Imagine zeroing your scope or trying to get the perfect aim on your target only for it to notice you and disappear. If you’re a frequent shooter, you may not even need to imagine because it may have happened to you. It is common for tactical shooting or home defense, but it also happens in hunting too.
Now, you may be wondering how your target could pick your position so far away. The light glare gave you away. The repercussions can range from missing the target you’ve spent hours or even days chasing and even more deadly when in tactical shooting with another armed person at the other side. Innovation in the optics industry has helped to plug this gap through the introduction of the kill flash.
From the name kill flash, most people may be able to pick out its function, but we want to be clear so let’s see what it is exactly.
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What is a Kill Flash?
A kill flash is a device in the form of a raised ring with a honeycomb pattern that removes glare and keeps your position hidden. Its main purpose is to serve as a sunshade or glare blocker on your scope. This way, the light that hits your objective lens does not get reflected to give away your position.
This device is inserted on the objective bell of your scope, so when you use the scope during the day or in bright light, it doesn’t reflect the light and reveals your position.
Why Would You Need a Kill Flash?
If you shoot during the day and especially in areas with a lot of sunlight, the sun will be hitting your scope’s objective lens at angles that cause a lot of reflection. This anti-glare device is there to remove this glare.
Some optics objective lens areas are made with a projected top that acts as a sunshade and protects against glare. This is quite common for scopes with variable magnification. Non-Magnifiable red dots on the other hand, usually have their objective lens so close to the protection that light reflection just goes off to your target, like it’s on a message to sell you off. If your optic does not have sunshade-like protection, you should be considering an anti-glare device.
The kill flash also serves as protection against scratches, dust, and other abrasions that can damage your scope’s objective lens and make it harder to see a clear image through the lens. Even though it protects your scope from things that can obstruct your view, its honeycomb pattern can also be a hindrance, especially when shooting long range. Typically, you’ll notice a decrease in the light entering the scope.
If you use a red dot, the dot illumination glows and may be visible by your target in the right conditions. If you want to eliminate this and conceal your location, you may use a square-shaped kill flash for reflex sight.
How Does a Kill Flash Work?
This device with honeycomb thread that fits onto the frame of your objective lens to block or reduce the reflection of light from your lens has a simple working simple. Its honeycomb thread is the main character here, with a thickness of around ⅛ inches and diameter depending on the objective lens diameter it’ll be used on.
This honeycomb allows you to see through almost unobstructed, but when placed at an angle, only a limited amount of light can hit the lens. The sun is usually at around that angle, and so, its rays are blocked from hitting the lens and reflecting the target.
The other part of this anti-reflection device is the frame which houses the thread or mesh that connects the gadget to the objective lens frame.
The Durability of the Kill Flash
It is indeed a really small device as it just about covers the objective lens area, and so durability is an often overlooked topic. The durability of this tool matters a lot; for one, it costs money to buy, then, no one wants to keep replacing this device after every season. With the possibility of it bumping on hard surfaces and the effect of the recoil from the rifle, a strong anti-glare gadget becomes essential.
It is small, lightweight but still durable as it can withstand some level of pressure without damage. They are mostly made out of aluminum or lightweight steel, so it is durable but is not too heavy.
DIY Kill Flash
With some materials and a little technical experience, you can make your kill flash at home without having to buy it. It has a simple working system and minimal parts, which makes it an ideal DIY product that almost anybody with the right materials can replicate.
Tape and straw kill flashes are two of the most popular DIY anti-glare tools around at the moment, and as their names imply, they are made using tape and straws, respectively.
To make the plastic straw type, you can purchase a box of 1000 coffee stir straws from Amazon for under $5. You can measure about ⅛ of an inch and cut the straws with your sharp knife. Or use the size of an electric tape. Next, you need a flat surface to arrange the straws, so they are flat and packed together. Measure the diameter of your objective lens area and use tape to hold the straws together. Use more tape for extra solidity and to reduce the tension in the straws. Spray paint the front and back of the straws to reduce the shine and act like glue holding the straws together. At this point, you’re ready to try it out.
Cost of a Kill Flash
For a lot of shooters, price is a huge deciding factor for their gadgets. The cost of a kill flash from any brand varies depending on the company and model. The cost starts from around $20 up to $200 in some cases.
As mentioned earlier, this gadget sports a simple working system. Therefore, the difference between a low-priced one and an expensive model may not be too much. It would be best to try out some average prices models first or even a DIY yourself model if you’re up for it.
Kill Flash or Sunshade?
These two devices protect the lens from direct sunlight and glare but have so many differences, but this hasn’t stopped shooters from asking the question of which is best.
A kill flash covers the frontal view of the lens, thereby preventing glare from the sun and concealing the shooter’s position, while a sunshade protects the lens from the sun’s light that may cause glare. It is a device with honeycomb mesh, while the sunshade is an extension at the top of the lens. And it can be on different scopes with the same objective lens diameter as long as they have threads in front for these fittings. Sunshades, on the other hand, are made specifically for each scope.
Pros and Cons of a Kill Flash
Now that we have got the entire functioning and other details of a kill flash, let’s get into the good and bad of a kill flash.
- It protects the lens from the glare caused by direct sunlight hitting the surface
- It conceals your position by hiding the lens
- It protects the lens from dirt and scratches
- It is an easy DIY project
- Comes in a variety of price points, starting at a reasonable rate
- It is made from lightweight and durable material
- Different sizes are available for different scopes
- It makes the image darker
- The patterns are visible and may reduce your accuracy
- It May be difficult to wash off mud when used in muddy areas
Whatever your opinion is on using a kill flash every time, there’s a consensus that they are important additions, especially in certain tactical situations when you do not want to reveal your position. Starting at a fair price point and with an easy-to-replicate DIY project, owning a kill flash just got easier.