BSA Tactical Red Dot Sights TW30RDLL and TW35RGD
With the increased demand and popularity for AR platform rifles there has been a simultaneous increase in the number of red dot sights on the market. They come in a variety of configurations, some with lasers, some with flashlights and some with both. You can spend anywhere from $100 to $500 for these sights, depending on the features you want and the depth of your pocket.
All this presents a challenge for the average AR shooter. We want a functional and reliable red dot that will last, but not one that will cost nearly as much as our rifle. I suggested to Carl (my son-in-law) that it might be worthwhile checking out a couple of BSA red dots. Believe me, that was a tough sell, as Carl has not liked BSA products since his experience with one fifteen years ago. When I told him that things had significantly changed since Lou Riley took over as CEO, he reluctantly agreed to give them a second look. I can't think of a tougher critic, as Carl builds AR's. His personal rifle is a tack driving machine, holding 0.50 MOA at 100 yards with 55 grain Hornady A-Max reloads. He demands the best from his equipment and relegates anything that does not meet his standards to the trash.
With the above in mind, I contacted the folks at BSA and asked if they would send us a couple of their latest Tactical Red Dots for review. I even told them that it wasn't going to be a walk-in-the-park review, as Carl was a hard man to please. They replied, "Tell us what you want and we'll send them." In mid-July, we received a TW30RDLL scope equipped with a laser and flashlight and the TW35RGD red/green dot scope.
The optics on both sights were crisp and clear. The red (and green) dots were 5 MOA, making target acquisition easy and fast. When we mounted them on Carl's AR15, he was amazed that their factory settings were so precise that no bore sighting was necessary; they were both right on. After a day at the range with both scopes, Carl changed his mind about BSA. They weren't what he remembered.
We found nothing to criticize about this sight. In fact, we were amazed at the intensity of the red/green dot. It was more than adequate in bright daylight and superb for night use. It was brighter than several more expensive sights that we had previously tested. The TW35RGD is solidly built and priced right with an MSRP of $78.95.
This sight comes with the large eye guard (pictured) and a more standard small guard, similar to that found on the TW35RDG. We both preferred the small guard, but determined that it was nice that BSA gives the user a choice.
The red laser functioned perfectly. However, if you have a fixed front sight, it will be of no use, as the sight will block the laser. Since Carl's AR has a fold-down front sight, we got a clear sight path with the laser. The elevation adjustment for the laser is made by turning the knob underneath the laser, while the windage adjustment is a screw on the side of the laser. We would both like to see a knob over the screw to allow for easier and faster adjustments in the field.
The pressure switch for the flashlight has four contact points; it can be turned on or off by pressing the switch just about anywhere on the pressure plate. This assures that the user can turn the light on/off with ease, even under stress. The switch attaches to the gun via a Velcro adhesive strip. The coiled wire from switch to the light measures about 12", but can easily be stretched to over 24".
The TW30RDLL is a solid piece of equipment. Even given our minor complaint with respect to the windage control on the laser, it is well worth the MSRP of $139.95. There is one problem, though . . . Carl won't give it back!
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