The world of pistol red dots has slowly become dominated by the enclosed emitter mini red dot. The Aimpoint Acro started a trend that has taken over. The market. Holosun leapt on it, and Trijicon even released a new red dot. Even budget-friendly brands are getting into the enclosed red dot world. One affordable option comes from Swampfox in the form of the Kraken.
That’s right, let’s do all your Release the Kraken jokes now before we get too deep into it. I can’t exactly think of why it’s called the Kraken. Maybe because it’s an enclosed emitter optic and enclosed emitter optics can resist water? Or maybe it’s just a memorable name in a world where model numbers and acronyms seemingly rule to roost.
The Kraken – Specs and Features
The Kraken uses a proprietary footprint and comes with an RMR footprint or a Glock MOS plate. Different plates and mounts exist, including a riser mount for long guns and beyond. The Kraken’s enclosed emitter design ensures nothing gets between the reticle and the screen. The Kraken is IPX7 waterproof. It can be submerged to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.
The Kraken only weighs 2.5 ounces, but it still has the tactical toaster look that almost all enclosed emitter optics have. The optic runs on a single CR2032 battery and can last up to two years. Helping the battery life is a very aggressive shake awake. After three minutes and 45 seconds, the optic will automatically shut off.
The Kraken comes with a 3 MOA red dot reticle. The reticle is surprisingly crisp and clear. It stands out against a slight light blue notch filter. It’s easy to see and has ten different brightness settings. The bottom two are night vision compatible for all your aiming needs. There is also a green option if you prefer that route. The view through the lenses is nice and clear, which is critical for an enclosed emitter optic.
At the Range
With the Swampfox Kraken installed on an Arex Delta, I hit the range. After a quick zero, I was ready to send it. Zeroing was easy, and the .5 MOA adjustments were fairly precise. It makes it easy to get real exact if you decide to toss the optic on a rifle or shotgun. On a handgun, it can get a little pesky, but it is not difficult to work with by any means.
The first thing I look for is the refresh rate. Does the dot lag noticeably as I track the dot? Does the dot lag when I quickly run the gun from target to target? I haven’t noticed it if so. The lag isn’t perceptible when used. It’s not bad for a budget optic by any means.
I also took the optic through various lighting conditions. This includes light from the front, the rear, and the sides. Other than having to naturally squint, I never had issues finding the dot and seeing it vividly. The big buttons on the side are slightly recessed and protected. This keeps the button from being accidentally pressed. The buttons are tactile and quite responsive.
Finding the dot and zapping a target proved plenty easy. Like most enclosed emitter optics, it sits high on the gun, but the dot is still easy to find and see. The Kraken proved to be plenty easy to hit targets, anywhere from five to 25 yards. If I stepped beyond 25 yards, things weren’t as easy, but I could hit targets as far as 50 yards with regularity.
Off the Handgun
The Kraken works well on a handgun, but I do still dislike stacking plates and optics. When tolerances get stacked, it’s always a hassle. This is a problem with most enclosed emitter optics outside of the Holosun EPS. It’s rarely a problem, but it’s worth noting. The Swampfox Kraken would be a great option on a handgun as well as off a handgun.
If you want a minimalist optic for a PDW-type weapon or even a shotgun, the Kraken will work quite well. It’s super light, super small, and works quite well. You get all the benefits of an enclosed emitter optic at a lower price point. While it might not take the level of abuse as an Acro or RCR, it’s still a rugged optic. Rugged enough for home defense, competition, and even concealed carry.
Check it out here, and keep an eye on Swampfox. They are always doing something interesting and affordable.