Hawke Red Dots
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- Last updated: 20/09/2021
I shoot a lot of practical/mini rifle as well as three gun competitions, so I have used quite a few red dot sights, lots of different types and makes. I have found closed tube red dots better for me than the reflex types as I do my shooting outdoors.
There are different types of my favoured red dots tube sights and it all comes down to the size of the objective lens - 20, 25 and 30mm. Hawke makes all three of these objective lens sizes but the question is, which size is the best for the fast-paced shooting I do?
For years, I have used a well know 25mm diameter red dot but feel I need to up my game. So, I decided to test some new Hawke red dots as well as compare their objective lens sizes, to see if they could make a real difference to my shooting, in practical terms.
Hawke makes two dedicated AR platform red dots. They are from the Endurance RD range and feature digital brightness level systems, rather than a click-stop rotary dial type. The 25mm sight currently on my AR also uses a digital system, but to be honest the Hawke one is far superior. It’s just so hard to turn my current unit off! You have to push both the up and the down buttons in very hard for five seconds, just to turn the dot off. Hawke’s way is just to press the down button for two seconds, simple.
Hawke supply a low Weaver/ Picatinny mounting base as well as a raised one to suit the AR platform, so the sight can line up with any open sights fitted. I went for the more expensive 25 and 30mm Endurance range but I also used a 20mm Vantage red dot, as Hawke doesn’t make a 20mm objective Endurance model.
For the testing, I used my GSG- 5 .22 rimfire rifle. I started practical shooting with it back in 2009, winning many mini rifle competitions with it. When I put each Endurance unit on, I found I could still use the open sights on the GSG-5, I really liked that feature. The riser sight base is hollow and there are four, angled cutouts on each side of the riser to let light in and to reduce weight.
It’s a great design element that I only cottoned onto during fitting. For mounting, there is a quickrelease lever clamping system. The Endurance sights just keep getting better and better! The red dot size is 3 MOA for better accuracy and is my preference over 5 MOA.
The test would be at 7m with a 1-to-5 drill. There are two types of this practice drill, using either three or five targets. The best sight test would be with five targets. You start on the left hand one with a single shot, then shoot T2, back to T1, then T3, then back to T1, then T4, back to T1, then to T5 and back to T1. Finally, it’s back down T4,3,2,1. 15-rounds in total and a fantastic test of a red dot sight. The start position is with rifle angled at 45°, pointed downwards under target number one, but I would be looking at the target so would have to get a sight picture on target one before I could start shooting, again a test of the red dot acquisition.
I used the smallest IPSC mini rifle targets to ensure that I had to find and aim at each 160 x 260mm board. Using the bigger, classic size targets would have been a test of me, not the sights and their objective lens size. To further ratify the results, I added another tester to make sure it was not just me. The other shooter had a real H&K 9mm firing SD as one of the weapons he had access to back in the day. He is currently serving as a firearms instructor (FI) for a Government agency. He was just as keen to see what the results of the test would be as I was.
The 30mm Endurance is 55-grams heavier than the 25mm version and its sight picture is 125% bigger than the 20mm sight. Would this make all the difference? We measured the field of view (FOV) on the targets we were using and at the range we tested at, which was 7 yards. FOV is as it sounds, the distance you can see from one edge of the sight picture to the other.
The Hawke Endurance RD sights are well made and have all of the features you need, I really rate their adjusting switches and functionality. They come with two mount heights and the highest one includes a quick-release lever. You also get an Allen key, lens cloth, instructions, a spare battery and a honeycomb screw-on front lens cover. The latter can be used to protect the objective lens while participating in Airsoft. You really get a hell of a lot for your money with the Hawke.
The 20mm Vantage comes fitted with screw-off turret caps that feature a raised ridge. Once removed, the ridge on the cap can be slotted into the grooves found on the elevation and windage dials, making adjustment/zeroing easier. Very clever. There are 11 brightness settings on the red dots.
The Endurance has finger-friendly dials under its screw-off dust caps. Both have rubber lens caps and run off CR2032 3v batteries. One odd thing the test uncovered was that the objective size of the 20mm Vantage was 24mm and the 25mm Endurance was 20mm when measured at the very end of the sight, due to the wide ring at the front.
After lots of runs and many magazines of 15-rounds down range, I averaged the results in seconds. To be clear, we both shot with both eyes open, the sight body still masks the target you are moving to even with both eyes open. We both got more or less the same times, so it proved it was down to how fast we were picking up the next target for each different sight.
The Hawke Endurance 25mm is considerably lighter than the 30mm, so if you are looking to keep the weight of the rifle down it’s a great choice. I’d be fitting the Endurance 25mm to my GSG-5 as I could still use the open sights as well. The 30mm objective was a revelation over the 20 and 25mm objective lens sizes and really did speed up our shooting. The FI was eyeing up the Hawke Endurance 30mm as he currently has a 25mm red dot on his .22 Mini Rifle AR platform.
We proved with real-life results that a larger, clearer sight picture has an effect on how fast you can go. We both surmised that the brain picks out the next target faster with the bigger FOV, so knows where it’s going sooner, whatever the scientific reason. The 30mm red dot was the fastest of all for both of us, by over a second.
Thanks to Jamie at Hawke for help in the production of this article.