Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
In a world of $400 and $500 handgun red dots, with the newest units boasting ever more features, can a basic reflex sight even be worth consideration? Doesn’t the much lower cost of such an uncomplicated optic suggest, all by itself, a cheaply made red dot ready to break down shortly after Round #10 leaves the pistol?
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Certainly not if the unit is the Samaritan Micro Reflex Optic from Gorilla Optics, which proved itself reliable and very functional while selling for a reasonable price.
Unboxing the Samaritan
I received a new Samaritan and on opening the box I found:
-One Samaritan Compact Micro Reflex Dot Sight, featuring a 5 MOA green dot;
-Three sets of different-sized mounting screws, two screws per set;
-One installation wrench for the mounting screws;
-One adjustment wrench for the optic;
-A small tube of Loctite 242;
-One battery, an Energizer ECR2032 3V lithium;
-An instruction booklet;
-A cleaning cloth.
In fact, it came with everything needed to mount the Samaritan onto my pistol.
That pistol was a new Girsan High Power™ MCP35 PILW, imported exclusively by the European American Armory Corp. The 9MM MCP35 is a lighter-weight version of the Browning High Power, sporting a 3.8-inch barrel and an aluminum frame.
The rear slide of the MCP35 PILW is cut for the RMSc optic footprint, the same footprint employed by the Samaritan. I removed the optic cut plate on the rear of the pistol’s slide, installed the provided battery into the bottom of the optic, and fitted the Samaritan onto the High Power’s slide.
I attached the optic using the pair of M4x.7 8.6mm mounting screws provided.
The Samaritan kit also came with M3x.5 12MM and M4x.7 10.1MM screws. These three sets allow the optic to be attached to a variety of pistols.
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Of course, the Samaritan fits any other pistols utilizing the RMSc mounting footprint.
Zeroing The Samaritan
As noted, my Samaritan had a green dot, which can also be purchased with a red center dot. My Samaritan featured manual brightness controls located on either side of the unit. It can also be purchased with an automatic brightness control, where the optic illuminates as soon as the battery is installed.
At my outdoor range, I started the zeroing process shooting for a rest at 10 yards. The day was sunny, and the green dot popped very crisply.
My first three-shot group hit approximately 2.0 inches high and 2.5 inches to the left. While the elevation and windage controls moved easily enough with the supplied Allen wrench, the controls didn’t “click” when turned. The controls are not set up for the standard .25 MOA or .5 MOA per click movement of the point of impact, either.
That wasn’t a problem, exactly, but it took me a few more shots to figure out just how much I needed to adjust the green dot to get onto target. Plus, I pulled two shots. In the end, though, my Shots # 12 and 13 drilled the bullseye.
I shot several more groups at ten yards rest from my rest. My best two groups, at five rounds apiece, came in at 1.0- and 1.2-inches.
I moved onto seven yards and shot offhand. The best five-shot groups hit at 1.4- and 1.5 inches, plus I scored a four-shot cluster at .90-inches.
The Samaritan With Its Wide Lens
One feature that sets the Samaritan apart from many reflex sights is its very wide, 17 x 24mm lens. For us non-metric types, that’s .70 inches at its tallest center point by .94 in. wide. For comparison, the popular Holosun 507K GR-X2 and 507K X2 both feature a .58 in. high and .77 in. wide lens.
A larger viewing area can lead to faster target acquisition. So, I shot off a couple of magazines starting from low ready, counting to five and quickly raising the pistol and seeing how fast I could get on target.
Obviously, at seven yards, I got on target as fast as a shooter would with nearly any reflex sight. But I did feel that the Samaritan’s nearly 1.0-inch-wide lens also provided a good view of the sides of my targets. That wider view could be important in a self-defense situation, especially as human predators often operate in pairs.
The Samaritan is a solid reflex optic that I would use on my concealed carry and home defense pistols. Yes, it is basic and pretty simple—both of which I consider top qualities in most gear.
How much of a banging around the optic could take without losing zero or malfunctioning are good questions, fine questions for any reflex optic really. I don’t know the answer.
However, Allen Davis, President of Gorilla Optics, tells me the Samaritan has been used extensively on pistols chambered in 10MM AUTO and 45 ACP with no issues. The unit’s housing is made of tough 7075 aluminum alloy, and Gorilla Optics rates the unit as IP67 waterproof, too.
To conserve battery life, WAKEN technology puts Samaritan in standby mode after two minutes of inactivity. Once movement is sensed, the unit is back on and at the brightness level it was on before going into standby.
Gorilla Optics also sells an adapter so the Samaritan can be used on a larger handgun, PCC, or rifle.
Basic, very functional, and gets the job done…for $150? Sold.
Specifications: Samaritan Reflex Optic
Window Lens Size: 17x24mm/0.7×0.9in
Weight (net): 18.4g / 0.65oz
Eye Relief: Free
Optics Coating: Multi Coated
Parallax: Free (<2MOA)
Parallax Setting: @25 yards.
Adjustment Range: >45MOA
Dot Size: 5MOA Green or Red Dot
Intensity: 8 Levels & 2 NV
Mounting Footprint: RMSc direct compatibility
Working Temperature: -20~+55C
Housing Material: 7075 Aluminum Alloy
Battery Type: CR2032 Battery
Runtime: 40,000 hours (at lowest illumination setting)
Finish: Black matte anodized
Ratings: IP67 waterproof, Shock Proof to 1,000 g.
Includes: Instruction booklet, mounting screws, battery, installation and adjustment wrenches, Loctite 242, cleaning cloth, sticker.