Swampfox TriHawk – A Surprising Class Leader
I’m a big fan of magnified prisms. It could be because I came to age in a time where the ACOG ruled, and I was issued one during my time as a Marine. It’s also because I like simple things and I’m a simple man. The Swampfox TriHawk is an optic I’ve talked about before and one that’s found its way onto my designated fighting rifle. It’s a lightweight optic that’s relatively compact and occupies just a bit of space onto my scope rail.
The Swampfox TriHawk is a three power optic with a lens diameter of 30mms. It looks bulky but only weighs 15.4 ounces. The optic is 4.55 inches long, 2.28 inches wide, and 3.43 inches high. The optic is made from 6061 aluminum and gives you an IPX7 waterproof rating. It can be submerged 1 meter for 30 minutes, and that’s impressive for an optic with an MSRP of $329. The included mount is a beast that grips on and doesn’t let go. The nuts on this thing allow you to lock it down.
What’s so special about the TriHawk? What’s distinguishes it from a dozen other 3 to 4 power prism optics. Well…the field of view is worth discussing.
You Promised Class Leading
Steiner used to rule the roost in terms of field of views and fixed power prisms. However, things have changed, and the Swampfox TriHawk gives you a class-leading 52-foot field of view at 100 yards.
I have several 3 and 4 power prisms, and it’s hard to go back to one of those and deal with the narrow field of view. The wide 52-foot field of view is fantastic and allows you to have a clear picture from one side to the other.
Another factor is the eye relief. Prism optics get a bad rap for tight eye relief, and optics like the ACOG have a mere 1.5-inch eye relief. The TriHawk goes all the way back to 2.37 inches. While it’s still a little closer than many variable optics, it’s much better than other prism designs.
The TriHawk – Through the Glass
The glass gives you an excellent sight picture and delivers a nice bright and clear view of what’s well within the range of a 3X optic. At about 400 yards, I can still clearly see street signs and distinguish what they are. This makes it more than capable for any shooting I’ll ever do, especially from a defensive angle.
The TriHawk comes with one of two reticle options. We have a traditional MOA reticle or a 5.56 or 7.62 BDC. The presence of an MOA reticle is nice because so many prism sights just use a BDC, and that doesn’t offer the same versatility as a good ole MOA reticle. I have the BDC design admittedly, and I do use it on a 5.56 rifle.
The reticle is built around a 50/200 yard zero, and the tip of the arrow will keep you within that range. The reticle appears to be very clear and easy to see. One big benefit of prism optics is that the retile is etched. If the electronics fail or the battery dies, the reticle is still there and still fully functional.
Zeroing is quite simple and rapid with the .5 MOA adjustments. I dialed in quite quickly at 50 yards and shot a few confirmation groups. The .5 MOA adjustments are dead on, and this makes adjustments predictable and zeroing quick.
Booms and Bangs
So there I was—neck-deep in weeds and unkempt grass. Nose running and the occasional allergy-fueled sneeze punctuated the quiet range. I sat out at 300 yards with my BRN 180 and some 62-grain Federal loads. A PMAG stuck out of the gun, and I was set up in the prone position.
Between the sneezes and the sniffing, the sound of gunfire and the loud ding of when lead meets steel rang out. There is something addictive and enjoyable about a good BDC and a steel target. The simplicity and lining up the right marking at the right range and hearing a ding is very satisfying.
This was as far as I could go at this point in this dreadful quarantine, and it was a welcome break. The Swampfox TriHawk made it very easy for me to hit various targets at 300 yards. I stuck to steel poppers, gongs, and torsos and enjoyed the ding.
The reticle is very easy to use and quite versatile for both close-range fighting and moderate range shooting.
A large illuminated three-quarter circle gives you a thick, eye-catching reticle for close-quarters use. When using a two-eyed open occluded shooting technique, you can engage targets quickly and efficiently with this reticle design. It’s nearly as fast and effective as a red dot once you toss some lead downrange and get the trigger time in.
Admittedly this type of shooting results in some less than precise shots. At 20 yards, you won’t be making a rapid hostage headshot, but you could shoot a bastard to the ground with suitable upper torso shots.
The reticle is illuminated and comes in either green or red illumination. There are ten illumination settings, and 2 give you night vision compatibility. The optic is fueled by a CR123A battery and has a max battery life of 3,000 hours.
The illumination is a little weak in brighter daylight times. It can always be seen, but never reaches the level of brightness an ACOG or Browe combat optic reaches. High noon in Florida can make it seem quite dim.
The controls to adjust the brightness level sit on top of the optic and are two rubber-coated buttons. They provide a tactile feel with every adjustment and are well placed for easy use.
The Little Things That Matter
Can we normalize tethered caps? Pease? I love tethered caps cause I’m often ditzy and will just drop them somewhere while zeroing the optic and forget about it. The TriHawk has tethered caps and includes a front and rear lens cover.
Sadly these lens covers pop off insanely easily. Like if you look at the optic a little too hard, they get scared and run away. If you can keep up with them, then they are a great addition. You also get a handy included tool to make adjustments with. It’s small but quite nice, and I’m glad they include it.
I find myself more and more pleased with companies who do the little things right. The Swampfox TriHawk just so happens to do both the little things and the big things right. One of those little things is the price. The TriHawk is priced affordably, and you get a lot of glass for the money. If prisms are for you, then give the TriHawk a peek and let us know what you think.
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.