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  1. #1
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    PA MD-ADS User Review




    PART 1:

    Sure enough, the mount for this thing came after my trip to the range today, so Part 1 will just consist of dot comparisons of the various PA generations and what the unit looks like installed. I'm sure Comp's photos are going to be much more professional, but I got what I could get today.

    First up, I've owned and shot PA's MD-06 (side mounted power knob) and the MD-07 (top mounted power knob). Both have held up and the MD-07 ran for a while on a M1A Scout. Besides having much lower battery life than the new MD-ADS, I found the MD-07 dot to be much larger (I believe it's a 3 MOA dot).

    While I'm not going to be able to actually test the 50K hour battery life of the -ADS, I'll at least let it run for as long as I have it. I turned it on on 1/20/15, and when I send it off, I'll have a note on there for the next person so we can see how long it goes.

    So here are some pics of the optic and also how the dots compare. Please take note, the dot pictures are intentionally out of focus so that you can see what the dot actually looks like when focusing at a target. If you focus the camera on the optic, it makes the dot much larger than it is in real life. Also, I tried to keep all the dots at about the same intensity, as best I could, based off the ambient light outside and against a white door in my garage. All that said, to my eye in real life (not on a camera), the MD-ADS looks about the same as a Aimpoint 2 MOA dot as far as both size and crispness.

    MD-06 Dot:



    MD-07 Dot:



    MD-ADS Dot:



    You may notice the red glare from the -ADS. I'm not sure if that's just a reflection I couldn't get away from or if the coating creates more glare on this one. I tried shouldering the rifle and there was still some glare (but not as much), so this will be something I'll have to watch when shooting. Unfortunately it looks like there's a slight bit of blur in the photo. Blame me and not the dot.

    And here it is on my (essentially) M4 MWS:



    Part 2 will cover some reactions to using it while shooting, but that may be another week or two depending on work and domestic responsibilities.
    Last edited by gatordev; 11 February 2015 at 14:17.

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the info. Looking forward to your part 2. I'm hoping to test one of these in a 16" 7.62 AR that gets shot a lot. Thank you

  3. #3
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    Cool!!

    This thing keeps looking better and better....the pics showing the different models really shows the difference in emitter size and such, nice job!!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold bore miracle View Post
    Thanks for the info. Looking forward to your part 2. I'm hoping to test one of these in a 16" 7.62 AR that gets shot a lot. Thank you
    Sorry, just a Colt carbine. I'll definitely try to run some rounds through it, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by mustangfreek View Post
    Cool!!

    This thing keeps looking better and better....the pics showing the different models really shows the difference in emitter size and such, nice job!!
    I'll try to get a better shot of the ADS next time, hopefully at the range. I think my picture makes it look worse that the previous models, but in reality I don't find that to be the case. I will be curious about that reflection though.

  5. #5
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    I just recently bought the same scope, the PA Advanced Micro Dot, with the ADM QD absolute co-witness riser. I don't have any issues at all with reflections, or anything else, as far as the glass goes. In fact, I have spent probably 2 to 3 hours comparing it side-by-side with an Aimpoint H1 that I have on a very similar rifle, and, I don't know if it's just ageing eyes or what, but I definitely can't see $400 worth of difference. I can't really see $4.00, worth of difference. Don't plan on using it on my AR-10, though, the RDS's usually max out at about 100 yards or so, for me. I can hit a man sized target at 300 meters with a RDS, but for a steady diet of shooting past 100 yards, I prefer a "traditional" scope.

    FT
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  6. #6
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    RANGE UPDATE:

    Took the dot out to the range today and ran it on my as of yet unfired 6920-turned-0921HB. To sum up today's shooting: everything was boringly reliable. Also, shooting makes me forget to take pictures.

    Okay, so here's a few more details...

    Optic observations: Initially the optic was WAY off on zero, out of the box. Not a big deal, of course, but it was shooting about 5" low and only about an 1" left. The adjustments are 1/2 MOA, but since I was zeroing at 50 yards, I failed to remember to double my adjustments and "guessed" it was 1/4 MOA adjustments. After I made the first adjustment or two, the light bulb went on and I promptly planted my palm on my forehead. Optic 1, gatordev 0. Once that was resolved, I was able to stack a nice 10 shot group WELL within a 2" circle on my laser printer target. I initially started shooting on a 8" Shoot 'n C target, but had trouble picking up the center of the various bullseyes at 50 yards with the dot. I blame aging eyes and not the dot.

    While zeroing and then running some simple transition drills between my 25 yard and 50 yard targets, I found that the dot was pretty much indistinguishable from an Aimpoint T1/H1 2 MOA, with two exceptions. First, I found the dot brightness adjustment to be more refined than an Aimpoint T1. The manual doesn't say how many adjustments there are on this thing, and maybe it was just the lighting today, but I found it much easier to find a not-too-bright, but still-just-bright-enough setting for zeroing. In contrast, when I try and zero a T1, it always seems like I need a setting in between the settings available. And this is usually in standard Florida sunlight coming in towards the shooter. This refined adjustment was a nice find.

    The other difference between this one and the T1 was my continued view of a reflection. As I mentioned, I had the sun coming in from the target direction all day and not behind me, and yet, I was still picking up a reflection of...something. I'm not sure if it's the diode reflecting or if it's the light from the diode reflecting off the wiring/circuitry, but there was definitely a red "glare" that I could see when looking through the tube. That said, it wasn't hard to look "through" it, and the optic is still VERY functional and useful. I know FT said he didn't have this, so maybe it's my unit, but for mine, it is there, for what it's worth.

    So, what does this all mean? It works. I ran 200 rounds through the gun today, unsuppressed and suppressed, and found the actual use of the optic almost indistinguishable from a T1 (except the reflection). The fact that it's 2 MOA is very nice, and makes it more "T1-like" than the MD-06 or -07 I have. I also found that FOV was about the same as a T1, as in it's harder to pick up a target in an unconventional position, compared to a 30mm tube, but still a great tool (just like the T1). I didn't have any barricades to work today, but I just did simple urban prone drills with two targets at ~15 yards-ish.

    Yes, it's not designed to be as tough as a T1, but it's also not as expensive. For a range gun, I can't see a reason not to grab one of these and use the price difference, even from a H1, for ammo. And the extra ~$30 compared to the legacy PA dots is worth it for the 2 MOA dot and the battery life.

    Until I get a replacement optic for this gun and/or UWOne has me pass this along to the next evaluator, I'll keep shooting this, but honestly, I don't think it's going to be much different than what I've already seen. It's a great RDS with great battery life for a great price.

    So, to summarize:

    PROs:

    -2 MOA dot, looks pretty much like an Aimpoint
    -Dot brightness seemed to be more refined than Aimpoint (at least today, and to me)
    -Battery life

    CONS:

    -More visible reflection (on my unit)
    -Can't throw it out of a helicopter and expect it to survive, though it might

  7. #7
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    As far as the reflection goes, I think I need to clarify something. I was looking alternately, through a window into direct sunlight, with both the H1 and the PA. Therefore, until I get it out into natural sunlight, I might have to back off on my claim that I don't have any problems with reflection. The double plate gas-filled windows may affect the light spectrum coming through the window. I'm not going to get any range time here anytime soon, as they won't even open our range unless the temp hits 40 F. My other experiences with the PA basically mirrors yours, as far as the brightness and other "physical" attributes.

    Very good review. The RDS that Comp is evaluating is not the AMD version, so there may be tangible differences between the two. I can't wait until we get some halfway decent weather here. Global warming is freezing my ass off, and keeping me from shooting..

    FT
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by FortTom View Post

    Very good review. The RDS that Comp is evaluating is not the AMD version, so there may be tangible differences between the two. I can't wait until we get some halfway decent weather here.

    FT
    Thanks. I completely missed that it wasn't the same type of unit when I read his thread, but now that I go back, sure enough. Regardless, even with a mount, the ADS/AMD is a great piece of kit for it's price-point.

  9. #9
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    Shot another 120 rounds today with this optic. Shooting consisted of shooting A/C zone steel at 100 yards and various distances in to transition drills up closer on the steel, switching between rifle and pistol. Zero has continued to be rock steady. I've had no issues with having enough brightness in the Florida sun, which can just start to be a problem on my old 30mm PA red dot I have.

    As for the reflection I encountered earlier...I didn't notice it today. It may still be there, but concentrating on targets rather than zeroing and paying attention to the optic made me not notice it. I actually forgot to check for it until I got home. I was shooting in two directions today, one was the original direction (east) and then also to the south (at the same time of day as my previous visit) and didn't have any functional issues with seeing the dot with the sunlight.

    This continues to be a great dot for the price point.

  10. #10
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    I ran another 40 rounds through the rifle today (8 to rezero the optic and 32 for a small drill). That's a total of 365 with this optic. It was a constant drizzle today, so the optic was getting rained on but had zero issues. No surprise. At the end of the day, I know it's not an Aimpoint, but I do really enjoy how the dot intensity seems to have more selections than a T1. Maybe I'm just imagining it, but I don't have any issues finding the right brightness when zeroing like I sometimes do with my T1s. Here's some more pics:

    (Broke my own rule of photographing a rifle with the ejection port cover open...now a kitten has been killed)



    And here's a shot of the dot at range. Again, keep in mind that the dot appears bigger than it actually is because the my iPhone is focusing on the objective of the optic and not the dot. iPhone is being held about where my eye is when in firing position.



    Still continues to be a great budget optic. I bought a PA 1/3 mount when I got this and when I remounted this today, I put it a slot or two farther forward than before. POI was exactly centered but ~1.5" high, which makes sense. I was surprised how close it came back to zero for such an unsophisticated mount (just a star set screw).
    Last edited by gatordev; 28 February 2015 at 14:37.

  11. #11
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    Gatordev. sorry, not trying to hijack your thread, but your mailbox is full. What bipod is that, pictured in your PA review thread? Thanks.

    FT
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  12. #12
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    Just cleared out the inbox, but it's an Atlas bipod with custom made feet by High Speed Shooting Systems. I LOVE these feet on both the Atlas and on my two Harris units.

    I have a love/hate relationship with the Atlas. It has a ton of great features, made better with those feet, but the "cant" (on the roll axis) never seems to be able to be tightened enough so if I muscle the gun too much, it's easy to move it out of level.

    I think I wrote up a pro/con of the Atlas vs Harris somewhere here in someone's other thread.

  13. #13
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    Nice. I've really enjoyed my PA micro. I plan on getting another some time this year for the pistol build.

    I've had zero issues with mine.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pyzik View Post
    Nice. I've really enjoyed my PA micro. I plan on getting another some time this year for the pistol build.

    I've had zero issues with mine.
    Which one do you have, Pyzik?
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by FortTom View Post
    Which one do you have, Pyzik?
    MDL-06 (or MD-06L, know is on the left).
    I didn't mean to get the lefty version but it works just fine.
    Ground Defense 1, Blade Defense 1, Defensive Pistol 1 & 2, WTGB, Alliance Shoothouse, YSINTG, Carbine 1, DART Medical, NRA Range Safety Officer
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