The XM-8 has come up in several discussions. One of the "advantages" that is usually cited is the optical package. I have commented in several forums on what I think are the inadequacies and no one has chimed in to rebut my contentions or agree with them. Am I the only one who has looked at and through the XM-8 optics and formed an opinion? Come on guys, I wasn't the only one at the SHOT Show.
Here are my observations and opinions. Please, please, let me know yours.
1. The field of view of the magnified optic and the red dot is very small. Tiny tube and a reticle that was tough to use.
2. Placement of the optics. This is a big one for me. I'm a huge fan of a proper cheekweld. One of the big factors in a rifle's ergonomics is the proper relationship between the stock and the sights. This is what I mean and my test. I close my eyes and snap the rifle to my shoulder and get the proper cheekweld. Then I open my shooting eye. If the sights (optic or F & R iron sights) are in the proper alignment right in front of the eye, then the ergonomics are good. What does this mean in the real world? Simply this. When you have to make that fast, snap shot, you don't have to waste time hunting for your sights. They're right there and you can get down to business.
When I did this with the XM-8, the magnified optic was right there. Now some of you may be thinking, Great, right where you want it. Problem is, you have to raise your head and hunt for the red-dot if that is the sight you want to use. Thats the problem. When is the ability to snap that rifle to your shoulder and quickly get of a shot important? Is it when the threat is 100m away, or 10m? I'll vote for 10m. If he's close, which sight do you really want to be looking through? The narrow FOV optic with the fine, black reticle?, or the red dot? If you are going to have two sights on the rifle, they should be reversed. The red-dot should be the one that you acquire naturally, the magnified optic should be the one that requires a change in cheek weld, not the other way around.
There it is, my opinion. Please let me hear yours.