UTG Leapers’ 3 – 12 X 44 SWAT IE
By: Pete Wadeson
We are all used to illuminated reticules and even those offering two colours; typically red and green. But how’s about something that can give you 36 variations? Gimmick you might think as I did, but actually the ability to subtly change the colour to contrast with your surroundings though sounding a bit OTT is a lot more effective than you first might think. So who makes such a clever scope? It’s UTG Leaper’s and the name of the model is the 3 – 12 X 44 SWAT IE. They have been in the optical business a long time and are now associated with innovative design, good build quality and competitive prices. Editor Pete Moore has one of their UTG 1 – 4 x32 compacts on his SIG522 and is still raving about it, as you will see when he does the test next month.
A few features we’ve seen on other branded optics are used, but SWAT scopes have earned themselves a place for certain airgun/rimfire situations. Illumination Enhancing (IE) is what it’s all about! This new generation model with its IE EZ-Tap System has a red/green, dual colour mode (RGB), which many are now familiar with. Hover, on top of this is the multi-colour mode with 36 colours available for use in the most diverse weather/light conditions. Along with this facility are also six levels of illumination.
The scope comes with Weaver mounts, slip-on/flip-up lens covers, spare battery and a 4” sunshade. There’s an optional; side-wheel but I reckon the 3-12 magnification doesn’t really need it. The eye-bell has a fast focus ocular, top mounted rheostat with two rubberised pressure switches for mode selection and operation.
The layout goes for a one-piece, 30mm body tube. The magnification ring is slotted to provide a good hold, aided by a raised fin if you really need to get a grip. Turrets are lockable and easy to dial as there’s no cover to remove. On the left of the saddle is the parallax drum marked 10, 12, 25, 35, 50, 100, 200, 500 yards and ?.
Nip don’t grip!
Click values are ¼” MOA with 72 per turn and four full rotations available in either plane. The movement is positive so easy enough to dial in individual graduations or buy using the markings dial in some large corrections too. Once you have put in a setting the locking rings below the turrets can be spun clockwise to stop them moving. Likewise if you need to dial in a correction move them anti-clockwise to do so. Double seals are used for protecting against water ingress, so it’s cushioned but don’t over tighten, so I’d say nip don’t grip.
Removing the front lens cover shows an angled objective lens hood. Useful as it will stop rain getting in and shades it from the light, without blocking out too much of the same in dawn/dusk conditions. Lenses have EBC095 emerald coatings and are fitted using Leaper’s True Strength Platform, which is completely sealed and nitrogen-filled as well as being shock, fog and rainproof.
Illumination functions in two separate modes once you set it to either red/green or multi-colour. For the former, pressing the G or R button, switches it on and obviously you will be in red or green dependent on which you select. Once done brightness adjustment is made by pressing the same button again to cycle through levels; simples! Press the R and G buttons together switches to IE36 mode. Press the R button to cycle through the colours, with G used as the rheostat 5-6 levels dependant on colour. If you press both again simultaneously, you’re back in red/green mode. Press either button for a second and the unit switches off. Switch on and the in-built memory returns to the last setting.
Though using what I would term a generic, Mil-Dot reticule in the 2nd focal plane Leapers have put a lot more dots onto each arm at nine a piece. Pretty good for the airgun/rimfire hunter as they can be used as hold-over points, which is what most people do with Mil-Dot any way; despite being designed as a manual range finding system. After some trial and error, I discovered each dot represented one inch at 30-yards on x12 magnification. After I walked the dots up at various ranges I’d noted my aim points for various within or beyond my set zero. So knowing this you can bracket for quick range estimation.
Given there are 36 options I found the purple, blue and green hues seemed to be colours that worked for me in bright sun or normal daylight. For low light yellows and shades of red seemed to have the edge. General optical clarity was good as was the edge to edge view. Dawn to dusk performance was more than acceptable too, something you might not think on a scope in this price range. The only thing I would say is that and in keeping with a lot of illuminated reticules; at the highest settings you got fringing at the edges of the sight picture.
|UTG 3||12 X 44 SWAT IE|
|Click values||¼” MOA|
|Clicks per turn||72|
|FOV ft||34 – 8.4ft|
|Parallax setting||10-yrds to ?|
|Contact||DGS International Ltd, 01527 853245|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates