By Brian P.
There is a natural progression to black rifle disease. It starts, naturally enough, with the rifle, and ends – if it ever really ends at all – with many more rifles and accessories than the infected individual thought (s)he needed. When a new shooter obtains their first AR, if they’re unfamiliar with the malady, they may begin to accumulate accessories of dubious quality. As a shooting community, the most important thing we can do is to push new AR owners towards quality options and upgrades. It’s only too easy to yell at the new guy on the forums, telling him to go buy an Aimpoint or Trijicon. After all, what’s a little more credit card debt? You don’t want to run junk accessories do you? . . .
The problem with that approach is not everyone is at the same level in their shooting career. To cultivate passion in a sport, one must first enjoy it. I want to find and recommend products that let new shooters enjoy the upgrade process and at the same time get an optic that falls between the cheap junk and the eye watering $750 -$1000 dollar sighting systems.
Filling the Gap
The LUCID M7 red dot is just such a sight. The M7 is at a price point that’s both reasonable and affordable for a mid-range red dot sight. I found M7’s running online between $160 and about $189. Compared to similarly priced products, the M7 has some unique features and offers a lifetime warranty.
Fit, Finish and Features
The unit has a cast aluminum housing and features a 25 MOA circle with a 2 MOA center dot reticule. The housing and battery compartment are all one piece; overall the main-body of the optic is stout and thick. The battery, windage, and elevation caps are all tethered together with wire so they won’t get lost. The exterior is nicely machined with a flat and smooth finish. The M7 is stout and nothing rattles around, inside or out – always a good sign. It uses a common-as-dirt AAA battery and runs for two hours before auto-shut off.
Located on top of the optic is an “eye” that detects ambient light levels. When turned on, the sight jumps into one of two modes – auto-brightness adjustment and manual. To switch between the two, simply push the power button to toggle between the modes. The M7 always comes up in the same mode you left in in when you powered it down last.
The M7’s maximum brightness is nothing to scoff at. The reticule was as bright as my Aimpoint CompM4 on its highest setting. Two arrows toggle the brightness up or down on manual mode. Holding the power down for 5 seconds turns the unit off. The unit will power back on with the last mode/setting it was in before turning off.
Lucid included their AR riser mount with the review sample. It’s mounted to the rifle with a screw mount and isn’t quick detach. It advertises a lower third co-witness but I found it to be more of a lower fourth; my iron sights are visible at the bottom edge of the optic.
While the mount is functional, I see it like a place-holder. The factory mount is an item just to get the M7 on your AR so you can start shooting. Not everyone is going to be mounting the M7 on an AR so this may not apply to you. I wanted to find a quality quick release mount for the M7, so I searched around and found Alamo Four Star and their DLOC TRS25. It gives you lower third co-witness on a spring-loaded mount that won’t come off the gun unless the mounting nut is depressed to release it from the rail. Pretty ingenious.
On The Range
The first thing to point out about the M7 is that the auto-brightness feature works well. Going from shadow to open sun caused the M7 to instantly adapt. Shooting from a shadowed area into a bright area caused no problems either. As long as some ambient light was spilling into the room, the M7 was bright enough to pick it up and adjust.
If you’re shooting from a location that’s pitch black and the area being target is a bright lit sunny day you’ll experience some washout. Solution? Hit the power button again to activate manual brightness. The M7 remembers the last brightness level it was set to, so if you leave it at maximum there is a handy solution to the washout.
I zeroed the M7 on a cold, wet range day. No fogging and no issues with weather sensitivity noted. I dunked it in water and mud and found it to be as waterproof as advertised. I then rolled it, bowling ball-style, through the gravel and mud and e-mounted it. Still zeroed. No POI shift. No issues noted so far.
I adjusted the M7 five MOA up and five MOA to the left. I then adjusted back to the initial zero point and engaged steel silhouettes at 200-300-400 yards. The internal tracking brought me right back on target. The clicks positive and audible. The M7 adjusts at ½ MOA per click.
The 25 MOA circle dot was fast to pick up on close targets and I used the 2 MOA center dot to hold on precision targets. The range has 200 yard “headshot” sized steel swingers and the center dot was precise enough to make them swing with little effort. I would recommend using some blue Loctite on the M7’s clamp mechanism to make sure the hex-screw doesn’t loosen from vibration. The M7 and the TRS-25 mount are a handsome combo and function well. My initial range test yielded a round count of 500 rounds.
There are very few quality quick release risers available for picatinny-equipped micro dots. The Alamo Four Star DLOC is one of a handful of such units. Comparatively, there are hundreds of manufacturers making mounts compatible for the Aimpoint T1 style system. I would like to see future iterations of the M7 integrate the Aimpoint micro style base to open user options.
Battery life is not directly advertised.
The factory mount is very high. This is due to keep the M7 compatible with Lucid’s other products, namely the 2-5x variable magnifier. This doesn’t affect performance, but back-up iron sights are at the very bottom of this setup. It does not quick detach.
If I had my druthers, I’d like a method to disable the auto-off function.
The Lucid M7 is a great option for someone looking to outfit their first modern sporting rifle on a budget. You can’t do much better at this price point, and you can certainly do worse. Much worse. I’ll continue to test the optic over the long term to see how it holds up. I want novice shooters to get equipment that will keep their interest in their rifle, and will keep up with them as they grow in skill. I also want to find products that can give shooters confidence if they need to use it in a self defense setting. The M7 is a very viable choice for people who need performance but can’t justify spending $650 on a optic…yet.
I hope Lucid continues to update this model; I would like to see a new mounting system for it first and foremost. As it is, it is an excellent value. I will continue to run this optic on my primary rifle that I use for my personal blog at www.thenewrifleman.com. I will follow-up with the optic here at TTAG.
Special thanks to http://www.alamofourstar.com/ who sent me their TRS-25 mount to review at the drop of a hat. It is a quality piece of gear and compliments the LUCID M7 very well.
Weight: 4.6 oz.
Power: 1 AAA battery
Size: 21mm objective and ocular lenses
Field of View: 48 ft.at 100 yds.
Reticle: 2MOA dot, 25MOA circle
Ratings (out of five stars):
Design: * * * *
Excellent electronic features. Intuitive and easy to use. AAA battery means replacements will never be a problem. Integrated mount limits mounting options for AR style rifles to a handful of products.
Reliability: * * * * *
No issues with the reliability of the optic after 500 rounds.
Fit and Finish: * * * *
Overall very good and cleanly made. Some “muck” on the interior walls of the tube but no effect on performance. Positive and audible turret clicks.
Value: * * * * *
A strong package of features for the money with a lifetime warranty.
Overall: * * * *
For those on a budget, check out the M7. If it holds up over the long term, it will prove to be a excellent piece of equipment.
Brian P. writes at www.thenewrifleman.com.
Credit card debt for toys? That really is the sign of a disease.
I just got my bill for December. I’m pretty sure I’m infected.
awww heck, I’m so infected I should wear a mask.
debt is only to be taken for a house or emergencies (but we have free healthcare in Norway). That is at least how my family and I have looked at it.
PS: Can you please show the reticle, maybe take a picture looking through it?
Free health care? Somebodies paying for it.
Yeah, somebody is paying for it. Me and the other taxpayers by paying tax. Rather the money goes to patching people up than to an overinflated millitary lobby like in the US.
Western Europe’s defense is bought and paid for by American taxpayers.
Europe is perfectly capable of defending itself. It might not be capable of simultaneously bombing mud huts and camels in several different locations in the world, like US can, but why would it want to?
Tell us how the eurowussies, even today, can handle Vlad the KGB neothug thoday and could have wupped on his buddies of the 1980s.
Let me ask the few remaining WWII vets if that’s true…
+1. If you can get a picture showing where the emitter is, that would also be handy.
Does this thing go as low as the TRS-25?
Many similarities to the CompM4 but at a fraction of the price. Nice!
I like that it is designed to mount on picatinny rails. I’m interested in mounting this to an AK with an Ultimak gas tube.
Have to say I opted for the RS mount option instead of mounting on the gas tube. Costs more for sure, but I like the balance better, it’s as stable as it gets, and most importantly, it can QD if it gets screwed up/broken glass/caked with mud, etc. But not all AK’s have a good/straight ‘scope mount’ for this to be an option. Milled receiver means that isn’t an issue.
The scope rail is still riveted on a milled receiver, so it can still be crooked.
That being said, I’ve got six AKs, five have a side rail (including two lowly Romanian) and not a single one is out of line with the bore.. I think this issue is way overblown.
I’ve run the RS mounts on several of my Saigas, and I’ve been really pleased with them. For the sidefolders and the shortie, though, I think a micro dot on an ultimak rail is the most functional use of my rifle’s very limited real estate.
Dan, I appreciate the review, and the price point! Have you had any experiences with other decent quality micros in this range, like the Primary Arms or the Vortex? I’d be curious how this one stacks up, because I do like what I see here.
Another good “intro” red dot is the Bushnell TRS-25. Can be had for well under $100. Holds zero really well.
i like mine, but the darn on/off is on the right side.
I have one of these on my AK right now. It is probably the cheapest red dot that I see overwhelming positive reviews on. It is also very light. It almost looks silly mounted on my AK rail.
The TRS-25 fits like a glove on the Yugo M85/M92 once you add a small section of rail. Keeps zero.
TRS-25 is not bad, but it has a really strong greenish tint for the glass.
I’m still using a Bushnell TRS-25. Cost me like $80 and is doing just fine. I’ve since moved it from the AK to a KSG, so we’ll see how that turns out.
Haven’t tried the Lucid personally, so can’t directly compare… But I just got a Primary Arms MD-06 MicroDot on a ADM QD mount at the same price point and it pretty much kicks ass.
Not quite an Aimpoint micro, but pretty close – and at that price point, it is pretty sweet. Dot is SHARP and the thing is made Very well. The ADM mount is awesome.
I think the FOV is a hair smaller on the PA MicroDot than the Aimpoint Micro and the soldering on the inside is a little bigger (which all but ‘disappears’ really when running it in Lower 1/3 with both eyes open and your front site up)
It’s good to see Lucid get in this game too, as I agree – there is a market for sub $500 MRD’s – for us chumps… UNTIL we save enough up for the Aimpoint of course! 🙂
You bring up an interesting comparison here. The PA Micro is like $90-$100, and the reviewed Lucid is about twice that. What is my extra $90-$100 getting me?
I mean, the Lucid is triple-A powered, which is good. It has a more complex reticle, albeit not a particularly useful one. It has nice brightness controls, including auto-adjust. Life-time warranty is very nice. But, I’m just not seeing that as a hundred bucks more value. Am I missing something?
I always have this beef with fancy reticles: you’ve got to make it useful. And a circle around a dot is not particularly useful when the dot is always glowing, especially if it’s close to it. Maybe you could do M855 BDC by using concentric thin rings? That would be interesting.
Yeah, I certainly can’t do a 1 to 1 comparison between the two. Maybe the TTAG guys will do one, as I know they’ve used both (a good review on the PA microdot can be found on a TTAG search and there are a ton of good reviews online), but you are pretty correct in your assessment of the differences: the Lucid uses an AAA, has a different/fancier reticle (which I didn’t really want) and it is much more expensive. The PA MD also has a removable base and is threaded for a killflash. The (new) PA Microdot is a complete knock off of an Aimpoint Micro – same exact shape, controls… everything. Very aesthetically pleasing. The only differences I can perceive (beside of course, the actual internals; glass and electronics, which are of course much better on the $500 aimpoint) is that the field of view is ever so slightly smaller on the PA and the soldering for the red dot is a little bigger and not as clean as the Aimpoint. In fact, I think it’s epoxy, not soldering on the PA MD. The red dot/laser is also slightly visible (on the receiving end with the PA), where it is not with the Aimpoint. That of course means a lot to a true ‘operator’ of which I am not (but I of course, still want to upgrade to an Aimpoint Micro some day, but the PA Microdot makes that pretty non-urgent). While I have no experience with the Lucid to reference, I can tell you with absolute certainty that my experience with Primary Arms has been nothing short of exemplary. They have an absolutely stellar reputation for a reason. Their customer service is outstanding and they sell their product side-by-side with the big boys, and at the price point – their products compete very well. I also have their PA 3x Long Eye relief flip to side magnifier in front of an Eotech and I can honestly tell you that I like it BETTER than the Eotech magnifier that sells for $500+. The eye relief sucks on the Eotech 3x Magnifier! So yeah, if you want a micro red dot, IMHO, you can not beat the (new, gen 2) Primary Arms Microdot (with removable base) sitting on an American Defense QD mount. And I have used them all. Including the TRS-25 (which is pretty darn close to the PA MD) and I also did extensive research prior to my purchase (which sometimes is half the fun). Just one man’s opinion.
I believe Lucid sells a few nifty extras (such as a magnifier) for the M7 that PA might not have available. I would love to review a PA micro dot and do a side by side torture test of the M7, Spark, and PA microdot… but its not in the cards at the moment.
I chose the M7 for this review because there wasn’t much information about it, and i wanted to see how well the auto brightness worked. You are paying more for a Lucid M7 vs a PA Micro, but the M7 is giving you a few more features for your dollar. Personally I love the AAA batteries vs coin cell batteries that so many other dots use.
The automatic brightness adjustment is also… very, very, cool. It doesn’t jump between setting 1, 2, 3… it has an infinite level of sensitivity and instantly transitions from dim to bright via the light source gathered at the collector.
These features may not be important to you… but the M7 does bring some unique features into the game that other dots don’t have.
Notably missing from this review is country of origin. I’m just gonna assume China. Thanks but, no thanks.
From the FAQ on their web page:
“(Q) Where are the LUCID products made?
(A) All of our products are designed and engineered right here in Riverton Wyoming. Some of our items are made right here at home in the U.S.A. while other items in our line suffer from the reality that in order to be able to offer them at a price point that is acceptable by the market we have them assembled in Asia.”
I checked it out after reading your comment. I’d have no problems giving these guys my money.
Tommy beat me to it. Don’t they have search engines in Seattle?
Full retraction. I got too used to all of the Chinese made crap flooding the market. Every time I saw something that was a great deal, it was made in China. I admit it, I stopped researching and started assuming. Guess it made an ass of me.
Well said, sir.
Primary Arm’s MicroDot is from China and it’s pretty sweet, have to say. Although, in reality, it’s just a fill in until cash becomes available for an Aimpoint…
Ah yes, the proverbial “It’s made in China” post. Gotta love em.
You think that’s bad? I’m still trying to get over people that keep using the word “reticule”!
The (sort of) word “reticule” is one of very few words and actually makes my skin crawl.
Yep, Tommy nailed it.
I have a Lucid HD7 that I run on a SU-16C, and it rocks for a lightweight, compact truck gun. It’s been durable, accurate, and reliable. My only complaint is that you can’t use backup irons with it, because it has an integral mount that blocks the sight line.
I’m not saying it’s right, but for every person who refuses to buy something made overseas, there are literally tens of thousands of people willing to take their spot in line. The only meaningful way to combat ‘Made in China’ is at the voting booth.
If you could change economic reality at the voting booth Camrade Mufti Obuma would not have been elected. Twice.
I thought about getting the AR disease, but I opted for a mini-14 and a 2-7x scope instead. Kind of like skipping the heroin and going straight for the methadone. I think it worked, because I really don’t want an AR anymore. Used the money I saved to pay the rent and avoid becoming homeless.
You make Chris costa cry.
Chris Costa would never cry, for fear his tears would FLOOD THE EARTH.
The tears would just get stuck in his beard.
Chris Costa is from what I heard an coast guard with a love for silly latin-sounding names, arm-tape and ridiculous shooting techniques (saw some guys hold their suppressor with their support hand who saw it from him).
But honestly? Nothing against the man but comparing him to Chuck Norris is simply stupid.
@Sixpack70: Nah, Costa’s beard is full of break free to displace any such moisture.
Thanks I needed to know another use for it.
I’m impressed with the reviews I’m seeing of the Lucid optics – it seems like they’re getting a good handle on QC and sourcing, which is really the name of the game when you deal with Chinese manufacturing.
That said, when I read the reviews about this optic on Amazon, some of the folks were screaming about massive parallax issues on the top half of the optic. Did you guys see any of that?
I saw that. I didn’t find it to be an issue.
Any comments on Lucid vs. Strikefire? They fall into almost exactly the same price range and I’m sure folks might be interested in that comparison.
Isn’t it more comparable in price to the SPARC?
Hmmm, looks like an interesting choice.
I think Id like to get into the AR15 market.
Where does one even start???
So many choices and no guides besides other peoples opinions.
So I wil ask here if I may??
Whats the best starter gun out of the box range ready as is that wont make me take out a 2nd mortgage??
Peruse the “Ask Foghorn” posts (Link is on the right side of the page toward the bottom). Lots of good info and commentaries there. Here’s a couple.
Appreciate the links.
Any rental ranges in your area, Jay? There are so many AR companies it really would be hard to make a choice for your first. I would research, talk to friends and if they’re friendly I’d talk to strangers at the range.
If you’re a lefty, check out Stag Arms
There are so many variations that its very hard to say “buy this one”. I went with a pre built upper, trigger assembly, pop up irons, and stock from BCM and the cheapest stripped lower I could find at the time. I think I came out at right under $1200 and am more than happy with my mid-length .223 AR. Its light and runs like a dream. For less, you can pick up a pre built Bushmaster just about anywhere, but it will probably be heavier and the upper wont run near as well.
I was perusing the authors site, and he has a pretty in-depth buyers guide that explained some options I hadnt even considered when building mine ( http://www.thenewrifleman.com/the-ar15-buyers-guide-simple-steps-for-buying-a-great-rifle/ )… I need to read it all for my next build… maybe something thats a little more “reach out and touch somebody”.
The guide doesnt give you direct links to different rifles or parts that would work together, but if you give er a read and do the leg work to put together the gear somewhere like BCM, I think you’ll be happier with the end product.
“I think Id like to get into the AR15 market.
Where does one even start???”
Cut out the middle man. Become a manufacturer.
I just ordered one of these sights: http://www.seeallopensight.com/ I have had bad luck with the cheaper red dot sights and electronics in general on weapons. I do not have the money to be fully addicted to the High End Electronics that “everyone” says we should have. I got it, you are paying for the proprietary tech that the companies have developed…. budgets are budgets though, and Iron sights work well out of proportion to their price. Of course, you can spend a bunch on Iron Sights as well: http://www.advantagetactical.com/ Once again, as in the last link, you are paying for the proprietary “tech” behind the concept, which looks effective. I am not disparaging the expensive options, and I really appreciate reviews of “mid” priced optics like this. If I had the facilities and resources available to do a proper write up on the See All Open Sight, I would submit it here……
I have no links or interest to the two linked sites/companies, except I bought a See All (yet to arrive), I just used them as examples…
Some red dots are not electronic. Meprolight (the one they stick on Tavor) is a good example of one that’s not, and a very nice sight in general – but as expensive as Aimpoints.
So that one’s light-concentrating? No good in near darkness, then?
It is, just an “edge glow” fiber optic piece for light gathering. I have found an internet rumor (you know, the 120% reliable type) that there is a tritium model in the works….. To me the fact it is not useable in complete darkness is not a detriment, tritium iron sights are about as expensive as the sight, so for the cost of this Lucid in the review, with a little shopping around, you could be day/fast acquisition/night capable with a zero budget for batteries. I do not have hands on yet with the See All, but I have been looking for something like this for a while to augment the iron sights I like so much. It looks like the patent on the See All was only issued in 2012, and I cannot find any thorough reviews of it on the interweb….
At first I though it said, “Lucio”, which is a cooler-sounding name.
My initial reaction was that the base seems a bit too bulky for something that uses AAA batteries, and adds unnecessary weight, when weight matters so much. At least to me.
I have Lucid’s larger sight–the HD7 if I recall the model number correctly. It’s a steal for the price. Reliable, good looking, well built and, with a 1/3 co-witness, perfect on my SR-556C. Lucid makes quality sights.
Sorry about the lack of reticule pics, I had a difficult time getting the camera to focus on the circle dot.
That’s why you should have a photographer, if you’re not good at it. Not everyone is. It takes some of the pressure off.
And “reticule” again? There goes the skin crawl thing. Again.
“A reticle, or reticule (from Latin reticulum, meaning “net”), also known as a graticule (from Latin craticula, meaning “gridiron”), is a net of fine lines or fibers in the eyepiece of a sighting device, such as a telescope, a telescopic sight, a microscope, or the screen of an oscilloscope.”
I would suggest some Ativan.
I’ve been waiting for reviews on this guy as well. Still need to zero my backup iron sights on my build, but I’ve been going back and forth between a vortex sparc or the hd7 but the hd7 with nearly a pound in weight scared me off. This looks like a great alternative with an eotech style retical (see I got that right!). If only it had an aimpoint style mount.
CQB weapons should have either an Aimpoint T1/H1, variable 1-4,1-6 scope, or an Acog. No exceptions. Keep airsoft quality optics on airsoft guns.
I think your name says it all, of course if you were Hkowner, you would likely be looking at lower cost options due to the amount you spent on going from a fan to an owner…..but hey, the internet is not about reality for most people, have fun and keep on opining (for free if you use the library!)
I own an array of HK handguns and have used HK rifles in the field. All owners of HK products are fans of them for obvious reasons.
The Lucid’s are hardly “Airsoft” quality–I can say that for a fact because I own a Lucid HD7. It’s as good as my military buddy’s Aimpoint–he told me not to get the Lucid (he didn’t know much about them) but I did it anyway. He was impressed when he saw it.
I own the HD7 Gen lll and have it mounted on my Adams Arms upper. Being pleased with it’s performance I purchased this red dot Lucid M7. I am sold on the AAA battery for power, ruggedness of there products. I will be putting this sight on my Saiga 12 gauge. It will be mounted on a quick release side mount. This Lucid M7 is supposed to hold up to the .458 SOCOM recoil? Can’t see that there will be an issue. I will let you know if there is one.
I have two M7s. Each is serving well.
One is mounted without riser on the rail on my tactical shotgun. Repeated pounding with 12 gauge slugs and buckshot do not faze it. Rock solid. Holds zero with slugs.
The other is on an AR 15 mounted in an ADM AD-170 VFG QD mount to swap out with a QD mounted scope. I mention the mount specifically, because at its .600″ height it gives an absolute cowitness, which I really like. Should there be a battery failure (unlikely), I can see right through and use the flip up backups. Also great for verifying zero.
I agree with all the observations in the review. I’ve been using the one in my AR for almost a year and am still on the original battery.
One caveat: not specific to the M7, but to all electronics you care about. Use lithium batteries only. They have longer shelf life, hold their power right up to the end, and do not leak. I learned this lesson well with portable electronic audio devices that were ruined by leaking batteries. Lithium only now.
I think some of the $90-$100 difference is the warranty. The PA comes with what… A 1 year warranty. The Lucid comes with lifetime warranty. Is that worth $100 to you?
I prefer a ring and a dot over a plain dot. A dot is easy to lose when you’re moving fast, the bigger ring gives me something easier to find on close targets and can be ignored when I have time to take more precise shots. Plus the ring can be used much like a bdc or ranging reticle once you get it figured out.