Shooting optics are a very important aspect of shooting sports and many other aspects of shooting. The main purpose for any optic is to provide a clear targeting solution which increases the potential for both accuracy and precision. Firefield is an economical brand which focuses on both Airsoft and other sports shooters on a budget. With a range of both optics and other related accessories, Firefield is striving to provide as much a variety of products as possible whilst maintaining economy and durability.
The Firefield Impulse 1×22 compact red dot optic is a simple tubed optic which closely resembles the Aimpoint T1 reticule with absolute co-witness height. An optic like this would work best as a basic close range or mid-range optic on a carbine, rifle and/or shotgun. Due to the economical pricing of the Firefield optics, it’s worth wondering what has been sacrificed for the low cost compared to other more reputable brands.
The Firefield Impulse 1×22 is a compact red dot optic with no magnification in a tubed housing raised at a 1/3 co-witness height for alignment with iron sights. The housing is made of aluminium and is lightly coated in matte black. The reticule is a circular ring, broken in sections with a single dot in the middle (the thickness of the reticule varies based on bloom, is between 2-3 moa). The housing of the Impulse 1×22 is shockproof, fog proof and IPX5 rated (weatherproof).
The entire unit weighs in at 7.5 oz and is rated to withstand up to .50 calibre recoil reciprocation without deviation of zero. The battery used by this optic is a CR2032 coin battery which provides an average of 180 hours of battery life (using varied light intensity settings). The product is provided with flip up lens caps and compatible coin battery when purchased.
The Firefield Impulse is compatible with other aftermarket Aimpoint T1 mounting systems and parallax corrected (up to 20 yards). The reticle can be adjusted for both windage and elevation from two turrets on the housing. The reticle is available in both red and green colours at 5 different light intensities.
The Firefield Impulse 1×22 as mentioned before, is an Aimpoint style optic coated in matte black. Although it is meant to be a compact, light and durable product which seems to visualise a more bulky look than expected of a small optic. This is probably due to the way the optic has been designed with a larger frame at the back followed by windage and elevation turrets and the large light adjustment dial which doubles as the battery compartment.
The absolute co-witness mount is skeletonised with a simple picatinny rail attachment with a hand screw on the right hand side. The Firefield logo is printed on the right hand side of the housing and has an extruded front and back to allow for the addition of the optional lens caps. The lenses are barely tinted to remove glare and do not warp the image in any noticeable effect.
The main purpose of the Impulse 1×22 is to improve the accuracy and precision of the user with their firearm. The reticle is not overly busy and does not require too much focusing to accurately acquire a target at the centre of the reticle. The housing is compact which does allow keeping a minimalistic amount of real estate on the firearm and is relatively lightweight. The housing of the optic is durable but the lenses are very susceptible to light scratches from general use.
Shooting with the Impulse 1×22 is relatively easy as it is natural for the eye to align itself with the middle of the tube and the target. The reticle is available in both red and green which is useful in different back drops. The different light intensities are also useful however the lowest light intensity can be overpowering in low light situations. The highest intensity settings create a bloom effect indoors but will disappear if pointed against the sunlight.
The lenses are slightly curved to correct parallax error however this does not remove the issue that is presented where the optic isn’t aligned between the eye and the target. This is more evident at distances over 25 yards but the reticle will move off zero by inches at that range if the head isn’t positioned correctly. This can be a large issue as off hand shooting and awkward shooting positions can make the reticle move off zero and cause the shot placement to be less accurate.
The changing of light intensities with the dial is quite simple but there have been spikes in energy between some light intensities where the reticle will pulse a few seconds before resting. This is either a manufacturing defect or a design flaw based on the circuitry connection to the battery. This issue is infrequent but evident in this product and must be recorded as such.
The picatinny rail mount uses a screw to secure the optic to the firearm which is simple and effective, however it will need extra tightening with a flat head screwdriver as it loosens easily with more 9mm recoil reciprocation and higher. It would be recommended to use some threaded Loctite to assist with the optic loosening from the rail system.
One good design implementation is the position of the projector within the tube housing as it is low profile and not easy to notice unlike other brands. This low profile is however one of the only good points to address as certain light intensities cause a reflection of the projector itself to reflect to the user alongside the projected reticle itself.
The Impulse 1×22 housing is quite robust and has not rusted or lost function after being tested in both damp and dirty environments. It was hard to determine if the optic has lost zero during testing as the parallax error has made it difficult to know if zeroing was lost past 25 yards. The optic is suitable for close range and has not shown any loss of zero at this range.
The Firefield Impulse is evidently shockproof, weatherproof and has a durable coat of paint but the glass lenses are quite easy to scratch after pro longed use. The lens caps are quite necessary when it comes to maintaining the lenses. The picatinny rail mount is another weak point as the screw not only loosens over time and has degraded the screws threads.
Most optics are priced in relation to their features and how reliable they are advertised to be with different calibres and usage. A good compact economically priced optic would be around £150~ where as a high quality brand such as Aimpoint would price their variation at just over £500. The Firefield Impulse 1×22 Compact Red Dot Sight is priced at just under £80 with features that are similar to but do not supersede other more expensive brands.
Firefield are focused on providing economy over quantity and this product reflects it. Where other brands would focus on longer ranges of parallax correction and longer battery hours, the Impulse focuses more on practical short ranges and battery running life spans that are manageable. Other than buying a cheap Chinese reproduction of other brands which have a large negligence for quality assurance, Firefield’s Impulse 1×22 Compact Red Dot Sight is the most economical optic of it’s design type to purchase which is capable of performing its basic functions.
The Impulse 1×22 is a good product for general plinking at short ranges with any firearm and/or Airsoft replica as it does help the user with accuracy and precision but only at short distances of under 25 yards. Firefield is a brand that provides warranty and support for their products which adds value compared to purchasing a Chinese reproduction but is not a good replacement for higher quality brands such as Vortex, Holosun and Aimpoint.