In one of the few firearms industry Facebook groups in which I partake, I saw a comment stating that GWOT-bros are never gonna get over the ACOG. As someone who identifies with that comment, I have to agree. I loved my ACOG, and I love low powered prism optics in general.
Something about the simplicity of a fixed powered rifle optics just brings me great joy. I have a familiarity with the concept, I can use the Bindon aiming technique, and the optic offers moderate range performance with little weight and bulk. I like prism optics and the latest to slide across my desk is the Athlon Optics Midas TSP3.
I was suitably impressed with the Athlon Optics 1-8X LPVO I reviewed some time ago so I had high hopes going into the Midas TSP3.
The Midas TSP3 Reticle
As usual, when you get a new optic with a less than simple reticle, you have to check it out. Most prism optics are outfitted with a BDC-type reticle suited to one round and one barrel length.
The reticle in the Midas is a simple MOA reticle with 5 MOA between hash marks to measure drop. You’ll be able to do the math and figure out what hashmark corresponds to your caliber’s drop rate.
As you’d imagine, the reticle is etched into the glass. This is great if you don’t trust electronics. Should the battery die or the electronics fail, you’ll still have a useable reticle. This is one of the significant benefits of a prism optic.
The top part of the reticle is a large ¾ quarter circle with a 1 MOA dot in the middle. The big surrounding ring is suitable for close quarter’s use. It’s big, eye-catching, and when combined with a two-eye open shooting style, you can use the occluded shooting method to have what’s effectively a red dot.
At 16 ounces, the 3X magnification Midas TSP3 is relatively light and compact and offers a fixed three power magnification. A 4x model — the Midas TSP4 — is also available should you so choose. The reticle is illuminated, and the end-user can choose between red or green illumination.
Bang, Pow, and Pew
To celebrate the fact, the Midas TSP3 has a standard MOA reticle and not a BDC dedicated to the 5.56 and AR-type rifle, I tossed the optic on my ol’ SIG SAUER 556R rifle and hit the range. I did some Googling and found that a 35/186-yard zero is pretty good for the 7.62×39 round. Zeroing is quick and easy with 1/5 MOA adjustments. My only complaint is that the adjustments offer no audible clicks and tactile clicks are barely evident.
The turret caps are tethered, and the top offers you the flat head tool to make your adjustments even with shooting gloves on. It’s the little things that please gun writers. It makes life simpler and I appreciate that. After zeroing the optic, I moved between ranges from 25 yards to 300 yards.
At 25 yards, I practiced some snapshots with a man-sized target. I used the significant circular portion of the reticle to aim quickly. With both eyes open, I focused on the target and used the big glowing reticle to place my shots. It’s not as fast or as precise as a red dot at close range, but it’s good enough for defensive work. I used this method of shooting with an ACOG for years and, with practice, it’s quite fast.
At 100 yards, I took a standing position and rang some steel using the 1 MOA center dot. Ring a ding dong; the optic was crisp and clear for engaging my steel gong. I could see clearly, and the 3X magnification was perfect at this range.
Moving back to 300 yards was where it got tricky. I’ve gotten a little more practice since I’ve been writing for TTAG and testing optics, so I was happy to see I was a little better at it. According to Shooter’s Calculator, the drop is about 18 inches at 300 yards. So I aimed using the third hashmark, assuming the bullet would fall between the second and third hash mark.
When I took my time with the Midas TSP3, I could ring steel most of the time. 3X is a little challenged at this distance, depending on the target. I couldn’t see the gong clearly, but I could see the VTAC Tactical target and my AR 500 IPSC style steel fella without much difficulty. I could also hit the steel target more than I missed it. The grey target appears a little muddle at this range, but the glass is clear enough for me to make it out.
The glass isn’t as clear as an ACOG or a Nightforce, or any other $1K and up optic. However, at the price point of the Midas TSP3, the clarity is impressive. I can shoot out to a quarter-mile, but I can pop the optic off and look that far. Out to 500 yards, the glass remains consistent and clear enough to see the details of a street sign, to tell a phone pole from a tree, and such and so.
Within 500 yards, or better yet 300 yards, the Midas TSP3 is an awesome optic. It’s affordable, capable, and delivers a reticle that can be used outside of the typical carbine length 5.56 AR 15. If you’re a prism fan, you’ll like the Midas TSP3, but I feel we prism fans might be a dying breed. If you like prisms like I do, let me know below, and let me know which ones we should try next.
Specifications: Athlon Midas TSP3 Prism Scope
Objective Lens Diameter: 28 mm
Field of View: @100 yards 32.5 ft
Eye Relief: 3.2″
Reticle: TSP3 Prism Reticle
Click Value: 0.5 MOA
Center Height: 1.39 inches
Dimensions: (LxWxH) 5.1″x2.3″x3.0″
Weight: 16.0 oz
MSRP: $324.99 (about $260 retail)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Ergonomics * * * *
No major issues. The illumination adjustments are big and easy to access with good eye relief. The optic is compact and relatively lightweight, perfect for use on a carbine. My only complaint is the adjustments aren’t audible and barely tactile.
Clarity and FOV * * *
The Midas TSP3 is about as clear as an optic gets at this price point. The field of view could be a little wider, especially after using the Swampfox Trihawk. Within a carbine’s effective range and this optic’s effective magnification, it’s clear enough.
Ease Of Use * * * *
I’m a fan of the MOA reticle, and I think the design is a good one. It makes the optic more compatible with different calibers and rifles without being overly specific like a typical prism. The Midas TSP3 is easy to use, but will require you to learn how your cartridge drops.
Overall * * * *
The Athlon Midas TSP3 is a great budget prism sight for a variety of rifles. I’m going to experiment with magnified optics on PCCs, and the MOA reticle makes it a more natural fit. The Midas TSP3 is a hidden gem, and Athlon has done an excellent job of designing a versatile, affordable carbine optic.