Scoping it out, New Discovery Optics Test

I received an email from a company in China, Discovery Optics . They produce rifle scopes , red dots, binoculars and the like. They were somewhat new and needed dealers in the USA. So I looked over the catalog and the dealer price list then started comparing their products and prices to what was on the market.

I have used many optics from Vortex Optics and have been very impressed with the quality and price. All of the Vortex scopes I have had are made in China or the parts come from China and the scopes are assembled in Wisconsin. So I figured, how bad can the stuff from Discovery be? So I ordered a few item and figured I would do a comparison and a review of the Discovery products.


low end scope testing

Discovery Optics, Red Dot and a VT-Z

I picked out the top of the Discovery line compact red dot and a nice normal 4 power scope they advertise as a tactical scope. My thinking was I would use my wife’s BCM M4 lightweight 16” AR-15 as the test bed rifle. Her rifle is set up with an Aimpoint H-1 red dot, and it is dead on and has about 3K rounds through it without a change in the scope or the impact point. I used her rifle instead of mine because she wanted to get out and shoot more and I figured she may as well have a reason like re-sighting a scope if she wanted to do some shooting. Anyhow my rifle is still dead on and hers may need some adjusting.

The red dot was just $18.00 one off, if I would have ordered 50 or more they went down to just $10.99.
That’s not too bad. The packaging was nothing to talk about just a plain white box with a part number on it but so what, you don’t need the box.
When I first got the red dot out of the box I was impressed. The body is aluminum and the mount was sturdy. It is very small. I installed the battery and turned it on. The dot was very tight, no blurry edges. It is nice and crisp and not too large. Overall, the first impression was very good. I was thinking this scope would be just fine on a lower end AR-15 or a home built AK-47 / AK-74.

Next was the VT-Z 4×32 scope. The scope was packed in a nice printed box, it had the flip up lense covers installed and the rings were included along with the Allen wrench. The glass was clear and a crisp image, a well-made housing. The rings looked nice with some no slip rubber in the center. Again my first impression was pretty good. The VT-Z looked to be just perfect for a shorter range rifle like a entry level AR-15 or a .22 rifle, something that you may want some magnification on a budget.

The VT-Z was only $23.00 one off and down to $14.00 if you order more then 50 units. All and all for the price it looked like a good deal.

Now a step back to placing the order. It took 5 emails to get the two items ordered due to the language gap and the fact they would only use PayPal, a company I have absolutely no use for and resist using if I have any other option. The shipping was going to take just 3 days and was $40.00. We just doubled the cost of the optics. 3 weeks later Discovery sent the tracking number and in just another week the box was at my door. Not bad, 4 weeks from China to Wisconsin. Not as good as 3 day like they told but hey it’s a long way to travel.

one good one not so good

Discovery Optics red dot next to a Aimpoint H-1

Back to the review. First I started with the red dot. I started giving it a good look over and once I turned the the dot on I noticed you could see a red ring around the whole rear of the unit. The dot projector was reflecting off the body of the unit. It did not matter how low I would turn the light down you could still see the red ring. This is very distracting to the shooter.

not much good

The Discovery comes up a little short when installed on the BCM AR-15

The other thing that was very noticeable was the lense was just too small and it was hard to get a sight picture through it. But I went on and pulled the the Aimpoint H-1 off of my wife’s rifle (no need to go in to that again) and installed the Discovery red dot. I instantly discovered a problem. The red dot was way too short to co-witness to the backup sights. It was also so low I could not get my head down on the stock far enough to see the dot. Now an Aimpoint is too low but you get a lift block to install if you want to raise the body up to co-witness and get your head to a normal height. The Discovery red dot has no provision to raise it and they don’t offer a taller unit or at least they did not offer one this fall when I ordered the test units. If you put it on something other then an AR-15 it may be fine. It would probably work just great on a pistol. I can’t tell you for sure because I don’t use a scoped pistol and I don’t even own one to try it out on. So that test was a failure before I got to the range.


Next up was the VT-Z 4X32 scope. I did not want to compare it to a ACOG or an Elcan so I picked up a UTG 4 x32 scope. The UTG was about $65.00 on close out at one of the wholesale suppliers with a list price of $150 or so. By the way, I really like the UTG for the money but that’s another review for later. Now time to get the Discovery VT-Z out of the box. Long story short: The glass was good, the body looked good, the flip-up caps worked and the rings are steel not aluminum. They are not QD but they look good. I prefer steel scope rings to aluminum. The steel rings are a little heaver but they hold better. The reticle was clean and thin. So far so good. Time to install it on the upper. That was a problem. The mounting rings are cut to fit 1913 Picatinny rail, only they are cut way too short and no way could they clamp on to the top rail of an AR-15. I have no idea what if anything you could clamp the rings to. So that ended that test for now. I’ll pick up a set of rings when I get a chance. I think the scope is not bad for the money but the rings are a complete wast of time.

The best of the low end scopes

UTG 4x Illuminated Reticle Great little scope for the money.


In conclusion the Discovery red dot is junk. I would not put this thing on a BB gun. The VT-Z scope looks good and may be just fine on a lower end rifle but for now I would use the UTG scope for someone looking for an entry level AR-15 or an AK-47 / AK-74. The lighted reticle with multiple red or green lights and Fast click windage and elevation knobs, add in the QD mount rings that actually fit the rail and it’s not a bad deal.

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