Sig Sauer Electro Optics BRAVO4By Frazer Winskill
- 23rd Nov, 2019 Nov 23, 2019, 12:00 AM
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Sig Sauer released the BRAVO4 in 2015 at the annual SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting Outdoor Trade) in Las Vegas, Nevada. The BRAVO4 is a fixed four-power, prismatic “Battle Sight” designed for a rapid engagement in close quarter battle (CQB) and medium ranges.
The military defines CQB as anything out to 300 metres, and Sig Sauer defines medium range as anything out to 800 metres. At these ranges the speed at which you can acquire your target, effectively engage it and maintain situational awareness is critical. These factors have been key in the design of the BRAVO4.
Battle Sights are “ruggedized” to handle harsh treatment and to provide reliability under extreme environmental circumstances. The BRAVO4 is no different. I received the 5.56/7.62 reticle model from the NZ Agents, SR Marston & Co based in Christchurch, and fitted it to my BCM Recce AR15 for testing.
DESIGN & LAYOUT
The BRAVO4’s main housing is manufactured from magnesium to maintain strength and reduce the overall weight. The sight is completely waterproof to four metres, and while it is not a light-weight unit by any means (546 grams) the weight saving in the housing allows for more glass and electronics inside, which are what really count. The magnesium housing is deliberately angled to reduce reflected light and features Sig Sauer’s signature graphite colour finish.
The overall dimenions of the sight are 159mm long by 82mm tall. It has a 50mm long picatinny 1913 rail on the top just ahead of the capped elevation adjustment turret, for mounting a reflex red dot for short range engagements (0-100m). Adjustments are in ½ MOA and the BRAVO4 has 68 MOA of total adjustment, which is plenty for a sight of this design.
“Compared with the competition it has better illumination, better eye relief and a larger field of view.”
On the right hand side is the capped windage turret, and both turrets have a sliding resettable scale so you won’t lose your zero once it’s set. The diopter is adjustable via a large rubber ring on the objective lens that allows you to focus the reticle until it’s nice and sharp. The BRAVO4 attaches to your rifle by a quick-detach lever mount bolted to the bottom of the housing. It is user-adjustable for tension with a T20 torx screw, and features a small lock to prevent the lever being accidentally knocked.
The lenses are made of low dispersion, high density glass and are aspheric in design. This allows them to be thinner than traditional lenses, and provides the edge to edge clarity you would expect in a top shelf battle sight. The lenses are coated with Sig’s proprietary “spectra-coat” and “lens-shield” to maximise light transmission and prevent scratching. The objective lens is 30mm in diameter and is very clear.
One of the major selling features of the BRAVO4 over other battle sights such as the Trijicon ACOG is Sig Sauer’s patented “Megaview”. This provides a 10 degree field of view which is 43% larger than the ACOG. The BRAVO4 also has 47% more eye relief at 55mm, which is very noticeable if you have spent any duration behind an ACOG.
Powered by a single CR123 battery, the illumination is controlled by a combination dial-button on the left side of the sight. The illumination brightness has twelve settings, ten daylight/lowlight visible, and two for use with Night Vision Equipment. Brightness is adjusted by turning the dial clockwise or anti-clockwise and the power is controlled by the button in its centre.
The sight’s centre axis is also aligned 75mm above the action, allowing the use of Night Vision sights that fit forward of the BRAVO4. To preserve battery life the BRAVO4 is equipped with “Motac” which automatically turns off the illumination after two minutes of inactivity, and instantly switches it back on when the sight is moved.
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The reticle is simple to use and features a “horseshoe dot” with a ballistic drop compensator (BDC) scale and corresponding numbers at each whole 100 metre increment.
When I looked through the sight for the first time I was struck by the small size of the reticle, but as time went on
and the pile of brass grew bigger I became comfortable with the design. The horseshoe is ideal for both-eyes-open shooting at close range, and the ballistic drop compensator is very accurate with a wide range of ammunition at the stated ranges.
AT THE RANGE
To give the BRAVO4 a thorough testing I used it for some goat culling (where shots can be fast and furious at close range), and also on the Gunslinger Carbine Course held at Sparrowhawk NZ this year. This course focussed on basic carbine shooting techniques from 3m – 400m and was tailored towards the Carbine element of the Gunslinger Precision Rifle Competition held in the same location.
Sparrowhawk NZ is a private company that focusses on shooting skills and firearm safety training. Based in South Canterbury, the school is run from a working high country sheep and cattle station. Sparrowhawk NZ has four purpose-built ranges, a shoot house, classroom facilities, onsite accommodation and everything required to conduct the courses.
Sparrowhawk offers courses in long range shooting, shotgun, carbine and pistol. They also regularly run firearms licencing courses, young hunter courses, and NZ Pistol Association competitions. The instructors are accredited by Gunsite Academy in Arizona, and the facility is regularly used by NZ Police, other government departments, and private citizens. More information on their course schedule and training can be found at www.sparrowhawk.co.nz
The Gunslinger Carbine Course was attended by fellow NZ Guns writer Craig Maylam, together with six other attendees from the Gunslinger PLRS. The students consisted of a good mix of experienced and brand new 3-Gun shooters, hunters and service rifle shooters. Over the duration of the class I managed to get through 500 rounds of Freedom Munitions ammunition with only two issues. Both of these occurred while I was zeroing the BRAVO4.
The first was the quick-detach mount coming loose, which I quickly corrected with some Loctite and a torque wrench. The second was the lack of markings on the elevation and windage caps to indicate which way to turn the dials to adjust the point of impact – if you’re reading this Sig Sauer, please mark the inside of the caps appropriately!
Apart from the two minor issues above, the scope performed admirably and allowed me to get repeated hits to 100-400m and back again using the BDC. The clear sight picture at close ranges and horseshoe dot made both-eyes-open shooting a breeze from 100 metres in, and I placed pretty well in the Cooper Cup shot at the end of the course.
ON THE HILL
Back home I called a friend who wanted some easy meat for the barbecue and we headed to our spot in the Wairarapa to look for a fallow deer or a goat. I also took along my steel ram target to validate the BDC out to 500 metres with the BRAVO4 after we looked for a deer. Only a doe was spotted however, and as they were off limits we set up the steel and moved back to 300 metres.
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"Paul, my hunting companion, was the first to spot the mob of fifteen that wandered past us at 100 metres and he had his SLR up in a flash, dropping two before I could react."
After five hits from five shots the confidence was certainly rising – it’s a small target! At 500 metres we were humbled with only three hits. The video footage showed our misses were a few inches low which is pretty good shooting when the target is only 300mm wide by 100mm high and half a kilometre distant!
Satisfied that anything at 300 metres or closer was an ethical target we went for a nosy into the gorse and thick stuff where our quarry was likely to be lying in the sun or browsing. Paul, my hunting companion, was the first to spot the mob of fifteen that wandered past us at 100 metres and he had his SLR up in a flash, dropping two before I could react.
Raising the BRAVO4 up to my eye and thumbing the safety as the rifle came up, I placed the horseshoe dot on the shoulders of the lead animal as it headed for cover at pace – an exercise I had practiced countless times at Sparrowhawk. I squeezed the trigger and the BCM barked, sending a 75 grain BTHP Hornady Black round into the shoulders of the billy who folded up instantly.
By now the mob had departed, so we followed them up over the ridge only to catch the final three young nannies looking back at us. Sights instantly aligned, squeeze, two quick high neck shots, followed by a resounding boom to my right telling me another goat had fallen to the SLR. A quick photo session and out came the knives to harvest the meat. The BRAVO4 does what it says on the box and does it well.
Compared with the competition it has better illumination, better eye relief and a larger field of view. I would love to see the adjustments etched onto the inside of the windage and elevation caps but this is an easy fix with a paint marker. The BRAVO4 is currently in service with a number of Law Enforcement agencies and departments in the USA and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is picked up by a military customer in the future.
If you’re a service rifle shooter and want something different to the ACOG with improvements and a lifetime warranty, then look no further.
Warm barrels and stay safe out there!
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