At the Range: Bushnell First Strike Reflex Red Dot Sight

Bushnell’s First Strike Reflex Red Dot is a low-profile dot sight that’s waterproof, fogproof, and extremely lightweight. Because of its small size, I recently installed and fired the sight on a Rock River Operator to see how the First Strike worked on close-in targets, possibly to run in tandem with a scope for 3-Gun rifle events. 3-0930343 The First Strike’s built-in mounting system quickly attaches to Weaver-style or Picatinny rails. I first attached the sight to a riser block (ProMag AR-15/M16 Flat Top Picatinny Aluminum Scope Riser PM066, $26.04) because I wanted a more erect head position on the RRA. One nice aspect of the First Strike is that there’s no set eye relief, so I could move the sight and the riser to get the head position I wanted. The sight’s small footprint offers an unlimited field of view and no magnification, and I tried it all along the Operator’s top rail. When I put the sight too close to my sighting eye, I had trouble finding the right location on my bifocals to make the 5-MOA dot sharp. Further out gave me more latitude.

The self-regulating brightness system had something to do with that as well. An integrated photocell automatically turns the unit on when the shooter takes the hard plastic lens cover off, and regulates the dot’s brightness based on ambient light. For me, shooting both indoors and outdoors, the dot always seemed blown out. I would have appreciated a way to dial down the intensity. Also, I’m going to lose the cover if I don’t build a lanyard for it.

The Rock River Operator has a 1-moa accuracy guarantee, which will be hard to achieve without a scope. At 5 moa, the First Strike dot is too big to generate that kind of precision. But for speed, lightweight, and easy operation, it’s a nice little optic that won’t kill your pocketbook.

I had trouble using a one-shot sight-in process with the First Strike. Once I’m on the paper, I generally ignore counting clicks and simply adjust the aiming point (without moving the rifle) to the first hole’s location, then shoot follow-up shots. But fitting the tiny supplied screwdriver in the adjustment screws was very difficult to do blind. I’d have to insert the blade into the screw slot first, then maintain that contact while I put myself on the gun. Next time, I’ll bring a friend.

For the record, moving either the elevation or windage adjustments one hashmark on the sight delivers 6 inches of movement at 100 yards. So when you’re close to zero, you’ve got to be very gentle moving the adjustments or you’ll overcorrect, as I did.

I had a lot more luck setting the sight up for targets under 50 yards. At 25 and 50 yards on black backgrounds, I could read the dot well enough to center it over a bullseye and shoot inside 2 inches. From a low ready hold, I could reliably find the sight and engage 6-inch plates.

I eventually decided (for now) to use the First Strike as my primary optic on the RRA. Paired with an A.R.M.S. Low-Profile Flip Up Rear Sight No. 40L ($128.86) and the flip-up front sight standard on the Operator, I was able to co-witness the irons over the top of the First Strike for close-range targets, but keep them down unless the First Strike fails.

The Bushnell First Strike Reflex Red Dot Sight No. 730005 operates on one 3V coin-style lithium battery, Type 2032. It’s replaced by using the supplied hex wrenches to loosen two bolts on the top panel, then removing the top section of the sight and replacing the battery “+” side up. The Duracell equivalent is the DL2032, Radio Shack’s battery number is CR2032, or generically, it’s a NEDA 5004L coil cell. The unit is 2.4 inches long, has a 2-inch mounting length, and weighs a scant 2.1 ounces. It comes with a one-year limited warranty.

Cheaper Than Dirt! currently sells the No. 730005 in a low mount ($133.34) or high mount ($147.14) version.

At 50 yards, it can be hard to separate the First Strike dot from an orange background.
At 50 yards, it can be hard to separate the First Strike dot from an orange background.
One hash mark of adjustment will dial in 3 inches of point of impact movement at 50 yards. Once we got the feel for making tiny changes, we were able to walk the rounds into the center.
From low ready, the sight was easy to find and get on target at 25 yards.


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Comments (6)

  1. I’ve used mine for about 6 months. Always stays sighted in. I really like it for plinking steal 50-150 yds with an AR. It only took me about 10 rds at 50 yds to dial it in. Hard to miss honestly. Used it at temperatures between 35-95 F mine has been flawless. Not sure how well it would do on a pistol but it would be interesting to see. I really like the auto adjust mine stays on even in pitch black room so would be great for night applications

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