Elcan is one of those companies that comfortably floats under the radar. It’s not that they aren’t popular, or capable, or issued by a military, they just seem to fail to capture the public’s imaginations through popular media. Elcan is one of those companies that people in the know will recognize and understand. What’s understood is the fact that Elcan optics are well made, durable, and perform well in all conditions. Elcan optics are issued to the Canadian military, as well as Denmark, the Royal Netherlands Army, and the Norwegian military.
The Elcan M145 is probably their most popular optic, a 3.4 power optic that is designed for use on both assault rifles and machine guns. However, the more modern versatile Specter DR is what we are looking at today.
Comparing To Similar Optics
Leupold Mark 4 HAMR w/ Deltapoint
|Reticle:||Chevron||CM-R2||Red Dot With 5.56 Ballistic Drop|
|Length:||5.8 inches||5.7 inches||6 inches|
|Weight:||9.9 oz||14.8 oz||23 oz|
|Brightness levels:||Adjusted automatically by fiber optics||5 for day + 2 NV||5 settings|
|Eye Relief:||1.5 inches||2.7 inches||2.75 inches|
|Product Page:||Click Here||Click Here||Click Here|
Unboxing Specter DR
The Specter DR has a variable magnification 1 and 4 power. The Elcan Specter DR comes packaged in a plain brown box, secured by some light internal cardboard, and comes with an instruction manual, and a battery. For a very, very, expensive optic, you expect it to be packaged a little better. An Eotech costs 1/4th of the cost and includes an awesome Pelican case style box.
Heavy, Big And Pricey
Oh, right, yeah this optic is pricey, at 2,200 dollars it’s not a minor investment. We’ll go into that a little bit later. The Elcan Specter DR is a heavy beast, at 1.45 pounds you can feel the heft when you attach it to the rifle. The Specter DR is not a small optic by any means. The optic features a round profile, somewhat akin to an Aimpoint. The optic is actually quite odd, but very versatile. In this case, the oddity isn’t a bad thing, it just strays from traditional configurations. The zoom magnification is not a spinning ring, but a side mounted lever that can instantly change the magnification from 1 to 4 power.
Fits Mini Red-Dot & Iron Sights
This isn’t a traditional variable optic since you only have the choice of 1 or 4 power. To change the magnification you pull the lever slightly down and move it forward or backward to swap magnification levels. The optic has a small section of flat top upper that is designed to mount a miniature red dot if you choose. The optic also has a rudimentary set of iron sights built into the optic. These small sights can be moved to be used with a miniature optic mounted, or completely removed.
Only 600 Hours Battery Life
The windage adjustment lever is near the front of the optic, and the elevation adjustment is near the rear. A large dial on the left-hand side is where the battery is inserted and what controls the illumination of the optic. The battery is good for 600 hours of continuous use. The reticle portion that illuminates is fairly small and 600 hours seems pretty short. The ACOG 4×32 has a major advantage here with the battery-free illumination. The optic mounts with simple quick detach levers to any standard rail. The optic is designed for a modern defensive rifle, like the AR, SCAR, or Sig MCX.
Similar to ACOG
The optic is similar to the Trijicon ACOG in a lot of ways, including its durability, shock proof nature, and general bomb proof nature. the Elcan is much more versatile than the ACOG though. The Elcan act as a simple red dot sight at 1x and can instantly be switched to 4 power for longer range shots. Both optics are designed with the military in mind, but the Elcan does allow for clean transitions from house to house fighting, to street engagements.
How It Performs On The Range?
Once the optic was mounted to our favorite Smith and Wesson M&P 15 and zeroed I laughed at the optic costs roughly three times more than the rifle. The Elcan is certainly more fitted for an FN Scar, or maybe a Tavor. The Elcan is designed for a variety of rifles, unlike the ACOG, which is dialed into one rifle and round. The Elcan can even be used on a machine gun if you are so inclined.
25 yards With 1x
When you first look through the optic you will be blown away by how clear and high quality the view through the optic is. Everything is remarkably clear and nice and bright. You get a nice wide field of view in 1x, and it’s a true 1x optic. The field of view this optic provides is quite incredible, even at 4x. This outperforms the ACOG and provides a bright, consistent picture for the entire picture, not just the middle. Regardless of where your eyes are positioned, you can see through the optic. At 25 yards transitions were simple, and rapid at 1x. The reticle is not fully illuminated, just the red dot in the center. At 1x the red dot was all that I was using to put rounds in torso sized targets.
4x – 400 meters
When I pulled the magnification level back I got an instant and satisfying change of magnification. At 4x and twenty-five yards I could place a quarter-sized hole in the forehead section of the target. With a hostage target, I would have to try to miss. The reticle has a bullet drop compensator, but it’s designed more as a guideline than something to be extremely precise. I found it accurate with American Eagle 55 grain 5.56 rounds at 400 meters, it was not directly on the line but off by less than an inch with a bench rest. To really effectively use the optic you’ll need to know the ballistic data for you rifle and load.
This isn’t a necessity, though, this isn’t the optic you make thousand yard shots with, so there is some leeway. The optic performed perfectly throughout the day, it takes some time to get used to the odd controls, but they are still intuitive, and easy to learn.
After 500 rounds
We packed a little less than 300 rounds in our first day of shooting, and an additional 200 rounds the next day. Throughout five hundred rounds the reticle stayed zeroed, the picture stayed bright, and it never stopped stuttered or failed in our testing. Throughout all of our testing, the Elcan was nothing but a positive experience, but its what you would expect from this price.
Need Versus Want
Now I love the sight, it works well, it’s rock solid, and I feel comfortable going to war and back. It’s similar to my all time favorite optic, the Trijicon ACOG. You can place your utmost faith in the optic, and it’s not going to fail. The thing is, is this kind of strength necessary for your average civilian application? Many of use optics for hunting, home defense, competition, and just plinking, is having a 2,200 dollar optic necessary for this? Does it make you better at any of these applications? No, and probably not. The Elcan is the optic you take when you are jumping out of a plane, inserting via water, and freeing hostages from 3rd world terrorists.
Some Trijicon and Aimpoint models can fall into this same category. They aren’t necessary. But man, they are nice. I do not operate solely on need, but I cannot fathom a use in my civilian life for an optic this strong and expensive for close range shooting. At 2K, you can afford a nice long range optic, rated for powerful ammunition, like a Night Force Atacr F1 I have reviewed. Need isn’t always a qualifier for an optic and want typically is the more effective choice maker when it comes to optics like this. If you want the Elcan Specter and can afford it, go for it, you are getting an optic worth the money you’re spending.
Without considering the price at all I would suggest the Elcan Specter DR for any close or medium range application. This includes home and self-defense , 3 gun competitions, run and gun, or close range hunting. I imagine the Elcan would be hell on hunting predators like coyotes or feral hogs. The Elcan can perform in any environment, and in any condition. However, when considering the price point the reality is that most of you can get a great home defense optic or top hunting scope for much lower price and it will still cover all your regular needs.
What Other People Think?