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A Detailed Test & Evaluation of the SIMMONSModel #51105 Red-Dot Sighting System

by

J.B. Hohlfeld

For those first time visitor's to the J.P.F.O. website, I would suggest that you read a previous article that I did on the SAIGA-12 Self-Loading Shotgun. In part of that report I mentioned that we had mounted an ADCO VANTAGE, model #V-1 red-dot onto the shotgun during most of our field testing. The bottomline was, and still is, that we could highly recommend the #V-1 sighting system. For a retail price of about $130.00, the #V-1 took a lot of 12GA recoil and very severe weather conditions without a problem.

During our recent Y2K training season, we thought we would test one of the lower priced (less than $90.00 retail) red-dot systems, which some of you may be thinking about buying.

Since the product and trade name are common throughout the USA, we decided to test the SIMMONS model #51105 red-dot sighting system. As with may things these days, the SIMMONS product line is made in Communist China (ChiCom), and is quite cheap in price.

The general appearance of the SIMMONS was good, with a fairly dull black finish over all major components. With regard to overall dimensions: The tube length without the provided sun hood is about 5-inches. Overall length with the sun hood is about 6 1/4-inches. The outside diameter of the front and rear optical tubes measure at 25-mm.

As with the majority of red-dot systems, our test unit does not magnify the field view. Also, like the majority of red-dot sight systems, the shooter can vary the brightness of the red-dot, but cannot change the diameter of the red-dot for different situations. Example: On the model #51105 SIMMONS, you cannot change the 'dot' from it's factory diameter of 4-Minutes of Angle (4MOA), to say 12-MOA for a different tactical situation.

Mechanically, the test unit was 'user friendly', with the "ON-OFF" brightness control knob being large enough so that you could make adjustments with a gloved hand. By the same token, the numbered brightness control settings are easy to see and understand. As with most other red-dots, the -0- setting is also the power "OFF" position. Like other red-dot systems, our test SIMMONS also came with a 3V, pancake type Lithium battery (ChiCom), which was very easy to install within the main brightness control knob assembly.

The Windage/Elevation (W/E) control knobs are also easy to access and clearly marked regarding direction of adjustment. However, the W/E adjustment scales do not have any type of positive 'click' index system, ergo, you have to 'guesstimate' your adjustments during the boresite/zeroing process. Example: Remember your first .22LR rifle scope when you were a kid? It's just like that. From what we could determine each marked index represents a movement of approximately 3/4-MOA at 50-meters. We are also fairly certain that, once 'set', the red-dot maintained its zero during firing test.

Though our SIMMONS red-dot was listed as being suitable for either pistol, rifle, or shotgun, we thought it best to start testing on a low recoil firearm, ie; an HKMP5 9x19-mm SMG. After 21-rounds of semi-auto fire, our red-dot died. The ChiCom battery? Not even the Energizer Bunny could revive our dead red-dot.

Maybe we bought a 'lemon'? We ordered another SIMMONS model #51105 red-dot and mounted it onto the same HKMP5 9x19-mm SMG. After 120-rounds of both semi-auto and full-auto firing, our replacement red-dot was still going strong. It was time to move up the recoil ladder.

Since we were also field testing an after-market "BullPup" stock system for the AK-47 SLR, we thought it would be interesting to test both at the same time. Our Japanese Defense Force (JDF) student's found the 7.62x39-mm "BullPup" SLR very easy to handle, and the SIMMONS red-dot very 'fast' in target acquisition. They had few problems 'snap-shooting' bad guy bowling pins from 15 through 50-meters.

At approximately round 325, Kei, our Tokyo liaison, came over to me saying, "I think we have a problem", as he dropped the entire red-dot brightness control knob assembly into my hand. Although greatly streamlined in its appearance, our second SIMMONS red-dot sight was just as dead as the first one we had attempted to test. One 'lemon' maybe, but not two in a row. Obviously, the SIMMONS model #51105 red-dot sighting system had a serious design and/or production problem!

A quick field inspection showed that all four of the tiny jeweler size (#1-64TPI), primary mounting screws had come loose from the main body, ergo, the "ON/OFF"/brightness control assembly fell off. Apparently, the ChiCom's don't know about Loctite!

Later, a more detailed inspection proved my initial thinking to be short of the mark. After taking the "ON/OFF"/brightness controll assembly to pieces, the problem was more obvious. Due to recoil harmonics, all four of the tiny screws had stripped out of their mounting holes within the central aluminum mounting block. No, the tiny mounting screws were fine. The ChiCom aluminum was 'soft' and totally unsuitable for firearms related applications.

You know our conclusions regarding the SIMMONS model #51105 red-dot sighting system... THUMBS DOWN, do not waste your money...


Mr. Hohlfeld is the firearms instructor for Ranger Outreach Center. If youhave comments you may write to:

R*O*C
PO Box 1164
Pecos, NM 87552

Fax 505.757.8456

E-mail shohl@roadrunner.com


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