I’ve been a big fan of fixed power prism sights since my time behind an ACOG. I’ve also appreciated their simplicity, their compact and lightweight design along with a hair of magnification. Following on their Blade 1X Prism optic, I received the Swampfox Trihawk, a 3X fixed power prism sight that’s due to begin shipping next month.
The Trihawk is a simple optic as most prism sights are. One of the main benefits to me is I can buy a prism sight, toss it on my gun, and I’m ready to go. No mounts or rings needed. When you open the box, you’ll see your optic, a honeycomb anti-reflection device, flip-up lens caps, a sweet little tool for adjustments, and tethered adjustment caps.
This 3x30mm sight is a healthy-sized optic. This isn’t a compact prism scope and it benefits from its full-size design. Power is provided by a CR123A battery, which can last between 3,000 and 40,000 hours, depending on the brightness setting used. The battery housing is built into the mount, which is smart positioning. It keeps the battery out of your sight and keeps your peripheral vision clear of a battery compartment.
The Trihawk Reticle
The glass-etched reticle is always there. If your battery dies, you can still use your optic. The glass-etched reticle can be illuminated and comes in either red or green. There are ten brightness settings, with setting number 2 being night vision compatible. If you leave the optic on, it will auto shut-off after 225 seconds. Once it senses movement, the optic snaps right back to the last illumination setting.
The Trihawk’s reticle design is also brilliant. It incorporates a three-quarter circle that illuminates beautifully. When using the optic up close and personal with an occluded shooting method, the bright three-quarter ring is highly visible and very fast on the target. It makes steering the reticle on target quick and straightforward for rapid shooting.
You also get a 5.56 BDC for easy bullet drop calculations. BDCs are somewhat controversial, but on a prism optic they make a lot of sense. On long-range optics, maybe it seems a little silly, but on a 3X optic, I think it’s perfect.
How’s the Clarity?
For such affordable glass, it’s surprisingly clear. The lens itself delivers a very clear, high definition picture. The clarity extends from edge to edge without any blurriness along the edges. I mentioned this isn’t a compact prism sight, and full size has its advantages. The Trihawk gives you a super-wide field of view and provides you with a 52.4-foot view at 100 yards.
For comparison, 3X prism sights from Vortex and Burris provide only a 32-foot field of view at 100 yards. This massive increase in FOV makes it really hard to go back to a standard prism sight with a regular field of view.
Behind the optic, you get a very clear visualization of the reticle and the chevron that’s used for 50/200 yard shooting is very easy to see. The brightness is just bright enough for bright day time use.
At 50 to 100 yards, you can use the three-quarter circle portion of the reticle to be fast on target, as long as the target is rather large. One thing I love about prism sights is at 50 yards I can rapidly fire two shots to a man-sized target’s body and then swap my focus and use the precise chevron to score a well-aimed headshot.
The controls are placed forward of the adjustment knobs on top of the Trihawk and virtually flush with the unit. The buttons are brain dead simple. The up button turns the brightness up, and the down button does the opposite. The controls are just a push buttons that provide a bit of tactile feedback.
The turrets are capped and tethered. You’ll need something with flathead or a cartridge to make adjustments, and the included Swampfox tool is convenient for this role. The adjustments click as they should, and zeroing the optic for a 50/200 zero took me four rounds total on my BRN 180 18-inch upper. The .5 MOA adjustments per click are broad and make adjustments easy.
Prism sights have a reputation for being heavy, and when compared to the micro red dots out there, they are. The Trihawk weighs 15.4 ounces. That’s roughly the same as your average full-sized red dot.
Another downside of a lot of prisms is eye relief. The ACOG famously had only 1.5 inches of eye relief and was typically derided for this. The Swampfox Trihawk does a bit better, providing 2.4 inches of eye relief. That’s still a little short, but overall not terrible or inconvenient.
Getting behind the Trihawk and getting on target isn’t an issue. The optic is very easy to use and provides enough magnification to increase your effective precision and your ability to identify a target. The optic is clear, easy to use, and comes ready to rock and roll.
Specifications: Swampfox Trihawk 3X Prism Sight
Length: 4.55 inches
Weight: 15.4 ounces
Objective Lens Diameter: 30mm
Eye Relief: 2.4 inches
FOV at 100 Yards: 52.4 feet
Illumination Settings: 10
Adjustment Value: 0.5 MOA
Ratings (out of five stars):
Clarity * * * *
The Swampfox Trihawk is quite clear and provides good edge-to-edge clarity. The picture itself is very nice and bright and perfect for the ranges at which the Trihawk is intended to be. The glass may not keep up with a Steiner 3X prism, but that optic costs more than twice as much.
Ergonomics * * * * *
The controls are very simple, the caps are tethered, and the weight isn’t bad for a magnified optic. The 2.4-inch eye relief isn’t bad and is more forgiving than other examples. It’s lean, clean, and well designed.
Reticle * * * * *
The design is simple, but very effective. The large illuminated three-quarter portion of the circle is quick on target and easy to engage with. The chevron and built-in BDC are crisp, but thin and unobtrusive.
Overall * * * *
The Swampfox Trihawk is a well-designed optic with a lot going for it. The price is also very nice for what you are getting compared to competitors. It punches above its weight price-wise and is an excellent, very capable optic for semi-auto carbines.