Redfield Accelerator Reflex Sight
By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff
We requested a new Redfield Accelerator red dot reflex sight from our friends at Leupold (Leupold purchased Redfield in 2008) for our review of a Ruger 22/45 Lite .22 LR rimfire pistol. We are glad we did.
This little gem is a simple and reasonably priced "holographic" or heads-up (no tube) red dot sight. It comes ready to mount to any Picatinny/Weaver type rail. The Accelerator weighs only one ounce with battery and adds a hair less than one inch to the pistol's height.
It features unlimited eye relief, four illumination settings (including an auto brightness setting), an automatic off feature to save the battery, multi-coated lenses and a strong aluminum (not plastic) housing. The red dot subtends 6 MOA, which is about right for a handgun or .22 rifle in the field and makes hitting small targets (such as the head of a squirrel) at 50 yards relatively easy.
The Accelerator is warranted to be free of defects in materials and workmanship for two years. The Redfield "No Excuses" Warranty is simple. If you have a problem, Redfield will make it right. No excuses, no backpedaling and no passing the buck.
Our Accelerator arrived within a couple of weeks and was mounted in minutes on our Ruger 22/45 Lite test pistol. When we returned to the range for additional accuracy testing, the results were considerably better than the results we obtained with the pistol's iron sights, showing what a reflex optical sight can do.
Our average 25 yard, five shot groups shrank from 2.07 inches to 1.36 inches and our best groups with both Winchester Super-X and Remington Golden Bullet ammo measured only one inch, center to center. This from a .22 pistol with only a 4.4 inch barrel.
We used the Accelerator in bright sunlight with no problems. We also used it at night with good results. The red dot is small, round and suffers less "bloom" than many of the inexpensive red dot sights we have used. Shoot with both eyes open and your field of view is almost unobstructed.
The four available brightness settings are selected by depressing the power on/off button repeatedly. The sequence is: On/Auto, High, Medium, Low and Off. If you forget to switch it off after use, the Accelerator will turn itself off after five hours. The battery drain is low and the long shut-off delay period allows you to turn the Accelerator on when you get into the field and leave it on.
The Auto brightness setting is a good feature and it works well. There is an ambient light sensor on the front of the unit that automatically adjust the red dot's brightness for the prevailing conditions. Most of the time, the Auto setting was all we needed. Aimed at neutral subjects in average ambient light, it provides illumination similar to the Medium manual setting.
The display lens is fully multi-coated to suppress glare and reflections. However, with no tube to shield the glass of the reflex sight, some glare is unavoidably present if the sight is pointed toward the sun. Nevertheless, we could still see the red aiming dot with the sight set on its auto brightness position. Only when we pointed the sight into the sky at white clouds near the bright sun did we feel it necessary to use the High brightness setting.
Like other red dot sights we have used, eye position is relatively critical. You must keep your eye on axis to see the red dot and the Accelerator's open design makes it more difficult to initially find the dot than if looking down a tube. Hint: point the gun at the target, look down the outside length of the gun barrel and then raise your head enough to see the red dot on the mangin lens.
Parallax seemed well controlled at 25 yards and beyond, but some parallax was evident at very close range. We did not find it to be a problem.
There is a low battery LED on the unit's left side. When the battery needs replacing this LED will flash red. Even then, you will still have several hours of operation before the unit dies. The CR2032 battery is replaced by using a coin or something similar to access the battery compartment, which is located on the top of the unit.
All adjustments are made using the supplied hex wrenches. This is less convenient than fingertip adjustments, but it works and the small windage and elevation screws help keep the Accelerator's size to a minimum. Each mark on the adjustment screws equals about five MOA of adjustment.
Be sure to loosen the set screws before attempting to turn the windage and elevation adjustment screws. Once the windage and elevation adjustments are set, retighten the set screws (4 inch-pounds max.) to lock them in place. We followed this procedure and the Accelerator held its zero perfectly.
The Redfield Accelerator cannot compete with Leupold's top of the line DeltaPoint reflex sights that cost hundreds of dollars more, nor is it intended to. It does, however, offer very good quality at a reasonable price, backed by a company you can trust. The Accelerator is a practical and reliable red dot reflex sight well suited, for example, to firearms such as our Ruger .22 pistol, .22 rimfire rifles, AR-15 rifles and slug shooting shotguns, many of which are equipped with Weaver rails that make the Accelerator a "plug and play" sight upgrade.
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