Mine hasn’t arrived yet… You can see my review of Steve’s here. In short, these things are awesome and still fall on the middle end of the price spectrum for high-end LPVO optics.
I just found out today I have a couple more SIG optics on the way, so I will keep you up to date on those. More than anything else though Josh and Henry’s footage shows off a lot of what the Razor has that I couldn’t show with a freehand phone camera.
The Razor Gen III cracked the code on a great many elusive features on LPVO optics. Front Focal Plane illumination was one. Battery life is another and I have a theory on how. The third ties into the other two. A reticle system that is useable without being in the way at high magnification setting.
So how did they do it?
THEORY: They used RDS lens coating as part of the etched reticle, which solved the three problems.
Problem One: Thick reticle on maximum zoom. An RDS coating is translucent, using it on the etched reticle you can see through it even if the reticle is overtop of the target. The target is visible through the reticle which is pretty much the ultimate way to solve this problem. We have a way to see past the reticle that does not rely on the reticle being thin (and therefore nearly useless at low power and hard to illuminate).
Problem Two: Illumination brightness. This was also a problem that has been solved in red dots by a combination of coated lenses and high efficiency LEDs. But unlike in an RDS, the whole lens in a magnified optic cannot be coated to catch the LED without significantly affecting light transmission. Each light transmission medium you add makes keeping a useable image that much harder to maintain and a magnified optic uses far more parts than a red dot sight that affect that image. Luckily we don’t need to the whole system to illuminate, we need the center reticle to illuminate. Using the dark translucent lens coating as the reticle itself is brilliant (see what I did there). It would be far too dark if it were the whole lens, but it isn’t the whole lens. The dark coating also takes advantage of reacting to the LED at much lower power settings than other illumination systems, just like current generation red dots, which brings us to problem three
Problem Three: Battery life. LPVOs are battery hogs on a level that even older EOTech models would look at with disdain, if they didn’t have the benefit of variable magnification. This was always due, especially in FFP reticle systems, to the LED having to burn absurdly bright against very small portions of a lens to produce a useable contrast. The reticle is an absurdly small portion of the overall lens surface area that needs to react to the LED while also not flooding the optical housing with extraneous light that will obscure the sight picture. It’s a delicate balance and the compromise, until now, has always been battery life gets sacrificed and/or the reticle illumination isn’t bright enough. Vortex seems to have solved both life and brightness by using the coating or whatever equivalent has produced the translucent reticle.