Lucid HD7 Gen III Red Dot Sight Review by Booligan
Lucid is an optics company founded in 2009, and based in Wyoming who designs and builds a variety of optics for real steel weapons platforms. I came across their HD7 Red Dot sight and realized that it could be an excellent bridge between low priced, flimsy airsoft optics, and uber-expensive real steel optics. Well, with the scope in front of me right now, I am kicking myself for not getting my hands on it sooner, because frankly, it's the best optic I've tested, hands down. This is not a scope for every airsoft player out there due to its relatively high price (compared to most airsoft optics), however, for the top-tier player, especially one with a "real steel" firearm in need of an optic, the HD7 could absolutely be a viable option. Keep reading as I dig into this things features, pros, cons, and ultimately, my opinion on whether it's a good buy for you, the player.
I requested this optic directly through Lucid, who has it available HERE, with an MSRP of $249 for black or $259 for FDE, which is the color I'm currently reviewing. Now, that is the price directly through Lucid's website, but a very quick check of a few other retailers are showing street pricing right around $189. All Lucid products come with a lifetime limited warranty, which is honored directly through their headquarters in Wyoming. I can't stress how nice it is having a local, US based company who backs up their product for life.
Now, a quick note on pricing. As I mentioned before, this is a fair bit more expensive than most airsoft optics, however the quality and functionality is far higher than your standard $50 airsoft red dot sight. This is designed to handle the recoil forces of a .458 SOCOM round, you simply will not break this optic with an airsoft gun. I've used dozens of optics, mostly inexpensive “clone” optics modeled after real-steel models and have managed to break the majority of them in what could be considered “normal” use. Most airsoft optics do not like recoil, be it from a recoil AEG or gas blowback rifle, and they certainly don't like the sort of recoil even small caliber firearms can produce. This optic is designed for real-steel use and abuse, and will take airsoft abuse with ease. Considering that most high quality real-steel optics are priced double or even triple what the HD7 costs, it's really a no brainer. The thing is an absolute steal, especially at most retailers' sub-$190 price.
The Lucid HD7 is a physically large red dot sight which is designed for lower 1/3 cowitness with your iron sights. It has a full metal body with a protective rubber outer covering available in black or FDE. It is parallax free, features 4 different reticles and has an automatic electronic brightness control system. It's not a compact optic by any stretch of the imagination, but its layout is very well designed with the operator in mind. The thing is designed with pure functionality in mind, and everything on it serves a purpose. There's no fluff.
Lucid shipped the HD7 in a nicely designed cardstock box, emblazoned with Lucid logos and photos/specs of the optic held within. The scope is secured in a high density foam inner liner, keeping it safe during shipping. I was a little surprised with the large size of the HD7 when I pulled it out of the foam liner, but was very impressed with the sturdy way that it felt in my hands.
Click on the individual thumbnails to see the full size photos
Along with the optic itself, Lucid includes a cleaning cloth and basic manual sheet explaining how to properly use the HD7. You will need to supply your own battery, however, it uses a single very common AAA battery, so I'm sure you'll have one lying around the house. Go ahead and check your junk drawer, I'll wait...
Found one? Good, you're all set.
Weight: 13 oz
Eye relief: Unlimited
Field of view @ 100 yards: 35'
Objective lens: 34mm
Rear lens: 20mm
As mentioned before, the HD7 has a full cast aluminum body which is almost entirely covered in a protective rubber cover. The cover is glued in place and is not designed to be removed. It features an integrated 20mm mounting deck with reversible cross bolts. It's a unique design, but is instantly approachable and easy to figure out, even by the total novices I handed this thing to. Within a few seconds everyone had figured out how to turn it on, go through the reticle settings, and change the battery.
External overview, left side
34mm ruby coated objective lens
20mm rear lens
The left side of the scope houses the power switch and brightness adjustment buttons as well as the reticle selection dial. I'll discuss how the power button works in the performance section, but note that the entire side panel is covered in protective rubber, but the buttons are VERY easy to manipulate, even wearing gloves. The large dial allows you to cycle through the four reticles, which I will go through in the next section.
Power and brightness adjustment buttons
Reticle selection dial
The right side of the optic is relatively plain, aside from the windage adjustment turret, which is located underneath a metal cap. Remove it to access the flat head adjustable dial, which has half MOA adjustable per click. Earlier models were not capped, but I prefer capped adjustment dials myself, so I'm happy they ended up going with them.
The top of the HD7 has the elevation turret which is located in front of the light sensor for the automatic brightness adjuster. The sensor is surrounded by an aluminum ring to keep it safe, even during rough handling.
Elevation turret, cap removed, and light sensor visible
The single AAA battery is inserted into the compartment located at the front of the optic, below the objective lens. It has an easily removable cap which is tethered with a rubber coated steel wire, so you don't need to worry about losing it when you change the battery. It's a small touch, but one that I wish more companies would do. Battery direction is indicated on the left side of the frame, again, a nice touch to prevent screwups.
Battery cap, note the tether
Uses a single AAA battery
The integrated mounting deck is very well manufactured with dual crossbolts and large 13mm locking nuts. The bolts are squared off to ensure solid attachment onto your 20mm rail, and the crossbolts can be mounted on either side of the base.
So, we've determined that this thing is very well built and it looks drop dead sexy. The next question is how well does it work? I'm happy to report that it works incredibly well and is pretty much idiot proof. Mounting it on your gun is pretty basic, however, I occasionally found the squared off cross bolts rotating slightly, preventing it from locking down securely. Just make sure they're properly oriented before throwing it on your gun, and you'll be good to go. Here's how it looks mounted on a few different platforms.
AEX Warfighter AX
WE SCAR-L GBBR with EGLM
TM SCAR-L Recoil Shock AEG
Mounted on my real-steel bullpup AK
Turning on the scope only requires you to push the power button located on the left side. When you turn it on, it will return to the last mode you left it in, either automatic brightness adjustment or manual. To switch from mode to mode, just push the power button. When in automatic adjustment mode, it will cycle through its full range of brightness settings depending on your lighting conditions, and it does it VERY quickly, pretty much instantaneously. In manual mode, you simply push the up and down arrows behind the power button to cycle through the brightness settings.
Lowest brightness setting
Highest brightnes setting
The dial on the left side allows you to cycle through the four different available reticles: the circle/dot, chevron with bullet drop, T-crosshair with bullet drop, and a simple 2 MOA dot. All of the reticles are based around a 2 MOA dot and have different MOA features for various purposes. The circle/dot is my preferred reticle, as it's the easiest to pick up quickly and works well with airsoft's general lack of accuracy. The chevron is 25 MOA wide and 12 MOA tall with bullet drop lines at 10/20 MOA, designed around military spec 5.56mm ammo. The T-crosshair ias a 40 MOA wide cross bar with dots at 10/20 MOA, and lastly, the dot is just that: a 2 MOA dot. The optic is designed so that you don't need to re-zero between reticle adjustments, so you can switch between them as the situation dictates.
2 MOA dot
The reticle projector is visible as a shadow on the left side of the field of view if you keep your eye far back from the optic. If it's bothersome, just move your eye closer. The eye piece is made of high density rubber, so on a real rifle, you won't totally knock yourself stupid if you get too close.
Projector shadow visible on left side
The optic is totally parallax free, meaning that wherever the reticle is in the field of view, that's where your round is going to go. Whether you center it right in the middle or you are barely able to see it on the edge, your round will be on target. There is zero distortion at the edges of the field of view, something I can't say for many of the optics I've tested.
Hard to tell, but the dot stays on target wherever you look through the optic
Still right on target
The HD7 is designed to cowitness with standard height AR iron sights in the bottom 1/3 of the field of view. This is a great feature for rapid target acquisition.
Out of focus, but the reticle is right in the sightline
See the dot, but not the sights. I just can't win...
The reticle projector is visible from the front, so if absolute light discipline is needed, you may have a small issue, but honestly, it's tucked away in the side of the optic and pretty hard to see. The ruby coated lens helps hide it as well, making it less noticeable.
Projector from the front
As mentioned before, this optic is designed for real-steel use, so it can take the recoil forces of any airsoft replica. It is also waterproof, fog proof, and shock proof up to a .458 SOCOM round. Basically, provided you don't throw it down a flight of stairs into a pack of rabid honey badgers who are hopped up on PCP, it should be just fine. I got it dialed in on my hardest recoiling airsoft rifle, the GBBR WE SCAR-L with a CO2 mag, and put a few hundred rounds through it without issue. No loss of zero, no loosening of the mounting nuts, nada.
High end real-steel quality at prices on par with high end airsoft optics
Very sturdy build – cast aluminum with rubber protective cover
Automatic brightness adjustment works extremely well
Uses very common AAA battery
Parallax free design
4 different reticles to choose from, each with a specific function
Unique design looks good on pretty much every gun I threw it on
Waterproof, shock proof, fog proof
Lifetime limited warranty
At 13 oz, it's not a lightweight optic by any stretch of the imagination
Windage and elevation adjustment requires a flat-head screwdriver or coin
Crossbolts tend to rotate when you try to install them, you need to hold them solid when placing the optic on the gun
The design is a little bulky, but honestly, I like the way it looks
Reticle projector is visible on left side, but disappears if you move your eye a little closer
I was impressed when I first pulled the HD7 out of the box, and I'm still impressed with it now. The thing is extremely well designed and built, and the fact that it's backed up with a US based limited lifetime warranty is just the icing on the cake. The thing is a high end optic, and has a relatively high end price, especially when compared with airsoft specific optics, however, if you're looking for something that will take the recoil forces of a GBBR or recoil shock AEG without falling apart, or if you want an optic for your real rifle, the HD7 should absolutely be considered. At the current market price of $190 or so, it is a really hard deal to pass up.
Many thanks again to Lucid, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!