Gear Review: See All Open Sight

IMG_2967

Oversight Shooting Technologies in Blackfoot, Idaho — yes, the town boasts more than just the Idaho Potato Museum — is making a new gun sight. More than that, actually; it’s a new kind of sight. The See All Open Sight looks and feels like an advanced optic but it’s really more of a unique lovechild between a red dot-like optic and traditional iron sights. You can’t actually see through it and it doesn’t modify your vision in any way, but it’s much easier to see and to “align” than irons. A little explanation is needed here, so make the jump to learn more about the See All . . .

EDIT: See All graciously provided TTAGers with a coupon code for approximately $15 off when ordering. If you like what you see here, check the the “Specifications” section at bottom for the code.

The See All Open Sight is a very small and light weight machined aluminum job that slides onto a picatinny or weaver rail and is held in place with two set screws. At the front of the sight a glass lens is set into the aluminum chassis. This lens magnifies the reticle, which is a decal on the large slab of green fiber optic edge-glow material at back. The reticle consists of a black triangle with a line across the top; sort of like a simple scale.

150 inches of windage and 150 inches of elevation adjustment is available at 100 yards with the use of the included hex wrench, and the concept is quite simple: align it so your bullet impacts at the tip of that triangle. In the photo above — and click any photo here to see it full size — the camera is farther away from the See All and the triangle is larger than in the photo below with the camera closer. The lens magnifies the reticle more as its distance from your eye increases. You can see this (and the lack of parallax) from the shooter’s POV in a dynamic way in the video above.

IMG_2962

See All mentioned to me that newer versions do not have the “See All” logo on the reticle. I didn’t personally find it distracting but I know some folks felt differently. In general, my preference was to have the sight closer to my eye. Although it works just fine on a pistol, I found the size of the reticle to be a little large for me at full arms’ reach. With the triangle bigger and filling up more of the lens, alignment of your eye becomes more critical so sight acquisition slows down a little bit. It wasn’t really slower than the iron sights that I’m used to, though, and with practice I think it could end up being faster. On a rifle I was just fine with it being farther away (e.g. the scout scope location on my Mosin Nagant build) and that’s likely due to the consistency of having a cheek weld.

shot_1389917461500

Sight alignment is really where this thing shines. Unlike iron sights where your eye must be in perfect alignment with the sights, and unlike scopes that suffer from parallax error — with the gun totally still, the reticle can actually move downrange if your eye moves — the See All is parallax free and offers quite a bit of forgiveness in lining up your eye behind it. Again, I’d have to say check out the video to see that happen in real time, but See All also has this handy gif on its website:

Image from seeallopensight.com

That’s faithful to real life, with the exception that in actuality the fiber optic is much brighter. It seems to gather a lot of light and the green color really grabs the eye. It remains bright and visible even in low-light situations. Basically, if you have enough light to see your target you have plenty of light to clearly see the reticle. See All is looking into a tritium or other illumination option, but I certainly hope it continues to sell this version. One reason I wanted to try it out was because of its simplicity — no batteries, no settings, and a sub-$100 price point.

IMG_2947

It’s mechanically uncomplicated and it’s also very straightforward to use. I really like it on my Mosin and I think it has a permanent home there, but now that I’ve been using the See All for almost 6 months I think where it really shines is with new shooters. There are few things easier than explaining that the bullet will hit right on the point of the triangle, and knowing that will be the case no matter where the triangle actually is within the lens. It takes a lot longer for new shooters to really figure out iron sights and become consistent, and even scopes can frustrate due to parallax and eye relief errors. I’ve also seen enough folks get scope tagged — one incident cutting the shooter near the eyebrow bad enough to bleed quite a bit — and that’s absolutely not something I would want a new shooter to experience. A basic red dot like a Bushnell TRS-25 may be the only simpler-to-use option, primarily because you can see right through it. Of course, that adds batteries and settings and such back into the equation.

Height comparison photo (Magpul MBUS rear sight, See All, TRS-25):

20140408_101617

You can see the results of accuracy testing in the video, but suffice it to say that the See All is plenty accurate. I was better with it than BUIS (back up iron sights) and about the same as with my 3 MOA dot size red dot. You can expect it to perform equivalently to most other zero magnification sight/optic choices at any range.

IMG_2944

Machining, fit, and finish are all very nice. Everything is done very cleanly and the anodizing is flawless. Mine is more of a semi-gloss but new ones are matte black. No issues in 6 months and a few hundred rounds through a few platforms that I’ve shot the See All on. It works as advertised.

If I were to make any changes to the product, there are two that come to mind:

First, I’d prefer if it mounted more like that TRS-25 and most other optics (and most BUIS) where a bolt goes under it, through a slot in the pic rail, and the bolt clamps a sliding section into the rail to squeeze it solidly in place. Not all rails are machined exactly the same and sometimes coatings add thickness. As mentioned, the machining on the See All is very precise, and it was too tight to fit on the rail of one of my firearms and I had to beat it on with a hammer on another gun, while it slid on perfectly in a handful of other cases. An expanding rail groove that’s clamped down with a bolt solves this, and is also nicer than set screws for multiple other reasons.

The other thing I’d change, which I’m not sure is even possible, is just generally shrinking the height of it. That POV picture of it on the Mosin (2nd pic up near top)? Basically get rid of as much of the black aluminum space under the lens as possible and shorten the whole thing. It’s super tiny for an optic of any sort, but it does block your view just like iron sights do. It really isn’t an issue with irons and it isn’t an issue here (although people just accept it on irons while seemingly expecting this to be more like an optic), but it would block less of your down range view if it could be shortened in height.

IMG_2958

Specifications:

Length:  2.2 inches
Width:  1 inch
Height:  1 inch
Weight:  1.8 ounces
Eye Relief:  Basically unlimited
Adjustment Range:  100 inches elevation and 150 inches windage at 100 yards.
MSRP:  $98.95 + shipping & handling
COUPON CODE:  TTAG  …makes total $95 including S&H. Expires on May 15

Designed, manufactured, packaged & shipped 100% in U.S.A.

 

Ratings (out of 5 stars):

Function: * * * * *
Ease-of-use is off the charts. It works exactly like it’s supposed to. Flexible eye relief and no parallax are awesome. Works on shotgun, pistol, rifle, air gun.

Reliability: * * * * *
Simple and rugged. I know the lens looks exposed, but it’s thick as heck and it’s a little lower than the aluminum on the sides. No issues in hundreds of rounds and it held up 100% to a pretty serious beating from a hammer to get it on and then off of one of my guns. It worked fine for me in the rain and the snow. No batteries, no switches, no settings.

Installation: * * *
So I’m knocking it here for the aforementioned set screws. No, it never worked loose or wandered on me while shooting. But set screws mar the finish on your rail and I found the fixed rail grooves to be problematic on some guns. Adjustment and side clamping would be strongly preferable.

Cost: * * * 1/2
I think the cost would be quite a bit lower if it were being produced on a larger scale. However, fit and finish are great and it’s made in the U.S. so I think it’s fair. Compared to decent back up iron sights and halfway decent optics, the value is there.

Overall: * * * *
Top notch teaching aid. Fun to use. Quick to acquire. Rugged and simple. Very light weight. It might actually work well in 3-Gun style competition mounted at 45 degrees on a side rail. I think it would be great on a shotgun for sporting clays, trap, and hunting. I enjoy it in that scout scope location on my Mosin Nagant quite a bit. Minus one star because, in most cases, I still prefer shooting with a red dot — of course, I have many thousands of rounds more through a red dot so there’s some familiarity bias here. Bottom line is that the See All delivers on what it was designed to do. It’s a unique new idea and it’s kind of cool, but it’s more than just a novelty.

 

55