Hi-Lux Optics MicroMax B-Dot mini red-dot sight

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Introduced in late 2014, the Hi-Lux Optics MicroMax B-Dot is a mini red-dot sight that’s in the same category as the popular Aimpoint Micro T-1. Since, I have previously reviewed their optics (CMR 1-4x review) for TFB, Hi-Lux Optics asked me for some design inputs during the development phase of this mini red-dot.

I received my T&E sample just before last Fall’s Big 3 East Media Event and I was surprised by how good the final design is. The Hi-Lux Optics MicroMax B-Dot has a impressive 55,000 hours battery life, aircraft grade aluminum housing, and included a bunch of unique features and mounting options (which I will be going over in this review), plus all at a very affordable price point of $249 MSRP with a limited lifetime warranty.

 

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During its development, the 1st question that Hi-Lux Optics asked me was what size should their new red-dot sight be? I immediately told them that something in the Aimpoint Micro T-1 size. Some still like a full size red-dot sights such as the Aimpoint CompM4, but I feel the mini red-dot size is more a versatile for different types of weapon platforms.

 

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Next, I was asked by Hi-Lux Optics what kind of features I would like in this new mini red-dot sight. As a owner and a longtime users of two Aimpoint Micro T-1 and a H-1s, I would like to have a way to add flip-up lens caps and a killflash filter. Please note, this conversation took place just after SHOT 2014 and the Hi-Lux mini red-dot was in production months before Aimpoint announced their Micro T-2 model. The Hi-Lux MicroMax B-Dot comes with both flip-up lens caps and a screw-on honey-cone filter in the package.

 

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Two other features that I have also recommended are tethered turret caps and extra battery storage. Experience from many Aimpoint T1 users is that the rubber bikini lens caps and the turret caps are often lost. That won’t be a problem with the new Hi-Lux MicroMax B-Dot mini red-dot.

Even with a long 55,000 hours battery life, there’s always the possibility of a bad battery and the reduction of battery life in cold weather. Just in case, the Hi-Lux mini red-dot carries a spare CR2032 lithium battery in its battery compartment cap.

 

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The Hi-Lux MicroMax B-Dot features a sharp 2-MOA reticle. It works great with a magnifier such as the Samson 3.5x Magnifier on the first two images above. The lens are multi-coated and it’s clear in most light conditions with a slight green tint that shows up sometime in low light.

The illumination has 12 brightness settings via digital control with the two large buttons on top of the sight housing. There’s a programmable auto-shut off to preserve the LED diode life. Pressing both buttons together will turn of the sight. Pressing either buttons will turn on the sight or wake it up from auto-shut off.

 

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The Hi-Lux MicroMax B-Dot was tested by Alexander Arms for extreme temperature and heavy recoil. Two of the Hi-Lux mini red-dots were mounted on the Alexander Arms semi-automatic Ulfberht .338 Lapua Magnum rifle. Over 300 rounds of .338 Lapua Magnum were fired at various temperatures during the test. The Ulfberht and both Hi-Lux MicroMax B-Dot sights were frozen in Alexander Arms’ cryo testing chamber overnight. The testing temperatures ranged from – 85F to +180F during the test. Both sights survived the extreme temperature and heavy recoil testing.

 

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The Hi-Lux MicroMax B-Dot makes a good optic for the AK too. The 5.56mm AK in the image is a Definitive Arms custom build that feeds from Magpul P-Mag with the long version of the Krebs UFM Keymod handguard. Because of the Hi-Lux mini red-dot uses the Aimpoint T-1 mounting screw pattern, it fits the dedicated Aimpoint T-1 top cover on the Midwest Industries’ AK-SS universal handguard on my AK74, and Manticore Arms Renegade handguard on my Century Arms Yugo M92 shorty. For a rear mounting location, the Hi-Lux mini red-dot will fit the RS Regulate AKML mount with the AK300 series receiver side rail mount.

During the recent Spring 2015 edition of the Big 3 East Media Event, we mounted the Hi-Lux MicroMax B-Dot on a Rifle Dynamics AK that’s owned by Geissele Automatic, it’s their demo AK for the new Geissele AK trigger. Most of the Rifle Dynamics AK has a gas-tube optic rail mount and that particular mount has been known to fry low quality optics when it gets very hot.  We bump fired that RD AK until it was smoking and too hot to hold on to. The Hi-Lux mini red-dot sight was functioning fine even it was directly mounted on the red-hot gas tube.

 

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During the Fall 2014 edition of the Big 3 East Media Event, we mounted a number of Hi-Lux MicroMax B-Dots on a lot of bunch of IWI guns including the Tavor, Galil ACE and even the Negev belt-fed light machine gun. After tens of thousands of rounds expended at the event, thousands in full-auto with the IWI Negev alone, all the Hi-Lux mini red-dots still worked.

 

 

Hi-Lux MicroMax B-Dot Specification:
Type:  Mini red-dot sight
Size: 2.5″x1.4″x1.4″
Weight: 3.8 ounces with the integral 1913 Picatinny rail low mount
Battery Life: 55,000 hours, plus a spare CR2032 battery
Mounting Options:

  • Aimpoint Micro T-1 screw pattern,
  • included removable 1913 Picatinny rail low mount,
  • optional AR-15 riser mount ($29 MSRP).

Included Accessories: front and rear lens caps, honey-comb filter, microfiber cleaning cloth, manual
Price: $249 MSRP

FYI, for those TFB readers that were asking if Hi-Lux actually makes this or is someone else building it for them, I have asked the president of Hi-Lux Leatherwood regarding this. He confirmed that Hi-Lux is manufacturing and individually testing each MicroMax B-Dot sight at their own facility. The reason why parts of the sight look like other brands’ offering is because Hi-Lux sourced some of their main components, such as the housing casting & digital control buttons, from probably the same OEM parts producers. Even big red-dot manufacturers like Aimpoint and EOTech don’t make everything in house.

Also noted that the Hi-Lux MicroMax B-Dot should works with the new ALG Defense’s 6-second optic mount for the Glock pistol.

Special thanks to David Fortier of Shotgun News, Ancel “Shwell” Robinson of Big 3 Media Group, Bill Alexander of Alexander Arms for providing some of the photos. VSO for the video clip. And Geissele, IWI and WPA ammo for letting a bunch of gun writers have a lot of fun with your products, excessively so, for this TFB article.



Writer and gear editor with articles published in major gun publications. A five year combat veteran of the US Marine Corps, Tim is also part of Point & Shoot Media Works, a producer of photography, video and web media for the firearms and shooting sport industry. Tim’s direct contact: Tyan.TFB -at- gmail.com


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  • Andrew

    1. Get a bunch of HoloSun mini red dots
    2. Laser engrave “Hi-Lux” down the side
    3. Charge an extra $80 for each of them

    • Timothy G. Yan

      Not sure who I should believe, the company president said about their product, or you the interweb expert, who have probably never use the sight?

      • Andrew

        Believe whoever you want, buddy. You’re not gonna hurt my feelings. It’s not my product, so I don’t have a dog in the fight. If it was my product, I’d probably say it was awesome and show you a picture of it in the freezer too. Because that’s what everyone wants, right? An optic that’s freezer safe.

        • Kivaari

          “Freezer safe”, can be important. Where I saw the most failures, is where the climate is harsh. In North Idaho we have extremes, form ~100 degrees to ~0 degrees. I used to test scopes by placing them in a freezer and then a warm water filled sink. Do it with optics starting at either extreme and you will see what fails. In the first year Simmons was out and being promoted they had a guarantee that said they’d fix ’em. When almost all of them failed, it made angry customers, angry shop keepers and slowed down the sales in the Pacific Northwest.
          Even so I sold a used 15x Simmons to a guy for $50. He won a 1000 yard match a few weeks later, having to shim the mount, using two thicknesses of 7Up plastic. The scope would NOT pass the freezer test. I also had Swarovski scopes and binoculars fail. A hunting trip to SW Alaska showed they were not up to the temperature change.

        • iksnilol

          For people in warm or cold countries it is important that stuff works when it is hot or cold. For instance, I live in Norway and no way I would get a scope that isn’t “freezer safe”. That’s because the temperature gets -30 degrees Celsius + wind.

    • Sianmink

      You’re upvoting your own posts. XD

      • King B

        Oh. No. Flag on the field. Illegal use of “cool points,” 5 yard penalty.

  • echelon

    More proof that everyone is paying a premium for a name brand…

    I’ve beat the heck out of my Primary Arms red dots and they’re still tickin’ as well.

  • Jack Morris

    This would be a great optic option for a training rifle. Until the market puts it through it’s paces; I wouldn’t put it on anything other than that.

    • Nicks87

      Did you not read the article? It sounds pretty durable to me. Just because it doesnt say Leupold or Trijicon doesnt mean it should be relegated to training rifles only status.

      • Andrew

        If you want to put an “assembled in America” China dot on your duty rifle, more power to ya. Yeah, we read the article, and we’ve also read other articles where TFB has praised some pretty piss poor products. Don’t believe everything you read from “reviewers” who get free samples. Reviews from average Joes who had to purchase the product with their own hard earned money are usually a lot more objective.

        • DonDrapersAcidTrip

          personally I don’t really ascribe magical powers to anything cause it’s made in america like other people

          • Anonymous

            ITT “not made in a slave labor camp by political prisoners, enriching a regime that hates us and will use the money to purchase weapons to use against us,” is a “magical power.”

          • DonDrapersAcidTrip

            “a regime that hates” what are we 12 years old here lmao. tell me more about how everyone “hates our freedoms” and america is a bastion of worker rights

      • nova3930

        It could be a fantastic sight, but the jury is still out. Aimpoints quite literally have millions if not billions of rounds under them, including hard duty by our guys in uniform, with a failure rate that’s not all that far above zero. Similar can be said of Trijicon sights.
        5 or 10 years from now we might be able to say they’re the same quality and durability but at this point we have no data one way or the other….

      • Jack Morris

        I read some impressive results from a very small group sample. Until it has a proven track record; the only place it belongs is on a range rifle. I’m not saying I’m not optimistic about this sight. It sounds great, but it doesn’t have the the kind of real world testing I’d trust when desperately grabbing for my rifle when my back door opens at 2am.

        • iksnilol

          But the problem is, you can’t get a track record if nobody uses it.

          It is like the “you need to work to get experience but you need experience to get work” catch 22.

          • Jack Morris

            This is true, however inexpensive sights rarely have trouble selling to the lesser informed.

        • Nicks87

          Do you have a Nazi biker problem where you live? Or maybe asian gangs? If so you probably better buy some military hardware. The rest of us noobs will stick with what we can afford.

          • Jack Morris

            I live in a sketchy urban area of St. Louis. Is that reason enough to want reliable equipment? Do I really need to justify to you why I would want a nice optic on my rifle? If you can’t manage your money well enough to spend $400 on an Aimpoint PRO, that’s fine; but don’t think for a second that it’s that uncommon for people to dish out a little extra for the gun they use to protect their family. Its not elitism; it’s common sense.

          • Nicks87

            Manage my money well enough? You mean like not buying things I don’t need? Yeah got that covered. I don’t drive a brand new car either so are you going to say I don’t care about my family’s safety? I live in the real world which is relatively safe but have fun in fantasy land defending your home from jihadists and pirates and what not.

          • Jack Morris

            Dude, spending 100 bucks more on a good red dot sight is a far cry from what you’re describing. My circumstances may be different from yours, but that doesn’t make them fantasy. Last year, the apartment building next to mine had a forcible entry and rape. Its not “pirates” I’m worried about and it isn’t fantasy when it actually happens. Why are you even commenting on a gun blog if you think home defense isn’t a viable reason for firearm ownership?!

      • Timothy G. Yan

        LOL, I refuse to pay $1200 and $900 for ‘Merican-made a freaken red-dot sight regardless who’s name is lasered on the side. ‘Merica!

    • USMC03Vet

      Tell us about all these ops you go on.

      • Jack Morris

        They are very secret tactical ops. I must operate quietly. With Aimpoints only.

  • Sianmink

    American made high quality red dot with 55khour life and 2moa dot for about $200 street?
    OK

    • FWIW

      ..

    • Andrew

      “American made high quality” is a huge stretch. They’re only assembled in America. All of the parts are sourced from the same Chinese factory that produces the nearly identical HoloSun and Primary Arms red dots (for $169 each).

      • Sianmink

        Aimpoint gets their chassis from the same place. Your point?

        • Andrew

          Glass and electronics too?

          • Sianmink

            They won’t say. Is the glass and board in the Hi-Lux from China? Can you even buy a circuit board that isn’t made in China?
            My point is, there’s no need to be a snob. I don’t feel like I need a $700 soldier-proof optic yet. (if I do, I’ve got a hookup that will get me a 2x Trijicon for wholesale) The Primary-Arms version has proven to be tough and reliable, but some folks may not like that it’s assembled by slave labor in China. The Hi-lux is an alternative that won’t set you back very much and appears to be very good for the price.

          • DonDrapersAcidTrip

            but the quality of materials assembled and put together within an arbitrary geographical location is determined entirely by whether I was born there and therefore owe that location and it’s people some kind of brand loyalty lol

          • Rugrash

            I’m pretty sure that Marshall wouldn’t be doing business with overseas factories that use slave labor…just sayin’. He tours every factory before doing business with them.

      • SPECTRE R&D

        ….most of us are “assembled in America” but weren’t sourced from “domestic materials/aka parts” – it’s all relative. If you don’t believe me – swab your cheek and see what parts you are “sourced from.” 😉

    • Timothy G. Yan

      Clarification, Hi-Lux Leatherwood is an American company but I don’t believe this sight is made here. They could probably do it but it will be at least double the cost.

    • sam

      Yep, this is priced more in keeping with my sighting needs and priorities via a via close range sighting than the aimpoint

      • sam

        Vis a vis that is

    • Kivaari

      I think it is Chinese.

  • thedudeaz

    No mention if it has night vision settings.

    • Timothy G. Yan

      The first 2 out of the 12 level is for NV.

  • thedonn007

    Nice review. Do you have any concerns with the “I – Beam” style AR riser bending side to side under exreme use?

    • Vitsaus

      Also will it stand up to multiple direct hits from .338 Lapua?

      • thedonn007

        Do not be ridiculous, .338 Lapua is too powerful. Perhaps we should use .308 as a baseline.

        • Timothy G. Yan

          I want an optic that will withstand a direct hit of a RPG. Actually, you’re correct. Many of the modern scope could stop a .308 round from the front or back. I tested it in a popular TV show.

    • Timothy G. Yan

      The mount itself is fine for regular use. The I-shape is a lot stronger than it look. The current design has one weaker point, which is the cross bolt. VSO channel was able to break it after the throwing it (mounted on a rifle) on the ground many time on purpose, which you shouldn’t do. The T-1 compatible mount is actually a very good value for $29. Hi-Lux will be redesign it a bit on the next version. Anyhow, you could use any of the more expensive LaRue or ADM T-1 mount with the Hi-Lux mini red-dot..

  • Orion Quach

    I still can afford H-1s so I’m still gonna buy H-1s. Hopefully after college I can get T-2s then. The failure rate of Aimpoints is so much lower than these Chinese products. My primary arms 1-6 is not even close to the quality of a Razor nor is my “advanced” primary red dot even close in how well my H-1 is made. Just look on their Facebook and forum, people always pop up saying “hey mine isint working please help” but at least PA customer service is absolutely amazing.

    • nova3930

      The PA optics are great for what they are. I think they’re a great value for the $ if you don’t intend hard use. I’ve got on of their 4-14 mil-dots on my coyote rifle which has done fine for the intended purpose. I also bought one of their micro dots to see if I liked the sight format compared to my fullsize aimpoint PRO. When I decided I liked the format, the PA microdot moved to my marlin model 60 and was replaced with a T1. I expect the PA microdot and the 4-14 will last forever in their intended role, which isn’t hard use. When it comes to an optic I’m trusting my life too though, buy once cry once….

    • SPECTRE R&D

      Love my Aimpoints – agreed. But I like that Holosun (PA/Hi-Lux) is changing the game on robust/long battery life for sub $200. This Hi-Lux version will likely be fairly robust and save some people 250 bucks. Which can be a big deal to some.
      Good on them for lowering the cost of entry to quality gear.

  • SPECTRE R&D

    Hmmm. Close to the same specs as the Holosun PARALOW HS403G Red Dot Sight (taken from Holosun). Looks like they added some length to the front and rear for the lens covers that look alot…. like Holosun’s new models too. If made by Holosun or sourced from them – it should be fairly robust. I’ve seen good results with the older models.The new Holosun models with the slide out door – I don’t trust that to keep water out of the optic.

    Holosun PARALOW HS403G

    OPTICAL DATA

    Red Dot Size 2 MOA

    ELECTRONIC DATA:

    BatteryCR2032

    Battery Life50,000 hours

    Auto Shut off 8 Hours.

    After sight turn on 8 hours, it will automatically shutoff.

    Brightness Setting10DL & 2NV Compatible

    MECHANICAL DATA

    Housing Material Aluminum Housing

    Adjust per click 0.5MOA

    ENVIROMENTAL DATA

    Storage Temperature-40C to 70C

    Working Temperature-10C to 50C

    Waterproof to 1m

    Radioactive: None.

    DIMENSIONS

    Dimension 66*64*37mm with high mount

    Weight 138g with high mount

    • Timothy G. Yan

      I didn’t want to bring this up in the piece but….lets compare features w/ cost:
      better seals cost more.
      flip-up lens caps cost more than rubber bikini covers
      tethered turret caps cost more
      custom flanges on housing a lot cost more
      spare battery storage cost more to make
      and the honeycone filter … all add up.

      • SPECTRE R&D

        Good point. Most of us have no problem paying a tad more for the extras. I may pick one up in a few months and see if she holds up to a swim test, etc. I’m hoping it has a decent o-ring and threading.

  • McLain Driver

    Can you review the Samson Magnifier? I’ve been curious about that thing, I can’t find much out there on it!

    • Timothy G. Yan

      I did but not for TFB and I can’t republish it for a while. My write-up is in the 1/2015 issue of the G&A: Book of the AR-15.

      Over all, it’s very good and it’s a safe buy.

      • Follow up question on the Micromax B-Dot:

        How does the dot look with a magnifier behind it? Still round?

        • Timothy G. Yan

          It’s all depends on the user’s eye and which magnifier.

    • Timothy G. Yan

      One more note about the Samson 3.5x Mag that I have didn’t came with a spacer that change the sight height to 1/3 cowitness. It’s like $7-8 extra.

  • IBTJC 4Life

    MAC reviewed these and loved every aspect about the quality and price – enough said.

  • DonDrapersAcidTrip

    lol yeah america is such a bastion of worker rights and anti-imperialist attitudes and only buys weapons to look at them. “intends to destroy us” kid put the gi joes and tom clancy novels down.

  • Timothy G. Yan

    A nice video review:
    https://youtu.be/sEd8MG5Tmlc