U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- I have a thing for prism optics. Is it a bias from my days as a Marine? Likely so, but I think prism optics get a bad rap on the modern carbine. LPVOs rule, I get it, but you have to give prisms consideration. There are lots out there, and one worthy of your attention is the Swampfox TriHawk.
Swampfox is relatively new to the optics realm but seems to be doing an outstanding job producing optics that fulfill a wide variety of roles. Red dots, LPVOs, mini red dots, and more are shipping from Swampfox. They are priced to compete with companies like Holosun, Primary Arms, and certain Vortex products.
The Trihawk is one of two prisms Swampfox produces, and I’ve been shooting with it for a little over a year now. Instead of just being an average prism scope, it does a fantastic job of standing out in a crowded field of four and three power optics.
Trihawk Spec Rundown
From the name, it’s easy to figure out the Trihawk comes with a fixed three-power magnification. The objective lens is 30mms in diameter. At 15.4 ounces, it weighs a little more than most full-sized red dots but isn’t superbly hefty. The optic is 4.55 inches long, 2.28 inches wide, and 3.43 inches tall.
Eye relief is rather generous for a prism at 2.36 inches. That’s not the only thing that is generous. We also have a 9.5mm exit pupil, and that means your sight picture is quite clear and very bright. Since we are on the subject of generosity, the field of view is a massive 52 feet at 100 yards. For comparison, a 3X ACOG delivers a field of view of only 19.3 feet at 100 yards.
Trihawk Reticle Breakdown
When buying a Trihawk, you can choose between the MOA reticle and the BDC reticle. Swampfox designed the BDC around the 5.56 and 308 cartridges. The MOA is an MOA reticle, so it can be adapted to any cartridge as long as you know your dope.
Besides the elevation drop points, the reticles are identical. In the center is a chevron; below it is your elevation drop points. Around the chevron is a segmented circle that is massive and illuminated. It’s a multi-use reticle designed for that 0 to the 300-yard sweet point that carbines work best in.
Taking the Trihawk For a Run
That big segmented circle acts as an efficient close-range reticle. With both eyes opened, the non-dominant eye can focus on the target, and the reticle will be overlaid on your vision. You can see the reticle with ease, and this makes using a 3X optic at close range very doable.
It’s not as precise or as fast as a red dot, but it works suitable for CQB use. I used an ACOG for years in the same way, so it was an easy transition for me. It can take some practice to change focus between the non-dominant and dominant eye to make the best use of a prism optic, but it’s well worth it if a prism is your optic of choice.
One downside to the Trihawk is the reticle illumination. I wish it was brighter for the bright side of a Florida afternoon. I could see the reticle and the illumination, but it wasn’t red dot bright. It qualifies as daylight bright, but it could be brighter.
Stretching Our Legs
The Trihawk features surprisingly clear and bright glass. That 9.5mm exit pupil does an excellent job at transmitting light. Recently I was testing a budget LPVO beside the Trihawk. The LPVO cost about 1.5x the price of the Trihawk and went to 1-8X. The glass in the Trihawk made a tiny steel target much clearer than the LPVO at eight power.
Magnification is always secondary to glass quality, and this was an excellent reminder of that. At 100 yards, it was easier to hit a 4×6 inch steel plate with the 3X Trihawk than it was the 1-8 LPVO. I wasn’t alone in this thought, and a friend said the same as we shot with both optics.
The finely tuned etched reticle made the chevron easy to see and easy to get on target. That finely made chevron makes it easy to see both the reticle and target. I zeroed the optic to a simple 50/200 zero as suggested by the manual.
I had absolutely no issues ringing various plates at various ranges. At 200 yards, I made a 10-inch gong sing over and over again. Out to 300 yards, I maxed out my personal range, and ding donged an IPSC steel target in the chest over and over. I wasn’t nearly as good at hitting the smaller gong, though.
Carbines and Prisms
I’ve always found the fixed power prism to be the perfect optic for carbines. It’s an excellent balance of both weight and size as well as ease of use and durability. 3X allows you to take advantage of a carbine’s typical range requirements and still manages to be efficient at close ranges as well. The Trihawk offers you a lot of optic for a reasonable sum of money. It’s worth a look for sure, especially for range, hunting, and everyday Joe use.
About Travis Pike
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.