For more information, visit http://shieldpsd.com/.
When I first opened the Shield Mini Sight, I have to admit I had a bit of a ho-hum reaction. That’s because they’re made of polymer, so I had a gut reaction that they might not be all that durable.
On further reflection, it occurred to me that durability is achieved in two ways – rigidity and flexibility. Some gear is made of steel and not intended to flex at all, ever. Other gear is supposed to “give” a bit rather than break. Heck, even buildings are designed to move and sway so they won’t fall down during high winds, earthquakes, or Michael Moore jogging nearby.
Random bunny trail: Did you know that the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (2,717 feet tall) sways in the wind about six feet? If it weren’t for dampening systems that slow the acceleration, you’d get nauseated on the upper floors, even when avoiding the bar.
Anyway, lots of things we use factor in flexibility as a strength, and many of these are made of polymer, starting with the frames of many popular handguns. So as I thought about this a bit more, it occurred to me that having a little flex and give in something like a red dot might not be such a bad idea.
In fact, it’s not just the body of the Shield Mini Sight that’s made of polymer, but also the lens. Why? According to the company, it can withstand ten times the impact of a glass lens, that’s why. Since I had to send this one back, I was not able to do any mini-sledge testing, so I’ll have to take their word for it.
The sights are made by Shield Firearms & Sights, a British company located on the southern coast of England in the town of Bridport. As a result, you’ll see words like “whilst” on their website, as in “Shoot early with both eyes open, hit early whilst providing large peripheral vision.” The company has been in the sight business for about 30 years. During most of that time, they made sights for other firms to sell under their own brand names including Firepoint, Tasco Optima, Trijicon RedDot or JPoint.
The Shield Mini Sight comes with three dot options, all of which are powered by a CR2032 battery driving a red LED. The available dots are 1 MOA with a 65 MOA ring, 4 MOA, and 8 MOA, which was the model I tested. I found the dot bright and crisp around the edges. It was exceptionally easy to pick up in daylight conditions. The intensity auto adjusts based on ambient light conditions, so in the dark, it runs at a very low setting which is compatible with night vision if you’re into sneaking around and playing Ninja of the Night.
It’s an “always on” design and it self-monitors battery life by dimming its output whenever it’s not in bright light. A rain cover comes with the unit, and you can store your gun with that in place to extend battery life, but even without using the cover, it should run for a year or more. The company rates battery life at two to three years, but that assumes dark conditions. I’ll happily make the trade-off of swapping a battery once per year to have a sight with no buttons to turn it on.
While the sight can be used on rifles, shotguns and handguns, its small size really made me consider it for the latter in my testing. I mounted this on the new Glock MOS models, a 17 and 19, and did quite a bit of shooting with it. By the way, it’s compatible with one of the included mounting plates that comes with the Glock. From memory, I think it was plate number four.
The window is large and clear, and the thin outer frame does a great job of staying out of your line of sight. I also did a lot of dry firing indoors in darker conditions with LaserLyte Targets and LaserLyte Cartridge Insert Lasers. The unit adjusted for changing ambient lighting conditions transparently. Compared to an RMR, which I was testing side by side with the SMS, there was a whole lot more viewing area with the SMS.
I tested the SMS entirely on handguns, but a variety of mounts are available for other uses too. For example, Shield offers a shotgun mounting system which allows you to attach the SMS to a various size shotgun rails. The company also offers various pistol adapters, elevated mounts for MSRs, and sight-on-scope mounting options.
I liked this sight, especially its great visibility. Unlike “bulkier” optics on handguns, the frame is thin and unobtrusive and the window large. You also can’t beat the weight. The sight weighs just ½ ounce. To put that in perspective, a Trijicon RMR is 1.2 ounces – almost two and a half times the weight of the SMS. If you order direct, you’ll see an MSRP of 209.99 British Pounds. However, when I entered my shipping info, the price, including shipping, dropped to 174.99 British Pounds, which as of today is about $252.70. A pretty good deal, huh?