NcSTAR VISM ECO MOD2: When Cheap & Good Converge?
February 6th, 2021
5 minute read
Guys like me are bad to be a bit snobbish. We toss about details of this piece of high-end tactical glass or that professional-grade sound suppressor like dropping a grand on a firearm accessory is just chump change.
In this review of the NcSTAR VISM ECO MOD2 optic, I decided to see if budget-friendly glass could get the job done for the average shooter.
Truth be known we would all like to run the same sights as Delta and DevGru. However, not all of us will be using our gear while humping the Hindu Kush in pursuit of the enemies of our great republic. In fact, almost none of us will ever do that.
I am more than half a century old. If I were actually going downrange to smite bad guys it would be because literally everybody in the country — to include Miley Cyrus and PeeWee Herman — were otherwise indisposed. If I were planning on chasing some miscreant into a dank Afghan cave, I would want the finest optics money could buy. However, might that actually just be overkill out here in the real world?
With very few exceptions, we will most likely use our weapons recreationally rather than operationally. With this in mind, I set out to find a whole lot of gunsight for not a lot of money. What I settled on was the VISM ECO MOD2 from NcSTAR.
At its heart, the ECO MOD2 is a fixed-magnification, wide-field-of-view 4X optical gunsight. The reticle design is etched into the glass and is called urban tactical, whatever that really means. The reticle features a secondary blue illumination feature as well.
The sight tips the scales at 19.9 oz. The body is formed from die cast aluminum, and the unit mounts via an integrated auto-locking, quick-release mechanism. The top of the sight is milled to accept a red dot reflex sight if desired.
Top-mounted backup iron sights come standard, and the front iron sight includes a fiber optic light tube. The iron sights may be configured along three different axes to allow fast employment simply by rotating the weapon. In this manner the main sight, the iron sights and an optional red dot may all be accessed based solely upon the plane in which the weapon is maintained.
The ECO MOD2 is just festooned with electronic trinkets. There is a green laser that is readily adjustable for windage and elevation. The sight also comes with what the company calls navigation lights. These are indeed thought-provoking addenda.
The two navigation lights are red and white. They are also intentionally fairly dim. These are not tactical illuminators. There are other tools for that. These are the lights that let you poke around a dark house without unduly telegraphing your position. Additionally, the red light does not adversely affect your night vision.
The electronic bits are all controlled by a series of rubber buttons that are fairly intuitive, even in the dark. The whole shebang is powered by a single CR123A lithium battery. The ECO MOD2 is hearty without being unduly bulky.
I mounted the VISM ECO MOD2 atop my trusty Springfield Armory SAINT rifle. The SAINT is the high-end utility rifle for the working man. Sporting a 16″ CMV barrel that is Melonite-coated and imbued with a 1:8 twist, the SAINT offers top-flight features at a reasonable price. Nothing defends the hacienda better.
To complement the ECO MOD2, I slapped a Streamlight Protac HL-X long gun light up front. Featuring a blistering 1,000-lumen output, if the need arises to truly displace the darkness this will give the bad guys a sunburn. Thusly configured I felt ready for anything.
The 4X magnification is about perfect for me on a utility rifle. This lets me reach out comfortably to 100 meters or so yet still offers a sufficiently wide field of view for close up work. The back-up iron sights were as easy to use as any conventional mechanical sights.
Green and red lasers actually put out the same amount of energy, but green dots are more readily accessed by the human eye so they seem brighter. The green laser is simple to zero. Just zero the optic and then move the dot until it coincides with the aiming reticle at your desired engagement range.
I like the navigation lights. I have used really bright tactical illuminators for real before, and they can blind you if you aren’t careful. Sweep that beam across a pane of glass or, Lord help you, a mirror while you are groggy and terrified in the middle of the night and you do more harm than good.
The soft white light is adequate to keep you from stepping on the cat in the night or striking your toe on the dresser. The red version indeed doesn’t trash you night vision. The ECO MOD2 gives you plenty of options.
I find that illuminated reticles are only useful under a narrow set of light conditions. However, adjust the brightness appropriately and the ECO MOD2 can serve as a sort of red dot sight. Like everything else about tactical shooting, it just takes a little practice to master everything.
The VISM ECO MOD2 will set you back a couple hundred bucks online. A comparable top-end holographic sight can be several times as much without offering the ancillary features. The ECO also looks really cool. I have used mine for several years now and found it to be both reliable and effective.
The ECO MOD2 might not be your first choice as you HALO out over the Afghan wastelands, but it will reliably do the job when the dog won’t shut up at 2 o’clock in the morning. It is also represents a splendid way to kill a lazy Saturday afternoon at the range turning ammo into noise.
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!