The Leupold MK AR 1x4x is a pretty nifty optic. With the increase in popularity of the variable power carbine optic and the increase in price that comes along with that popularity. The 1x-4x is no frills alternative that is still handy and versatile without the $1,800+ price.
The scope has a 1 inch tube which is still the most common for most end users. It’s rapidly becoming passe, but it keeps the price down and few of the targeted market does not need a 30MM tube.
The adjustment turrets are Mils. instead of the MOA clicks. In addition, the elevation has markings to of a BDC to match common rounds used. Most come with the BDC for 55 grain M193 loads but you can order different ones from Leupold and swap them out. Not just in 5.56MM but also 309/7.62. The turrets have set screws that all you to reset the turret to 0 once you have it…zeroed. Which I clearly have not done yet.
The left side has the battery cap and control for the Firedot.
The reticle is a crosshair with a larger outer ring for use on lower power. The firedot lights up in the center of the crosshairs.
The reticle has carious marks for holdover etc. Armlist shows a diagram showing holds for M855 and a 175gr math load for .308. I have tried it and can confirm it is accurate.
The power ring could be a little bigger, It is hard to grab and adjust in a hurry or with gloves.
The MK AR1-4x is usually seen on 556 carbines or rifles. The 1.5x with dot is meant to make it work as a RDS but it just can’t. We have not hit the point where we can have a true RDS then Variable magnification both in one optic yet. I do like this optic for “battle carbine” use. The combination works as a some what DMR.
This scope has been one of my favorites for a long time. The Vari-X II then as the VX-II, have been general purpose target optics of mine for at least 20 years. The 6x-18x being the one I found to be the most useful.
The VXII has the 40mm objective lens that is adjustable for range/focus/parallax. It has the inside threading to accept a sunshade which as you can see, I have installed.
The windage and elevation adjustments are in 1/4 MOA clicks and comes standard with a thinner turret and caps the screw on over them.
I have replaced them with the over sized turrets that are not covered so that Ic an quickly adjust them without having to remove cap. Very handy when making adjustments when hunting crow. The turrets have three small set screw that can be loosened to allow the turret to be reset at 0 when. One full revolution of the turret is 60 clicks of 1/4″ per. 144 clicks up will give a 1,000 yard zero from a .308 using 175gr Federal gold medal Match from a 100 yard zero.
The power ring is small with a slightly larger bump for adjusting power. It’s not big by modern standards and I am sure many would complain. But this is not a tactical optic. Of course the power goes from 6x-18x naturally.
I was not able to get a satisfactory picture of the reticle. The optic uses a plain duplex cross hair with fine main crosshairs. Like every Leupold, the glass is very clear and sharp. eye relief is generous and not picky at all. I have used these model optics for most of my long range shooting career before moving to NF and more specialized tactical leupolds. Even so I have spent more time behind one of these on live game since I have been using the VX and vari-x models for over 20 years.
And because I know you will ask. The Optic is currently mounted to my Pre-64 Winchester model 70 heavy varmint. Gun is chambered in .243 WCF with heavy target barrel.
I think we are in the end of the age of iron sights. Not that they are going to suddenly go away, but more and more individuals and groups will feed no need or desire to use them in place of optics.
My dad bought a CSAT folding rear sight, and told me it didn’t work well for him. I was surprised he bought it since I was sure he perfectly happy with the ACOG/Mini Red Dot combo. I had a CSAT aperture years ago, and I liked the idea of it, but decided I’d rather put the money towards something else.
The CSAT sight was designed by Paul Howe and the intent is to have a peep sight for use at 100 yards, and a notch above for 0-7 yards.
I can’t find when I purchased the CSAT aperture I had. I think it was installed in a LMT rear sight. I did find an old note from 2009 saying that I wanted to get one, so it must have been after that. I remember shooting with it, then decided I liked the Knights Armament 2-600m rear sight better.
I didn’t know that XS Sights now makes a their own flip up rear sight. The design is similar to the Troy flip up sights, but it doesn’t look or feel as refined. It locks in the up position, and you need to press the button on the left side to lower it. The windage is easily adjustable with the knob on the right side.
I went ahead and threw the sight on one of my uppers, and gave it a try.
My dad said that when he would look though the CSAT sight, the thin bit of material between the peep and the notch would appear to disappear and it would become a giant U notch. I didn’t remember having this happen before when I had a CSAT aperture, but sure enough when I tried aiming at a wall in my home it happened to me every time.
Good in theory, but the aperture ring ghosts out & can’t be seen. It leaves you w/ a giant deep U sight picture. Not worth the cost.
Review from Midway USA.
Indoors, nose to the charging handle, this happened to me 100% of the time. If I backed my head away from the sight it became usable. Outdoors in sunlight I rarely had this issue. But it happened enough that I would never buy this sight.
The XS CSAT aperture is like an A2 aperture, but same plane. So there is a large opening and a peep that share the same zero. On this flip up sight, when you flip it up it will have the large aperture up.
If you want to use the CSAT aperture, you have to flip up the rear sight, then flip the aperture. That doesn’t make sense to me. They should have had it default to the peep+notch.
It has probably been nearly a decade since the last time I used the CSAT sight. I was dismayed to find that the notch felt HUGE. I wasn’t centering the front sight post in the notch, I was centering the entire front sight. That felt slow to me.
I had remember the CSAT as being a good sight that wasn’t for me. Using it now I thought it felt terrible. Like the notch had been made to large and interfered with the use of the peep.
When I was going to test this, I thought I would do a rough and hasty 300m zero, by zeroing a half inch low at 25 yards. Then I was going to shoot at 7 yards. I was shooting a couple of rifles, and in my haste I fired on a target I had already used. I had a really hard time trying to shoot that 3 shot group for zeroing. I couldn’t get focused on the front sight and the 3/4 inch red dot I was aiming at disappeared. The group I shot was awful.
Now, normally I would say that I was shooting poorly. But I had just fired this other group with the same ammo, same distance, out of the same type of barrel using a KAC 2-600m rear sight.
The groups were shot about 5 minutes apart from each other. Shooting with the KAC sight felt easy, I was really struggling with the CSAT sight peep. After seeing how bad the group was, I made no adjustments. So I decided I wasn’t going to try and fine zero, I would instead try some faster shooting up close.
I set up up more of these dots at about 7 yards. (Thank again to the nice guy who gave me oh too very many of these red targets after he had a ton of them made for himself.)
To show the purpose of the notch, I fired some fast shots using the peep aperture of the CSAT.
Aiming directly at the red dot, I fired 5 shots of M855. You can see how the point of impact is much lower than the point of aim. The idea of the CSAT notch is so in close range situations when you need to make a precision shot, you can.
I had a handful of wolf ammo laying around, that I wanted to use up so I used it for this group. Maybe 12 or so rounds. I should have paid closer attention. The target was engaged with single shots at a moderately fast speed. Lowering the weapon between each shot. I felt really slow, as it seemed liked the whole front sight base was visible in the that notch and and I had to find the front sight post in there and line it up with the top the rear sight notch and center everything.
That would be a training and familiarity issue. More practice with the sight would lead to faster target acquisition.
If you had asked me about the CSAT aperture before last week, I would have told you it is a nice product, but something unneeded, and that something like an Aimpoint would be a far better choice on a modern fighting rifle. I wonder if they changed the design since then.
Now, having used the CSAT sight again on XS folding sight; I feel like XS flip up sight body is ok, but crude compared to others. The CSAT aperture felt terrible in use for me. I would rather use a standard A2 or detachable carry handle over it. I think I would rather use just about anything else over it.
NightForce optics need no introduction or explanation, everyone above 5 years old knows who they are and how good they are. So lets get to it.
The NXS is a pretty big optic. But you get a lot for that size. Now its no doubt considered old and past its prime compared to new designs coming out nearly ever month, it’s still first class in my opinion.
5.5 – 22 x
Reticle Focal Plane:
Second Focal Plane (SFP)
2.5 – 10.2 mm
Field of View, Linear:
4.7 – 17.5 ft at 100 yds
AS the specs from NF say above, the NXS turrets adjust in 1/4 MOA clicks. I know its “obsolete ” to use MOA instead of Mils now a days but I like it. I been using 1/4 adjustments for 30 years, I am comfortable with it, I know it and it works very well for me. The turrets can be loosened and reset at zero like most modern tactical scopes.
The left side parallax knob also functions as the illumination control for the reticle. You pull out to turn it on and push it back in to turn it off. The cross hairs light up red but are not day time brought. There is no brightness control though it can be done, I wouldn’t really mess with it with out much care.
The reticle is the now discontinued NP-R1 reticle. ” 1 MOA elevation spacing and 2 MOA windage spacing are ideal for precision long range shooting, benchrest and all-around use. The fine reticle subtensions are effective for rangefinding objects of various sizes. NP-R1 reticles in Nightforce 5.5-22x, 8-32x and 12-42x NXS models show 20 MOA scale below centerline (at left). In the 3.5-15x, an additional 10 MOA scale below center is indicated on the reticle. “ I find it to be very useful and it’s just what I wanted for what I use the optic for. Not as sexy as current Xmas tree crosshairs but perfect for me.
The rear power ring is knurled for easier gripping. The entire rear turns with the power ring to make it even easier. That is the one thing I would change if I could. I rather the power ring turn and nothing else. But I got over it pretty quick.
I can’t recommend the NXS enough. Howard can tell you, I wanted one for years. I have not be disappointed. They are tough, repeatable, super clear glass and come in a variety of reticle choices. They can take a helluva lot of punishment and shrug it off. As much of a Leupold man as I am, I hold NF in the same regard. it is a bit of a more specialized optic though, so make sure you know what you are going to use it for, It’s not something you stick on an M4 for general do it all use.