During my time in the Marine Corps, our optics of choice were Trijicon ACOGs. These were 4X fixed power prismatic optics. At that point, I thought this was the best option for infantrymen. With that said, I still greatly appreciate prismatic optics and own several models. My latest is the Swampfox Saber, one of the more powerful prismatic optics out there.
The Swampfox Saber is a 5X optic that first premiered at SHOT SHOW 2022. Swampfox provided this optic for review. The Saber is a big optic…still smaller than any LPVO in length, but bigger than other prisms. It’s a hefty scope that weighs 24.7 ounces. It’s 5.74 inches long with a massive 36mm objective lens. Much like the Swampfox Trihawk, you get a huge field of view. Specifically, 30.9 feet at 100 yards.
That large field of view is industry-leading for five power prism optics, from what I can gather. Price wise it’s not bad, and I’ve spent more on 80 lower jigs than this optic. A 5x fixed power optic is tough to use at close range. Using an occluded shooting method is one way, but the Saber provides mounts for mini red dots with the Shield RMSc footprint. There’s one on the right and one on the left.
Eye relief is always tight on these optics, but this want isn’t too bad. It’s 2.56 inches, so you’re not pressing your eye against the lens. The reticle comes in two formats, either a 5.56 BDC or an MOA ladder. I’m a fan of the MOA ladder rather than the BDC.
The Saber Reticle
Speaking of the Saber reticle, let’s talk about it. The reticle is a combination of a ladder and a massive circle with a cross in the middle. You have a massive 42 MOA of vertical holdover. That’s nuts for most rifle calibers, but for something like 7.62×39, it makes a little more sense. Depending on user preference, the circle and cross are illuminated either red or green.
The reticle illumination is easy to adjust via an up or down button for ten different levels of intensity. Swampfox went with a shake n’ wake design so you can leave it on and it’ll shut off automatically, but fire back to life when it senses movement. Toss in a CR123a battery, and you have 3,000 hours of battery life.
Looking Down Range With the Saber
That big field of view means nothing if the view isn’t clear, right? Well, we’re blessed with the clarity of good glass with the Saber. It’s clear from side to side, and the massive field of view is very valuable on an optic with a fixed power design. You can’t downshift the magnification until you locate your target as you can with a variable power optic.
Bringing the Saber up and on target is easy, and if you’re a little off target, you’ll likely still have it in view. At 100 yards, I could rush the gun to my should for a fast snap shot, and that IPSC silhouette would be there somewhere. I might need to shift left or right a bit, but I never had a frantic search for my target. You can also watch a large area with the optic with minimal movement to track a target, something handy when hunting cautious animals.
The reticle is nice and crisp, easy to see, and the reticle itself can get daylight bright. It’s visible in the brightest daylight situations. I live in the sunshine state, so it’s been well tested under the sun. Seeing the target beyond the cross and the MOA ladder isn’t tough. My four-inch gong is slightly covered up at 100 yards, but not so much that I can’t hit it.
At a little over a quarter mile, I can see all sorts of stuff clearly. The optic is off the rifle for this, so I glassed a dog, a car, a sign, and a gate. On the gate sat an orange and black No Trespassing sign. I can’t exactly read it, but I can see the colors without issue. Not bad for a fairly affordable optic.
Finally, stuff looks great through the optic, but does it hold zero? What’s it like to shoot with? I have mostly good news. The adjustments are tactile and audible. They are easy to make and accurate at .5 MOA.
Getting zeroed took no time, and I began trying the optic at various ranges against various targets. At 100 yards, I took a prone position and cleaned up on my gong target. I have gongs from four to ten inches and could (almost always) hit each of them with one round in less than five seconds.
Oddly I’m faster going from big to small than going from small to large. At 100 yards, I did a kneeling failure drill on an IPSC target without any difficulty. It’s rather fun to try drills designed for close-range shooting at longer ranges. Sadly I’m maxed at 100 yards and could take it further. I don’t doubt the optic would perform well at longer ranges since I can see out to a quarter mile with decent clarity.
Up close, things get trickier. Attaching a micro red dot is undoubtedly a must for this gun. The reticle is bright enough for an occluded shooting style, but they’re nowhere near as precise as dedicated solutions.
The eye box of the Saber is a bit tight, which should be expected with the 5X magnification. Still, it’s rapid on target and easy to use from 50 yards and out. From 50 to 25 yards, I’d have to judge the situation before going with a mounted red dot or the magnified view. From 25 yards and in, I’d stick to the dot.
Specifications: Swampfox Saber 5X Prism Optic
Length – 5.74 inches
Width – 2.67 inches
Height – 2.94 inches
Weight – 24.7 ounces
Magnification – 5X
Adjustment Value – .5 MOA
MSRP – $389.00
Ratings (out of five stars):
Clarity * * * *
We get edge-to-edge clarity that delivers a nice crisp sight picture out to 440 yards. Not bad for an inexpensive optic. You won’t mistake it for a Nightforce, but you won’t deal with a blurred picture at carbine rangers.
Ease of Use * * * * *
Swampfox included everything you need to mount the optic on your rifle of choice, at least as long as it has a Picatinny rail. Drop the battery in, turn it on, and go! Zeroing is easy, shooting is easy, and it’s a very simple setup.
Ergonomics * * *
While adjusting the reticle’s brightness isn’t difficult, neither is making adjustments. The size and weight of the optic make it a bulky beast. It’s shorter than most LPVOs but larger in most ways. When you add a red dot, it gets even wider and more likely to catch on to something.
Overall * * * *
The Swampfox Saber gives you a high-powered prismatic optic ready for a modern rifle. It’s easy to use, comes ready out of the box, and gives you a clear, massive field of view. It’s not for everyone, but it’s capable and affordable for those looking for a prism that’s a little more powerful.
While a 4 month constant on battery life is a bit low for some optics I would assume that the reticle is a bit more crisp (especially for those with astigmatism) than the typical led red dot/other projections. Then I looked at the price and if it is as stable and functional as it seems I don’t have any viable complaints. So great another item for the watch list.
You should receive your first check within a week or so. Or you can start to have them wire directly into your bank account. (Your first checks will be about $500 to $1,500 a week. Then it goes up from there.2
Depends on how much time you spent on it….. http://Www.BizPay1.com
If you need 5x go with a lpvo. Primary arms and vortex make 3x prisms that are great close up and out to 400 yards on a full size ipsc.
I picked up a Sig Tango-MSR 1-6x for $200 fairly recently. I bet it’s more now due to the inflation craziness. It’s 18.5 oz.
Sig Tango-MSR 1-6x = $379.99 on Amazon > https://www.amazon.com/Sig-Sauer-Tango-MSR-Riflescope-Cantilever/dp/B09T8BJ7M1
$329.99 on optics planet
yep over $200.00 just about every place else, so you did good on price.
I got a prism for my PDW because it’s light and compact for a scope. This one is shorter than an LPVO, but also bulkier and heavier (especially if you have to pair it with an MRD). I don’t get the use case.
I wouldn’t mind a prism 1x or 1.5x. Astigmatism is annoying but I can still make hits with a blooming red dot.
Sure, I understand how a prism reasonably close in size and weight to a conventional dot might be better for someone with astigmatism than a conventional dot.
In what circumstances is a prism that does not offer LPVO capability, yet is heavier, a better choice than an LPVO?
I got nuthin.
When you’re issuing them to a bunch of people who really don’t have much in the way of training and therefore can’t be trusted not to find a way to fuck up an LPVO in spectacular fashion, but don’t have to hump the rifle or repeatedly shoulder it.
That’s about the limit of usefulness that I can think of outside some pretty specialized uses on a farm or similar varmint-type situations.
That’s a logical argument in favor of fixed power, but then why not issue (even lighter and cheaper) fixed conventional scopes?
“That’s a logical argument in favor of fixed power, but then why not issue (even lighter and cheaper) fixed conventional scopes?”
I don’t know. If I was forced to the level of conjecture I’d guess it’s because the people making such decisions can’t count higher than five.
Sad but true!
I’d say durability. Fixed power optics have little in the way of moving parts. There’s also an argument to be made for battery life as most LPVOs have pretty terrible battery life. Finally would be cost. It’s pretty easy to make your prism optics more affordable than your LPVOs. Even the ACOG is miles cheaper than your high end LPVOs
“During my time in the Marine Corps, our optics of choice were Trijicon ACOGs. These were 4X fixed power prismatic optics”
I’m curious… how well did that 4x optic work out in CQB?
I still remember seeing people put a PEQ on the side of their rifle as far back towards the magazine well as they could get it.
On the one hand, I get it, adding almost half a pound out on the end of a lever kinda sucks. But… who wants to see what’s on the other side of their rifle when running NODs, amirite?
Because there’s like zero possibility that something could be lurking in the half of an area/room you can’t see because you’re not illuminating it… or, better yet, you can choke up on the rifle without a c-clamp grip and end up obscuring everything except that super bright spot on your hand/fingers which is totally not distracting at all and also super useful.
Where is it made? It matters.
I think China. Where is yer phone made? TV? Toaster?
I’m aware that almost everything is made in China. But not literally every single thing and if I want something of quality I want it made elsewhere. Japan? Fine. S Korea? Fine. Taiwan? Fine. China? Hell no. Everything made in China is pure trash.
Lol😄….most fire arm optics, and all red dots, have at least one part in them that originates made in China. The parts are rebranded for other companies and supplied under that name which may not be a company in China.
Made in China.
PLA – NOGO.
Interesting but fixed power that high is not my cup-o-tea.
I’d go with a LPVO or a magnifier + a dot.
I like the magnifier and dot combo myself. Dots are affordable, lightweight, and the very best style optic for close range. Magnifiers are easy to detach and use as a handheld or on multiple rifles. Plus, nothing beats something like an EOTech for night vision.
Wow that Mod20 is pretty, so sleek it’s like a magic wand.
Nice optic. It seems to me, though, that 5x is a little high for a prism. As Mr. Pike points out, 0-25 yards is a no-go, 25-50 is iffy, and 50+ is OK. That seems like a narrow band of usefulness for an all-around rifle.
I went with a 2.5x prism from Primary Arms (https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/gear-review-primary-arms-2-5x-acss-prism-scope/). 0-200 yards is awesome. Longer than that is tough for my old eyes.