There are a lot of choice these days for affordable red dot sights which can make it difficult to pick one that suits your needs. In the past I’ve reviewed the LUCID HD7, Vortex SPARC, Vortex StrikeFire and Vortex Razor. I’ve also used, but not formally reviewed, the Bushnell TRS-25, FastFireII, and the Primary Arms Micro Dot. All of these sights come to market well below the price of competitive offerings from big name sight makers like Aimpoint and EOTech and offer a good value for the money.
LUCID introduced a new sight at SHOT Show 2013 called the M7 which is a micro-dot sight similar in size to an Aimpoint T-1 Micro or Vortex SPARC. While the market seems to be a bit saturated with similarly sized sights in the $200 price range, the M7 brings a couple of features to the table that set it apart from the SPARC. I’m comparing the M7 to the SPARC because the little Vortex optic has really impressed me with its value and durability. I’ve betten the snot out of my SPARC and it has held up great, despite the dents and chips it now sports.
I picked up a M7 from our friends at 3Rivers Precision for $179 including shipping without the riser mount. MSRP on the sight is $229 however 3RP is offering a discount using the code “MACM7L” which will allow you to pick one up for the same price, which again includes shipping. If you would like the one with the riser mount for use on an AR15 or similar rifles, you can use the code “MACM7” for a price of $199. Before you ask, I don’t get any kick-backs from this promotion code or the sales of these sights. 3RP is a long time friend of MAC and will offer discount codes to our readers/viewers from time to time.
The M7 is right at 3″ in length and weighs just shy of 5oz. The body is made of cast aluminum and features an integrated 1913 mount. LUCID sells a riser that works in conjunction with the integrated mount to allow for a lower 1/3 co-witness with popular AR15 type back-up sights. Right out of the box the M7’s integrated mount sits too low to be used on an AR15 or similar type firearm without the riser. You can use any number of 3rd party risers (a Bushnell 1/2″ is pictured here) or you can purchase the $39 LUCID riser.
The sight is powered by a single AAA battery which resides in a o-ring sealed compartment on the top/right side of the housing. This is a perfect location for the battery compartment because it moves it away from potential heat sources like gas tubes and barrels. I’ve found in the past with sights like the EOTech 512 that heat from a gas tube (in this case an AK74) could cause the sight to shut down, or flicker, if the batteries got too hot. That won’t be a concern with the M7. The documentation on both the company website and in the documentation supplied with the sight doesn’t mention battery life. I will have to report back on the battery life once I deplete a battery or two. The sight will shut off automatically after 2 hours to conserve battery power.
The reticle is one of those features that sets the M7 apart from the competition. It resembles an EOTech reticle in that it has a 2MOA center dot surrounded by a 25MOA circle. The EOTech reticle is much finer of course with its 1MOA center dot, but overall the M7’s feels very similar to me. You can select from 7 brightness settings or you can let the sight auto-adjust for brightness. This is the second feature that sets the M7 apart from sights like the SPARC. With the first press of the power button the sight will enter into auto-brightness mode. A small light sensor on top of the sight measures local ambient light and adjusts the dot brightness accordingly. If you press the power button a second time, this will put you into manual brightness mode and now you can select one of the seven different settings that suit your needs using the touch pad on the left side of the housing. When you turn the sight off it will remember your manual settings for the next time you use the sight.
The sight is claimed to be “parallax free” but as with most sights in this category that means you will likely see up to 1″ of impact shift inside of 25 yards if you don’t center the dot in the sight body while shooting. To see this point of impact shift you would have to put the dot right at the edge of the field of view which most people won’t do. For regular use it’s safe to say you won’t see much of a POI shift if you don’t get the dot perfectly centered.
LUCID also claims the M7 is 100% shock proof and has been tested on .458 SOCOM rifles. We shall see, I’ve mounted my M7 to my Kel-Tec KSG 12ga shotgun. This lightweight bruiser will rattle the M7, or any sight, so it will be interesting to see how it holds up. I’ll talk about this more in my video review of the sight and/or the Kel-Tec KSG.
The M7 works with conventional 3x magnifiers such as those sold by LUCID, Aimpoint, EOTech, Vortex and others. It’s also able to accept a small 2x screw in magnifier (sold separately) which mounts to the ocular lens. I’ve found these to be mostly useless and don’t recommend them. However, if you want to use a conventional swing-away 3x magnifier, it will work fine with the M7. The sight is nitrogen filled so fogging of the lenses shouldn’t be an issue when going from one temperature extreme to another.
Adjustments to elevation and windage are accomplished by towers on the top and right side of the body. Each click of either elevation or windage is good for 1/2 MOA. There are faint clicks you must listen and feel for letting you know when you’ve made an adjustment, however there aren’t any tick marks to give you a visual que of your settings. Both adjustment towers and the battery compartment cap are leashed via a thin rubber covered wire to prevent their loss in the field.
In the box you will find a sparse manual (more of a spec sheet), an allen wrench for mounting your sight, a rubber lens cap, a lens cloth and of course the sight itself. The M7 is covered by LUCID’s limited lifetime warranty.
Overall I like the sight and think it’s a good value and will compete well in the marketplace. I’ll close with some Pros and Cons.
Uses AAA batteries
2MOA reticle with outer 25MOA circle
Solid build quality
Limited lifetime warranty
Integrated mount - I would rather see a T1-Micro type mount
Push button power switch is easily turned on by accident however it uses common AAA's
No Quick Detach options available from factory
Automatically shuts off after 2 hours and lacks an automatic wake-up feature