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Opinion: The Elcan SpecterDR 1x/4x is awesome Login/Join 
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I think the Elcan SpecterDR 1x/4x optic is awesome. I have had an earlier model since 2016, and just recently was able to afford a second, newer one.

When it comes to the variable-power optics discussion, I am firmly in the camp defined by the following phrase:
If your priority is medium and long range, but you want to be able to shoot close too, go with an LVPO. If your priority is CQB, but you want to be able to engage further as well, go with the red dot or Eotech and a magnifier.
I have one personal caveat as well, in the red dot and magnifier application: the magnifier needs to be in some kind of QD mount. Preferably something like the QD Aimpoint mounts or the Wilcox mount, where the base stays on the gun. If my priority is CQB, I'd rather not have that thing dangling off the side of my gun, adding bulk and obscuring FOV. I'll keep it readily available in a pouch, and click it on if the scenario requires an engagement past 200m or so.

Enter the Specter. The Elcan has, in my opinion, the best 1x of any LVPO. It is as close as you can get to a red dot, without being a red dot. In my experience, LVPOs on their 1x magnification suffer from eye relief and eye box constraints enough that it really isn't similar to a red dot at all, aside from the fact it's not magnified. My experience with other LVPOs is admittedly not vast. I owned a 1-6 VCOG for years, and never warmed up to it, for the aforementioned reason. I have used other LVPOs, and looked through plenty more too; none of them imitate a red dot as closely as the Specter. The FOV and eye box are very forgiving. The eye relief is a bit short, but the other positive aspects far outweigh it, and it is designed to be mounted to the rearmost available rail position anyway.

Not much to say about the 4x. It is excellent. The reticle on 4x is awesome; minimalist and practical. Designed for M855 out of an M4, of course. I have found that certain configurations of shorter guns and silencers match up very well to the BDC, out to probably 500m at most, with either 55 or 62 grain ammunition, depending on the gun/silencer combo. The illumination of the reticle is great. You turn the knob one way, light up the dot for CQB, and forget about the rest of the reticle. Turn it the other way and your entire reticle illuminates for longer range. The whole-reticle illumination is intended for low light, and is not super bright; the center dot gets quite bright indeed, and is certainly "daylight bright" in my opinion.

The built-in iron sights are worth a mention as well. If you find yourself in that "oh shit" scenario, and you're on 4x, they've got you covered. They are very obtuse, and are not a substitute for proper back-up irons though. The user's manual actually defines the irons as a backup in the instance of the main optic failing somehow, or a torrential downpour, which is a fair assessment.

The optic is more compact than any LVPO that I have handled. The compactness makes up for it's slight weight disadvantage. Another perk is it's origin. It's made by our northern neighbors in Canada. Sadly not USA, but a damn sight better than China or the Philippines. I guess if you're die-hard enough in your USA-made desires that you'd turn your nose up at an Aimpoint, you can go ahead and do the same with the Elcan. I make a pretty significant effort to buy American, to the point that about half the week I can honestly state that everything but my underwear and ballcap were made in America, and a Canadian scope doesn't bother me at all.

Glass is crystal clear, and tough. I have never had scope covers on my older one, and the glass is still perfect. One thing worth mentioning is the glass seems to have different coatings between the older and newer ones. I seem to notice an ever-so-slight tint to the newer glass.

One downside, especially on earlier models, is the A.R.M.S. mount. The mount is not adjustable and it's non-negotiable, as it's integrated into the elevation and windage adjustments. On some earlier models the mount won't clamp tight enough to a lot of rails. I addressed this shortcoming on my early model by shimming between the mount and the rail with strips of an aluminum can; haven't had a problem with that mod since. A.R.M.S. also makes adjustable levers, which would address the problem, but I don't care to shell out as much as they want for them, when an aluminum can has been doing fine for me. The only other downside I can think of is perhaps battery life, but I am the guy who turns his optic off when he's not using it, so it's not a big deal for me personally. I don't know the lifespan rating, but I am confident it's not near some advertised lifespans on other optics nowadays.

Price is not a downside. These optics don't cost any more than other comparable options.

I may have missed something in this initial write-up; I'll add it later, if I think of it. If anyone has specific questions, I'll do my best to answer them. I love these optics, and figured I'd share my thoughts, for those who've ever been interested in one.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: KSGM,
 
Posts: 2209 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think the Elcan optics are very underrated. Although weight & price keeps a "regular joe" away from them.
If you can afford them, they are worth every penny IMO.


Rom 13:4 If you do evil, be afraid. For he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
 
Posts: 708 | Location: NW Ohio but Montana is always home. | Registered: September 30, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I got my elcan discounted from swfa samplelist years ago. Great optic, although the reticle is busy and I hate the arms mount, otherwise great optic if you can get a deal on one.
 
Posts: 427 | Registered: January 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You can get an adapter plate to put a Docter optic on top. Love mine.

rambo


 
Posts: 243 | Registered: December 05, 1999Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I recently installed the adjustable ARMS levers on one of my Elcans, in an effort to get a better clamp on an out-of-spec receiver of mine that I am reluctant to get rid of. The original levers wouldn't clamp tight enough, and the optic could slide fore and aft. The adjustable levers are priced very fairly; they shipped to my door for $23.00. The install is a bit tedious; I recommend drilling out the original roll pins. The adjustable levers did allow me to tighten it up, but not quite enough for me to be completely satisfied. Certainly the fault of the receiver, and not the levers, but it would be nice if they had a bit more of a range of adjustability.

Another note on these optics worth mentioning is the fact that there is hardly any room for retailers to make money on them. This may be a reason they aren't more prolific. My LGS is a dealer, and they say there's only a couple hundred bucks between cost and the going rate. That's not much of a margin on a $2k optic. Hard for a dealer to sit on that kind of inventory.
 
Posts: 2209 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I feel the same way about ACOG's. Like the Elcan, they are virtually bomb proof. Simple to use & utterly rugged & dependable. My preference is the AA battery version. I run a 3.5x or 4x ACOG with an offset red dot sight. It gives me the best of both worlds (CQB & distance without doing anything more than canting the rifle a bit to acquire the dot for up close work.
Similar to the Elcan, I can just turn the knob & light up the reticle to what ever brightness I require. Having a shut off between each level of brightness makes using it simple.
Both are considered outdated as they have been around for 20+ years. I've used high end LVPO's (not a fan of RDO's & magnifiers). They are very usable but more complicated to use, heavier & can be costly.
For me, it's an ACOG & offset RDO for the win!
If your willing to spend the money, an Elcan is a sure bet.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Delta-3,


Rom 13:4 If you do evil, be afraid. For he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
 
Posts: 708 | Location: NW Ohio but Montana is always home. | Registered: September 30, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Love mine. Took me years to hunt down for a decent price. Paid $1300 for a display model. Been extremely happy with it. I went to a lighter rifle and the weight is insignificant.



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Posts: 12661 | Location: Down South | Registered: January 16, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I had an FDE one...beautiful, bright glass. They're heavy, expensive and short eye box for me. I wouldn't mind another if I scored a deal on it.
 
Posts: 3090 | Registered: December 21, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
They are very usable but more complicated to use, heavier & can be costly.

I think some of you need to look again at some of the better LVP's. I think the eyebox on the NF ATACR is completely usable as a decent red dot. Its not an aimpoint but its pretty darn close in any circumstance you can get a cheek-weld and aren't clearing buildings. and the illumination is pretty darn impressive.
These days I think the LVP's are substantially lighter.
Elcan 640g
Atacr 595g
NX8 499g

And you get 8x and everything in between. I guess it depends on your terrain and expected accuracy, but I need more than 4x even at the shortish ranges we have here in the east coast. I can't imagine anyone out west being happy with 4x. 10x LVP's are headed towards mainstream as well. I don't get the complicated part of using an LVP. You can get mils, FFP and not some wonky BDC and then can use them to actually reach out with some certainty about your ammo and your gun.
I had an Elcan back when it was in its hayday, it was terrible in a number of ways unrelated to the actual optic itself. but I think its been passed by.
YMMV of course...


“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
 
Posts: 11020 | Registered: October 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Your argument for more magnification is certainly valid. However, I think the omission of the VCOG from your list is an important note, as that's the nearest comparison to the Elcan, IMO. The gripes about the price of the Elcan are irrelevant, when compared to other optics in it's class. The VCOG is the only one that I would say is truly as rugged as the Elcan. I think the Elcan's footprint gives it an edge in certain applications as well, when compared to the longer LVPs. The BUIS on the top don't get enough credit either. Also, LVPs outside the Elcan and VCOG require the additional purchase of a mount worthy of the optic, which can be costly. I like the KISS approach of the Elcan reticle, but my experience with MIL reticles is minimal, so I won't pick sides on that one.
 
Posts: 2209 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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my 'list' was just a sample of the optics that I've got thousands of rounds through just in case you came up with a difficult question Smile I've tried lots of others but not extensively. The ATACR seems pretty solid for me and that's been my go to.
I can't conceive why you consider the VCOG the nearest competitor. But I've never seen or used one. On paper its even worse than the Elcan for weight and the BDC looks awful and I never consider that in magnified optics they make very good glass. The good side of being able to pick your own mount for things is you can get the damn attachment crap on the side you want (think SCAR). In any case I think the Elcan has a long history of durability and frankly that has always been a key for me and if it works for you enjoy...


“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
 
Posts: 11020 | Registered: October 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've looked at them, but like others have mentioned, I think 1-4 is a bit dated. Not in application but in that price range.

I can grab a TR24 for 500-700$, lose the busy Elcan reticle and some weight and still have 800$+ left over.

If I'm spending 1500$, I'm grabbing another Kahles or similar.

I do not totally agree that they are bombproof as an ACOG, I've owned acogs and seen first hand the abuse Marines can put one through. While I don't have the first hand knowledge of this with the Elcan, the amount of negative reviews is quite disproportionate.

I don't hate it, I would love to try one out, but for what I'm not going to spend NF or Kahles money on what amounts to a 1 or 4.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: OttoSig,





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Posts: 6348 | Location: Maryland | Registered: August 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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hrcjon,
I actually considered the ATACR, when I was in the market for my second Elcan. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to handle and look-through one, so I went with what I knew I liked. I do agree with your magnification and MIL reticle statements. In my area, 4x happens to be enough on a primary carbine. Luckily, the BDC in the Elcan matches up almost perfectly with the 11.5" suppressed gun I have used it on. Typically I am of the opinion that BDC reticles are kind of silly, because every setup is different, and it likely won't match-up anyway.
I chose the VCOG as the nearest comparable unit largely based on the extruded aluminum housing design that they share. I had a 1-6 VCOG; I sold it and I haven't missed it for a second. The reticle mine had was indeed terrible. It was a "horseshoe" that obscured quite a bit of the sight picture. The glass was quite clear, and I wouldn't hesitate to beat the snot out of that optic but, other than those aspects, I didn't care for it. I do maintain that it is quite comparable, when taking the construction and mount interface into account; weight and price are similar-enough too.
I see where you're coming from, with the mount hardware. Lord knows I have run into it on the 55X guns. The Elcan mount is an interesting one, and has certainly been combat-proven over decades, on their light machine gun sights and scopes used by the Canadian military. The ARMS levers are admittedly aggravating, and I wish they'd sell a version with low-profile cross-bolts instead. However, in my recent passive NVG effort, I have learned where the value in QD lies, for me anyway.
 
Posts: 2209 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Otto,
I think the price is heavily influenced by the design and construction of the housing and mount.
I agree that the Elcan is not as tough as an ACOG. The Elcan has more complications: the battery housing and illumination knob and magnification throw-lever. With those complications comes more fragile parts, but also more capability; and the capability of performing 1x sighting is a pretty big one. So, you trade some idiot-proof, bomb-proof ruggedness for a performance edge. That edge may or may not be important to you.
 
Posts: 2209 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Revisiting an old thread here. I recently opted to install the killflash on my Specter, in the interest of signature reduction. The killflash does compromise the 1x performance. You can see the honeycomb a bit. Considering we ought to be shooting with both eyes open anyway, it's not a huge deal. It does put a damper on the otherwise spectacular clarity of the scope though.
 
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I think they are a very compelling intersection of versatility and durability, decently executed, and at reasonable cost.

I think they are worth it at MSRP and I can't afford one, but

One day, it will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine...[/WaynesWorld]
 
Posts: 5158 | Location: Colorado Springs | Registered: April 12, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Unfortunately, the newest generation isn't quite as nice as the preceding versions, IMO. They opted to do away with the iron sights, make the magnification throw lever ambi, and make a picatinny top rail non-negotiable. I think the irons were a decent feature, and you can put optics on the older ones too. The rail on the top would make sense on a fixed 4x, but seems a bit clunky on something that has a good 1x built in. The MSRP on the new ones is higher too. If you ever do find yourself with the funds and the will, you could probably do well in the used market.
 
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I have an SU230 1x4 and the 1x6 love them both. Only thing I would change is the weight. Just have to exercise more on the 12oz lifts!
 
Posts: 17 | Registered: April 08, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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They work well, but are too damn big. It felt like a damn brick on top of the rifle.


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Posts: 17308 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: October 14, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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They are fatter than other options, but the weight is about equal to most LPVO/mount combos, and the length is far less. You do get more magnification with the LPVOs though.
 
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