My late summer range days have been spent, in part, behind a new red dot on the market, the Enrage by Bushnell. It’s one of a few red dot optics I’ve shot with. Once I checked the price, it became the first red dot I have gotten really excited about.
The Enrage is an upgrade of Bushnell’s previous designs, in that it’s claimed to have longer battery life than previous models. Bushnell doesn’t specify what that means, but in today’s red dot market, good battery life is a reasonable expectation. A 2032 battery is included, and the optic turned on instantly upon removal of the connection-blocking sticker. This optic’s branding states that it’s optimized for use with the Savage MSR, but it’s not clear what that means—other than the fact that Bushnell and Savage are owned by the same parent company.
Very handy is the high mount that comes pre-installed on the Enrage. Its bracket bottom attaches to a Picatinny rail with a single wing nut-and-screw assembly. It installs in seconds. Of course, regular checking to be sure the attachment remains tight is a good idea, as is a Loctite treatment if the optic is going to “live” on a single firearm. This one was destined to move around between testers’ and students’ guns, so we skipped that step in favor of modular use.
Out of the box on a typical AR-15, the optic was about 45 MOA low; windage was close to perfect. The screw-on turret covers have angular edges for easy use with gloves. The half-MOA click value was well marked and turned with palpable precision using a coin. Adjustments on the dial tracked in accordance with what was predicted based on the target. It only took a trio of three-round test groups to get to our desired 50-yard zero.
Looking through the lens, there’s a single dot—no reticle or other visual accoutrements. Brightness of the 2 MOA dot can be adjusted to the user’s choice of eight settings. Unlike some other well-known red dots, brightness can be set at a preferred level, and the user can go directly to that level after turning the unit off. That’s done with the left-hand knob, which has “off” settings between every brightness level. It’s a handy feature for turning the unit on or off. When choosing a brightness level in a rushed situation, it does require twice the number of clicks, which can consume precious seconds.
Testing the Enrage in bright daytime conditions, I found the dot to be crystal-clear to my vision to about 75 yards. Beyond that distance, the dot, made smaller at brightness level 3—to remain visible at high center mass of a torso-size target—began to appear oval-shaped to my eyes. Perhaps it was just my vision, but a colleague who checked out the optic had the same experience. The distortion isn’t enough to affect accuracy. The dot is solid during and after firing; meaning recoil doesn’t take it noticeably off center.
In dim light, the Enrage continued to be easy to use. Brightness adjustments that seem useless in the day are just right for darkened conditions. Bushnell got the brightness choices just right.
The Enrage is 4.75 inches long and, as close as I can tell, occupies 2.5 inches at the widest part of its profile. The outer rim of the lens is 1.75 inches in diameter, with the viewable surface 1.25 inches across. It invites fast target acquisition with minimal bulk, especially when compared to certain other brands. The bore/reticle offset is 3.0 inches by my measurements. It easily accommodates a co-witness with iron sights.
Detracting from the slim lines of the optic itself, and the light weight (about three ounces) is the mounting nut. While its high-leverage design makes it easy to install and remove, it makes it equally easy to catch on chest-borne gear. Its hard plastic knob has shown no weakness thus far, but it does feel as though it could easily break under pressure.
The Enrage first struck me as an optic that would be a great choice for range practice or home defense. The protruding attachment knob needs space that might make it a less satisfactory choice for a run-and-gun or truck gun optic. However, when I looked at retail prices, which are around $150 in most outlets for the optic and mount, and considering the ease of mounting, it seems a great choice for the new modern sporting rifle owner of any kind—so long as they have two inches of rail to spare. It’s an optic that’s sturdy and adaptable enough to serve the new to intermediate carbine user, and will leave money in the bank for ammo or other accessories.