Shooters are constantly looking for a red dot sight that: costs under $200; can be mounted on rifles, carbines and shotguns; weighs several ounces; is parallax free; is compatible with all night vision devices; is submersible to 80 feet; and that runs for 50,000 hours. Like unicorns, werewolves, wendigos, and mermaids such a sight is a mythical beast and simply does not exist for $200. Sights with such features usually start around $400 to $500 and have the word “Aimpoint” or “Eotech” written somewhere on the optic. If you don’t think you need the absolute rugged reliability of an Aimpoint or an Eotech, then there are several cheaper options on the market that may suit your needs. One such option is the Lucid M7 red dot sight.
Lucid, based out of Riverton, Wyoming was started in 2009 by Jason Wilson, formerly of Brunton Optics. Lucid engineers and designs red dot scopes, rifle scopes, and magnifiers. They also design accessories, such as scope mounts and kill flashes. Though the products are designed in Wyoming, Lucid optics are manufactured in Asia. Lucid’s first product was the Lucid HD7, the bigger brother of the Lucid M7.
Key features of the Lucid M7 include:
- Weight of 4.6 ounces
- Battery Life: 1000 hours on highest setting
- Battery Life: 5000 hours with Auto Brightness enabled.
- 21mm Objective and Ocular Lens
- Built in rail mount that attaches to a MIL-STD 1913/Picatinny rail
- The Optic is made of 6061 hard anodized aluminum
- Water and Fog proof
- Tested for ruggedness on a .458 SOCOM rifle. (This was done by Lucid. I tested ruggedness on a 30-06 rifle)
- Reticle: 2MOA Dot within a 25 MOA circle
- Auto Shut off after 2 hours of inactivity
- Parallax Free
- 7 levels of brightness
- Lucid M7 runs on 1, AAA battery
- Auto brightness sensor
- ½ MOA Adjustments
- Capped and Leashed Turrets
- Available 2x Magnifier
- Available 1/3 Rail Riser
- Limited Lifetime Warrant
Testing the Lucid M7 was interesting. I have an astigmatism and I never know how my eyes are going to perceive a red dot, or an illuminated reticle. For example, my Bushnell TRS-25 looks like a red vertical line. My brother’s Aimpoint looks like a tiny cluster of grapes. Eotechs are clear. The first time I looked through the Lucid M7, the 2 MOA dot appeared fuzzy, and there was a “ghost image” of the 25 MOA outer circle. Rotating the sight and looking at it through a digital camera confirmed that there was nothing wrong with the glass or the reticle, and that my eyes were to blame. Interestingly enough I recently had the opportunity to shoot a rifle equipped with Lucid’s awesome HD7 and found the reticles clear and crisp with no ghosting or distortion.
When I first pick up a “budget” optic, I have three primary questions. Is the reticle going to be bright enough for daytime use? Will the battery last several hundred hours? Will the sight stand up to the rigors of aggressive training and field use? The Lucid M7 is as bright as an Aimpoint, and I believe that it has a battery life that will allow a user to get some serious training in before having to swap batteries. For several weeks prior to actually mounting the Lucid M7 on a firearm, the sight was turned on first thing in the morning and tossed in my bag prior to going to work. The sight would stay on my desk, turned on to max intensity and I would give it a shake roughly every hour to disable the auto shut off. The sight would stay on from the moment I went to work till just before I went to bed. I did this for 3 weeks and logged over 250 + hours with the Lucid M7. After 250+ hours the reticle had not diminished in intensity.
One unique feature that the Lucid M7 has is the ability to automatically adjust to existing light and either dial down or increase reticle intensity. This is handy due to the fact that reticle brightness is controlled by a small pad like an Eotech sight and not with a rheostat as found on an Aimpoint sight. In testing the Lucid M7 I came to appreciate this feature – without it, dialing down the intensity with gloves on would be tricky. As previously mentioned the reticle on the Lucid M7 is very bright and when transitioning to a low light area I found it necessary to dial down intensity due to the fact that the 25 MOA circle was inhibiting a good sight picture and obscuring the target. When the auto brightness feature is turned on,the intensity is automatically dialed down. Another benefit of the auto brightness feature is that users can expect a battery life of about 5000 hours.
During testing I discovered what, I believe, is a major problem with the Lucid M7. My primary method for carrying my Ar-15 to the range or the ranch is with an Eberelstock X3 LoDrag pack. Since the Eberelstock pack utilizes a rifle scabbard, the Lucid M7’s power and intensity buttons were constantly being engaged. Due to the constant pressure from the pack, I believe the circuitry became ‘confused’ when these buttons were held down. After this happened I could not get the sight to turn on, let alone function reliably. In some cases, removing the battery for an unspecified amount of time allowed the sight to come back on. As soon as reticle intensity was adjusted, however, the sight would shut off. In testing I found that the battery had to be left out of the unit until all the electrical energy dissipated from the sight. Swapping new batteries did not help. Prior to shipping the sight back to Lucid I was able to get the sight to turn on and it appeared to function normally. (The sight sat in it’s case without a battery for about 2 weeks) Holding down the power and intensity buttons, I was able to repeat the problem. Due to this issue, it was next to impossible to log serious training time with the sight.
I brought up the issue with Lucid… I was told they were aware of the issue and that I should not carry my Ar-15 using the Eberelstock pack…(?!) What if a police officer was using a Lucid M7 equipped patrol carbine, and the rifle was in a soft case in the officer’s trunk? If the officer was in a high speed pursuit, in the course of pursuit a piece of gear could shift onto the officer’s rifle case and engage the buttons on the sight. That officer would have an issue should he or she deploy their rifle only to find that the sight is not functioning properly. This circumstance would be especially detrimental at night or in a low light scenario when a red dot sight is a force multiplier. Several weeks ago I was at the range shooting with a fellow TFB writer, Tom R. Tom R was testing a rifle equipped with the Lucid HD7. After Tom R was done testing I held down all the buttons on the Lucid HD7 to see if I could replicate the issue I had with the Lucid M7. The Lucid HD7 scoffed at my attempts to confuse its circuitry and continued to function 100%.
Prior to mounting the Lucid M7 on my Ar-15, the sight was mounted on a Winchester Model 70 chambered in 30-06. After laser bore sighting the Lucid M7, I fired 20 rounds from the prone position at 50 yards. All shots were within 2 inches which leads me to believe that the Lucid M7 can handle some pretty substantial recoil. Switching the Lucid M7 to my Ar-15, I was only able to fire several magazines worth of ammunition. I ran several El Presidente drills using the Lucid M7. With the 25 MOA circle I was able to get on target a little bit faster then normal, and my timer consistently read sub 10 second runs.
The Lucid M7 has a lot of potential but I don’t think it is ready for heavy duty use yet. It is interesting to note that the Lucid HD7 is currently on it’s third generation. If they haven’t already, I have no doubt that Lucid is working to correct the deficiencies of the Lucid M7. In the mean time I would look strongly at the Lucid HD7… or save an extra $200 and buy an Aimpoint PRO. I recently got the chance to spend several hours on the range with the Lucid HD7 and I was extremely impressed.
Thank you Lucid for providing The Firearm Blog with a test sample. Phil White’s review of the Lucid HD7 can be found here.
Do you have any experience with Lucid optics? Thoughts, comments, bad jokes and humor are welcome in the comments below.