The Swampfox Blade – And How I learned to Love 1X Prisms
What’s the point of a 1x prism scope? Good question, and I think there is a good argument that 1x prisms outshine red dots in a few different ways. We are going to be using the Swampfox Blade as our example. The Blade is one of Swampfox’s newest prism optics, and it comes with a great reticle and a bevy of features worth chatting about. Before we dive into our review let’s look at the Blade by the numbers.
The Blade is a 1x prism scope with a 25mm lens and is IPX7 rated for a submersible design. The optic comes with a built-in mount that locks down like a crab clinging to a 7-year-old’s finger whose screams are ruining my beach trip. The Blade is a weighs 13.1 ounces, is 4 inches long, 2.44 inches wide, and 3 inches tall.
The Blade has an excellent long 3.8-inch eye relief that offers a massive eyebox to make finding your reticle relatively easy. It’s as close as you can get to a red dot in terms of eyebox freedom. We get an illuminated reticle powered by a single CR123 battery, which will power the optic for 3,000 hours. The Blade comes with scope covers, tethered turret caps, a handing zeroing tool, and a lens cloth.
Before we start, you might be finding yourself asking why would you ever choose a 1x prism scope over a red dot? Well, here is the down and dirty on why.
3 Reasons to Choose a 1X Prism Scope Over a Red Dot
1 – SHTF Worthy reticle
Red dots rely 100% on a battery, or at best, solar power. Should your electronics go bad or your battery dies, you’re up a particular river without a paddle. With a prism reticle like the Swampfox Blade, the reticle is etched into the glass and never dies. It’s there for when the world ends, and batteries are in short supply.
2 – Versatile Reticle
Red dots are also just a red dot. Sweet, simple, and it works. A prism optic offers you an etched reticle that can be as simple or as complicated as people want it. The Blade we are seeing here today has a simple but convenient reticle system.
3 – Your Eyes Suck
Got astigmatism? Well, if so, ditch the red dot for a prism scope. It will be more precise and easier to see. Cast aside those blurry red dots and be able to comfortably see and focus on the reticle.
The Blade in Action
The Blade is a dedicated 1X optic that gives you a very clear view. The lack of magnification keeps things simple and the glass clear. With both eyes opened, you have a good field of view. The only downside is the top turret sticks out like a sore thumb when aiming with two eyes opened. It’s nitpicky but worth noting.
The reticle comes in red or green illumination, and I went with green. It’s quite bright and only challenged a little by the brightest of days. The natures of an etched glass reticle mean it’s always there, so illumination is a bit of a second thought. You get ten brightness levels, and two are night-vision compatible. The reticle calls itself the CQB Bullet Rise Compensation reticle.
This reticle is made for red dot ranges, and that range can often be uncomfortably close to your target. Oh well, we have to deal with it. The term Bullet Rise Compensation is built to address an optics mechanical offset. If your optic has a traditional 50/200 zero and you stand close to your target, let’s say five yards, and shoot your round will hit low because of mechanical offset.
This reticle addresses that.
Close Quarter’s Performance
The main aiming point of your reticle is a chevron, and that chevron is designed for your 50/200 yard zero. Using that aiming point at closer ranges isn’t going to work out well. The CQB Bullet Rise Compensation tool has drop markings that allow for holds at 15, 10 and 5-yard ranges.
At these home defense ranges, the aiming points make it easy to be precise. There is no guesswork or need to remember to just aim a little high. The reticle’s offset points make it easy to be accurate and precise. Should you need to make a well-aimed headshot at close range this reticle allows for that. Moving from 5 to 10, and 15 yards proved each hold was nearly dead on and would allow a shooter to have complete confidence in their close-range shots.
Out to 100 Yards With a 9mm
With the Bullpup Scorpion wearing the Blade, I found it immensely useable for close quarter’s shooting. What if we went all the way back to 100 yards and starting trying to unleash some 9mm pills? One hundred yards is a long way for a 9mm.
I know bullet drop for a 9mm at 100 yards is between 10 to 12 inches depending on the load you’re using. The Blade’s reticle is useful for this task. The length from the tip of the arrow and the bottom of the stadia attached to it is 11 MOA. At 100 yards, 11 MOA translates to 11 inches.
From a prone position, I inhaled enough pollen to keep my nose running for a week, but I also scored hit after hit with the Blade equipped Bullpup Scorpion. My target was a rather large steel fellow, and I placed the bottom of the stadia point on his chest and let it fly. I moved to a 10-inch gong and it was hard to see the target, but once I found it, I banged away at it.
As usual, I got cocky and started hammering it fast. Between the swinging and 100 yards range, I missed a time or two, or half a dozen. Once I slowed down and let the gong stop swinging, I could score hits easily. Knowing the Blade’s reticle opened up my ability to score hits and allowed me to maximize my PCC’s potential.
The Blade and the 1x Prism
The Blade is one of many in the current crop of 1x prisms, and for close-quarters use, it offers the most diverse and well thought out reticle. The included mount, excellent clarity, and compact design make it an excellent optic for close quarter’s use. The Swampfox Blade is a rock-solid optic option if you want something a little different than the typical red dot.
Rifle Magazines: keep your long gun fueled.
Travis Pike: read more of his articles.
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner, a lifelong firearms enthusiast, and now a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is the world’s Okayest firearm’s instructor.