HEX Optics: A High-Tech Swarm

By Paul Carlson
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HEX Optics: A High-Tech Swarm

February 23rd, 2021

8:39 runtime

While the movement may be slower than I once projected, red dot sights on defensive firearms are becoming the standard instead of the outlier. Springfield Armory embraced this trend a long time ago with its optics-ready handguns and rifles.

Now the company kicks the movement into overdrive with the HEX line of optics. Say hello to the HEX Wasp and HEX Dragonfly.

Red Dot Revolution

It was 2012 when I said, “Like it or not, red dot optics are going to be a common sight on defensive and duty guns in the next five years.” My timing was a bit off, but here we are in 2020, eight years later, and it has become a reality.

Springfield Armory pistols with HEX red dots
The new HEX Wasp and Dragonfly red dot sights will fit pistols of all sizes.

The “like it or not” part came from my gut. It may surprise you to learn that at the time I leaned toward the “not.” Three things jumped out at me:

Cost – Optics were expensive to mount on a pistol. The red dot sights were expensive, and having a pistol slide machined to accept an optic was an added expense.

Reliability – Then there was the reliability issue. Living on top of a pistol slide is not a nice, cozy place to be. Most optics weren’t up to the abuse of being slammed back and forth on a reciprocating slide.

Training – Finally, there was a learning curve. Being certain you would see your dot when you needed it most took an investment of time and reps. In 2012, there were a lot of hurdles still in the way of optics becoming a common sight on defensive and duty pistols.

We have come a long way since that time. Optics-ready pistols from Springfield Armory like the Hellcat OSP (which stands for “Optical Sight Pistol”) and the XD-M Elite Tactical OSP have been instrumental in legitimizing optics on handguns, and they both come from the factory cut to accept optical sights. This has helped reduce the issue of cost.

Springfield Armory XD-M Elite OSP pistol with HEX Dragonfly optic
The standard-sized HEX Dragonfly is shown here on a Springfield Armory XD-M Elite Tactical OSP.

In addition, the ability to co-witness iron sights through a low-mounted red dot has simplified the learning curve for many shooters; they simply start to line up the iron sights as they normally would, bringing the dot in the optic into their view quickly and instinctively.

But, while we have pistols available to accept red dots and the ability to use them well, what optic is “right” for your pistol?

In many cases, a good-quality optic can cost nearly as much if not more than the gun upon which you want to mount it. If you try to save money and get a cheaper optic, you likely will have something that cannot stand up to the rigorous demands placed upon these electronic sights. What is the solution?

Enter the new HEX optics line from Springfield Armory.  

HEX Optics

The HEX line of optics has been more than two years in the making, with the goal being to provide superior optics built from premium materials that would be ideal for optics-ready pistols as well as long guns — and do this all at affordable prices.

HEX Dragonfly red dot optic
The HEX Dragonfly is ideal for duty-sized defensive handguns.

This isn’t an easy task when you are working to include premium design, features and materials. The folks at Springfield laid out an exacting set of standards and went to work.

As of today, the HEX line consists of two very capable but different optics: the Wasp and the Dragonfly.

The micro-sized HEX Wasp is perfectly suited for a pistol like the XD-S Mod.2 OSP or Hellcat (in fact, the HEX Wasp is included with the new Hellcat RDP).

The standard-size HEX Dragonfly is more suited to double-stack pistols like the XD-M Elite Tactical OSP. It also works exceptionally well on a long gun like the SAINT line of AR-15 rifles.

HEX Dragonfly red dot sight on Springfield Armory SAINT AR-15 rifle
While the Wasp is designed with CCW pistols in mind, the Dragonfly is appropriate for duty-sized pistols as well as carbines like this SAINT 5.56mm.

Although the sights are different, they share impressive common features. Both the Wasp and the Dragonfly are protected by a machined 6061 aluminum T6 Hardcoat-anodized housing. The housing is light, but ruggedly built and significantly thicker than the housing you would see on many comparable red dot optics. The durability it provides will be welcome.

The Wasp and Dragonfly also share scratch-resistant, anti-glare glass lenses, adding to the HEX advantage. Additionally, both optics are IPX7 waterproof. This means they are submersible to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

Shooting the Hellcat RDP at the range with muzzle flash visible
The author found the HEX Wasp optic on the new Hellcat RDP to be a pleasure to shoot at the range.

To back all of this up, both sights are covered by a lifetime warranty.

The similarities of the Wasp and the Dragonfly don’t end there, but I want to dive into what makes each of these optics special.

The Wasp

I loved the way the Wasp looked mounted on the Hellcat RDP. It only makes sense. It is a small, low-profile, direct-mount optic.

HEX Wasp red dot by Springfield Armory
The HEX Wasp weighs just .7 of an ounce and features a tough machined aluminum housing.

Thanks to the Springfield Micro footprint mount (shared with the Shield RMSc), it sits low enough that I can easily use the U-Dot sights on the Hellcat, even with the red dot in place. I know a lot of people look for a red dot sight that will co-witness with the factory Hellcat sights, and the HEX Wasp is just the ticket.

With a width of 0.95”, the Wasp just barely exceeds the width of the slide, complementing the sight’s hexagonal shape. The machining on the housing creates appealing cocking serrations that match the slide cuts on the Hellcat rather nicely. As a result, you can grip the sides of the optic when racking the slide.

The Wasp is designed as an “always on” optic, so you will have that 3.5 MOA dot every time you present your pistol. Also, it auto adjusts its brightness as needed. The optic is powered by a single, bottom-loading CR2032 battery. The cell should run easily for two years, but I personally recommend replacing your battery annually just to be on the safe side.

The 3.5 MOA dot of the Wasp is easily adjusted for point of impact with a small Allen key and a dial to help discern the amount of adjustment you need. The adjustment has no tactile or audible click, but the dial gives you a solid baseline for getting zeroed.

The aluminum housing extends forward of the glass lens to provide added protection for the glass lens. The rear of the unit sports horizontal serrations to help reduce glare and to help the eye focus on the dot.

HEX Wasp optic by Springfield Armory
The Wasp has a sight channel to aid in co-witnessing with iron sights, as well as horizontal grooves on the rear to help reduce glare.

Additionally, the Wasp features an integral sight channel for co-witnessing with iron sights. As noted earlier, the HEX Wasp features IPX7 waterproofing standards so rain and moisture will not be an issue. The sight is rated to withstand 30 minutes underwater up to one meter. Oh, and you get all this for an MSRP of $299.

HEX Wasp Specifications

Optic TypeMicro Red Dot
Dot Size3.5 MOA
Magnification1X
Weight0.7 oz.
Dimensions1.60” (L), 0.95″ (W), 0.86″ (H)
FootprintSpringfield Micro
BodyMachined 6061 T6 Hardcoat aluminum
LensGlass, scratch-resistant & anti-glare coating
OperationAlways on, auto-adjust
Battery/LifeOne CR2032, 65,000 hours
MSRP$299

The Dragonfly

As I’ve already mentioned, the Wasp and the Dragonfly have a lot in common, but also have some important differences as well. The most obvious is size.

HEX Dragonfly optic by Springfield Armory
The HEX Dragonfly weighs in at 1.2 ounces and measures 1.90″ long. The rugged machined aluminum body helps add to its durability.

The HEX Dragonfly is a standard-size red dot sight, making it perfect for mounting on full-size pistols as well as rifles and shotguns. The Dragonfly mounts with the Springfield Standard footprint mount that is used by a wide variety of optics (such as the Vortex Venom).

To mount to your Springfield XD-M Elite Tactical OSP pistol, you should use the Springfield mounting plate #1.

The 3.5 MOA red dot has a full 160 MOA of adjustment in windage and elevation ensuring the ability to zero. The dot is powered by a single bottom-loading CR2032 and boasts more than 100,000 hours of use — or three years.

While the Wasp is an auto-brightening and -dimming optic, the HEX Dragonfly is manually adjustable with eight brightness settings — giving you the ability to tailor its brightness exactly to your needs. Battery life is conserved with a 16-hour auto-off feature.

Rear of HEX Dragonfly red dot sight
Like the smaller Wasp, the Dragonfly features horizontal grooves the rear section to help reduce glare.

The Dragonfly’s housing is larger than the Wasp’s, but shares the same durable, machined aluminum construction, a forward shroud to protect the glass lens, and rear serrations to reduce glare. The Dragonfly can be had for an MSRP of just $249.

HEX Dragonfly Specifications

Optic TypeStandard Red Dot
Dot Size3.5 MOA
Magnification1X
Weight1.2 oz.
Dimensions1.90″ (L), Width: 1.14″ (W), 1.01″ (H)
FootprintSpringfield Standard
BodyMachined 6061 T6 Hardcoat aluminum
LensGlass, scratch-resistant & anti-glare coating
OperationManual adjustment, eight settings
Battery/LifeOne CR2032, 100,000 hours
MSRP$249

Final Thoughts

Red dot sights are here to stay, and the reasons are simple. They add a great deal of performance capability to your firearm, and today’s technology has made them capable of the demanding requirements placed upon them. And with the efforts of manufacturers like Springfield Armory working to reduce and/or eliminate the obstacles that stand in the way of the success of these optics, their future looks even brighter.

Shooting a pistol with HEX optics red dot
The new line of HEX optics from Springfield Armory delivers premium materials and rugged durability at affordable prices.

With the new HEX optics series, Springfield has done a solid job bringing a feature-rich line of optics to the market that provides support for their already capable pistols and long guns.

What is equally as impressive is that they have done so at a price that makes the choice easy. Built to exacting standards with reliability and durability in mind, these red dots will be ready when you need them.

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

Paul Carlson

Paul Carlson

Paul Carlson is the owner of Safety Solutions Academy, LLC, a professional defensive shooting instructor, content creator in the firearms industry, and most importantly a husband and a father. Through Safety Solutions Academy, Paul teaches a variety of critical defensive skill courses in more than a dozen states annually. When Paul’s not traveling to teach and work in the firearms industry, you can find him with his family, either on the range or in the mountains.

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