February 13, 2012

Shooting with Insight Technology’s Integral Sighting Module-Visible Red-Dot Red-Laser Sight

We recently had the opportunity to test a sighting device from Insight Technology that allows you consolidate multiple sighting options in a single, lightweight package.

All manner of technology can be added to a tactical rifle through the use of picatinny-style mounting rails. Flashlights, handles, scopes, and lasers can all be readily fitted to customize a gun for a variety of shooting requirements. This erector set capability also tends to bring out the big kid in the all of us. As a result, many guns get festooned with all manner of accessories, resembling something more suitable for use in a Sci-Fi movie, than a fast deploying, maneuverable weapon we originally purchased. We recently had the opportunity to test a sighting device from Insight Technology that allows you consolidate multiple sighting options in a single, lightweight package.

The ISM-V (Integral Sighting Module- Visible) is designed particularly for close quarter, dynamic shooting situations. Built for mounting on a Mil-standard 1913 type rail, the ISM-V couples a non-magnified, 2 moa red dot with a visible aiming red laser for both active and passive target acquisition. The sight is parallax-free, and is a 1x non-magnified design. The ISM-V is unique in that the red dot and laser are co-aligned. This means that the windage and elevation adjusters move both devices simultaneously during the sight in process. This makes dialing in the ISM-V a more simplified procedure than it would be with separate aiming devices.

Be advised that the ISM-V is not a toy; and at $1300 MSRP, nor is it priced as such. It weighs in at 9 oz. with battery installed, and is 5 inches in length, 2.6 inches in width, and 3.3 inches high. The unit is also waterproof-rated at 3 feet for one hour. It is made for use in rugged conditions, and is not the sort of thing you’ll find hanging on an air rifle somewhere.

The ISM-V also comes in a restricted version, the ISM-IR. This version adds an IR aiming laser and illuminator to one’s sighting options, but don’t count on getting one unless you’re in Law Enforcement or the Military.

Another positive is that the ISM-V uses commonly available CR123A battery for power; a nice feature for those of us used to carrying this battery type for flashlights and cameras. This battery type also gives the scope a runtime in excess of 150 hours in red dot, and 7 hours in laser only mode.

Insight Technology

Gene Taylor

The ISM-V (Integral Sighting Module- Visible) is designed particularly for close quarter, dynamic shooting situations.

After reading the owner’s manual, we began our review by noting the basic touch, look, and feel of the unit. We then proceeded to sighting in the ISM-V, and gauge its accuracy in both red dot and laser modes.

Initial Impressions

The ISM-V arrived in a molded, foam lined plastic box. Contained within the box was the ISM-V, scope cover, a remote jack with pressure switch, instruction manual, cleaning brush, lens tissue, cleaning solution, and a CR123A battery.

The unit was primarily manufactured out of high impact resistant plastic. The lenses were mounted fore and aft along the length of the device. A small sunshade extended over the objective of the ISM-V. The mounting device was made of metal, and screwed down onto the mounting rail of the firearm. The ISM-V is also available in a cam lever quick detach model, although didn’t find the screw down version that difficult to mount.

The rear of the scope houses the battery, a status indicator led, and a mode selection switch. Unlike similar red dot scopes, the battery can be replaced without removing ISM-V from the rifle. The led status indicator lights up when the laser is emitting energy, or the battery is low. The mode selector allows the operator to choose between off, red dot, and red dot and laser options.

Windage and elevation controls are located on the top and left of the ISM-V. They are flush mounted, and can be adjusted using a slotted screw driver or a coin. The left side of the scope also has a laser activation switch, but we chose to use the remote jack on the front of the ISM-V, routing its pressure switch to the fore end of our gun.

The visible aiming laser is also mounted on the front of the scope. The red dot controls reside on the top of the ISM-V. The rubberized switch is marked +/- signs to adjust the red dot through its 18 levels of brightness. The red dot is activated by pushing both +/- buttons at the same time. Turning the unit off is achieved by pushing and holding both buttons for 1 second. The ISM-V has a memory feature that recalls last brightness setting the next time the unit is turned on.

Insight Technology

Gene Taylor

The ISM-V is unique in that the red dot and laser are co-aligned. This means that the windage and elevation adjusters move both devices simultaneously during the sight in process.

The laser can be momentarily activated by pushing and holding the pressure switch. A double tap on the pressure pad switches the laser to a constant “on” position.

We also found that we could aim thru the ISM-V using our iron sights. This meant that we didn’t have to remove the scope if the unit failed during its use.

Overall, we found the operation of the ISM-V was pretty straight forward, although it was somewhat awkward pressing both buttons to turn on the red dot.

How It Performed

We had an opportunity to use the ISM-V at the 100 yard shooting tunnel at Bass Pro Shops in Grapevine, TX. We found the tunnel’s darkened background along with its variable yardage settings ideal getting a feel for the ISM-V’s capabilities. The ISM-V was designed to utilize the Bindon Aiming Concept. This allows the operator to keep both eyes open to acquire targets quickly, and maximize situational awareness. We employed this method throughout our testing

After mounting the ISM-V on our Stag Arms 2TL, we fired 5 shot groups at 25 yards to sight in the scope. We were pleasantly surprised when our first three rounds were touching each other. The azimuth and elevation was easily changed by using a coin inserted into the tactile adjusters. Aiming points are moved .5 MOA with each click of the adjusters, and we were able to quickly center the red dot on target. We then proceeded to duplicate our initial efforts, with several groups small enough to almost be covered by a dime. We noticed that out to 20 yards, the laser rested side-by-side with the red dot. At 25 yards and beyond the two dots converged. Insight states that the sights are co-witnessed out to 300 meters.

Insight Technology

Gene Taylor

The visible aiming laser is also mounted on the front of the scope. The red dot controls reside on the top of the ISM-V. The rubberized switch is marked +/- signs to adjust the red dot through its 18 levels of brightness. The red dot is activated by pushing both +/- buttons at the same time.

At 50 yards, our accuracy still remained good with both sights, with most groups staying within a 1.5 inch diameter. We found the laser opened groups to around 2 inches, but with many shots still touching each other.

We then set our sights at the 100 yd mark. At this distance, the red dot averaged around 2.75 inches among our four shooters , more than acceptable number for a non-magnified scope. The laser was able to consistently group at approximately 4 inches, still able to deliver a center mass hit.

Our last test took us back to the 25 yard mark for some rapid fire tests. Each of our testers fired multiple 15 shot groups within 10 seconds. Our testers averaged 3.5 inches in this part of our testing. All commented that the red dot and laser were easy to acquire and stay on target. It was felt that the muzzle brake on the Stag also helped to reduce the recoil impulse, and allowed them to keep the AR15 on target.

All of our testers were impressed with ISM-V’s accuracy and versatility, plus its considerable “cool” factor. The testers did wish that a green laser would be used so the laser could be used in some daylight situations. The unanimous downside on the ISM-V was its hefty price tag.

Note:

A recent change in Insight Tech’s product line has temporarily reduced this concern. For 2009, Insight Tech is discontinuing the civilian ISM-V version, but will continue to make the restricted ISM-IR version. Their inventory was bought out by several large distribution groups. A Google search found the ISM-V selling for around the $700, making a more affordable option. We contacted a spokesman for Insight Tech, who verified that all warranties will be honored on the product. He was noncommittal on whether a replacement for the ISM-V was in the works.

We feel that at its current market price, the ISM-V represents a good value to anyone interested in keeping their rifle relatively uncluttered yet wishes to have multiple sighting options.