To modern sport shooting enthusiasts, Sightmark's Core TX and Rapid AR riflescopes offer effective engagement capabilities at short-to-mid-range distances, with mostly any rifle or carbine platform
The true reliability of modern AR-15 and AKM style sporting rifles has made them top sellers among any kind of sport shooters and hunters. And unsurprisingly, the market for dedicated accessories and optics has grown exponentially.
The US optics brand Sightmark is a prime example of this, with a wide offer that includes riflscopes, red dots, reflex sights and accessories thereof aimed to satisfy the needs of a vast majority sport shooters worldwide, as well as trainers and professional.
On this page we have two mid-range riflescopes that Sightmark dedicates specifically to modern AR-15 type sporting rifles: the Sightmark Core TX 1-4x24 AR-223 BDC and the Sightmark Rapid AR 1-4x20 SHR-223 riflescopes are offered as different alternatives on the same tier, but with some differences in between.
Sightmark Core TX 1-4x24 AR-223 BDC
The Sightmark Core TX 1-4x24 AR-223 BDC is a tactical short-to-mid-range riflescope specifically conceived for .223 Remington / 5.56x45mm caliber rapid-fire semi-automatic long guns, built around a 30mm machined single-piece 6061-T6 lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum alloy hard-anodized in scratch-proof and reflex-proof black.
All lenses are multicoated for scratch protection, and the riflescope features a 24mm diameter front lens.
The Sightmark Core TX 1-4x24 riflescope is 24,5 cm (9.64") long overall, 66mm (2.4") wide and 50mm (2") high, for an overall weight of approximately 459 grams (16.2 oz), and comes equipped with removable flip-up lens covers, 30mm scope rings, and a throw level attachment for quick passage from 1x to 4x magnification.
The etched second focal plane reticle is illuminated in red or green, powered by a factory-issued replaceable 3v CR2032 that is hosted in the same turret that integrates the brightness adjustment dial. The battery service life ranges between 70 to 100 hours of continuous runtime depending from the selected brightness level.
A set of exposed, lockable turrets allow the reticle to be adjusted for windage and elevation on a 120-MOA range, with ½ MOA clicks.
Other features of the Sightmark Core TX 1-4x24 AR-223 BDC riflescope include an eye relief of 101,6 mm (4") at 1x magnification and 94mm (3.47") at 4x magnification; a field of view of 32,04 or 8,03 meters at 100 mt (96.1-24.1 at 100 yards) depending from the selected level of zoom; and ballistic drop compensation subtension lines for 5.56x45mm (.223 Remington).
The Sightmark Core TX 1-4x24 AR-223 BDC riflescope is nitrogen-filled and is waterproof, dustproof, shockproof and fogproof.
Sightmark Rapid AR 1-4x20 SHR-223
The Sightmark Rapid AR 1-4x20 SHR-223 riflescope shares several manufacturing and technical features with the Core TX 1-4x24 model: a single-piece, machined, hard-anodized 30mm 6061-T6 lightweight aluminum alloy tube; the riflescope is nitrogen-filled and is waterproof, dustproof, shockproof and fogproof; the reticle illumination is powered by a replaceable 3v CR2032 battery, providing a battery life ranging between 35 and 350 hours of continuous runtime, depending from the selected brightness level.
What changes in the Sightmark Rapid AR 1-4x20 riflescope is the front lens, a 20mm instead of 24mm; turrets are capped, with ½ MOA clicks providing a 100-MOA adjustment range for windage and elevation; the reticle is an etched one, on second focal plane, with calibrated subtension lines for .223/5.56mm caliber bullet drop compensation, but here the reticle is a more traditional cross; more, the reticle illumination is red only, but it can be adjusted on 10 levels of brightness, what makes it effective also in daylight.
But the evident difference with the Core TX 1-4x24 AR-223 is in the eyepiece, after which this riflescope has been named "rapid".
In fact, to move between magnifications 1 to 4 and back, you do not have a traditional rotating ring: no, you grab the whole eyepiece cylinder - which is rubberized, to the purpose - and operate quick and swift magnification changes. Very handy for both sport shooters and professionals
The Sightmark Rapid AR 1-4x20 riflescope is 22,1 cm (8.7") long overall and weighs 19.2 ounces (544 grams) overall.
The Sightmark Rapid AR 1-4x20 riflescope offers a field of view of 31 to 7,6 meters at 100mt (93-22.7 @100yds) depending from the magnification level, and will resist recoil up to 800G of energy; it is also IP67-certified waterproof for immersion up to one hour at a 3 feet (1m) depth, and will operate at temperatures ranging between -17°C/0F and +50°C/+122°F.
Looking at these two scopes from Sightmark, we see the classical AR low-mag, 1-4 scope more and more common today.
The basic specifications are almost identical: both sport BDC reticles with ballistic correction, both on second focal plane, and overall characteristics are just the same, with lockable adjustment turrets. But details are actually quite different.
The Sightmark Core TX sports a post and BDC reticle named “AR-223”, while the Sightmark Rapid AR has a crosshair and BDC reticle called “SHR-223”.
The Core TX offers red and green illumination options of the BDC portion, actuated by the third turret, that allows the user to select color and intensity of illumination. The Rapid AR reticle illumination is red only, with 10 levels of intensity, and the third turret actually just holds the 2032 battery.
Resistance to shock is about 50% higher for the Core TX (1200 Gs against 800 for the Rapid). The Core TX also has a slightly larger objective lens, 24mm against 20mm, that translates into a slightly wider range of elevation and windage adjustment, with 120 ½ MOA clicks against the Rapid 100, and a marginally wider field of view, and is 3 oz (85 g) lighter than the Rapid.
While both scopes could be used for self-defense, hunting or target shooting, their own specifications point to a clear intended purpose for each one of them.
Cleaner reticle, that favors fast target acquisition over pure accuracy, multiple illumination options, faster illumination adjustment, lighter body, higher tolerance for strong recoil, more elevation, knurled adjustment knobs for magnification and diopter corrections and the availability of a throw lever for faster switch between magnification extremes, all point at a more “tactical” purpose for the Core TX.
On the Rapid AR instead, a reticle intended for accurate quartering of the target, simpler illumination controls, a more instinctive interaction with the eypiece tube and higher weight set a more sporting/competition oriented sould for this riflescope.
Which one is best for whom, or for what really? technically speaking one should have the both of them: because they may look similar, but at the end, they are not... we'll try to play with them a little bit more, and judge them from a field-use point of view.