I must be on some kind of Chinese corporate espionage list. Ever since I reviewed a $40 red dot from “Fe Outdoors,” I’ve been receiving poorly-worded emails asking me to review more budget-friendly optics.
Back in February, I received this missive:
“Well, ‘Audrey,’” I thought, “my bank is pretty breakable, so I guess I’ll give Pinty a shot.”
Pinty lists on its website a California mailing address, and the home page prominently features an American flag. But if you call the number on the website, you’re connected with someone who works at Oceania-International. That person will tell you that they manufacture Pinty products, and their Linked-In page lists this address as its headquarters.
I don’t know much about manufacturing, but that doesn’t look like a factory to me.
Anyway, suffice it to say that Pinty optics don’t come with a “Made in the USA” sticker. But that’s true of many guns and gun accessories, so I decided to give their “3-in-1 Rifle Scope Combo, 4-12x50mm Rangefinder Scope, Red&Green Reflex Sight, Green Laser” a try.
I emailed “Audrey,” and within a few days a box showed up at my door. It wasn’t packaged in a separate cardboard box, but the padding inside appeared to be sufficient.
I found a red dot and a green laser in the box, but I was disappointed to discover that “rangefinder” is a bit of an exaggeration. The scope’s reticle features some markings that could be conceivably used to estimate range, but the instructions don’t explain how to use it.
Everything appeared to be otherwise in order, so I slapped everything on a 10/22 (ammo shortage, remember), and headed down to the range.
At the Range
Mounting the entire contraption on a 10/22 looks ridiculous. Honestly, mounting it to any rifle would look ridiculous. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that the sighting-in process was not at all onerous.
The scope’s reticle is adjusted with two exposed turrets located (strangely) towards the front of the scope. Adjustments are in ¼ MOA increments, and the clicks are reasonably audible and tactile. The scope magnification is adjusted using a dial in the usual place, and the dial even features a small raised knob for easier turning. Finally, the reticle can be illuminated in either red or green, and the 1-5 brightness settings can be adjusted with a dial on top of the ocular lens.
The turrets move the reticle accurately enough for easy sighting in, but I wouldn’t use it to dial drops at long distance. I tried dialing about 40 MOA in elevation, and the bullet landed about four inches below where it should have been. Dialing another 40 MOA, the bullet landed about 11 inches below where it should have been.
To its credit, the scope did return to zero, so there’s that.
The red dot and the laser worked as advertised, so by the end of my range session, I could target something with three different sighting systems simultaneously. Is it practical? Not really. Is it fun? Sure is.
For my next test, I mounted the scope on a Springfield Model 2020 Waypoint chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. The 6.5 Creedmoor isn’t known for sharp recoil, but it’s more or less comparable to many .30-caliber cartridges, especially when using Hornady’s Superformance line of ammunition. The scope handled the recoil like a champ, as did the red dot and laser.
So far, so good. But I wasn’t finished.
In my experience, there are few things more destructive in this world than a 5-year-old boy. Grenades and nuclear bombs are scary and all, but if you really want to destroy something, give it to a 5-year-old boy for five minutes and tell him to “be careful.”
I happen to have a 5-year-old son, so in a true test of the Pinty scope’s durability, I gave it to him and got out my camera. The results, below.
We started with some muddy grass, got more serious on the concrete, and finally dunked the scope in a pond and pulled it out with a string. My boy was ecstatic to finally break something and not get in trouble, and I got a good sense of this scope’s capabilities.
I removed the laser and the red dot since I’d already tested the same red dot previously. (UPDATE: The laser broke several weeks later after I accidentally dropped it on some concrete.) Once again, I was pleasantly surprised with the scope’s performance. It passed the grass and gravel tests with flying colors. No discernable damage beyond a little mud and the scope’s functions worked perfectly.
The concrete inflicted more aesthetic damage, and I’m not convinced it would have survived another toss. But everything appeared to work, and I didn’t see any cracks in either lens.
The pond was a different story. The product description says the scope is “waterproof,” which could be easily interpreted to mean, “waterproof.” Apparently, this is not the case. “Audrey” told me the scope is only made to protect from “spills, splashes, or rain,” not total submersion in water. After two dunks in the pond, water had clearly penetrated into the lenses, and I could see droplets when I looked through the scope.
I dried the scope out for a few days, and the water droplets disappeared. I was also impressed to see that the reticle illumination still functioned properly. I’m not sure if those electronics could survive many more submersions, but I know they can survive at least two.
By the end of my testing, I still had a functioning scope that, when mounted again to my 10/22, returned to its point of aim and allowed me to continue hitting targets. For $99, I call that a success. Would I put it on a hunting rifle? Given the sub-par glass quality and questionable waterproofness, probably not. Would I put it on a competition rifle? Given the terrible reticle tracking, that’s a hard pass.
But would I put it on my son’s (future) AR-15 as a cheap option for range-plinking? For sure. The three-sided Picatinny rail is ridiculous, and the full setup is almost totally unnecessary for any practical purposes. But it works as advertised (range-finding excepted), and it’ll survive the occasional drop or sudden rain shower.
The American flag on Pinty’s website shouldn’t fool you—these scopes are made in China. But they could still play a role in your gun safe. Not an important role, but something you can use and abuse and not worry too much if it ends up at the bottom of a pond.