Say hello to Springfield Armory’s new Wasp micro red dot sight. The Wasp is one of SA’s new HEX line of optics, and it warrants a serious look for concealed carry and duty gun use. I’ve been watching the evolution of pistol red dots for decades and they are finally getting the features that many believe have always been needed.
A single red dot removes sight alignment errors and typically makes shooters more accurate. Red dot sights were used for years in bullseye competition before they made their debut in practical pistol shooting, and now they may be ready for daily use.
I was at the USPSA Nationals some 30 years ago when three shooters showed up with red dots on their pistols. Jerry Barnhart won that year shooting one of those pistols, and the rest is history. Since then it’s been a slow but steady march toward the normalization of red dots on personal carry and duty guns.
Making red dots small enough for handguns has always been one of the toughest challenges. The Wasp is small enough that it easily fits on a pistol, even on a sub-compact like the Hellcat. It’s only 1.6” long and .95” wide and weighs almost nothing compared to the material removed to mount it.
The Wasp with the 2032 battery weighs in at a feather weight 5/8th of an ounce, while the plate to fill the cutout on the Hellcat was ½ of an ounce. So, the actual added weight of the Wasp to the gun was a miniscule 1/8th of an ounce.
However, there are many small red dots on the market today. What sets the Wasp apart is how Springfield Armory addresses the other challenges. The size of the optical window is one of those obstacles. It needs to be large enough to enable a shooter to rapidly find the red dot, yet small enough to fit comfortably on a concealed carry pistol.
The window size of the Wasp is just right, giving the shooter enough real estate to find the dot and track it during firing, while not adding excessive bulk to the profile of the pistol. A key factor contributing to the speed and ease in finding the dot is the low mount position of the Wasp on the pistol.
The aluminum body of the Wasp is very low and therefore the window is down at normal sight height, so finding the dot is as natural as finding the iron sights. The back of the Wasp base has a slot that could be used as a fixed rear sight if needed.
Manufacturing the Wasp from 6061 T6 aluminum and using a glass lens ensures a sight rugged enough for daily carry and serious use. The lens has scratch and glare resistant coatings for longer life and a better sight picture.
The sight is mounted with the Springfield Micro Footprint pattern with 4 corner index points and 2 mounting screws (same as a Shield RMSc). The hood holding the glass lens overhangs the front and rear of the lens holding it securely as well as protecting it from damage.
Length- 1.6” Width- 0.95”
Weight- 0.7 oz. Dot Size- 3.5 moa
Battery Life- ~65,000 hours on low Battery- 2032
Settings- Auto dimming. MSRP- $299
Windage and elevation screws are clearly marked on the Wasp allowing for rapid zeroing of the dot. An included adjustment indicator allows for more precise adjustment rather than wasting ammunition with trial and error.
The red dot of the Wasp is 3.5 moa in size, making it 3 ½” in diameter at 100 yards, more or less, typically the bloom and glare of dots make this an approximation. I found the dot of the Wasp to be very consistent in size and shape.
My first shot with the Wasp was at a 12” steel silhouette at about 75 yards, just because I happened to be on the rifle range. The dot presented an excellent aiming point and a slow steady trigger press was rewarded with an instant ring from a hit.
If you haven’t already noticed from the previous pictures the Wasp doesn’t have an on/ off button or a button to adjust dot brightness. This is where the Springfield Armory Wasp made the huge leap and tackled the two most important challenges for a carry optic.
A carry optic has to be on when you need it and the brightness of the dot needs to be appropriate for the lighting. In competition there is time for pushing those buttons and adjusting to the optimal setting, real life doesn’t offer those luxuries.
The Wasp comes on when the battery goes in and a sensor adjusts the brightness based on lighting conditions. I found it was always easily visible under changing conditions outdoors as well as indoors. My eyes could not detect any major changes, but the brightness was always right and the dot visible.
The key to having a carry optic that is ready all the time is a tremendously long battery life. No one wants to re-zero their optic due to frequent battery changes or risk it going out when they need it most. The Wasp has an estimated battery life of 65,000 hours on lowest adjustment, but has a realistic 2 years at varying intensity according to Springfield Armory.
Due to the low mounting height it was very easy to pick up the dot while shooting the Wasp on the range. Close range fast targets or those at longer distances were all easily engaged. Removing sight alignment error meant it was all down to trigger control.
I wish I had an AR mount for the Wasp so I could try it on my AR-15. With the long battery life and always being on the Wasp makes a logical choice for any defensive type firearm. The 3.5 moa dot is small enough to make it a valid option out to 300 yards or so.
Durability is the only outstanding question, and unfortunately, I didn’t have 5000 rounds to blast up to see how it holds up to the punishment. However, being made of metal and glass rather than plastic and having a secure mounting system, odds are it could take it.
In case of any issues, the Wasp is also covered by a lifetime material and a 5 year electronics warranty from Springfield Armory.
Springfield Armory’s HEX Wasp overcomes the challenges that have plagued red dots for decades, making carry optics readily available. It’s lightweight, properly sized, always on when its needed, self-adjusting for lighting conditions, and has enough battery life at a price that doesn’t break the bank.