Element CM Type Red Dot Sight (EX182)
Element CM Type Red Dot Sight (EX182) Review by Booligan
Discuss this review HERE
Reflex type red dot sights are one of the single most useful accessories that you can add to your airsoft replica. The ability to quickly and accurately aim at your target greatly increases your combat abilities and makes this crazy airsoft thing that we enjoy that much better. Additionally, the right optic can really add to the look of your gun. This Element CM type optic looks amazing on damn near any gun you can throw it on, and offers some impressive performance to boot. I'll be discussing all of the various features, findings, and quirks about this thing in this review!
I ordered this optic through Airsplat, who has it for sale HERE, currently priced at $39.99. I ordered it along with the Lancer Tactical S-System that I reviewed HERE, and the optic complements the gun nicely! The gun and sight were shipped via UPS Ground, Airsplat's free shipping option for orders over $89, and it got to me quickly and without damage.
This optic is an open tube type red dot sight, modeled after a popular type of optic commonly used in performance shooting competitions. It is fully adjustable for windage and elevation, and offers a range of brightness settings for use in different lighting conditions. The mounting deck uses versatile mounting screws in order to fit with a wide range of guns, and it is even compatible with custom mounts for use on pistols.
The sight is packaged in a relatively plain cardboard box with an Element logo on it, as well as a product label with the item number on it. Inside the box, the sight is held in place with small foam pieces to keep it from flopping around inside during shipping, and it appears to have done its job, as there was no damage to it.
Click on the individual thumbnails to see the full size photos
Along with the optic itself, Element includes two allen wrenches for adjusting it, as well as a hood that covers the LED to prevent extra visibility of it from the front, and keeps it protected. I was unable to install the hood, as you need to use screws with a smaller head to clear it, and it didn't include any.
The oversized hood in place, can't be locked down with the factory screws
Weight: About 3.5 oz
The sight is comprised mainly out of a high strength, textured polymer, but the mounting deck is made of metal for stability and durability. It uses a flat head screwdriver to adjust the windage and elevation, and the screws are actually locked in place with hex screws to prevent you from accidentally messing up your adjustments. It's a pretty sleek looking optic, with the lens at the front standing up against the relatively flat and rectangular main body.
Overview, left side
Overview, right side
The lens has an iridescent coating on it, which helps with light transfer and reflectivity. Unlike my earlier model Element branded optic of this type, the lens is mounted straight, so it doesn't need to be adjusted cock eyed to shoot straight.
Adjusting it is relatively simple, requiring you to unlock the adjustment screw on the right side, then twist the flat head screws until you reach your desired point of aim. The windage screw is located just behind the locking screw, and the elevation screw is located on the lens platform. Once you have it adjusted to your liking, you can replace the locking screw. In my testing, it holds its selected aiming position very well.
Windage adjustment, note the locking screw on top of the adjustment screw
Elevation adjustment screw
The metal mounting deck is really sturdy, however, I do have my concerns about the mounting screws/nuts themselves. On the early model that I had years ago, the mounting clamp was really easily stripped, and just barely tightening the screw stripped it out. This updated model appears to use the same system, and I'm concerned that it will strip if I really torque it down. To prevent this, just tighten them until they're snug and the optic is secure on your rail. I'm looking for an alternative mounting solution to get around this long term. The mounting height works great for most guns, but with AR receivers, you might need a riser to cowitness with your iron sights.
Metal mounting deck
Fixed from cross screw
Adjustable rear screw
Here are some glamour shots of it mounted on a few different guns.
On my custom KWA S-System
Echo 1 SOB
Custom tactical AK
The optic uses a small rheostat to adjust the brightness through 9 different numerical settings, however, the actual adjustability is far higher, as it's a smooth operating dial, so you can stop it at any point along the dial. At it's brightest setting, it's clearly visible outside in broad daylight, and I recommend the 3-4 setting for indoor or night time use.
Lowest brightness setting
Middle setting, being shown outside
LED visible from the front
The optic uses a single CR 1/3N battery, which is pretty commonly available online for a few bucks per battery. My experience with this optic line is that it runs damn near forever on that single battery, so I wouldn't worry too much about stocking up on spares. The battery compartment is located under a small panel on top of the optic that is accessed by removing the two screws keeping it closed.
Unfortunately, the sight is not parallax free, so you must keep the dot centered in the lens for the most accurate use.
Affordable price, sub $40
Looks awesome on pretty much every gun
Wide range of brightness settings allow for all lighting conditions
Mounting screws are adjustable for different rail configurations
Adjustable for windage and elevation with the ability to lock in your setting
Bright enough for daylight, outdoor use
Noticeably lightweight – about 3.5 oz
Mounting screws may strip easily
LED is visible from the front, like most red dot sights
Large lens is susceptible to BB hits
Not parallax free, must be centered in the lens
I've always been a fan of the CM type sight, and I'm happy that Element has manufactured a nice quality replica that works with almost any gun with a 20mm rail. It really looks awesome on nearly anything that you throw it on, and it has great brightness adjustability for different lighting conditions. For the price, sub $40, it's a pretty good deal, and will add to your airsoft gun's looks and functionality. You'll certainly see it on more of my upcoming review guns!
Many thanks again to Airsplat, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!