Elcan SpecterDR Dual Role 1-4x Optical Sight Review

Built like a tank and made as a true battle optic, the Elcan SpecterDR Dual Role 1-4x Optical Sight is definitely something that needs further looking into.

It’s not the most popular military sight on the market, but it takes up a niche role in its field. It also has a “love it or hate it” reputation among shooters. So we couldn’t wait to find out more about what makes this optic tick.

In this review, we’ll run you through all the key features of the Elcan SpecterDR Dual Role 1-4x. Plus, we’ll reveal some pros and cons and then some tips on how to make the most out of this optic – for the range or out in the field.

Elcan SpecterDR Dual Role 1-4x Optical Sight Review

Never heard of Elcan Optical Technologies?

Dual-threat, two sights…, why are dual sights beneficial, built like a friggin’ tank, does it hold zero, reticle and illumination, the main complaint, other considerations, looking for specific sighting options.

Elcan is a Canadian company based in Midland, Ontario but is owned by the American defense contractor, Raytheon. They make devices aimed towards both civilian and military markets.

If you have heard of Elcan, it’s probably because of its 3.4 x 28-power ELCAN C79 optical sight . This is a highly regarded sight that has gained a strong reputation with regular infantrymen and designated marksmen alike. It also has an adaptable platform that will mount on various rifles in order to function super effectively.

Now let’s move on to the Elcan SpecterDR Dual Role 1-4x Optical Sight…

Key Features

Elcan SpecterDR Dual Role 1-4x Optical Sight

The most standout feature with this Elcan optic is that it offers 1x and 4x sight options. These are  two built-in sights that are easily interchangeable  on the optic.

Unlike other optics where you have to adjust to find the 4x setting, this sight incorporates a very easy to use throw lever. The lever shifts only to the 1x or 4x settings, making it a dual magnification sight – not a variable one where you can shift in small increments to various settings.

Since this is a battle sight, it can be assumed that the shooter wants quick reaction optics that work intuitively with their needs in tactical scenarios. The idea of the SpecterDR is to offer you  quick targeting options for CQB and mid-range situations with excellent precision . Plus, the SpecterDR is suited for rifles made warfare.

With more traditional variable magnification sights, you have to dial in the new setting, which can take away precious moments in battle. And let’s face it, most of us usually want to find that exact 4x setting anyway, so why bother with any settings in-between?

Elcan SpecterDR Dual Role 1-4x Optical Sight Tank

Another major plus point is that the Elcan SpecterDR Dual Role 1-4x Optical Sight is  incredibly strong, durable, and lightweight  at just 660 grams.

It uses a hard-anodized aluminum housing that’s built to resist corrosion in harsh elements, and it should keep delivering with  high performance in harsh environments . It’s also waterproof to a depth of 66 feet and for a period of two hours.

Furthermore, there are flip-up covers on both sides of the optic. Some of these optics come with an attached screw-in anti-reflective device that has that honeycomb effect. This can be easily removed if you want to experience the full clarity of the glass.

And yes, the glass is beautifully clear, which should be expected for a battle scope in this price range .

Elcan SpecterDR Dual Role 1-4x Optical Sight Zero

This optic has been deemed a very rugged and shock-resistant design. This can’t be more evident when you consider that it does hold zero exceptionally well after heavy drops.

A good way to know if your scope is holding zero just by looking at it is to paint mark it at its zero position. After doing this with the Elcan SpecterDR Dual Role 1-4x Optical Sight, little or no movement can be noticed when it has been dropped. The groupings you can achieve after dropping the optic are usually very much the same as before.

On the 1x CQB sight setting, the eye relief is very forgiving at around 70mm. This optimal eye relief makes it easier for you to target in the various and unpredictable positions you may find yourself in with tactical combat.

We noticed that the eye relief on the 4x setting wasn’t so forgiving. It does require that you hold your eye at a specific point for correct focus. This can be considered as a con for the SpecterDR. Yet, with enough practice and getting to know this optic, overall, we think this is a minor detail in the grand scheme of things.

Elcan SpecterDR Dual Role 1-4x Optical Sight Reticle

This optic uses a single CR2032 lithium battery for its LED illumination. This can power it for a minimum of 600 hours, which is very impressive.

It has five brightness settings and five illuminated reticle options. This means that you get five CQB red dot brightness settings to contend with. Plus, you get 1.5 to 6 MOA depending on what setting you are on, and there are two night vision options included in this five brightness level setup.

Brighten up your day…

The other five brightness settings relate to the illumination of the entire reticle. These include the two night vision settings mentioned, plus there are three which illuminate the reticle in red for use in any conditions which you find them suited for.

The battery compartment is situated within the adjustment knob for the brightness settings. An adjustment tool is provided for you to undo this fully and replace the batteries. The tool is also used for changing the brightness settings without causing any scuffs or scratches to the knob. We do, however, think a screwdriver, shell casing, or even a coin would work just as well.

Since this optic uses a 32mm objective lens, you do get a wide field of view, which is at a 6.5 – 26-degree angle. This is for both the 1x and 4x settings and is very useful when you want to quickly acquire moving targets in a tactical scenario.

The windage and elevation are exposed to the elements. What we mean is the controls, and the actual mechanical process of moving the scope is visible and outside the main housing.

Usually, the scopes and other optics that have windage and elevation adjustments have the mechanism internalized. This is clearly to prevent them from getting damaged and to lock everything into the optic.

Does this present a problem with the Elcan SpecterDR Dual Role 1-4x Optical Sight?

In our opinion – not really. After all, this is a proven battle sight built like a tank. It has been tested thoroughly, and only time would tell whether the exposed aspect of these adjustments makes any difference.

Elcan’s top rival, Trijicon, has this sort of exposure on some of their sights, and this has never been complained about for causing any issues in the field.

Mounting this Elcan optic is very straightforward, using a standard and provided Picatinny rail mount. Also, the parallax is fixed on this system, and there is a VSOR rangefinder built into the dual-thickness ballistic crosshair red dot reticle.

Pros and Cons

  • 1x and 4x dual role reticle.
  • Intuitive throw lever design.
  • Excellent LED brightness settings.
  • Night vision included.
  • Incredibly rugged and durable design.
  • Wide field of view.
  • Super clear glass.
  • Holds zero well.
  • 4x eye relief is unforgiving.
  • External windage and elevation adjustments.

Also see:  The 10 Best Air Rifle Scopes

If so, check out our in-depth reviews of the  Trijicon RMR 6 5 MOA Adjustable LED Red Dot Sight,  our  Best Primary Arms Red Dot Sight Review , the  Best Red Dot Sight for AK47 , our  Best NightForce Riflescope Reviews , and the  Best Ruger 10 22 Red Dot Sights  currently on the market.

Or how about the  Best AR-15 Optics Scopes  and the  Best Thermal Imaging Rifle Scopes  you can buy in 2023.

All-in-all, after running through all the features of the Elcan SpecterDR Dual Role 1-4x Optical Sight, we think it’s a winner. The complaints that most people have to do with the external adjustments, which have yet to reveal any deeply concerning issues.

What shines through with this optic are two things that have been done well. First, the throw lever’s adjustable 1x and 4x settings. By alleviating the need for other settings, this makes this scope  amazing for close to mid-range combat  and with just a flip of a lever. All you have to do is learn each setting. And with thorough practice, you’ll have a responsive setup.

The other strong aspect of this optic is the illumination options, which are varied enough for you to find targets in all sorts of lighting conditions.

Thanks for checking out this Elcan optical sight review. We hope you now have a better idea of what this optical sight is all about.

Happy and safe shooting.

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About Norman Turner

Norman is a US Marine Corps veteran as well as being an SSI Assistant Instructor. He, unfortunately, received injuries to his body while serving, that included cracked vertebrae and injuries to both his knees and his shoulder, resulting in several surgeries. His service included operation Restore Hope in Somalia and Desert Storm in Kuwait. Norman is very proud of his service, and the time he spent in the Marine Corps and does not dwell on his injuries or anything negative in his life. He loves writing and sharing his extensive knowledge of firearms, especially AR rifles and tactical equipment. He lives in Kansas with his wife Shirley and the two German Shepherds, Troy and Reagan.

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Bill marr's journal of shooting, reloading and gunsmithing.

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  • Elcan SpecterDR 1-4x Dual Field-of-View Optical Sight Review

December 19, 2014 Bill Marr Optics , Reviews 0

elcan specter 1 4 review

The AR-15/M16 M4 rifle defines the contemporary firearm.  The thin wispy 20″ barrel and triangular hand guards of the original models are long gone, replaced by shorter modular rifles capable of a wide range of applications.  The old Chief Warrant Officer who ran the range at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) at Twentynine Palms, California, used to say, “it’s all sights and triggers”.  The rifle needs a decent sight and trigger to hit the target.  If he is looking for an improvement over iron sights, today’s AR-15/M16 M4 shooter has plenty of options to chose from.

Iron sights are fantastic, rugged and, almost always work (I’ve seen them break).  Red dot or reflex sight systems offer a single focal plane and increased speed without magnification for close-in shooting.  Magnified optics, either fixed and ruggedized like the ubiquitous Trijicon ACOG, or refined and variable like the Nightforce F1; offer increased target identification and a refined sight picture- often at the expense of a narrow field of view or durability.  What if you could have one sight that pretty much does it all?

The Elcan SpecterDR 1-4x is a unique sight that offers shooters the option of either a 1X or 4X magnification, ballistic reticle, 1.5 or 6 MOA red dot, or illuminated reticle all in a durable package designed for field use.

A quick note for ACOG users, the SpecterDR has a 2.75″ eye relief (ACOG RCO is 1.5″), so it will sit further forward on the rifle.

Elcan SpecterDR 1-4x from the manufacturer:

Magnification 1x unity 4x telescope Length 153mm (6″) Width 76mm (3″) Height 76mm (3″) Weight 640g (1.41lbs) Illumination Source Battery ­powered LED (650nm) Illumination Settings 5 intensity levels Reticle 5.56, 7.62 STD Eye Relief 70 mm (2 ¾ “) Field of View 24° 6 Axis Height 39mm (1.53″) Exit Pupil 8 mm (0.275”) Zeroing Range ±60 MOA Movement per Click ½ MOA Mount Capability MIL­STD­1913 Mount Attach Dual Levers Rain Sights Yes, Modular Aiming Point 6 MOA dot @ 1X 1.5 MOA dot @4X Operating Temp ­40 to +65°C (­40 to 140°F) Storage Temp ­40 to +85°C (­40 to 180°F) Environmental ­ Waterproof: ­ Shockproof: 66ft for 2 hours min 450 g’s Battery / Life DL 1/3 N / Min 300 hrs @ max brightness Finish Anodized with chemically resistant rubber casing

specter dr right side

The elevation adjustment is external as well.  Note the gray locking tab above the elevation wheel (above).  The tab locks the elevation setting in place.


I shot the SpecterDR extensively from 7-200 yards.  Conditions ranged from daylight, to low-light,white light, and with a PVS-22, in total darkness.    

Shooting the SpecterDR was an absolute pleasure.  Changing from 1-4X was simple and the option of either running a dot or illuminated reticle allowed the sight to be suited to any situation.

While it is bigger and heavier than some other sights on the market, I feel its versatility makes the added bulk worth it.

Four other seasoned shooters shot it and they were all equally impressed.  Engaging targets at night with the sight set on 4X and the PVS-22 running was a crowd favorite.  Quite possibly the most fun you can have with a rifle.

I ordered my SpecterDR from Brownells .

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  • About Combat Optics Reviews

ELCAN Specter DR 1-4X Review

ELCAN SpecterDR -1-4X

Elcan Specter DR Dual Role 1- 4X Optical Sight

The ELCAN Specter DR Dual Role Optical Sight represents a revolution in optical sight design. The world’s first truly dual field of view combat optical sight, the Specter DR switches instantly from a 4x magnified sight to a 1x CQB sight with the throw of a lever. Unlike zoom sights, the Specter DR offers an optimized optical path and identical eye relief in both 4x and 1x modes. Depending upon the situation, the user may adjust the sight to illuminate the crosshair or just a brilliant red dot in the center. In 1x mode, the Specter DR has by far the largest field of view in the industry. In 4x mode the SpecterDR offers a generous field of view, long eye relief, and ELCAN’s legendary crystal clear image. The Specter DR offers the best single solution for both CQB and Long Range engagements and is designed to withstand the rigors of modern professional use. Calibrated for the M855 5.56 NATO round.


  • Specter DR 1-4x   Magnification : 4x / 1x Length: 153mm nominal
  • Width:  74mm nominal
  • Height:  78mm nominal
  • Weight : 660g nominal
  • Reticle : dual-thickness ballistic crosshair with user-selectable red dot, VSOR rangefinder, and “area fire” circles
  • Aiming dot diameter : 1.5 MOA at 4x, 6 MOA at 1x
  • Ballistic correction:  CX5395 reticle: 100-600m for 5.56 carbine, 700-1000m for 5.56mm LMG
  • CQB offset:  <44mm at 60m
  • Field of view : 26 degrees at 1x, 6.5 degrees at 4x
  • FOV at 4x : 11.4m at 100m (34.2ft at 100 yards)
  • FOV at 1x : 48.8m at 100m (146.3ft at 100 yards)
  • Illumination source : battery-powered
  • LED Crosshair illumination : 5 settings, AN/PVS-22 compatible
  • Red dot illumination : 5 settings, AN/PVS-22 compatible
  • Eye relief : 70mm *
  • Entrance pupil : 32mm
  • Exit pupil : 8mm
  • Nominal focus : 150m at 4x, 70m at 1x
  • Fixed focus range : 20m to infinity
  • Battery type : DL 1/3N (3V lithium)
  • Battery life : 600 hours minimum, 3000 hours average
  • Exterior finish : hard-anodized aluminum, gray/black color
  • Adjustment resolution : .5 minute of angle
  • Adjustment range : 120 minutes of angle
  • Base requirement : mil-std-1913 picatinny rail
  • Attachment : arms levers
  • Waterproof : 66ft for 2 hours
  • Shockproof : 450g’s
  • Calibration:  5.56 NATO

You may find this video on Brownells – Specter DR Dual Role Sights interesting:

Purchase an  ELCAN SpecterDR -1-4X  at Brownells, a name you can trust.

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elcan specter 1 4 review

Chin Up: Choosing the Elcan SpecterDR 1-4X

Elcan SpecterDR review

The Elcan SpecterDR is an oft-maligned Low Power Variable Optic. It’s a rifle scope made by Raytheon Optical Technologies that stired up substantial contention, particularly in social media (and only slightly less so on assorted forums). Was that an engineered controversy and uncivil discourse because people just want to be outraged, or is it legit criticism? We weren’t sure, so we went to a compellative pantomath (one of several who writes for us) and asked him why the Elcan is the optic of choice for one of his rifles. He jotted down just a few words right quick — with the admonition that we make it clear that the appropriate optic should be chosen for an intended purpose. One size does not  fit all, and any choice should be reasoned. Anyway, we reckoned we’d share. Mad Duo

Frank Woods

About the Author



Great article, super in-depth! Ended up being what sold me on picking up one of these.

Out of curiosity, what distance did you zero the ACRO for once it was perched on your Elcan? I’m trying to make an ersatz iteration of your setup by mounting one of the old Steiner MRS dots to the top of my SpecterDR using one of those picatinny saddle mounts you can find drifting around. It works, but it adds a bit more height and definitely won’t win any beauty contests.

I’ve seen other folks suggest a 100m zero for piggybacked red dots, but I’m not sure if that was in the context of being used for passive aiming like yours is. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Jerry Jerry Garcia

Fantastic article…Thanks!

Elcan is too $$ for me. I’d like to try one, but even used and beat up they cost more than a new ACOG. At least hat is how it has been on eBay.

Ellis M. George

Same here! I am not experiencing this, but that is good information to have.

Excellent article! I do wish to know how to refocus the Elcan if that issue arises


I’d like to know how you fixed the out of focus prism/blurry Elcan.


A lot of grasping. But an A for effort. Use what works for you, but theres no way I would use this contraption. Eotech, Red Dot, Trijicon, LPVO Scope are IMO so handy and solidly made, it works for their respective barrel lengths and purposes. By the time I get a a 18″ barrel I want a 10x on a 5.56N. Eotech for clearing with a MK18 and Red Dot for 14.5″. Or a magnifier and Eotech. Trijicon works well for the M16 folks.


My unit was given a Specter 1-4 to T&E in, I think, late 2007. On the first patrol, the elevation mechanism got stuck and could not be fixed. Deadlined after one patrol. That put a VERY sour taste in my mouth for the Specter for years and years.

But, given its history now, I admit my experience is not the norm.


Great article, thanks! However, I don’t understand why people stick to the 4x version of the ACOG when the 3.5x TA11 marvelously solves the eyebox problem, at a marginal cost in size and weight (ok, and FOV) – it is the one ACOG to compare to the Elcan IMO. On a MR308 I shot from 5m, 10m, 15m and all the way up to 600m with my old TA11. They now offer updated reticules, more buyer choice than Elcans. (I also quite like my Elcan, but death donut + Bindon technique beats having to flip a lever IMO)


Awesome article and review!!! Elcan looks sick with a T2 or Acro on top of it . I think this set up would do my 14.5 URGI Just right with day and night shooting.


Great article. Very on point regarding the Elcan myths, and very well thought out. Thanks!

Not A Video Game Character

A few short words? If you printed out this article the stack of paper would weigh more than that monstrosity he calls a rifle.

Frank Woods

If 24 pages weighs more than that rifle, I’d be curious to know what paper stock variety it was printed out on 😅


Thoroughly enjoyed that article, answered a lot of questions from my end regarding comparison between ACOGs and Specters

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elcan specter 1 4 review

Reviews & Ratings for OpticsPlanet Exclusive Elcan SpecterDR Dual Role 1-4x32mm Rifle Scope — 23 reviews — Page 1

Get what you pay for.

  • Quickly snap from close to long range
  • Iron sights out of focus when placing scope where it needs to be

Tank of an optic

Gwot drip is eternal, it's elcan, not elcannot, great for self-defense.

  • Ease Of Use
  • Good weight,
  • Self / home defense

for the money...

Excellent optic but pricey.

  • It's an ELCAN
  • Its and ELCAN

One of the best

Best optic i own.

  • Tough, versatile, great retical
  • Cost, arms levers are becoming a bit dated
  • Nerding out with clone builds

First World Crusader

Elcan Specter Review

Complete in-depth Elcan Specter Review that will cover everything on this optic.

This post will specifically review the Elcan Specter DR 1x to 4x version. The DR stands for dual role and there are also a few other variations of this optic that are available.

It is a bit on the expensive side for a battle optic and is also heavy but this article should help you decide whether this is the right optic for you.

Elcan Specter Review

What is the Elcan specter?

The Elcan Specter is a military designed combat optic made by Raytheon Technologies .

Selected by the U.S. Special Operations Command for elite SpecOps missions, the Elcan Specter DR 1-4x dual role weapon sight is reliable, amazingly bright, and very accurate.

Whether the mission calls for clearing a building or open-terrain patrol, the optic provides both fast acquisition and long-range target identification.

It is the only combat sight that switches between close combat battle mode and precision ranged fire mode.

A nice thing about this optic is that it combines the features of both a red dot and a scope into one single unit. It will take up less rail space than a red dot or holographic sight with a magnifier and also a scope.

Elcan Specter Review

Unlike zoom sights, the Elcan Specter offers an optimized optical path and identical eye relief in both 4x and 1x settings.

Depending upon the situation, the user may adjust the sight to illuminate the crosshair or just a brilliant red dot in the center.

In 1x mode, the Specter has by far the largest field of view compared to similar optics. In 4x mode, the Elcan Specter offers a generous field of view, long eye relief, and a crystal clear image.

The Specter 4x/1x offers the best single solution for both mid-range and CQB engagements and is designed to withstand the rigors of modern professional use.

Overall Design

The first thing to mention in the Elcan Specter review is the overall design of the scope.

The Elcan Specter is smaller and more compact compared to a low powered variable optic (LPVO) and does a lot of the same functions as an LPVO. It comes with a mount integrated.

This is a prism style scope and it is very rugged and durable.

Elcan Specter Review

The lever must be pushed down and over to change between magnifications. This is to prevent from hitting the lever unintentionally.

The front of the scope does have threads that will accept a kill flash if you want to use one. It does come with one already with it and you will not have to purchase one separately. The kill flash will help eliminate any glare coming off of the front of the optic.

The Elcan Specter now comes in the standard black color and also a flat dark earth color.

Click here to check the current prices of the Elcan Specter

Mounting the Optic

elcan specter 1 4 review

There are two levers on the side of the mount that clamp onto the rail and also a center tab under the mount that locks into the rail.

The mount has two additional slots behind the levers that can be used as reference points or can be used to attach zip ties or lock wire to prevent the levers from being opened unintentionally.

Zeroing the Elcan Specter

The windage and elevation adjustments are set to half MOA and can be adjusted in those increments. The Elcan Specter is designed to be zeroed at 100 meters to use with the ballistic reticle that is on this optic.

Elcan Specter Review

Also, the fixed iron sights that are on top of the optic are always lined up in relation to the reticle so once you zero in the optic, your iron sights are zeroed as well. This is a very clever way of sighting an optic in and also eliminates additional steps to co-witness your iron sights.

The rear sight is a peephole sight and the front sight is a blade. The rear sight can also be removed and there are mounting holes to add a red dot sight.


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Reticle and Illumination

When doing the Elcan Specter review the reticle is a highlight on this optic.

The Elcan Specter has a dual-thickness ballistic crosshair reticle with a user-selectable red dot, VSOR rangefinder, and area fire circles. The reticle is very advanced and is calibrated for the 5.56 round. (They also make a 7.62 version)

There are 5 brightness settings and it is compatible with night vision as well. There are different brightness settings just for the dot and also separate brightness settings for the entire reticle itself. So lots of different options for the user to choose from depending on the environmental conditions.

Elcan Specter Review

The reticle isn’t too busy and has just the correct amount of information on it. The bullet drop compensator (BDC) shows increments from 300 meters all the way to 1000 meters.

This is calibrated and designed for an M4 rifle shooting the M855 ammunition. The BDC will change slightly depending on some variables including barrel length, but for most shooters, it will be very close and get the job done.

Elcan Specter Review

This allows you to makes ranging targets at different distances very fast and easy.

Eye relief on the Elcan Specter is very generous. It ranges from a 2.75 to 3-inch eye relief and this will provide you with some more flexibility when shooting while using this optic.

Lastly, glass clarity is absolutely insane. When looking through this scope you will appreciate just how clear and bright the reticle is and anything you are targeting.

The biggest downside of the optic

As with everything when it comes to firearms and optics, there is always a trade-off.

Elcan Specter Review

The Elcan Specter is heavy and some people might not like the weight of it. This optic weighs around 22 ounces with the mount on it but you must keep in mind, it’s like have the best of both worlds for a sight. An LPVO and a red dot.

Depending on your own personal rifle setup and what you have in mind for this optic, it will work great for some people and not so much for others.

Final Considerations

The Elcan Specter is a premium optic and you definitely get what you pay for when it comes to rifle optics and scopes.

Elcan Specter Review

Switching from 1x to 4x quickly and being able to engage targets at different distances quickly is what this optic does exceptionally well and no wonder it is used by different military units.

Specifications for Elcan Specter:

Features of elcan specterdr dual role 1-4x optical sight w/integral a.r.m.s. picatinny mount:.

  • Switches instantly from a 4x magnified sight to a 1x CQB sight with the throw of a lever
  • Identical eye relief in each sight
  • Reticle: Dual-thickness ballistic crosshair with user-selectable red dot, VSOR rangefinder, and area fire circles
  • Red dot/crosshair illumination:5 settings, AN/PVS-22 compatible

Package Contents:

  • Elcan SpecterDR Dual Role 1-4x Optical Sight w/Integral A.R.M.S. Picatinny Mount, Anti-Reflection Device

***Images provided by AV12G on Instagram. Make sure to follow his page!***

elcan specter 1 4 review

Retired Army

18 years of professional firearms experience and expert marksmen in U.S. Army. Team leader and training officer for private security, range officer, FFL Holder and passion for firearms.

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www.GunsandOptics.com Tactical & Hunting Gear Review

Elcan specterdr 1-4x review.

Mark Griffin January 27, 2015 Blogs , Gear Review Leave a comment 5,947 Views

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It is a generally acknowledged proverb of most rifle degree clients that the amplification settings between the least and most noteworthy amplification of an extension are to a great extent unused. This is by all accounts, especially valid for the 1-(n) x extension class. The Elcan Specterdr abstains from these transitional settings altogether in their configuration. They do this, not by utilizing routine techniques, for example, those utilized in the Pit-bull by IOR, yet in a broad sense reconsidering the suppositions made by practically all different items in the business. These suppositions, in alterations and entirely coaxial lens position, are truly major and have brought about a totally different product.

This Rifle Scope speaks of a transformation in the optical sight plan. The world’s first real double field of perspective battle optical sight that joins the best of close and accuracy blaze ran battle characteristics. The Specter switches in a flash from 4x amplified sight to a 1x CQB sight at the toss of a lever. The Specter offers an improved optical way and indistinguishable eye alleviation in both 4x and 1x modes.

Elcan Specterdr 1-4x

Contingent upon the circumstances, the client may change the sight to enlighten the whole crosshair or simply a 1.5 MOA dab in the middle. In 1x mode, the Specterdr has a greatly vast field of perspective. In 4x mode, the Specterdr offers a liberal field of perspective, long eye alleviation, and Elcan’s fanciful completely clear picture. Situational mindfulness in both amplifications is enhanced with an all-inclusive survey plot and unmatched review in low light conditions. The Specter has a large portion of the weight and doubles the ability of two degrees, without bargain to mission adequacy or unwavering quality. The Specter from Elcan offers the best single answer for both CQB and long-range engagements.

The Specter DR consolidates a few components most clients will be very acquainted with in its reticle and gives that Elcan Specterdr reticle in adaptations adjusted for the two most normal military adjusts (5.56 NATO and 7.62 NATO). All extending must be carried out on 4 xs as this reticle is a second central plane. The essential outline of the reticle has been a basic skimming duplex crosshair yet it has been decorated with an assortment of going and shot drop characteristics. The lines going out to 600m are 19″ wide at the comparing separation.

Exit Pupil And Eye Box:

The Elcan recorded the 1x passageway student at 28mm. interestingly; because of the unordinary optical framework this 8mm number just drops to 7.4mm at 4 xs and not 2mm. that is a tremendous 4x passageway exit pupil, however, a little 1x passageway understudy. The eye box is not the best gimmick of the Elcan however it does feel a bit greater than the numbers propose it ought to. This is presumably because of a better than normal absolution in regards to head position front to back. When you choose to purchase yourself this degree, then, read the parcel of Elcan Specterdr 1-4x review .

Tags Elcan Specterdr 1-4x Elcan Specterdr 1-4x Combat Sight Elcan Specterdr 1-4x Review Elcan Specterdr 1-4x Scope Elcan Specterdr 1-4x Sight Hunting Gear Riflescope sports tactical gear

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Rifle Scopes   TA11 vs. Elcan SpectreDR 1.5-6

  • Thread starter Lostin89
  • Start date Feb 5, 2020
  • The Hide Armory
  • Observation & Sighting Devices

Sergeant of the Hide

  • Feb 5, 2020

All, This is more of an educational post than anything......that being said: Which do you prefer? Eye relief seems to be....similiar and weight while different, won't be an issue for me. I know, have talked with, or am personal friends with SF friends and the consensus seems to be......that both are nice, and very few if any have experienced issues (though all agree that things break depending on usage and enviroment). I was a coastie, I dont know S*** outside of shotguns, but I have a decent sized wallet. Which do you prefer and why?  


If you have your heart set on one of those two, I’d opt for the Elcan because it’s a 1x/4x. If you’re open to other ACOG’s, I’d take a look at a 4x32 with an RMR. (stop reading if you don’t want to read about other optics) Both of your options are rugged and have held up to rigorous use, but they’re also getting a little long in the tooth. Five years ago, a SpecterDR and an ACOG w/ RMR were the shit and used by a lot of cool guys; however, I see a lot more LPVO’s and RDS with magnifiers being used in the field.  

Major Hide Member

I have different versions of each that you mention-the TA31 4x w/RMR up top and the 1-4x 556 Elcan but some of the principals should apply-at least for the Elcan. Both on AR-15s. Eye relief better (by a decent amount) on the Elcan-you're nutted up on the TA31 but TA11 is better of course. Glass-both pristine. Both bombproof. The Elcan has a great reticle but the lines are thick-great for man-sized targets but blocks targets/steel at distances. Nice bright red dot at 1x. ACOG has a bunch of reticles-again combat type. RMR up top breaks cheek weld to use. A big complaint with Elcan is the ARMS mount-the one I have is great and locks up tight-I did have to use some Al foil on an upper to get a better clamp but no big deal. I agree in that these are both awesome scopes in many ways but LPVOs are taking over the world and since me and my eyes are getting older I use the 6-8x a lot more these days.  

Strictly Offensive Kit

I've been down the LPVO tunnel once already and while extremely nice (I currently have a razor gen IIE and Bushnell SMRS 1-8.5 in my closet), I just never got on board and found my self finding reasons not to like it. I'm not a cool guy anymore, some could argue I was when I was active, but those days are long gone and after this latest shoulder surgery, my body just isn't happy with me (the 100% T&P letter from the VA still looks weird in my desk). My hands on "professional" experience outside of anything but scatter guns and Sigs is non existent, so i like to think that I approach it all with an open mind....that being said I definitely have my preferences. I have never been behind an rds with mag before, but want to try....and I have had acogs in the best, and were for the most part....happy. The Elcan is truly the only optic that is total uncharted territory and an almost exciting vibe for a newb like me. But what it really comes down to is cost vs return. Is the Elcan, the extra mag, and thr ability to drop to 1.5 with a very short reverse throw worth the extra coin? Though once I put an rmr on a TA11, the cost difference closes quickly.  

I loved my Elcan no doubt. With the Elcan you don't need to buy a mount either-If you didn't want to use the Trijicon one.  

I am in the Elcan over ACOG camp as well. I've never seen the 6x one. I popped a boner when I looked through mine the first time-glass is unbelievably good.  

Luke said: Given the choice between those two I would go with the Elcan. A few years back I had a Trijicon TA-11 and my buddy had an Elcan 1-4x so we took some pictures. The glass and clarity is definitely better on the Elcan than the Trijicon, and the ability to dial back the magnification was very nice. Now in 2020, I would go with a Vortex Razor 1-6x, or 1-10x and not look back. I have the 1-6x Razor and it's by far my favorite after using everything from Aimpoints, ACOG's, USO SN6, Sig Romeo's, IOR's, etc. Ultimately though, I would happily use either one on a fighting carbine - but the edge would go to the Elcan in this case. View attachment 7242309 View attachment 7242307 View attachment 7242308 View attachment 7242312 View attachment 7242311 View attachment 7242306 View attachment 7242310 Click to expand...

I have a TA31D RCO, 1/4X SpectreDR and 1.5/6 SpectreDR (in addition to a Vortex 1-6x GenIIE, NF 2.5-10x42 and others). If I could only pick ONE for a general purpose 556 gas gun, it would likely be the 1/4 Elcan. The Elcan glass is simply fantastic. Stunningly good. With LPVO's, I find myself on the ends of the spectrum and rarely using anything but max or min magnification. With its robust build, nuclear/daylight bright dot, simplicity, easy to use reticles, and speed of adjustment, the switchview Elcans are tough to beat IMO. I also find the eye relief a bit better than the ACOG. But not substantially so. The downsides are the weight and ARMS mount. But I don't take my shit on and off. As a result, the ARMS mounts have represented zero issue to me. I like the 1.5/6 version as well. But it is significantly larger than the 1/4x version. Enough so that when I took it out of the box, I said "whoa." That all being said, the new Vortex GenIII 1-10x may well have changed the game when it comes to LPVO's. If your application might need more magnification, I'd suggest waiting until those hit the field.  

Rancid Coolaid

Gunny sergeant.

I have the Elcan (1X/4X) and love it, but also have the Razor 1-6X and love that for slightly different reasons. For a combat optic, it'd be the ELCAN; for a fun-n-gun, Razor. I used ACOGs way back in the day, they were Impressive as hell 20+ years ago; today, not so much.  

  • Feb 7, 2020

Thank you everyone for the advice, I'm getting a deal to good to pass on from one of the dealers here on snipershide. Will update with a personal review when it arrives. If anyone needs an elcan, and wants a grsat deal, reach out to bad107  

To me it seems that the Elcan would be the simple solution. You have the best of both worlds using just the one optic as opposed to having one optic on top of another. I also like the fact the the Spectre is pretty unique in the sense that there isn't really anything else (as far as I know) like it out there.  

@Slapchop Welcome back.  

Slapchop said: To me it seems that the Elcan would be the simple solution. You have the best of both worlds using just the one optic as opposed to having one optic on top of another. I also like the fact the the Spectre is pretty unique in the sense that there isn't really anything else (as far as I know) like it out there. Click to expand...

I'm interested in your thoughts on the 6x Can as well.  

The DFC said: I'm interested in your thoughts on the 6x Can as well. Click to expand...
MtnCreek said: @Slapchop Welcome back. Click to expand...

If I had young eyes then I would have both, with old eyes I'm pissed I can't have both. Elcan is just cool as shit as is the ACOG but old ass had to settle for the VCOG so I'm not out of the game just yet.  

  • Feb 11, 2020

I had the 3.5 ACOG on the Scar17 and it was adequate. I got a deal on the 1/4 Elcan and put that on the Tavor. I’m so much of a believer in the Elcan that I’m budgeting a 1.5/6 for the Scar now.  

Midwest Optics

Owner midwest optics.

  • Feb 19, 2020

If you got the money go with the elcan.  


I have done a fair amount of shooting with ACOGs, both the RCO with which I have never had an issue qualifying expert (not that that's anything terribly impressive), and the SDO. They are good scopes, and pretty tough. I personally own an Elcan though-I think the glass is better, the reticle is better (subjective), and I prefer battery illum to a piece of electrical tape over a fiber optic and an alleged tritium element that never seems to provide any actual illumination when its dark or dim. I think most are also familiar with the way the reticle being illuminated at the shooter's position and not the target location can cause visibility issues. Yeah the Elcan uses a battery, but it lasts long enough that it isn't an issue and its not finicky like an EOTech. IIRC both are prism scopes and very robustly built. The ACOG has the advantage in weight, but it is also fixed power. I would love to shoot tables 2 and 5 with an Elcan on 1X. I will also add that the piggyback location of the RMR on an ACOG pretty much just sucks, especially when the Elcan's 1X maintains the same cheek weld, and water or debris over the illuminator of the RMR makes it unusable until it's cleaned-a reason I'm not a fan of open red dots as a whole. The Elcan also sticks you with ARMS mounts, though they can be upgraded to the mk2 levers pretty cheaply and easily if you own a small punch. I don't see this as a huge deal because to me the purpose of a QD mount for an optic is to allow it to be removed without tools if it goes tits up; not so you can remove and re-mount it a bunch of times without losing zero. The ACOGs I've been issued all have had LaRues, which IMHO are about the same as ARMS as they work in a similar way-I prefer ADM levers which you can get for the ACOG but not the Elcan because they are built into the mount/windage/elevation adjustment. Both have 32mm objectives which is an advantage over LPVOs. People say the Elcan is heavy at a little over 23 oz. but seem to ignore that the mount is included in that weight whereas a Razor 1-6 is 21.5 oz. without a mount-so its even heavier and can approach 30 oz. in a mount. An LPVO would have to have a 16-17 oz. weight in order to be about the same weight as the Specter with the mount-there are a few options like Kahles that do it. Elcan has made upgrades to the Specter throughout its production-the newer ones use a more common battery and a tougher rheostat, and the switch mechanism has been improved to eliminate zero shift between 1 and 4 power. I think all they'd really need to do to update it is come out with a 1/6 or 1/8; personally on a 4x adjustable I never find myself using 2 or 3 and the lever is much faster than a mag ring on an LPVO style optic. Really for 5.56 rifles I like an Aimpoint and magnifier, but when you want the magnifier out of the way then you either have to remove it from the rifle or use a cumbersome and sometimes awkward flip or twist mount. The Specter is a much cleaner application of that idea but also with an etched reticle so its not dependent on batteries, and with a BDC reticle vs. just a dot. Actually, I suppose Elcan's answer to the 1-8/1-10 range LPVOs is the SpecterTR 1/3/9. It's a little cheaper than the Specter DR was when it first came out, and looks like it is mounted backwards. The reticle is different but still looks pretty good. Not sure it works with NVGs, but unfortunately it does not come in tan so you can't match it to your SCAR.  


Customnightvision.com / koshersurplus.com.

  • Apr 3, 2020

Thanks for the shout out. I only have one commercial 7.62 1.5-6x black Elcan remaining but I have a couple of Uber rare new UID SOCOM elcans left in stock FDE 1.5-6x in 5.56 and 7.62  


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Review of the Elcan Specter DR 1/4x combat sight

Review of the Elcan Specter DR 1/4x combat sight with 5.56mm calibrated reticle. Distributed by Armament Technology Inc.

By Les (Jim) Fischer of opticsthoughts.com (BigJimFish on AR15.com and SnipersHide)

May 26, 2012

The Elcan Specter DR mounted to my 16″ AR

It is a commonly accepted maxim of most rifle scope users that the magnification settings between the lowest and highest magnification of a scope are largely unused. This seems to be particularly true of the 1-(n)x scope class. The Elcan Specter DR dispenses with these intermediate settings all together in their design. They do this, not by using conventional methods such as those employed in the Pitbull by IOR, but rather by fundamentally rethinking the assumptions made by virtually all other products in the industry. These assumptions such as internal adjustments and  strictly coaxial lens placement are quite fundamental and challenging them has resulted in a dramatically different product.

In the vast majority of variable power rifle scopes the change in magnification of the image is facilitated by movement of lenses along the axis of the scope main tube within a second smaller tube known as the erector tube. When you turn the power adjust ring you are literally sliding lenses backwards and forwards. This is not so with the Elcan. When you flip the power selector lever on it you are rotating a second lens group, that serves to decrease the magnification of the primary group, into the sight line (for 1x) or out of it (for 4x.) I find it hard to adequately and quickly explain the difficulties that doing this imposes on an optical designer but I will try.

The group of lenses that the Elcan substantially alters the placement and function of, housed in the erector tube in a conventional scope, are multi-function in nature. Depending on the particular scope, they can be used not only for magnification, but also for parallax correction, to flip the image right side up (this is what the erector in erector tube means,) for elevation and windage adjustment, and lastly, even as the location of the reticle element itself. Since the Elcan scope will only have these lenses as part of the optical system half the time (on 1x) these functions will have to be otherwise dealt with. Elcan accomplishes this by having a fixed instead of adjustable parallax, putting the reticle in the second instead of first focal plane, moving the erector lens outside of the lenses that control magnification, and lastly, moving the windage and elevation adjustments outside the main tube. At this point the reader is probably somewhat lost regarding the technical details of optical design. That is quite alright. We will move on the testing of the optic and evaluate whether all the remarkable and unusual changes in the design have added up to a net improvement in combat optics or not.

Here is the lineup of scopes that were used as references for the Elcan Specter DR 1/4x in this review. From top to bottom:

Leupold CQ/T

GRSC Japanese-made 1-6x

US Optics SN-3 3.2-17x

Nikon M-223 1-4x

Elcan Specter DR 1/4x

GRSC Korean-made 1-4x (prototype)

Leupold VX-6 1-6x

Table of contents:


-Physical description

-Reticle description, explanation, and testing

-Comparative optical evaluation

-Exit pupil and eyebox discussion

-Illumination evaluation

-Mechanical testing and turret discussion

-Close quarters testing

-Summary and conclusion


I think the first thing to discuss when talking about the background of this optic is its unadulterated military focus. Perhaps even more than the ACOG the Elcan SpecterDR is sight specifically designed for combat. In both cases the ranging elements of the reticle are entirely based on the human body with little or no mil, moa, or other generic stadia elements present. Both sights use chest width brackets in the same, now familiar, method for bullet drop and ranging. For its longer range drop lines the Elcan than switches to circles for less precise “area of fire” use. These circles are based on the height of a human at these ranges. Both of these sights have their bullet drop calculated for military rounds fired from common military rifles. In the case of the Elcan it can be purchased in 5.56mm 7.62mm flavor. The Elcan’s external adjustments can only be described as zeroing only so it is important to note that if you are compensating for bullet drop or windage the reticle will be your only aid. The windage and elevation knobs are not capable of being used in that fashion. The Specter DR 1/4x carries the somewhat cumbersome military designation SU-230/PVS in the SOPMOD Block 2 kit. It is also designed to be compatable with the AN/PVS-24 clip on night vision device. The SOPMOD version of the Specter DR has a slightly different reticle than the version imported by Armament Technology for civilian sales. I believe the imported version to have the slightly better reticle of the two. The reticles do not differ greatly.

The reticle in the SU-230/PVS-C version (The same reticle as the Trijicon TA01ECOS SU-239/PVS):

Design aspects and fielding history aside, there is another way in which Elcan is really a step further into the Military world even than the Trijicon, (who manufactures a line of hunting scope in addition to its ACOG and designed its ACOG without government dollars.) Elcan is wholly owned by Raytheon who’s primary business is cruise missiles, obtains more than 90% of its revenue from military contracts, and is the 5th largest military contractor in the world. I mention all of this because the gun community is large and diverse and it’s members buy rifle scopes for different intended purposes and hold widely varying political values. Know the purpose of this scope, its limitations for other uses, and from whence it came and make your decision according to your values and the merits of the optic.

Physical description:

This sight is a pretty strange looking contraption. I am not really sure where to start in describing it. About half the folks I show it too look in the wrong end first. I don’t even think its immediately obvious that it is an optical sight at all. It looks something like an obscure auto part that might be bolted somewhere on the engine. It is much shorter than most rifle scopes and has none of the controls located in the conventional locations. The optic consists of a single piece main tube attached to an arms throw lever base by the windage and elevation adjustments. This is quite unusual. while rare external adjustment scopes exist, such as the U.S. Optics SN-9, this is the first such scope I have seen that actually uses the adjustments to attach the main tube to the base. The quality of construction of the scope appears to be very high though quite unadorned. Finish is simple hard anodizing and care has been taken to apply thread locker to many of the external screws. I suspect all relevant fasteners have had this treatment though it is more apparent on some types of fastener than others. This is very much in keeping the practices preferred by the military customer. As for the weight, it is heavier than you would expect given its small footprint. However, its 22.7oz weight includes the mount and is less than most higher quality 1-4x scopes when mounted in a 6.9oz Larue LT104 mount. This is despite the fact that most of those scopes have a 24mm objective and the Elcan has a 32mm. The area of a 24mm lens is only 56% that of a 32mm. I do not consider the Elcan overweight. Rather, it is significantly lighter than comparable designs while delivering larger lens area. All in all the appearance of the Elcan, though unusual displays quality of construction and a clear focus on durability.

Reticle description, explanation, and testing (refer to the pic below while reading the description):

The Specter DR combines several elements most users will be quite familiar with in its reticle and provides that reticle in versions calibrated for the two most common military rounds (5.56 NATO and 7.62 NATO). The version I tested and have pictured is 5.56. All ranging must be done on 4x as this reticle is 2nd focal plain. The basic desingn of the reticle is a simple floating duplex crosshair but it has been embellished with a variety of ranging and bullet drop features. The ranging lines out to 600m are 19″ wide at the corresponding distance and are calibrated for the drop of 5.56 NATO from an M4. This is similar to the well known Trijicon system as well as that of several other makers. I tested the sizes and positions of these reticle elements on a calibrated target and they are correct. Below the 600 meter line is an additional 4 circles for further ranging. I was unable to find the exact specs for the position and size of these circles. I understand that a man standing at the correct distance can be roughly bracketed height wise. It is important to note that these ranging circles are set up for the M249 light machine gun and not the M4. The ballistics of these two weapons are significantly different at this range with the drop from an M4 being less than that of an M249. These circles are therefore higher than they would be if compensating for drop from an M4. Lastly, there is a 300-600m calibrated stadia section in the lower left of the reticle. This displays 30″ heights at the appropriate range. I have seen similar sections to this on many European sniper scopes (they typically use 1m.)  These stadia sections can be used against a variety of sitting or standing human dimensions. Overall, I find this reticle to be a better than average stadia based ranging reticle. I will also mention at this point that the Elcan includes a set of back up iron sights on the top of the scope. Due to the external adjustment scheme of this scope they are theoretically zeroed in concert with the optics. This is quite unique for this type of sight. These sights sport a 4″ sight line similar to many handguns and I expect that is about the accuracy you would get. Still, it might be enough to get me to forgo full size backup sights to save weight.

Elcan Specter DR reticle with 5.56mm calibration and flash dot illumination

Comparative optical evaluation:

There are many, many good things to say about the Elcan here. As you can see from the list of comparison scopes I am ran this thing side by side with some very nice upper mid range stuff, the GRSC and Leupold, as well as one top tier full size sniper scope of considerably higher cost, the USO. I spent a good bit of time comparing the Elcan to the USO at 4x. It is very close though different. It has an even larger field of view than the USO which is already a whole lot larger than the other two. It has clarity that looks on parity with the USO at 4x in the center of the field though it shows more distortion towards the edges of its remarkably wide field. This is amazing clarity and the distortion is not very problematic at 4x because you are not trying to merge the images of both eyes at 4x. I have often said I would rather have a bit more field of view with distortion at the edges at high power than give up the view to get flatness. At 1x the Elcan does not distort things and allows for your brain to easily merge the images from both eyes. I also think that it is important to mention again here that the Elcan has a 32mm objective that offers almost twice the area of competing 24mm objectives. As a consequence of this it’s low light performance is easily class leading. The optics of this Elcan are quite impressive, in line with top tier European stuff.

Scope compilation photo with scopes set at high magnification:

Exit pupil and eyebox discussion:

Some old spec sheets I had found on the Elcan listed the 1x exit pupil at 28mm. Sometimes I don’t know how these numbers come to be. It is not that big. I measured it at 8mm and that is also the number on the current Armament Technology (the U.S. civilian distributor) literature. Interestingly, due to the unusual optical system this 8mm number only drops to 7.4mm at 4x and not 2mm. that is a huge 4x exit pupil but a small 1x exit pupil. This is something of the reverse of what you would desire. As I have mentioned in previous articles, exit pupil is the variable that corresponds best to, though not completely with eye box, the amount that you can move your head and still get a sight picture. Bigger is decidedly better at 1x where one will be when moving around and doing CQB stuff. The eyebox is not the best feature of the Elcan though it does feel a bit bigger than the numbers suggest it should. This is probably due to better than average forgiveness regarding head position front to back.

Here are the values I have measured for exit pupils that I have personally tested on various scopes so far in descending order of 1x exit pupil size.

Nikon M-223 1x, 16.7mm, 4x, 5.3mm

Viper PST 1x, 16mm 4x, 6.4mm

Razor HD 1x ,13.2mm 4x, 6.5mm

GRSC K 1x, 13.1mm 4x, 6.7mm

GRSCJ 1x, 11.2mm 6x, 4.6mm

Leupold VX-6 1x, 10.7mm, 6x, 4.4mm

Leupold CQ/T 1x, 9mm 3x 4.86mm

Elcan Specter DR 1x, 8.0mm 4x, 7.4mm

Another unique result of the Elcan Specter DR flip to the side optical system is a consistent eye relief regardless of power setting. In most traditionally designed scopes the eye relief changes with the magnification sometimes by more than an inch though often by only a half an inch. The DR exhibits no change, an obvious positive as no head movement whatsoever with be necessary.

Illumination evaluation:

Elcan’s illumination system is operated by a knob on the left hand side of the tube. This knob is the closest any control gets to the traditional position on this scope though it has a good deal more function than most other illumination systems. Dialed forward from off illuminates just the central dot. Dialed backward illuminates the whole   reticle. There are 5 settings in each direction. These settings are sufficient for everything from night vision to daytime bright illumination. It is important to note that because the dim settings are adjacent to the off spot on the dial and no tactile indicator of dial position exists visual inspection of the dial or counting from an end point is necessary to make sure that the off selection has been reached unless you are using nightvision and can actually see those dim settings. The illumination dial also houses the battery and features a tethered cap to keep you from loosing it. The battery is a very unusual DL 1/3N size. I sent my wife had my wife do a little survey at a local hardware and grocery store and neither stocks this size. It is a bit uncommon.

The dot illumination on the Specter DR is bright. I mean it is Aimpoint, daytime, you will not doubt or complain bright. You want a 1-4x that is red dot bright here you go.

1x illuminated compilation photo:

Mechanical testing and turret discussion:

Much discussion has been had on the unique flip to the side lens system that changes the power of the Specter DR and has been claimed, by some, to cause larger than normal zero shift with power change. I have seen many claim large shifts with their Elcans and others have claimed none. Having tested a variety of scopes of conventional design I have found zero shift on virtually all of them regardless of 1st (supposedly immune) or 2nd (susceptible) focal plane design. The fairly large central dot on the Elcan did not allow the testing to be as precise as I had hoped for the power change test. You can see that the 1x group is larger than most of the 4x groups but that notwithstanding I saw a very small, on the order of 1 MOA shift. This is less than most scopes I have tested have and I find it easily acceptable.

Elcan Specter DR 1/4x power change test

As for the box test, I hesitated to even do one of these for this optic and I think the reasoning behind that hesitation is a good place to discuss the unique mounting and adjustment system on the Elcan. As I mentioned before, the Elcan attaches to its mount via its adjustments, which are external. This mount is limited to Picatinny rails and unfortunately uses A.R.M.S. throw levers which have difficulty fitting on out of spec rails and being MIM instead of forged have been known to break on rails that are to large…. They loose their arms from time to time. If your rails are not in spec or if you simply wish to have the flexibility of mounting your sight on other, out of spec, rifles you may desire to have the stock A.R.M.S. levers subbed out for MK II levers. This can be performed by the folks at A.R.M.S. The cost of this conversion is something in the neighborhood of $20.  You can also have them send you a conversion kit to do it yourself.

The windage control is a 1/2 MOA click coin driven screw located at the front and on the side of the mount. The front end of the main tube is actually anchored to the base via this adjustment. The elevation adjustment is a large flat wheel located directly underneath the main tube at the rear of the mount. Like the windage, the elevation also anchors the main tube to the base. Unlike the windage, the elevation can be finger adjusted and also has a little locking lever to prevent accidental movement. These adjustments are for use zeroing the optic only and not for compensating for windage or drop.

Because of the uncomfortable positioning of the elevation adjustment and the tool necessity of the windage they are not well suited for regular use. They also are not accurate or independent according to the below box test. Given adjustments that display the right magnitude of movement and also only adjust the direction they are supposed to adjust each group should have the same positioning relative to its corresponding box that the first, upper left hand group, had to the first box. You can see this is not the case. This also does not matter because you couldn’t easily use the adjustments for drop and windage anyway. That is why I almost didn’t do the test at all. I was curious though so I did it anyway and I thought that you probably were as well so I have written it up. I found the adjustments functional for zeroing and the scope held zero fine but don’t get any ideas about using these controls for other purposes.

Elcan Specter DR box test:

Close quarters testing:

The Specter DR 1/4x was part of my very first formal close quarters testing exercise. have received many requests for opinion regarding which optics are the fastest at 1x. This lead me to start testing specifically to that end. The testing consists of a display of vital sized targets between 10 and 25 yards away that are engaged from a variety of positions as quickly as possible. The targets are audibly reactive making hit identification easy. It is not unlike some stages of 3 gun competitions except that, being as cheap as I am, I use an airsoft. The airsoft also allows for targets that move since having someone down range poses no safety hazard beyond welts. This course of fire was run though by several individuals of varying abilities in order to get as diverse a set of opinions as possible. In the future, I will be writing a composite article with generalized recommendations and guidelines for picking close quarters optics but for now I will be focusing more specifically on the Elcan.

A photo during our close quarters testing with a very ugly hat:

The specific scopes used as references in evaluating the Elcan’s close quarters performance were: a Leupold VX-6 1-6x Leupold CQ/T, GRSC 1-6x, and a cheap Simmons red dot. Individuals opinions of, and performance with each optic varied. This was especially true of the red dot, which rated as high as second for one reviewer but which was last for many. Testers were less split on the Elcan. It took home half the first place votes and never scored less than the middle of the pack. Overall it ranked second though I liked it best.

The Elcan’s performance was effected by a number of variables for the better or worse I will discuss the impact of each. The first thing to mention is that the remarkably bright red dot illumination of the Elcan was best in class and a great asset to the sight. It was actually brighter than the red dot sight used in the line up. All users chose to use the Elcan in this point illumination mode though it could also be used unlighted or with full reticle illumination. Not surprisingly, everyone agrees that a red dot is faster than no red dot.

The Elcan is also benefited by a very flat and generous field of view. No problems were noted by participants with eye synchronization when moving about with one eye looking through the scope and the other not. Poor eye synchronization is the number one variable when it comes to speed in CQB situation. A bent field or lack of a 1x setting is a non-starter. The good folks at Armament Technology sent me a Specter 1.5/6x in addition to this 1/4x. While its construction and optics are at the same level I did not find the 1.5/6x near as useful as the 1/4x. I was not alone in this assessment. I received these scopes directly from a military tester. They came to me with the 1/4x having an almost dead battery and the 1.5/6x a brand new one. I switched the batteries.

Another important factor in speed is having an aim point centered in the field of view. All refracting scopes exhibit this as a function of the optical system. The Elcan actually accomplishes this a bit differently than other optics but the effect is the same. Red dot sights to not necessarily have the dot centered in the field of view. In fact, it will almost never be centered and in the case of our example it was not even close. An off center aim point slows you down a good bit.

Not everything was completely in the Elcan’s favor. It suffered from two variables that slowed it down relative to its peers. The first, and most important was the cross hairs. The scope to Edge out the Elcan has mostly circular reticle elements and no cross hairs and though it had more reticle elements they covered a much smaller area of the field of view. The big crosshair the Elcan has doesn’t actually benefit the scope any and, due to the unique optical system actually wags at the user. Allow me to describe this unique phenomenon. With most refracting scopes as users eye moves within the eye box the image bends slightly but the reticle appears the same. With the Elcan part of the reticle actually bends. Specifically, the horizon line of the crosshair moves. It appears to be waving to you. Very strange indeed. This reticle was certainly not the most problematic in the lineup for CQB but it was not the best either.

The last difficulty for the Elcan was the exit pupil. It was smaller than any of it’s competitors and so head position was more critical. I thought that this would be a very large problem. In truth it was only a minor one. Exit pupil seems to have less effect than I originally anticipated.

Summary and conclusion:

If you have read this far and have some familiarity with the Specter DR you are probably quite baffled that I haven’t mentioned the easy and remarkably quick power change. For many people this is the reason to buy the Elcan. The throw lever is quite simply the quickest, easiest, and best power change mechanism. I think it is also illustrative of many of the features that Elcan has been able to become class leading in with this design. It not only has the best power change system but also the largest objective lens, shortest length, dramatically best field of view, and the best illumination system. It is also top shelf with regards to optical clarity.

The cost for all these bests is really fairly minor compared to the gains. It has limited system for adjustments and an A.R.M.S. base. It is heavier than many would like, though lighter than most comparable optics. It also has a very uncommon battery. Lastly, it sports only a 1 year manufacturers warranty despite it’s price tag of close to $2k. This warranty can be increased to three years by purchasing from Armament Technology, the U.S. distributor. No other optic even near this price range has so limited formal support though Elcan does provide repair services so breakage does not mean the end. The simple fact to remember, regarding the warranty, is that the Elcan is not made by a commercial company but rather by a military contractor. They are not in a customer service business.

There is little doubt in my mind that I would rather be deployed with one of these than an ACOG, red dot, or some combination of those. It is worth the extra 10 or so ounces. The Specter DR ranks very high on my list of 1-(n)x scopes. It is both truly unique and excellent.

Here is your pro and con breakdown:

Quickest, easiest, fastest, best power change operation

Largest objective lens in class for best low light performance

Largest field of view in its class by a substantial margin

Class leading daytime bright, night vision compatible, dual mode illumination system

Near the top in close quarters performance

Optical clarity on par with 1st tier European optics

Slightly lighter and much more compact than comparable optics

Integrated BUIS that are zeroed with the scope

Mount included

Kill flash and clip on night vision can be purchased separately

Expensive at close to $2k

1 year warranty (or 3 year through Armament Tech) is much less than anyone else offers at this price point

Adjustments are zeroing only and are exposed to the elements

4x top magnification is less than most other scopes in this price range now offer

Unusual and hard to come by battery for illumination system

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