildings with lights on the windows and such. This will require turning your optic up on the fly, not to mention if the building you’re entering already has the lights on. I can tell you from my companions’ AAR’s that, more than once, guys have gone halfway through objectives forgetting to dial up their brightness in their scopes and end up clearing rooms with a barely-noticeable reticle.
The HD7’selevation and windage adjustments are made via to two large knobs; elevation on top, windage on the right side. I must say this: although they do work well and have pretty solid ‘click’ adjustments, they’re kind of out of place on the HD7. They are more the type you would normally find on a powered scope, not on a red dot style combat optic. They do stick out quite a bit and, in my opinion, make the HD7 look a little “airsoftish”. As a matter of fact, the first time I hit the range with some of my shooting buddies (two security contractors and a MMA instructor/3gun competitor), they laughed at me when they saw the HD7 and stated “good luck with that”. Well let me just say I was able to quickly change their view of the HD7 with first-round hits on 6-inch (6″) plates at 200 meters. Yes the big knobs on the HD7 are ugly, but the HD7 has worked great every time!
I was actually introduced to the HD7 Red Dot Sight at an industry show on Ft. Bragg a few months ago by the owner/founder of Lucid, Jason Wilson. I just wanted to make mention of this because after talking with Mr. Wilson, I can say that not only is he a man that stands by his product, but more importantly, his intentions seem very genuine. He expressed to me that his goal was to make not only a quality optic, but also one the average shooter can afford. Although he said the HD7 was built with civilian and police use only in mind, not military use (my intent), he was so confident with his HD7 that he handed me one on the spot for me to do this write-up. The review sample was unconditional. It didn’t matter what my findings were, good or bad. He was pretty confident I would like it, and well, he was right! At the beginning of this article I stated “mid-range optic”. Like many, I cringe at the thought of using anything but a $500-plus optic. But, try as I might to find a reason not to like the HD7, I cannot.
Since meeting Mr. Wilson, I’ve expressed the changes I would like to see with the HD7. As stated earlier in this article, I think the adjustment knobs have to go. The only other real issue I’ve had with the HD7 is the attachment knobs. I would like to see them get replaced by some sort of locking throw-lever. When I first mounted it up and zeroed it, the HD7 did come loose once while I was doing some room clearing with live-fire shooting. I fixed it by putting some Loctite on the screws, and it’s been solid ever since, but throw levers would eliminate the chance of it ever coming loose again.
I’m happy to report the Mr. Wilson already has plans for a more militarized version that has recessed elevation and windage knobs and perhaps some sort of throw lever or other locking mount. The new version will go from the current four to just two reticles for simpler and easier operation.
The Wrap Up
I do not have a long list of optics out there that are below $500 dollars that I would trust. There are few, but not many. I am happy to report, though, that at $249.00 USD, the Lucid HD7 Red Dot Sight combat optic is not only a great deal, but has also made that list. Over the 3 months I’ve been using it, it’s worked every time. It’s kept its zero, and accuracy has been dead on. So, if you’re in the market for a quality optic for your AR and you don’t want to break the bank, then the Lucid HD7 is one optic definitely worth looking at!
Editor’s Note: Lucid also makes magnifier optics for the HD7. Also, in the top (first) photo, you can see an Arredondo AR Magwell (flared magwell), of which technical/tactical shooting instructor John Romaszka of Romaszka Tactical Training (RTT) is also a fan (and user), attached to the weapon. You can see a Lancer Systems L5 Advanced Warfighter Magazine (Lancer L5 AWM) translucent polymer magazine in the weapon’s magwell. DefenseReview (DR) likes both of these products.
Photo(s) Credit: Jeff Gurwitch
About the Author (Jeff Gurwitch):
– Has been a competitive shooter for the last 10 years: USPSA, IDPA, and 3-Gun.
– U.S. Army 3rd Special Forces Group, Ft. Bragg, NC.
– Spent 3 years as an instructor at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School
– Spent 8 years with U.S. Army 5th Special Forces Group, Ft. Campbell KY and did 3 tours in Iraq.
– Graduated the U.S. Army Special Forces Qualification course in 1998 as a Weapons Sergeant.
– Spent 7 years in the mechanized infantry and Airborne.
– Served in First Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) in Iraq with the 1st Armored Division.
– Joined the U.S. Army in June of 1990 as an infantryman.
Company Contact Info:
Loctite Brand (Consumer Products)
26235 First Street
Westlake Ohio 44145
Toll Free: 800-624-7767
Email Contact Page: http://www.loctiteproducts.com/contact-us.shtml
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