Several weeks ago I was invited out to an event in Texas hosted at the G2 Ranch by AMERIGLO. Although details were pretty light coming into the event, over the course of a week, myself and other members of the firearms media were treated to the opportunity to test out the new AMERIGLO Haven Red Dot sight. The AMERIGLO Haven is the company’s first venture into the electro-optics market and today I’ll share my experiences with you with the AMERIGLO Haven and what I think it does differently than other red dots currently on the market.
AMERIGLO @ TFB:
TFB Review: AMERIGLO Haven Red Dot Sight
I don’t want to take up the entire review with a bunch of previously stated specifications so if you want to get a full breakdown of things like adjustment ranges, lens sizes, handgun compatibility, and other stuff like that, you should check out the press release coverage we did earlier. The AMERIGLO Haven is currently in production and should start shipping as early as mid-November through December in smaller quantities as the company gets up to speed but shipping should be in full swing by January according to AMERIGLO.
The first look we all got of the AMERIGLO Haven was during a short presentation given by the company’s representatives. Like any gun guy, I’m always skeptical about new products coming into the market, especially the first run of a product for a company with something they’ve never done before. As the Haven was AMERIGLO’s first red dot, I was morbidly curious if they had taken into account certain things like the overall weight of the unit, types of materials used in construction, temperature operation ranges, and overall pricing.
I was happy to hear that all of these considerations and more had been taken into account and as part of AMERIGLO’s recent rebranding, the company has placed a very heavy emphasis on personal protection products and products designed for the private citizen looking to prepare themselves with quality optical devices. The Haven is no different and as a result, isn’t loaded down with unnecessary features and isn’t overbuilt.
The rear of the haven features a witness mark that is intended to help line your eye up with the optic in the event that you don’t have backup irons installed and the mark itself is laser etched into the back of the Haven. One of the coolest things about the release of the Haven that we were happy to hear is that the red dot is being uniquely paired with matching iron sights for the gun you plan on mounting it on. This is great in a number of ways but right off the bat, I think that it’s a great way to get those that are trepidatious or perhaps newer to red dots as it provides you with a way to get a faster view on the dot and also provides you with a backup option should the optic become obscured with moisture or otherwise rendered inoperable. Finally, the AMERIGLO Haven is priced very competitively at an MSRP of $379 making it one of the more affordable pistol red dot sights on the market right next to some of Holosun’s options.
Other Things I Noticed
I fiddled around with the windage and elevation adjustments as well as a few of the power options just to get a feel for the overall handling of the optic to see if there would be any potential issues. Windage and elevation adjustments are quite good and have nice audible clicks. Although they aren’t essential in my opinion, a witness mark on the adjustment screw would have been nice to line up with the radial lines etched into the body of the optic.
The side buttons similarly have tactile and audible feedback when they are in use but I do have to wonder if that Carry-Loc feature might come in handy more than expected since the buttons don’t require a lot of pressure to depress. On the range, I noticed that a couple of shooters accidentally had shut their optics off when reholstering their firearms and this could potentially be an issue for you too if you don’t end up using the Carry-Loc feature.
While looking through the glass, I did notice a slight bit of edge distortion near the extreme edges of the optic and what could be a slight bit of magnification. The glass also has a slightly blue tint when looking through it similar to a couple of other red dots. For those of you who are unaware, this blue tint is put in place on a lot of red dots is to provide the emitter something more suitable to bounce the red dot off of rather than just a pure clear glass lens.
Very dissimilar from other optics like the Trijicon RMR, the Haven features an eggshell-like smooth finish on the outside rather than the rough texturing you get on some similar red dots. On that note, I noticed that when viewed through a cell phone camera there was a very clear refresh rate occurring on account of the PWM (pulse width modulation) which means that the Haven is relying on somewhat of a hack when it comes to its battery life and for some people may lead to a pulsing effect when viewing the dot during movement. Other red dot optics such as the Crimson Trace CTS-1250 and the Trijicon RMR or SRO which don’t make use of PWM do not experience this same effect.
Range Testing and Experiences
Since the event was hosted at G2 Ranch in Pearsall Texas, we had access to a full-fledged outdoor pistol range and even were fortunate enough to have the legendary Dan Brokos of Lead Faucet Tactical out to run us and the optics through a casual pistol course full of drills, and practical tips for shooting with a red dot. If you’d like to see more of Dan’s work or sign up for one of his courses you can check his website https://leadfaucettactical.com/.
For our testing, we were each issued a Glock 19 MOS pistol with an already mounted AMERIGLO Haven red dot sight. The first thing I noticed with the Haven is that its glass window was quite large and in my opinion rivals options like the Leupold Delta Point Pro and even the Trijicon SRO. There can be a discussion on how much the window on the red dot matters but I think I’m safe in saying that a larger window is almost always better as it gives you more wiggle room with getting your first glimpse of the dot.
Dot Brightness and Power Options
The dot itself runs off of a single CR2032 battery and is capable of running for up to 2 years with the Haven’s onboard electronics suite. The Haven features both their Carry-Loc technology as well as their Power Protect feature which offers you a 12-hour runtime followed by a 12-hour, motion-activated auto-on. Since this event took place over several days, I had ample opportunity to test both these features out and they turned out to be quite handy. A fellow writer who was at the event opted not to turn his Carry-Loc option on at first and that ended up turning his optic off completely after he had reholstered it, this lead to a complete wash of his next course of fire – lucky for him all of our pistols came mounted with the matching iron sights that allowed reliable and accurate shooting through the optic window without the dot.
Since we were shooting in texas and the optic had 11-brightness settings, I figured a true test of the optic’s capabilities would turn out to be finding the dot on a white background as this is where most red dots tend to get “washed out.” Personally, I found that I was capable of seeing the dot beginning at a power setting of 7 or 8 when the sun was directly above us and lighting our targets. If that isn’t enough brightness for you, there are 3 additional brightness settings that you can lock in to make sure you’re able to see the dot on a sunny day.
Throughout the week, each of us probably shot close to 1,000 rounds through our pistols with the red dots mounted and I didn’t experience any issues with my optic dying, losing its zero, or any other sort of malfunctions related to the operation of the optic. I did, however, end up losing my front sight as to when it was installed, no thread locker was applied but AMERIGLO has assured me that the retail versions of the Haven will all include a thread locker patch on the hardware to keep this from happening to you.
The windage and elevation adjustments were quite tight and this necessitated the use of a Torx bit in order to move the dot around inside of the window for a correct zero. I didn’t have to mess with this feature much and in my opinion, I don’t think it is all that important considering the main market for the Haven is going to be for use with concealed carry and or home defense applications which means you should probably take the optic to the range, zero it, and then never touch it again unless you remove it from the gun. Since the battery tray is side-loaded and secured with two Torx screws there should be no need to remove the optic from the gun during normal use.
I abused my Haven red dot quite heavily and even took some time to drop it from about holster height into the dirt and aside from a few scuffs and dust the optic remained in operation and kept its zero. Since racking your red dot off of a barrier seems to be the popular thing to do these days, I and a couple of other writers opted to do this as well and still found that the haven kept its zero and because of the design of the shroud, the glass didn’t become scratched or scuffed and was protected from being impacted. Despite all this, I don’t have any delusions about the Haven holding up to the same abuse as some of the more robust red dot sights like the Trijicon RMR.
Along with your standard close-range pistol drills, Dan Brokos and the rest of the writers all took their own opportunities to test out the Haven and this included all of us attempting to take potshots at an 8″ plate rack at 100-yards. The 3.5 MOA dot that our Haven’s had on them probably weren’t the best tools for the task but a couple of us managed to ring steel at that range and that to me means that the Haven can work well out to ranges further than it is intended for.
I think the Haven represents the industry’s recognition that more and more people are warming up to the idea of pistol-mounted red dots for concealed carry and home defense. The Haven thus far has proved to be reliable, durable, and easy to use even with all of its electronic features like Power Protect and Carry-Loc. I am happy to report that I have also received a testing and evaluation copy of the AMERIGLO haven so I can do some more long-term testing on the unit to see how it stands the test of time but so far I am impressed with AMERIGLO’s first entry into the red dot market.
I want to extend a personal thanks once again to the folks at the G2 Ranch in Texas for allowing us to use their facility, my fellow writers from other outfits who I was able to attend the event with, Dan Brokos for providing organized structure/training to the shooting portion of the event, and finally AMERIGLO for facilitating the review and inviting TFB out to the event.
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