Leupold Black Ring RDS with Mount
Dan Z. for TTAG
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We reviewed Leupold’s excellent American-made Freedom RDS BDC red dot sight last year. It comes in two versions, the BDC model has a bullet drop compensation turret with 1/4 MOA adjustments for 55 grain .223 ammo that lets you dial in your distance out to 500 yards and put the 1 MOA dot on your target. No holdover necessary.

The standard model is the same, just without the BDC turret. It has a standard capped elevation adjustment dial. Both versions of the 34mm sights are available either with or without a mount.

Now Leupold has come out with Black Ring versions of the Freedom RDS and we got our hands on the standard Black Ring model. Other than ring color, what’s the difference?

Leupold Freedom RDS Black Ring
Leupold Freedom RDS Black Ring (L) vs. gold ring RDS (R) (Dan Z. for TTAG)

The Black Ring version has a slightly longer bell on the objective end of the sight.

Leupold Freedom RDS Black Ring
Leupold Freedom RDS Black Ring (L) and gold ring RDS (R) (Dan Z. for TTAG)

It’s been redesigned and lengthened to better shield the objective and to allow for lens covers. The new Freedom RDS Black Mount sights come in three versions:

Standard Freedom RDS (no mount): MSRP = $364.99 (retail about $280)
Standard Freedom RDS (with mount): MSRP = $389.99 (retail about $300)
Fredom RDS BDC (with mount): MSRP = $519.99 (retail about $399)

We got our hands on a new standard Freedom RDS Black Ring site with the mount. And since readers still write occasionally asking us to bring back the weekend photo caption contest, we’ll run one next week on Friday, May 15 and the author of the best caption will win the red dot.

Here’s Leupold’s press release for the new Black Ring sights . . .

Leupold & Stevens, Inc., provider of the world’s most rugged, lightweight, and clear riflescopes and reflex sights, is pleased to announce that its award-winning Freedom RDS (Red Dot Sight) is now available in a Black Ring model. Originally featuring the company’s trademark Gold Ring around its objective bell, the RDS will now have an all-black finish similar to the company’s Mark 5HD, Mark 6, and Mark 8 riflescopes.

A tubular red dot sight built for performance and versatility, the new RDS is available in two models: One features capped precision ¼-MOA click adjustments, the other a precision exposed BDC elevation turret that ships with measurements out to 500 yards for standard 55-grain .223 Rem. ammunition. The RDS is designed to install easily with an included mount that sits at the optimal height for use on AR-style rifles. A third version, featuring the capped precision ¼-MOA click adjustments, will be available without the included mount. A 34mm maintube allows the RDS to be mounted using any appropriately-sized rings.

Leupold Black Ring RDS with Mount
Courtesy Leupold

“The RDS is a premium red dot and is perfect for anyone who values performance.” said Tim Lesser, Vice President of Product Development at Leupold & Stevens, Inc. “It is designed, machined, and assembled in our factory in Beaverton, Oregon. So, when our core consumers asked for a ‘Black Ring’ version, we responded quickly, and in a way that only a true American manufacturer can.”

The Freedom RDS features a 1-MOA dot reticle that’s supported by Leupold’s battery-saving Motion Sensor Technology (MST), which puts the sight into a battery-saving standby mode after five minutes of inactivity. When the MST detects motion, it instantly activates the sight so it’s ready when you are. A manual mode allows the sight to shut off when not in use. Eight illumination settings are available, making the dot easily visible in low-light conditions or the midday sun. On the RDS’s medium setting, you get up to 1,000 hours of battery life – which, thanks to its MST, truly equals 1,000 usable hours.

Leupold Black Ring RDS with Mount
Courtesy Leupold

The scratch-resistant lenses feature Leupold’s Twilight Red Dot System, which delivers standard color consistency and premium lens clarity. The RDS features 80-MOA of adjustment in both elevation and windage. It measures at under 5.5 inches and weighs less than 7 ounces. The ultralightweight construction disperses recoil energy, making the RDS the toughest red dot in its class.

“The RDS features lightweight construction that disperses recoil energy and creates unrivaled durability,” said Tom Moyle, Product Line Manager for Leupold & Stevens, Inc. “It’s been tested and verified on our Punisher, and it lives up to Leupold’s legendary standards for ruggedness. Whether you’re at the range or in the field, it will deliver steadfast performance.”

Waterproof, fogproof, and guaranteed to perform for life, the Freedom RDS is backed by Leupold’s Lifetime Guarantee.

For more information on Leupold products, please visit us at Leupold.com.

Join the discussion on Facebook at Facebook.com/LeupoldOptics, on Twitter at Twitter.com/LeupoldOptics, or on Instagram at Instagram.com/LeupoldOptics.

Founded in Oregon more than a century ago, Leupold & Stevens, Inc. is a fifth-generation, family owned company that designs, machines and assembles its riflescopes, mounting systems, tactical/Gold Ring spotting scopes, and Performance Eyewear in the USA. The product lines include rifle, handgun and spotting scopes; binoculars; rangefinders; mounting systems; and optical tools, accessories, and pro gear.

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    • My two deer rifle scopes – and range spotting scope – are all Leupolds, bought back in the late ’90s and in use ever since. Solid and sturdy. I have no experience with today’s models.

    • “And since readers still write occasionally asking us to bring back the weekend photo caption contest, we’ll run one next week on Friday, May 15 and the author of the best caption will win the red dot.”

  1. I wanna win it…. but I don’t have any rifles to put it on….(boasting accident)…..

  2. You’d think that chi-com made red dots coming in decent quality these days, Leupold would have gone to the effort to make something of at least comparable quality. Not something that comes out of the box with a scratch on the front lens or has the rear lens completely fall out on camera.

    Also… 1000 hour battery life? When EoTech is laughing at your battery life, you know you have a problem.

    • Yeah… Lower quality and shittier design for a higher price is not the way to win market share.

      If they charged that much for a US Made holosun clone, I’d pay it. But come on… 1000 hours of battery life? Really? This is, at best, 20yo technology in a 30yo form factor.

      • Yup. Wouldn’t touch that one for anything, exceptionally bad deal when all the factors in play are considered.

        On the Holosun question, I picked up a 510C Elite last year & I’ve been exceptionally pleased with it. It’s life so far has been a bit rough, mostly swapped between shotguns that only like to cycle high velocity rounds consistently. No issues, aside from the finish rubbing off a bit on the Ti from leaning in a corner occasionally, otherwise perfect.

        Hell, I’d love to buy U.S. made, if they just had most of the quality/battery life, & some of the features that HE510 has, even at 1.5x the price. Bought as a temporary solution while building a custom vepr 12, it’s earned it’s place as a permanent fixture. But not the vepr, lol, OPK-77 is desired, and EOTech laughs at it’s battery life too. :p

        • I just buy Aimpoint or Trijicon. It’s not a perfect solution, but I stopped giving my money to chi-com manufacturers years ago. Only exception is Apple.

        • Understandable, I largely do the same. Stopped buying Apple about 12 years ago too, heh. Can’t entirely avoid the Chi-com’s these days, their parts are in nearly everything to some degree. Not happy about it, but it is what it is.

          I like the Chinese, hate commies and the juxtaposition, for clarity.

  3. Thinking about all the clever, funny people here on TTAG, I am looking forward to this. I have no use for the optics, and am funny only by accident, but this should be a good time!

  4. “Waterproof, fogproof, and guaranteed to perform for life, the Freedom RDS is backed by Leupold’s Lifetime Guarantee.”
    I have never had an issue with Leupold. If I did have a issue I was confident Leupold would correct it like they have for others I know. I’ve had a problem with a Nikon and they replaced the scope including return shipping. Fortunately I have top shelf AR Platform rifles for this dot sight. If you do not own an AR perhaps because of initial cost and if you can pass a NCIC begin a project by purchasing a stripped lower receiver. If you are incapable of assembling an AR from a stripped receiver you need to get off the internet and learn how hands on.

  5. “When compared next to his Gold Ring sibling, it was obvious that the Black Ring had a slightly longer bell on the objective end.”

  6. Bought one the other week. Worst red dot I’ve ever seen. Blurry mess and stupid controls. I offered it around at work and no one wanted it even for free


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