Red dot sight under test: Kahles Helia RD-C – With the driven hunt optic on the shooting range

Kahles Helia RD-C, here on the Winchester SXP Extreme Dark Earth Defender shotgun
The new Kahles Helia RD-C, here on the Winchester SXP Extreme Dark Earth Defender shotgun.

For walked-up hunting and for the most adverse environmental conditions – these were the specifications under which Kahles developed and optimized its new red dot sight. We already reported on the new release in April 2021. Now we were able to test the device in shooting range practice. When the new product arrived at the editorial office in a sturdy box with the typical Kahles white and orange colors, the unpacking revealed a closed red dot sight – but one that left a very good and high-quality impression at first glance. This was also thanks to the design. Kahles managed to square the circle, so to speak: a closed red dot device with the most compact dimensions possible. A tubular design ensured this. In the sight, a lens with a diameter of 20 mm. It features an anti-reflective coating that ensures a clear view even in low light. The small 2-MOA red dot covers very little of the target area and can be adjusted to the ambient light in four brightness settings. For particularly poor lighting conditions or backlighting, an extremely bright dot can be generated with the so-called Max Light function. This ensures that the eye can perceive the red dot even under these difficult circumstances. What is striking is that unlike many other red dot sights, the generated red dot actually appears as an absolutely round dot, and there is also no fraying at the dot edges. According to the manufacturer, the sight is parallax-free from 40 meters.

The automatic switch-off of the Kahles Helia RD-C

The Helia RD-C also features a sophisticated automatic switch-off. If the firearm and thus the sight are not moved for three minutes, the RD-C switches to standby mode. At the slightest movement or vibration, however, the reticle is immediately active again. After four hours without movement, the illuminated dot sight switches off completely. A new feature is the Safe Light function. It prevents accidental adjustment of the illuminated dot brightness and automatic switching off of the sight, for example, when hunting for dangerous game. If this happens at an unfavorable time in the hunting area, it could be quite hazardous. However, activating the Safe Light function ensures that the illuminated reticle is actually available at the correct brightness when it matters. However, the shooter must manually reactivate the automatic switch-off afterwards.

the turret caps of the Helia RD-C
If you take off the turret caps of the Helia RD-C, you have the adjustment tool right at hand: simply insert the raised cross into the matching part and turn.
Kahles Helia RD-C 
The underside of the optic with a view of the corresponding side of the mounting plate with the pivot bolt for clamping.

Operation of the RD-C red dot sight

The operating keys of the sleek Kahles Helia RD-C with "+" and "-"
The operating keys of the sleek Kahles Helia RD-C with "+" and "-"; behind and to the right the two adjustment turrets.

At the top of the tube are two push buttons marked with plus and minus signs, respectively. These make it child's play to control all functions on the Helia RD-C: turning it on and off, selecting the current function, and adjusting birghtness. The battery compartment is located on the right side of the device. In addition to the necessary battery, the scope of delivery also includes a mount with quick-release system for Picatinny rails, as well as a well-illustrated brief operating manual. In addition, Kahles supplies two flip-up dust covers. These covers each have a transparent plastic pane, so you don't have to flip them up or even remove them when shooting.

Tester Ralf Kunzmann in action
Tester Ralf Kunzmann in action, using the Winchester SXP fitted with
the Kahles Helia RD-C.

The adjustment mechanism of the red dot sight is also a really good idea. How often have you had the wrong tool to adjust the sights when shooting a rifle? With the Helia RD-C, this can no longer happen. The screw-on caps for elevation and windage adjustment have a raised cross on the outside that fits into a corresponding recess on the respective adjustment screw. The sight is adjusted by means of the caps, so you always have the correct adjustment tool at hand after unscrewing the caps.

Kahles Helia RD-C: on the shooting range

On the shooting range, the very good impression was confirmed and caused real enthusiasm among the testers. They fitted the Kahles Helia RD-C to two pump-action shotguns and a self-loading shotgun and tested the optic extensively. The red dot sight could be adjusted to the correct point of impact in the shortest possible time without any problems. The adjustment mechanism worked perfectly and with absolute repeatability. The testers were asked to switch back and forth between the rifles and only had to remember the previous setting. When the corresponding clicks were turned back, the hits were again in exactly the same place as before. The handling and the offered performance were completely convincing. Of course, this should be expected for the price of 550 euros.

Kahles Helia RD-C specs and price

Model: Kahles Helia RD-C
Price (RRP): 
550 euro 
Closed red dot sight
Aluminum tube
Dimensions (L x W x H): 
68 x 45 x 49 mm with mounting, 83 mm length with flip-up covers
Lens Diameter: 
20 mm
125 g with flip-up covers and battery
Quick release mount for Picatinny rail
Red dot (2 MOA), parallax free from 40 meters
Power Supply: 
3V CR2032 battery (side compartment)
Automatic Switch-Off: 
Standby after 3 minutes, immediately ready on movement, automatically off after 4 hours; 4 manual brightness levels, Max Light and Safe Light functions
Metal housing, lens with anti-reflective coating, battery power supply, flip-up covers, auto-power off, quick start guide, tools, battery, cardboard box.

Helia RD-C from Kahles: wrap-up

The Kahles Helia RD-C is a compact and exceedingly rugged closed red dot sight that truly lives up to its renowned manufacturer. The red dot looks very high quality and also impresses with its chic and dynamic design. The described innovations work first-class and considering the offered performance and equipment, the price is also fully adequate.

 What we liked a lot:

 What we found less good:

Rugged sight

Compact construction

Sophisticated automatic switch-off

Tool for adjustment integrated in the device

Price/performance ratio is right

Text: Hamza Malalla and Frank Flumm

For more information on the Austrian manufacturer's optics please visit the Kahles website.

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