Kahles has been expanding their line of optics and recently came out with a red dot optic. Kahles is known to make extremely high-quality variable power optics and tends to be the competition and tactical division of Swarovski Optics. With Kahles being known for really well built long-range optics, it was a bit of a surprise at SHOT Show 2019 when they announced they would be making a red dot called the Helia for the commercial market. After four months of spending time with a couple of these optics, let’s jump into what my experience has been.
The Kahles Helia red dot is Kahles’ first attempt at making a red dot for the consumer market and it has a number of useful features. The Helia RD comes with a Picatinny mount and orange rubber cover with the red dot as standard along with cleaning cloths and a few other features. The dot on the Helia RD is 2 MOA with 4 brightness settings. Kahles also installed an auto-shutoff feature so the optic will shut off after a couple hours of being stationary.
One of the most impressive aspects of design in the Helia RD is how the battery is installed into the body. Kahles designed the battery compartment to look similar to something like an SD card in a laptop which is probably one of the better designs I’ve seen for changing batteries. This lets you change out batteries without having to re-zero the optic afterward. The MSRP on the Helia RD is $449.99 but typically you can find the Helia for $399.99 on Brownells and other online distributors.
When looking for a gun to install the Helia, I was really interested in something like a PCC or short barrel rifle. I ended up deciding to make my HK SP5k the host gun. The HK was perfect for its overall size and how the Helia mounts onto the gun. The Helia comes with a very low mount so the riser on top of the SP5k was a great matchup for this optic. On the range, the larger lens lets you get a great field of view. I was really happy with how easy it was to adjust the elevation and windage.
Making adjustments was simple since they are clearly labeled directions and positive audible clicks every time you make an adjustment. I took the Kahles Helia RD out on six different range trips with great luck with the red dot. Over the last few months, I used it out in the rain and snow along with sunny hot days with no issues at all. I did abuse my first red dot accidentally. It was scratched and beaten up after a number of range trips. One range trip, I was working on transitions drills at things went bad for the little Helia RD.
I have metal brackets on my barriers. When I transitioned to my handgun the optic ended up hitting the metal corner of my barrier. The glass ended up breaking which wasn’t fun but I could still see the dot. Thankfully, I ended up finishing out the rest of the drills with the broken red dot. I was very happy to see the red dot still held zero. It worked perfectly despite having the glass broken on the optic. I took it out again one last time to see how it would work being beaten up and broken but the optic continued to work like it was designed with a broken lens.
Kahles Customer Service
Once I got back from my last range trip, I called Kahles optics and explained exactly what happened. They were very understanding and sent me an RMA tag to send the broken optic back. About two weeks later I had a package on my front porch with a new Helia RD ready to go. They treated me really well even though I was an average Joe calling for warranty services. They had excellent customer service during my time with them. Even though it was unfortunate I broke my test model, they showed how great their customer service was. I think it ultimately ended up being a good data point for me.
Its unfortunate I ended up breaking the Helia during testing but to be fair I was being rough on it and even after breaking, the optic continued to hold zero and function fine. Overall, I think its a great optic for PCC and a 3 gun optic. I plan on keeping the Helia RD on my HK SP5k for the foreseeable future. The Helia is a great match on something like a PDW or small little carbine. I wouldn’t hesitate to put it on a lever action for aging eyes during the hunting season. Let me know if you have any Kahles optics or used the Kahles Helia RD yet. If you have any questions on optics or anything gun related feel free to message me on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.
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