Mark van den Boogaart
German Precision Optics, or GPO as they’re more widely known, are a relatively new player in the sports optics market. Designing, engineering and quality managing their array of equipment in Germany, GPO was created after a number of leading executives from the big-name German optical companies decided to go it alone.
The GPO line-up is extensive and appears to be constantly growing. In terms of build quality their gear is very good and performance right up there with their more established rivals, but it’s the highly viable pricing which is really of interest to many shooters and hunters.
My first real look at their offerings came during a visit to British distributor Raytrade UK in December 2019 and after that introduction I ended up buying a pair of GPO binoculars which I hunted with in England the following month. At that time GPO hadn’t ventured into red dot-style optics so I was keen to investigate their version when I received a package for review from Australian Shooter.
The GPO Spectra Dot is an aluminium tube-bodied red dot sight and at just 65mm in total length and weighing 103 grams is a compact unit. The mounting is confirmation the Spectra Dot is a low-profile Weaver/Picatinny-style fitting and interestingly, the mount is attached via four Torx head screws so I’m assuming different mounts could be fitted to suit.
Aside from the Spectra Dot, out of the box you get a set of lens protectors, CR2032 battery, instructions and a Torx key to fit the sight, GPO advising typical battery life is 50,000 hours. The Spectra Dot follows the standard optical layout with the small, capped elevation adjustment on top of the unit and capped windage adjustment on the right. The caps on each protect the adjustment dials and also act as a tool to fine-tune elevation and windage, as the dials themselves are a little small for most fingers. Adjustment increments on both are 0.5 MOA.
In front of the windage adjustment on the right is the illumination control dial, a much larger adjustment and having both day (D) and night (N) setting increments. Movement of the illumination dial is positive with firm, clear division between each setting, the dial itself comfortable to turn with thumb and finger and unlikely to slip or move without you wanting it to.
To install the battery, remove the GPO-branded cover on the dial, place the battery and secure it by refitting the cap. Once fitted, the red dot is clear and bright though obviously brighter on the higher settings. The front lens is 20mm in diameter which sounds a little small in today’s world of 50mm-plus front objective scopes, but looking through the Spectra Dot you don’t have the feeling of a compressed or limited image. In fact you find the opposite is true, a big picture with illuminated red dot right in the middle, all of which helps with quick target acquisition.
As the Spectra Dot is classed a 1x magnification device it’s intended to be used with both eyes open so if new to red dot sights this can take a little time to familiarise yourself with, but is a good habit to develop. Along with the 1x magnification eye relief is classed as unlimited, which generally means you can position the Spectra Dot along the length of the action and forward of the action if you have a compatible base. Deciding to experiment a little, I fitted the Spectra Dot on the Scout or Forward position on my Ruger Scout rifle. With that done it was range time and shooting off the bench I began testing with illumination settings and found either D4 or D5 best for my eyes.
As red dots are best suited to hunting moving targets, be they sambar busting through heavy cover or pigs in the lignum and long grass, I then began dialling it in for an inch high at 100 yards. Over the course of a few hours’ experimenting I began to achieve some really good results and, as you can see from the best 3-shot target of the day, the Spectra Dot is a capable red dot optic.
With clear optics, a simple mounting system and low-profile compact design, the Spectra Dot is well suited to hunting heavy cover and comes at a very competitive price. And while the review rifle was a Scout in .308Win, I think the Spectra Dot would be equally well suited to a lever-action and, thanks to its build quality, I wouldn’t be worried about mounting it on a heavy hitter like a .45/70.
2 MOA dot size
IPX 7 rated
120 MOA elevation and windage adjustment range
50,000-hour battery life
Effective diameter 22mm
Weight 103 grams
Six day-time and five night-time illumination settings
Australian RRP $750