Compact MTC SWAT Prismatic Atom telescopic sight
Mat Manning puts the compact MTC SWAT Prismatic Atom telescopic sight to the test to see how this petite optic performs against its price
SWAT Prismatic Atom 10x30
Price as reviewed: £370
As more and more shooters switch to bullpups and stubby carbines, the demand increases for diminutive optics to match their downsized guns. SWAT Prismatic scopes from MTC Optics fit that niche perfectly, and the 10×30 model, nicknamed the ‘Atom’, is the smallest option in the range, with a 12×50 version also available. (Read Mat’s review of the SWAT Prismatic scope here.)
Apart from being compact — just 135mm long and a mere 434g with its supplied mount and flip-up lens cover — these telescopic sights also boast a very wide field of view. Eye relief is almost zero, which means you’d get a bit of a whack if you were to use them with anything that has a kick to it, but they are extremely well-suited to recoilless PCP airguns. (Read more on PCP air rifles here.)
The Atom made for a nicely balanced pairing on the Brocock Ghost. A quick zeroing session in my garden range confirmed the exceptional wide-angle viewing through this Prismatic scope, as well as its bright sight picture, which is sharp right to the edges.
Anyone who thinks the scope’s £370 price is steep for the modest offering should take a look through one — it’s big on optical performance.
Zeroing was straightforward, as the Atom’s resettable windage and elevation dials pull up into their unlocked position for tool-free adjustment. Each stop adjusts the point of impact by 0.1mil. Once zeroed, simply snap the dials back down to lock them in place and prevent accidental adjustment.
As someone who has done most of his shooting over the past three decades using conventional telescopic sights with eye relief of around 100mm, nestling right into the Atom’s short rubber eyecup did feel rather alien to me.
It is comfortable though, and the benefits of having the outside world sealed out soon become apparent. One obvious gain is that there are no problems with glare from external light obscuring the ocular lens.
The new version of the Atom’s mount is a little different from the one on the model featured here, but it still has a Picatinny attachment. There are actually three mount bases of different lengths supplied with the scope, along with a set of adaptors for connection to dovetail rails.
Another key feature that has been retained is the ability to tweak the vertical angle of the mount. This enables you to adjust the aimpoint up and down by tiny increments without having to move the elevation dial, and is much better than having to use shims if you run out of adjustment when zeroing at long range.
More on the compact MTC SWAT Prismatic Atom
MTC’s glass-etched SCB2 reticle is a favourite of mine, so it’s a welcome feature on the Atom. It has plenty of reference points for holdover, holdunder and wind compensation, while remaining relatively uncomplicated so you can get shots away quickly without having to deliberate over reticle configuration.
The reticle can also be illuminated in red via a button on the left-hand turret. This switches it on and off and clicks the brightness up and down. This is a very useful feature, and even if you don’t use it often, it can still prove very handy when you suddenly find your aimpoints masked against a dark background.
The left-hand turret also accommodates the parallax dial, which keeps the image pin-sharp right down to 6m — great news for anyone contemplating using the Atom for close-range pest control. There are no range markings on the dial, so you can configure it exactly how you like, denoting your chosen key distances in metres or yards. With that done, you can use it to gauge distance to target when the image snaps into focus.
My first proper outing with the Atom was an evening in pursuit of rabbits on a friend’s farm, and the little scope gave a very impressive account of itself. Although stubby, it is built around a wide 34mm tube that delivered sufficient light transmission to keep me shooting well into dusk. (Read more on rabbiting with air rifles.)
I only had two shots, and both resulted in rabbits taken with clean headshots. The illuminated reticle proved invaluable for the second one, as darkness was closing in and the black crosshair was virtually invisible in the gloom before I lit it up.
Magnification is fixed at 10x on the Atom, and I find that makes for a pretty versatile all-rounder. Most of my zoom scopes are left on 10x for the majority of my shooting, and although I sometimes wind them down to increase the field of view and pull in more light, or crank up the magnification for long-range shooting from the support of a bipod, I don’t think losing that adaptability would feel like too much of a compromise.
And, because the Atom already has a wide field of view and good light transmission, the former scenario isn’t particularly relevant. Forfeiting the ability to increase magnification needs to be weighed up against those very compact proportions, and it certainly didn’t pose any problems during my evening on the rabbits.
Buoyed by that inaugural outing, I was full of confidence when I invited a good mate of mine to accompany me a few days later, and I told him we would be sure to bag a few rabbits with the help of the SWAT Prismatic Atom.
Predictably, the weather turned cold and the bunnies were too sensible to venture out in the evening chill. The result was that we didn’t see a single rabbit despite scouring the fields for several hours. Sticking with the positives, though, MTC’s little prismatic scope made for a very manageable set-up to carry around the paddocks on a fruitless evening.
Need to know
- Manufacturer MTC Optics
- Model SWAT Prismatic Atom 10×30
- Price £370
- Contact MTC Optics
- Length 135mm
- Weight 434g (including mount)
- Magnification 10x
- Objective lens 30mm
- Tube size 34mm
- Minimum parallax 6m
- Features Illuminated reticle, wide field of view, side parallax, waterproof, shockproof and nitrogen-purged
Airmax 30 Touch 3-12×32
This compact zero eye relief offering from Hawke is 266mm long and weighs 572g without mounts. Features include Hawke’s acclaimed H2 multi-coated lenses, side parallax down to 7m and the AMX reticle that can be illuminated red in six levels of brightness. Price £349 Contact Hawke Optics
Immersive Optics Optical Sight 5×24
This tiny prismatic scope is 130mm long and weighs 434g with its angle-adjustable mount attached. Eye relief is 45mm, and there’s a choice of mildot and mildot Rapid reticles. This tough little scope is waterproof, nitrogen-purged and shockproof to 600G.
Price £266.95 Contact Immersive Scopes
Konus Pro T-30 3-12×44
This affordable compact scope has conventional eye relief, weighs 598g without mounts and is 264mm long. Parallax is fixed at 30m, making it ideal for use with sub-12ft/lb airguns. Features include Konus’ engraved 550 reticle, which can be illuminated red or blue. Price £199 Contact Range Right