By Brian Jensen
Meopta’s newest red dot sight, called the M-RAD or Meopta Rapid Acquisition Dot reflex sight, looks similar to many high-end reflex optics, but what stands out is that it is quite a bit smaller. At first glance, I thought it was a pistol sight but then realized it is a combat rifle setup. The M-RAD weighs 3.07 ounces (or 105 grams), compared to an EoTech XPS that weighs 8 ounces, but it is solidly made of aluminum. The unit is strong, and the reticle itself is surrounded by an aluminum frame for protection from being banged around. Weight is important because after hours or days of carrying a rifle around, you will find that trimming off every ounce you can is a huge benefit. It comes equipped with a picatinny mount that quickly attached with a lever/cam-style mount that was very effective and kept it on tight. It released easily, and seemed to keep zero well. The M-RAD is easy to operate with one simple button, and the system is waterproof and compatible with night vision technology. The extremely useful support package supplied with the sight holds everything, including tools, spare batteries and cleaning supplies for the optic. There are additional spacers to raise the sight higher for a proper sight picture, tools to adjust the sight and even a specially designed screwdriver for opening the battery compartment. Overall, this is a smaller that is both rugged and lightweight, and it performs well.
One feature that I really liked was the very simple “On/Off” placed at the forward end of the body of the M-RAD. On other sights, turning on the red dot means pushing the “Up” power buttons repeatedly to get the sight on. On the M-RAD, you just push and hold for a moment and the red dot appears in the glass; press and hold again, and it goes off. If you need your rifle fast, it just works better. If you wish to adjust the intensity of the dot, just quickly press the same switch to lower it or increase it. The reticle controls are two screw-adjustments that are used to zero the red dot, and a third one to lock them into place. The red dot is a 3 MOA, which translates to a 3-inch red dot on the target at 100 yards, which is perfect for a combat weapon. There are five levels of intensity. The dot was easy to see once you got your head down on the stock and your eye into the correct position, which can be hard on flattop AR’s.
Using the M-RAD
The lever-cam mount attached easily, and needed only a slight adjustment to snug it down. When I mounted the M-RAD on an M-4, I needed spacers to line my eyes up to the red dot. However, it sets up nicely – similar to some of the “micro” red dot sights that have a small unit mounted high on the flat top. I liked it, and my eye found the reticle easily. I also tried the M-RAD on a picatinny mount I put on my Ruger Mini 14 Ranch Rifle. The characteristics of the M-RAD actually lent themselves very well to this setup, whereas other optics tended to be a little big on this gun and made it feel like it weighed a ton. The standard mount was a perfect height for the setup on the Mini 14, so I didn’t add any of the spacers. I took it off and on a few times and it kept zero just fine.
I tested the M-RAD on my Ruger Mini 14 Ranch Rifle. Zeroing it took little effort using the screwdriver supplied. The mini isn’t as deft as an AR, so it felt a little odd doing snap-shooting with it. However, once I found the sweet spot on the comb of the rifle, the red dot jumped out at me on the target, and snap shooting was easy as putting that dot on the target. I tried both eyes open for snap shots, and single-eyed shooting for precision. Both options worked fine with the M-RAD, but I needed to take more care in setting the light intensity of the red dot for precision shooting. If I had the dot set too bright, it glared out the target; so lower intensity was better. This would be a good contender for a pistol sight based upon its size and how well it did at quick snap shooting.
The price point of the Meopta M-RAD is just under $400, which puts it in the same category of some of the more established models such as the earlier mentioned EoTech. However, this sight is far smaller and may be more appropriate for your setup, as it was on mine. Also, the M-RAD comes with much more supporting gear than I’ve seen with other systems, so there is really nothing additional you need to buy.
Meopta is a high-end developer and manufacturer of quality optics from the Czech Republic and has subsidiaries in the US. The company makes optics for commercial and industrial applications and for the Czech military, as well as for many shooters around the world. This is the country that brought us the CZ 75 pistol, a gun many people paid a premium to get back when they nearly had to be smuggled out of Soviet Bloc Czechoslovakia. The M-RAD is part of Meopta’s product line aimed at the military/law enforcement rifle market.