Slide-mounted red dot sights aren’t the wave of the future, they are the sighting system of choice today. And with the development of the HEX line of optics, Springfield Armory has introduced a new way for shooters to acquire great optics at affordable prices.
The HEX line of optics is made up of the Dragonfly red dot — designed with duty-size pistols and long guns in mind — and the HEX Wasp that we will be discussing here. The Wasp is a formidable micro-sized optic with a price point that won’t sting. Paired with a micro-sized, optics-ready pistol like the Hellcat RDP or XD-S Mod.2 OSP, the Wasp makes getting into the red dot game a breeze for both the experienced shooter as well as a newbie.
The HEX optics line was spec’d out by Springfield Armory over a two-year period, and the optics are made specifically to Springfield’s rigid standards. Featuring rugged construction, waterproof designs and excellent pricing, either HEX would make a great choice for a shooter. And if you’re packing a micro pistol and want to add on an electronic sight, the Wasp is definitely the right choice. Let’s take a look at what makes the Wasp such a solid optic.
In the Hive
Like all insects, in many ways, the Wasp is defined by its exoskeleton. It’s clear to me that Springfield had durability in mind when it developed the HEX optics. Despite the fact that the Wasp is small, it is durable. The housing is machined from 6061 aluminum, giving the optic a thick, protective, metal exoskeleton. The aluminum housing makes for a great foundation for the Wasp, but its strength and durability do not stop there. The housing has a tough T6 Hardcoat anodizing that protects against abuse and at the same time looks great.
The body of the Wasp is ideal for micro-sized pistols like the Hellcat OSP and XD-S Mod.2 OSP because it uses the Springfield Micro footprint (Shield RMSc-compatible), and can directly mount to the slide for the lowest possible mounting.
And the housing isn’t the only part of the optic that is built to be tough. The lens of the Wasp is solid glass for better durability and clarity, and also is scratch-resistant with an anti-glare coating. Glass is a superior material for a red dot sight lens due to its added strength and clarity. Even though the glass is protected by the housing and the shroud, it’s coated to resist scratching and has quality anti-glare coatings to make the dot easy to see in all conditions. The glass lens is also parallax-free. This is an important attribute as it enables you to get the hits you need regardless of where the dot appears in the lens. Wherever you see the dot is where your shots will impact.
One of the most distinctive features of the HEX Wasp is the optics shroud that protrudes in front of the glass objective. This hood serves as a protective guard to help keep objects from impacting the glass. When I run a red dot on a pistol, I use the dot liberally as a handle for running the gun. Usually, I rack off the heel of my hand, but I’m not above racking off of my belt, holster, pants pocket, wooden fence post or concrete Jersey barrier. I don’t care if we are talking about fingerprints or concrete, I really don’t want anything coming into contact with the glass in my optic. The hood keeps the glass clean and protected and is a great feature.
The housing of the Wasp also features side serrations that are nicely executed. My favorite aspect is the look. The serrations give the Wasp a sleek look that blends in wonderfully with the slide of my Hellcat OSP. They also serve as a positive gripping surface for those that want to grasp the Wasp by the sides to rack the slide.
Anti-glare serrations on the rear body of the Wasp are another nice touch. Very similar to serrations you might find on a rear sight, these horizontal cuts help to reduce sunlight’s glare off of the rear of the housing. I found it very easy to keep my focus on the target downrange even when I was shooting with the bright sun at my back. The patent-pending serrations played a role in keeping my attention where it should be.
I keep talking about durability (and I have more to say on the topic later in this piece), but the fact is that any mechanical thing can fail. And when we are trusting our life to something, we might want to consider having a backup. Springfield thought about that with the Wasp. In addition to the very low mounting position of the Wasp due to its direct-mounting capability, the HEX wasp features a co-witness iron sight channel cut into the optic behind the lens. It allows for the Hellcat’s factory Tactical Rack U-Dot sights to be used as a backup in case the optic ever goes down.
HEX Wasp Specifications
|Optic Type||Red dot|
|Dot Size||3.5 MOA|
|Dimensions||1.60″ (L), 0.95″ (W), 0.86″ (H)|
|Body||Machined 6061 T6 Hardcoat aluminum, IPX7 waterproof|
|Lens||Glass, scratch-resistant & anti-glare coating|
|Battery/Life||CR2032, two years|
I find the Wasp to be an immensely shootable optic, especially when you consider its size. I’ve spent a lot of time shooting the Wasp on the Hellcat RDP and I’m amazed at how well the 3.5 MOA dot tracks. When I do my job controlling recoil, I can keep the dot on-screen throughout the recoil impulse when I’m shooting with both hands. Even when I slack off or move to one-handed shooting, either strong hand or support hand, the dot continues to track well and ends up right back where it started when the gun is ready to fire again.
The overall design of the Wasp is intended to ease the complexity of using a red dot in ways that beginners and experts alike will appreciate. First off, the optic features a constant-on dot. There is no on/off switch to remember to use, or to break. When you insert the single bottom-mounted cr2032 battery, the dot turns on. Then it stays on until you remove the battery or several years pass by. Yes, you read that right. The expected battery life is 65,000 hours, or an estimated (and conservative) two-year runtime. That is a long time. Longer than I’m willing to trust a battery. I change mine every six months just to be on the safe side. Batteries are cheap.
When it comes to dot brightness, the Wasp has it handled. The dot automatically adjusts to the brightness you need given the conditions, adjusting for low-light all the way up to direct sunlight. I found the dot to be very useable regardless of lighting conditions, and the dot adjusted quickly when transitioning from light to dark, dark to light, or when using handheld and weapon-mounted lights. That is easy. Very easy. The kind of easy I want when it comes to life-saving devices.
If I have a beef with the Wasp, it’s a small one. I mentioned that the battery is bottom-loading in the Wasp. A battery swap requires that the Wasp be removed from the gun and remounted. This requires you to verify that your dot is properly sighted in after swapping the battery and remounting the Wasp. But, this is a pretty small complaint when the Wasp handles pretty much everything else for you.
I am very pleased with the HEX Wasp from Springfield. I have used plenty of other dots and I’ve worked with several different dots on top of the Hellcat. For me, there isn’t another red dot option that strikes the proper balance of cost to quality to features as well as the Wasp. With an MSRP of $299, the HEX Wasp is an incredible value.
When you consider that the Wasp is a small package that directly mounts, allows the co-witnessing of the factory sights, is extremely simple to use and is likely to stand up to whatever abuse you send its way, putting the Wasp on top of your micro-sized defensive pistol like the Hellcat OSP is a no-brainer.
Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in and discuss this article and much more!