Saturday, November 5, 2011

U.S. Optics SN-4S

I've had my eye (pun intended) on a new 5.56 rifle optic for awhile. I am lucky enough that have about 4 years on the old Leupolds and roughly 6 years on the Nighforces. Both great pieces, no doubt, but this time I really wanted to simplify the process a bit more and not try to make the optic and rifle something it's not. In a nutshell, I wanted an optic that would be as simple and bombproof as possible, be able to shoot effectively at CQB distance, take positive head shots at 100, and engage at the max distance for 5.56 - IMO 400 yds on the body.

Larue OBR Mount is a no-brainer. Quick release mounts are an absolute necessity in case of obscured/broken lenses.

I wanted to take a different road this time because I've had adjustable turrets my whole life on the above mentioned scopes. Honestly, though, I rarely dialed elevation in training (where I come from we don't dial windage at all), and I never dialed it in combat. I'm not saying that it isn't ever going to happen, it's just for the 5.56 caliber and the distances it can be used at don't really make it that necessary to dial. Holds are fine, and I think are better (and make a better shooter!) for the shooter and the weapon system.

Here you can see the protective/watertight/dust proof covers of the elevation and windage turrets.

Adjustments for the SN-4S are 5/8" per click both wingage and elevation. This might sound sketchy to some but how tight can a 5.56 barrel and good ammo be anyway? The answers will vary depending on ammo type and scope power, but remember, I wanted one optic that could basically do it all from 5 yds to 400 without mounting superfluous gear (i.e.- a 45 degree mounted Micro) all over the gun. When you think about it, to get sniper rifle accuracy, let's say 1 MOA at 100 yds, you'll need at least a 10 power scope, and 12 would be better, which takes up-close shooting out of the equation without an additional side mounted, or top mounted red dot. Personally, I'm embracing my minimalist approach more and more because I haven't seen any real performance differences in the above mentioned setups on the range recently with the recce teams I've been shooting with. I thought that the 10 powers would crush me at distance but I've found that there are too many other factors that come into play than the magnification.

The left side knob is a lighted reticle with 50 plus settings. Sadly, it's not daytime visible. I would guess that they are working on this for the future?

The reticle for the SN-4S I have is unique in that there are two reticles. One is in one focal plane, one is in another. When the optic is on 1 power you have a black dot akin to an EOTech ring. Once you go to 4 power the other reticle kicks in with mil hash marks and cross hairs. Again, simple and easy. Parallax is fixed, so all there really is to do when you get it is adjust the ocular when it's on 4 power and you're ready to go. I personally use the edge of a building in the distance to plumb my scope in the mount after I get my eye relief.

Here is the reticle on 1 power at 10 yds.

..and adjusted to 4 power at 100 yds. Each hash mark is 1 mil.

Scopes and optics are almost like politics and religion- what you like is the best and everyone elses' sucks

I know, I know....I'm still waiting on some flip-up irons. No, I haven't changed my mind about that!

I dig it and can't wait to see how it does against red dots at close distances....until then


Nick D. said...


Im interested to see how your 1-4x works out for you. I have been running a Trijicon TR24G (1-4x with Green Triangle reticle) for the past two years. I have found that I am as fast or faster with my 1-4x Triji as I am with my Eotech XPS when running CQB distance drills. The big green triangle is really easy to pick up and track. I think the Triji w/the triangle reticle is an almost perfect compromise for a 16" AR platform carbine from 0-300yds. Beyond 300 hold-overs get a little sketchy for me as there are no hash marks to reference. Just the big triangle on a post. The only other con I have found is sometimes getting a good sight picture/proper eye relief when shooting in a compromised position (roll-over prone, etc.) with the magnification dialed up, but that is to be expected.

See you in May, here in IL!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kyle,
That’s a nice scope! I am really interested in the rear sight you will use.
What I am really interested in though is what makes you use a scope? I had this discussion with a friend of mine about using a scope or a red dot on a hunting rifle (to hunt moving Game only) and his opinion was , that you can use the magnification of a scope to identify the game better if necessary. Now what is your reason to use a scope in a tactical world? Up too 400 yards distance you might also get away with the right red dot I would guess after shooting my old eotech at 300 meters.
I really like your Blog and I would like to sea (Pictures!!!)or read more about your TRA-Class!
Greetings from Germany

Anonymous said...

I dig it! Review of US Optics site doesn't reveal this reticle combo. Am I missing it, or is it special order.

Steven C.

Anonymous said...

BB, I'm obviously not Kyle...but one of the reasons it's useful for the same reasons that your friend wants one for game. Target discrimination is a must.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. My buddy and I just picked up a couple Vortex Viper 1-4x24s for 3 gun shooting (I run a red dot on my work gun. It's kind of funny because we were talking about why these scopes have exposed target turrets, and who would need to dial in dope on a 300m 5.56 shot - and then saw your post.

Anyways - I really like the 1-4x concept, I think it could be a great tool for LE as well. I wish there were more that offered illumination that would show up in daylight - like a RDS. I've been told the S&B does, but $2500 is a lot on a cop's salary.

Anonymous said...

How do you like this set up?
Any opinion on Nightforce 1-4 mildot?
Thank you.