by Robert Kay
One of the items that got my attention at SHOT 2014 was the HD-Micro, a red dot scope manufactured by Ultradot, a Yankeetown, Florida firm that specializes in red dot optics. It’s a smallish company with an avid following, particularly in the Bullseye Shooter’s community. Founded 1989, they also have products used in NRA competition, law enforcement and hunting.
Engineered in the USA, the Ultradot line is manufactured in Japan and has achieved a reputation for its quality, reliability and price. In addition being a favorite of many of the top 1911 shooters, Ultradot products are built to take a pounding from the biggest bore handguns such as the .500 caliber Smith & Wesson.
I’ve owned one of their scopes, the Matchdot model, for several years and have used it to compete in Bullseye. The optics are superb but it is a “full-sized” scope.
That brings us to the raison d’etre for the HD-Micro.
As the moniker implies, its compact, which is what Bullseye competitors (and just about everyone else who lugs a gun around) wants.
The manufacturer’s goal was to offer a product with the strength and durability of a tube-type red dot optic in a small size. The HD-Micro is about one third smaller (3.5” vs 5.1”) than the “standard” sized Ultradot sight I own. Although some BE shooters opt for reflex scopes to keep the weight down, the majority prefer the traditional tube style for several reasons. Tubes are more robust and they are not as exposed to the elements. Bullseye matches are shot in any weather and a little precipitation can render a reflex sight unusable.
By design, it’s harder for rain to impact a tube scope.
Thus in the best of all possible worlds a low-profile, low weight, tube style red dot scope is the way to go.
Enter the HD-Micro. First impressions were positive. It’s finished in semi flat black with the same high quality attention to details that you’d expect from an Ultradot product. The other good news is that the HD-Micro is waterproof.
In addition to the compact size, the other main difference between the Mirco HD and the larger Ultradot scope is the built in rail clamp system which eliminates the need for rings. You cinch it down with one screw. The fact that you don’t need a set of rings brings the weight down significantly.
It easily mounted on my Caspian .45 and my Marvel conversion kit as well as my friend Richard’s Nelson Custom Guns 1911 .22LR conversion kit and his Feinwerkbau.
The HD-Micro has a number of new features never before seen on an Ultradot product. They include pulse-width-modulation (PWM) circuitry, Auto-Off, Push Button Brightness Adjustment, Brightness Memory and a 2 MOA dot size.
Unlike Ultradot’s other scopes, this is one is 28 mm in width. The manufacturer told me that this offers a narrower field of view so that when you’re shooting Bullseye you’ll see only your target rather than your neighbors. The “auto-off” an auto off which comes in handy for those of us who occasionally forget to shut down the power.
The brightness control is easy to manipulate by pressing on the ring—it’s really the only control you’ll have to concern yourself with during a match.
Sighting it in was like any other scope. It’s calibrated at 2cm @100m. After a few clicks here and a few clicks there, you’ve got her in the x ring.
When my colleague Richard, a helluva bullseye shooter, and I first took the scope out we noted that the red dot seemed to appear only intermittently. That is, the red dot would come on and then inexplicably it would disappear. Being the geniuses we are, we figured out later that the screw holding down the battery had loosened up. Once we tightened it up, the on/off problems magically disappeared.
Amazing how that works.
Although I have yet to compete with the scope I did loan it to Richard, who used it in a match.
So how did the scope function in its trial by fire?
Quite well but you need to adjust to one thing. Unlike, the HD-Micro’s bigger brother, the Match Dot, which provides you with four different MOA settings, the HD-Micro has only one option—2 MOA.
This scope is ideal for 50 yards. At 25 yards, it’s a bit of a compromise. Generally at the closer distance, particularly for rapid fire, you’d ideally want a bigger dot. For the HD-Micro that means cranking up the intensity on the small dot. The device has ten settings but the more you ramp up the brightness, the more the potential for distortion—and there is some. Dial it down and the distortion disappears.
At 50 yard slow fire Richard had it on the lowest “brightness” setting. His observation was that even at this low setting it was a bit too bright. His preference was to have the option for an even a dimmer setting.
So how did the HD-Micro compare to similar (compact or “micro”) red dot scopes?
Richard gives a slight edge to the Aimpoint Micro in terms of less distortion at higher brightness levels. However, this was by no means a “deal breaker”.
At an MSRP of $250 vs. close to $600 for a comparable Aimpoint Micro, the HD-Micro is an exceptional bargain.
Would he buy one? Yes, he wanted to buy mine. (I didn’t want to sell it!)
Based on our T&E, this is a solid little performer that offers a great deal in weight savings over the larger Ultradot models. On the Marvel Conversion I noted that I needed a shim (which I made from a credit card) to raise the base a tiny bit so it wouldn’t interfere with the movement of the slide. This wasn’t an issue with the .45. Again, no deal breaker. Every gun is a bit different and it’s asking too much that one product will work perfectly on any firearm.
There were no real “problems” with this optic. The only “issue” we had with the scope was self-inflicted. Screwing down the battery cover solved that.
It’s also a good bet for semi auto rifles. We tried it on a couple of ARs as well as a SIG 556. It was the perfect height for the SIG. The cheek weld on the SIG was the ideal height and we couldn’t have been happier with it blasting a gong an 100 yards. On the ARs it was a bit too low we can always get a block and set it up properly. (My primary use for the scope will be for Bullseye shooting so figuring out the rifle set up is secondary).
Backed by the company’s Limited Lifetime Warranty this product will no doubt find acceptance with a lot of people. Combine the quality with the price point and you’re not going to do better. As we get more comments on this scope in the future I will post them.
Specs for Ultradot HD-Micro 28mm Red Dot Scope:
|Windage/Elevation Adjustments:||2 cm per click @ 100m|
|Dot Size:||2 MOA|
|Dot Brightness Adjustment:||10 Settings / Push Button|
|Battery:||3v Lithium CR1620|
|Parallax Free @ 50m:|
Photos courtesy of On Target staff .
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