When first introduced a decade ago, illuminated reticles amounted to on/off lights that backlit your crosshairs so that, theoretically, you could shoot in low-light conditions where your reticle otherwise became indiscernible. Problem was, many glowed so bright that they could degrade your night vision at the very spot in your eye that most intensely was trying to see your target. And since they were battery-powered, it seemed that here was just another gadget to break and suck up batteries.
My thoughts began to change when higher quality, rheostat-controllcd illuminated reticles eventually followed. Because you can set these
The Leupold illuminated mil dot reticle. Note fine V at reticle center.
for a host of light levels—more than a dozen on some models—you can fit reticle illumination to available ambient light to see targets without washing away night vision. With an illuminated reticle, then, you have a real advantage for about 15 minutes at dawn and dusk, when it's still too bright to use a night vision dcvice. Often diis is the most critical time for a sniper's fire, because winds tend to calm and enemy soldiers get sloppy, thinking its already dark enough (or still dark enough) to move about, or chancing to have one last cigarette before dark or the first cigarette at dawn.
An illuminated reticle is a worthwhile feature on a sniper rifle, but only if it's controlled by a rheostat-type adjustment.
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