Swampfox has carved a name into the red dot, LPVO, variable, and prism optic world as a budget-friendly manufacturer that isn’t afraid to do things differently. They’ve been pretty active in the world of pistol red dots, and their latest is the Sentinel 2. Well, it hasn’t technically been released yet, but it’s coming soon. It’s an optic they’ve been teasing since SHOT Show in January, and it’s finally ready to hit the market.
The Sentinel II is small, but not it’s the smallest optic. The budget category of subcompact optics is mostly dominated by Holosun with the HS407K and HS507K. Both Holosuns are quite affordable, so it’s a tough market to enter. Does the Sentinel have what it takes to compete?
Sentinel II Breakdown
When the gun industry can agree that one particular option is superior, we all benefit. Pistol caliber carbines that use GLOCK mags are great. Every 5.56/300 Blackout rifle basically has to use AR mags, and almost every micro-sized handgun seems to use the Shield RMSc footprint. The Sentinel II does that, too.
The Sentinel II has a bottom-loaded CR2032 battery. I’m not a fan of the bottom-loading batteries because the sight has to be removed (and then re-zero’d) to be replaced. Still, I can deal with it as long as the battery life is long, and Swampfox rates the Sentinel II at 50,000 hours. The Sentinel II also has an shake-awake technology that shuts the optic off at just a few minutes of sitting still and then turns on when you pick the gun up.
Shooters can choose between a red or green dot that’s 3 MOA in size. There are ten brightness levels, with two of those being night vision compatible.
Shooters can add a protective steel shield, which shipped with my Sentinel II. This is a welcome addition, as the first Sentinel wasn’t the toughest optic. If you dropped it straight on its hood on concrete, it might not take that kind of abuse. The shield adds a little bulk but also a tough layer of protection.
Shooters can also install a rear suppressor-height sight to the optic. It mounts onto the front of the Sentinel II in front of the lens. This is a great feature for guns that might remove the rear sight when you remove the optic plate. It’s also handy because suppressor-height sights can be expensive. Inserts include a blacked-out option as well as a tritium night sight model.
That rear sight would likely work well with the Mossberg 940 Pro Tactical. It also uses the Shield RMSc cut for optics and the sight sits low. It might offer a rear sight for your front bead for more precise iron sight shooting.
The Sentinel II At First Glance
The Sentinel II is a little bigger than the competition from Holosun. It’s 1.07 inches wide and 1.07 tall. That makes it a hair taller and wider than the Holosun optics. On the plus side, it also has a slightly wider lens at 20mm. That’s a tradeoff that’s worth considering. It weighs less than an ounce as well. Those measurements are sans shroud.
While the optic is bigger, so are the buttons. They’re much bigger than Holosun’s tiny controls. They are quite tactile and responsive. They are flush with the frame, which helps ensure the button isn’t accidentally pressed when holstered. The adjustments work surely and quickly and are easy to make.
The lens is inlaid beyond the edge of the frame a fair distance, offering some standoff protection even without the shroud. The rear of the optic is ribbed to reduce glare and reflections, which is a nice touch.
The Sentinel II comes with a ton of different screws, so it will easily work out of the box with a variety of different guns. The manual lays out which screw set works best with a range of different firearms. There are also two tools, one to install the optic and one to make adjustments when zeroing.
According to the manual, the Sentinel II is parallax-free at 33 yards. I appreciate the company listing this in a specific way. Most companies are quick to say that their optics are parallax-free just because they meet some industry standard for being parallax-free. All optics have some parallax, and Swampfox is specific. Beyond 100 yards, the optic will experience parallax, but I doubt that’s a big deal for handgun shooters.
On the Gun
I have a P365 XMACRO on loan I need to return, but I took it for one more spin with the Sentinel II. Zeroing was quick and easy. The adjustments are very clicky so you can hear and feel your adjustments. I got dead-on in about nine rounds counting my confirmation group. With the optic zero’d, I began ripping and running.
The view through the optic is crazy clear. It’s surprisingly nice for a budget-priced optic. The Holosun series is known for a heavy blue tint, but that’s not a problem with the Sentinel II. There is a slight blue tint, but it’s only evident in very low light.
The 3 MOA dot is a great size, and it’s very crisp…but not quite a perfect circle. A nice wide window makes it easy to acquire the dot and gives you a little forgiveness should you goof up on your presentation.
I watched the dot during recoil rather than the target and also transitioned very quickly from spot to spot. The dot has just a hair of lag. It’s not detectable while shooting, and I couldn’t see it when the slide moved back and forth. It was only detectable if I focused on the dot and not the target and swung wildly from side to side, 90 degrees or so. That’s not an issue as far as I’m concerned if I can’t detect it while shooting. The refresh rate is pretty on point.
Brightness-wise, the range is quite expansive. You’ll be able to find a brightness level for the brightest days. When playing with the brightness levels, I noticed some slight emitter reflection when you juice it up to the top brightness levels in an environment that doesn’t warrant it. It’s no big deal, but it’s worth mentioning.
From The Window To The Wall
With the shroud in place, I dropped the gun loaded (with an empty chamber) at various angles (don’t tell SIG). I wanted to see if the shroud protects the optic and if the optic remained zeroed.
I dropped it on each side and directly downward and on the optic. The medium it was dropped on was packed ground. There is not much concrete jungle on my ten acres of wilderness.
The end result was…no cracks, no failures, and the Sentinel II remained zeroed. It took the abuse in stride.
The MSRP of the Sentinel II is $269.00 with the blacked-out sight and $299 with the tritium sight. That’s not a bad deal, and the retail price is likely to be a bit lower. The Sentinel II proves to be a worthy competitor to Holosun’s domination.
Specifications: Swampfox Sentinel II Red Dot Sight
Length: 1.84 inches
Width: 1.07 inches
Height: 1.07 inches
Weight: .99 ounces
Reticle Size: 3 MOA
Brightness Settings: 10 (2 night vision compatible)
Lens Size: 20mm
Battery Life: Rated at 50,000 hours
Ratings (Out of Five Stars):
Clarity * * * *
The clarity is rather nice for a budget optic. The slightly imperfect dot and reticle reflection take a point off, but neither is a major concern.
Ergonomics * * * * *
The optic is a bit bigger than competitors, but just as light. It also has a large window and much better buttons than the competition.
Overall * * * *
The Swampfox Sentinel II is an impressive optic at a very nice price point. It scores high in every department while keeping the price low. Swampfox has fantastic customer service, and that’s also a factor worth considering.