Red dot sights offer shooters many advantages: at close range, they get on target faster, and two open eyes provide peripheral vision even during the aiming process. But like everything, this always comes with small disadvantages. In the case of red dots, this is the case when you need to go further out. Because here the shooter has to work without magnification. Depending on the target and the intended use, this may be the end of the line at 50 meters. Magnifiers can compensate for this disadvantage. They are mounted behind the sight and enlarge its target image. One device that is available at an attractive price is the T-5 from Sightmark. We took a close look at it in combination with the Element Mini Solar red dot sight. We already presented the latter at all4shooters.com, so here is just a short summary of the device:
Recap: the Sightmark Element Mini Solar
As already suggested by the name, it uses sun and even artificial light as power supply. This is not always sufficiently available, so it also relies on a button cell according to the C2032 standard. This ensures operational readiness. This single battery is supposed to last between 400 to an incredible 200,000 hours, depending on the settings. If you switch off the Element Mini Solar, which measures 63x41x44 mm and weighs 108 grams, it will only light up when light hits the photocell. In this respect, don't worry when you take the gun and sight out of the gun safe, it will only turn itself on when exposed to the light. The last of the 10 brightness settings provides enough light to stand out from the bright background even in bright sunshine. The 3 MOA – about 87 mm at 100 m – dot appeared almost perfectly circular and showed almost no parallax errors at 25 meters. The manufacturer claims the sight is shockproof up to .338 Winchester Magnum caliber, as well as an operating temperature of -20 to +60 degrees Celsius. The adjustment range of 120 MOA is more than enough for a reflex sight.
Using red dot with magnification: the Sightmark T-5 Magnifier
The Sightmark T-5 Magnifier has a fixed, fivefold magnification and can of course be mounted behind other Sightmark devices as well as optics from other manufacturers in addition to the above-mentioned, in-house Element Mini Solar. The manufacturer explicitly mentions reflex sights from the well-known brands EOTech and Aimpoint.
With dimensions (LxWxH) of around 120x66x43 mm, the compact T-5 magnifier from Sightmark weighs in at just under 310 g, including the mount. The Sightmark T-5 comes with a ring with a Picatinny mount that fits the 30-mm tube. The mount has a stopper in the bottom center.
The generously sized lever of the quick-detach mount, which in turn has a sufficiently large, L-shaped locking lever, is particularly pleasing. The locking lever ensures that the mount is not detached unintentionally and can be easily operated even with gloves. The clamping lever is adjusted via a knurled screw sleeve on the opposite side of the clamping axis.
The magnifier is simply placed behind the target optic on the Picatinny rail and can be folded to the side in a flash for use of the gun at close range. Originally, the T-5 is folded away to the right side. Thanks to the ring mount, the left-hand shooter can also mount the magnifier rotated by 180 degrees on the same and then, of course, place it on the Picatinny rail with the clamping lever on the opposite side. On the side facing away from the lever, the base of the ring is mounted on a flipping axis into the mount base. On both sides of the flipping axis, two spring-loaded steel balls are used to lock the magnifier in the up or side positions. The balls engage in corresponding holes in the base. The springs can be tightened or loosened as needed using an Allen key. In the case of the test optic, the factory setting was already optimal, so that the magnifier could be released and locked again with little effort. However, the steel balls left the first small marks on the aluminum of the base after several times of flipping back and forth, but this did not affect the reliable function of the mechanism.
An Allen key is also used to precisely align the T-5 magnifier, or rather to center the target reticle of the upstream optic in the magnifier's field of view via windage and elevation adjustment screws. It is important to center the magnifier as precisely as possible to avoid parallax errors when aiming.
Last but not least, the T-5 also has a diopter adjustment from - 3 to + 3 dpt at the eyepiece. The lenses of the Sightmark T-5 are anti-reflective coated and provide an absolutely usable and sufficiently sharp image for the intended purpose. Sighmarkt guarantees that the T-5 magnifier will shoot up to .308 Winchester caliber. Thus, this additional optic is recommended not least for all purebred AR-10 and AR-15 rifles.
Sightmark T-5 Magnifier specs and price
|Field of view (at 100 m):
|+3 to -3
|Main Tube Diameter:
|-30 to 71 °C
Our conclusion on the Sightmark T-5 Magnifier
The Sightmark T-5 comes to the customer for a recommended retail price of 178.99 euros. For that, you gets a very usable optic to complement your red dot. The magnifier comes with all the important features. The price/performance ratio is very fair. The customer has to live with a small, technically irrelevant blemish in terms of the scratch marks. However, those who can tolerate this will get a lot of magnification for little money with the Sightmark T-5 Magnifier. For those who need a little less, Sightmark also offers the T-3, a model with 3x magnification for an MSRP of 149.99 euros.
As described above, the customer is also largely free to choose the red dot. The combination with the solar-powered Element Mini Solar could convince us in practice. This comes for an MSRP of 360 euros. So the customer gets both optics together for 538.99 euros and thus has distances covered from the absolute close range up to about 300 meters.
What we liked:
What we liked less:
|- Very good price / performance ratio
|- Scratch marks on the aluminum base, but without impairing function
|- All important technical features on board
|- Simple mounting and operation