The Swampfox Sentinel

A Micro-Reflex for Target-Rich Environments
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I’m still in transition when it comes to optics on handguns. It didn’t take me any time at all to shoot non-occluded optics with a long gun, but I seem to have the same target-acquisition speed with an RDS as I do with iron sights on a handgun. The Swampfox Sentinel, however, is helping me edge out iron sights incrementally.

I got a chance to mount a Sentinel on my Hellcat, and I have put enough rounds downrange to carry it with confidence. Adding this optic did not require me to change my holsters, carry options or perishable-skills training.

The Swampfox Sentinel is a micro reflex optic designed for slim, subcompact guns. It has anti- fog, hydrophobic, anti-scratch lenses and is available with either a red or green 3 MOA dot. The Sentinel comes in “Always On” or “Shake n wake.” Both options come in red or green.

No Change In Performance

The Sentinel is on the small side compared to other RDS, and it only weighs 0.62 oz. I loaded my extremely light 9mm loads — ones that run in my Hellcat, but my range buddies can’t run in their P320s — and TRIED to induce stoppages with the Swampfox. As you know, a change in slide weight is a change in performance. With super-light loads and factory defense loads, the Swampfox never altered any aspect of performance of my Hellcat.

Did you know some handloaders have a weird sense of humor? I load those light loads and give them to my P320 shooter friends to shoot while I’m practicing. When their guns don’t run, I tell them there must be something wrong with their guns. P320s are some of the most reliable machines on the market — until guys like me come along.

The Sentinel has two recessed adjustments for windage and elevation, and up to 70 MOA of adjustment range. The housing is rigid 7075 alloy and approximately the width of the slide. Fortunately, micro optic sights have fewer mounting options, so the Sentinel fits any RMSc cut slide — meaning almost all of the mini 9mm guns on the market. For a small sight, it has excellent edge clarity. I experimented with placing the dot on the edge of the optic and firing, simulating a less-than-ideal sighting picture. The dot does not flare on the edges, and it lacks annoying internal reflections. It compares with several optics that cost twice the price.

Image courtesy Swampfox.

Seamless Action

Although placing the Sentinel on a stock Hellcat will not allow co-witnessing, there is enough front sight in the image to give the shooter an emergency sight picture in case the gun is dropped into a ravine and the shooter miraculously recovers it and the glass has some damage. It would take an apocalyptic bump to damage this glass, so I am talking hypothetical here.

If you cannot decide which style or color is best for you, the first rule is the fact all of these options work for most shooters. For those who believe the light in the refrigerator is always on, the corresponding type is your model. For those who believe they can open and close the door faster than the food is illuminated, you know what to do. I used to think the red reticle was the only way to go. However, green often has an advantage in transitional lighting, like fog, or when it is nearly dusk. I cannot differentiate between the two with a shot timer, but I liked the contrast of the green and opted for the green Shake n wake.

Just so you know, I do not know of a human being who can fool the sight. That is, just the act of shifting the gun a little will wake the sight. Putting it into action is seamless.

Image courtesy Swampfox.

One Of The Things I Would Change?

I like dots around 4 MOA because it allows quick acquisition without covering up the target. The Sentinel is 3 MOA, which is perfect. To tell you the truth, I rely on the brightness settings rather than dot size. The Sentinel has 10 brightness settings, which are adjusted by pressing a button on the right side of the housing.

This is one of the things I would change on the Sentinel. You see, as a right-handed shooter, my immediate action drill (clearing stoppages), “tap-rack-target,” has me reaching over the top of the slide and pinching the slide back to toss the stoppage out of the ejection port. The Sentinel is right where I grab, so one either grabs over the top of the optic, uses the ridge of the hand on the front of the optic to run it back or pinches the front of the slide. I don’t teach pinching the slide for a number of reasons, so the choices are the former two, unless one is a “slingshot- style” person, which I don’t teach either.

Grabbing over the top of the slide puts the index finger right on the dim switch of the Sentinel. By the time I have cleared most stoppages, I have clicked the red dot dimmer at least once. No matter how I train, I keep clicking the dim switch. It doesn’t run it all the way down, since the red dot stays on, but it can be annoying.

Image courtesy Swampfox.

Ruling The El Presidente

Before any of you start writing letters to Swampfox, there is an “always on, auto brightness” model. Oh, maybe I shoulda got that model …

I have only one other beef with the Sentinel, so let’s air it now. It has to be dismounted in order to change the CR2032 cell. Just so you know, a user can put in a new CR2032 and leave it on for a couple of years straight, and still be able to engage that “bump in the night.” Yes, the battery really lasts that long.

My beef about changing the battery would be legitimate if the Sentinel lost its zero after battery changes. How do I know it doesn’t? I removed and reinstalled the sight several times, then put rounds downrange.

The Swampfox Sentinel rules the el Presidente. That’s all you need to know.

As you can see, I liked the Swampfox Sentinel. It turned out to be an outstanding combat optic, and I don’t have a legitimate complaint about it.

For more information visit Swampfoxoptics.com

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