Dagger Defense DDHB close up

Dagger Defense DDHB Review: Does Quality Come With A Budget?

Anyone in the market for a budget red dot sight will invariably come across the Dagger Defense DDHB during their research. But is it any good or just a cheap bit of rubbish?

The Dagger Defense DDHB is a good and reliable budget red dot sight, perfect for both beginner and more advanced shooters alike. It’s a time tested sight, built by an American veteran company with thousands of satisfied customers who think it is great value for money. For those of you in a hurry, please check out the Amazon reviews here.

Introduction

Although the DDHB is made in China, the company that licenses the production is an American based company.

The Dagger Defense DDHB is a budget based red dot reflex sight designed as rifle optic for mounting on a Picatinny rail system to aid fast target acquisition. It’s about as budget as you can get, so if most of your budget went on the AR15 rifle, then this would be a good option.

The DDHB has a variant, the DDHQ which is the same sighting system mounted on a quick-release mount should you prefer that option.

Overview

Dagger Defense is an American veteran-owned company based in the online retail market. They make various accessories and products, but the bestseller from them is the Dagger Defense DDHB red dot reflex sight.

It’s aimed at the beginner and budget market but that belies the nature of the product. For the money, it has a quality construction, based on aircraft grade aluminum in a black finish.

As a budget item for a red dot, it has a few competitors, that it favorably holds comparison with;

Dagger Defense DDHB

Feyachi Reflex Sight

Bushnell TRS-25

Tacticon 
Predator V2

Mount

Picatinny

Rail mounting system

Picatinny

Picatinny/Weaver

Optical Magnification

1x

1x

1x

1x

Dot Color

Red / Green

Red / Green

Red

Red / Green

Dot Size

4 MOA

4 MOA

3 MOA

N/A

Weight

291g

115g

113g

3 ounces

Battery

CR2032 (2 provided)

CR2032

CR2032

3 x LR44 (6 provided)

FOV

15.8m@100m

15.8m@100m

Unlimited

N/A

Eye Relief

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

N/A

Waterproof

Showerproof

Showerproof

Waterproof

Waterproof

The fundamental features and dimensions of the Dagger Defense DDHB are;

  • Is capable of producing a red or green got
  • Designed for a Picatinny rail installation
  • Quite lightweight at 291g (10.2 ounces)
  • Has a length of 82mm
  • An aperture size of 33mm

All things considered, especially the aluminum casting, this is quite a decent amount of quality for a budget item. Granted, the upper price EoTechs are lighter and built better, but for a beginner or casual shooter, this is a worthy piece of kit.

Designed for rifle shooters, maybe with the AR-15 in mind, the DDHB has a brightness setting for your conditions and you can easily swap between a red dot or a green dot, whichever is your preference. Many higher-priced red dot sights don’t come with this functionality, so for a budget price, this is a huge plus.

Other useful functionality includes

  • Four position reticles giving a total of 8 sight pictures
  • Locking screws to stabilize sighting (Dagger Defense recommends 1 to 2 turns clockwise only if needed).
  • A Field of View: 15.8m@100m

So then, as a first impression, the Dagger Defense DDHB is quite a package that promises a fair bit, again, especially as this is priced at a fraction of the top end models.

So with concerns about flimsy quality ‘put to bed’, it’s worth seeing what you actually get for your money.

What Do You Get For Your Money

The box is quite tiny, but when you purchase one, things that are included are;

  • The Dagger Defense DDHB (obviously)
  • 2 x Allen wrenches
  • 2 x CR2032 batteries (unit only requires one)
  • Instructional manual
  • A lint cleaning cloth,

For those of you more visually-minded, here is an unboxing video

Features of the Dagger Defense DDHB

Perhaps one of the main features of the Dagger Defense DDHB is that there are 4 different reticles that you can choose from which increases to 8 as you have the option of either a red or green optic.

Dagger Defense DDHB sight picture

The additional features are shown below, and you are provided the tools with the kit to have the optic up and running in no time.

Elevation adjustment

The kit comes with the required Allen keys to adjust the elevation, the nut of which is located in the centre of the optic. Turning towards ‘up’ moves the target up, not the reticle.

Windage adjustment


With the kit Allen keys provided you can adjust for windage quite simply. Clearly marked as clockwise for right, the reticle will move as you adjust. 

Fade adjustment & battery


This section has 3 functions. A battery housing compartment, the reticle color selector (red or green) and the brightness adjustment.

Rotary dial fade adjustment


The knurled rotary adjustment knob will allow you to select your brightness intensity.

Set screw included for zero locking


The zero screw, located on the side of the optic should only be used if the unit is not holding zero. Only 1-2 turns clockwise is needed to lock zero. Dagger Defense say you can damage the unit by over tightening it.

The electronics of the system seem pretty robust, housed in an aircraft grade aluminium casing to protect the more fragile laser. It seems well cast, and the black powder coating makes it look pretty good.

With batteries it weighs close to 10 ounces so is pretty light and shouldn’t affect shooting a great deal. People have mentioned it’s pretty heavy on battery power compared to the better manufactured optics, with the green reticle using a little more power than the red.

The reticles produce a 1 or 3 MOA depending upon your preferred choice which is good enough to produce accurate groupings out to 100 yards with ease.

The Dagger Defense Sight Picture

Of course, one of the things that a buyer might be interested in is the sight picture. What will it actually look like when it’s working atop my AR15.

Well, the easiest way to see that is to watch the following video. As well as unboxing the optic, the short YouTube video gives you ample information to assess the sight picture. The channel owner flips various selectors and switches to show you the different colors and reticle images that you might prefer as your own sight picture.

What Is It Designed For

When designing the optic unit, the company Dagger Defense had a particular buyer in mind.

For any shooter who has never shot with a red dot sight, who might have use for fast target acquisition, the concept of what a red dot sight is for might be perplexing. The optics are designed to give a shooter a quick target acquisition to put a round onto a target.

So if you are a first time user, a casual shooter, into airsoft or want one to mount on a shotgun, this is probably designed for you. It’s primarily designed for AR15 style weapons however.

As a budget device, and Dagger Defense could reasonably have priced this item a little bit higher and chose not to, this optic I would say is primarily designed for those who might be thinking of getting one and would like to know if it suits their style of shooting.

That is not to say that that is the limitation. Far from it. The Dagger Defense DDHB is a stand alone optic and performs well enough for it to be part of your everyday carry.

If you have never shot with a red dot before and would like an introduction to this style of shooting, this optic would certainly fit the bill.

Specifications

No need to guess here, straight from the Dagger Defense website they say it is;

  • Both red and green dot, four position reticles
  • Comes with locking screws for your sighting adjustments
  • APERTURE: 33mm –  LENGTH:82mm – WEIGHT: 291g FIELD OF VIEW: 15.8m@100m – RAIL:Picatinny
  • 1*Type Red Dot & Green Dot Sight, CR2032 Battery- 1*Instruction Manual- 2*Allen Wrench – 1* Lens Cleaning Cloth

How To Install and Sight In Your Dagger Defense

Installing the red dot optic is very simple. Just loosen the clamps at the bottom of the device with one of the allen wrenches provided and tighten them when situated on your rifle. Pretty standard stuff.

Overall on the range it should perform pretty well, once you have zeroed and locked in the sight. The Dagger Defense DDHB will maintain zero on your rifle quite comfortably and absorb the recoils with any further need for adjustment. There doesn’t seem to be many customer complaints about the performance of the device.

As for sighting in, Dagger Defense actually have produced their own video showing you how to perform this task. Worth a watch if this is new to you.

Customer Impressions

With the Dagger Defense DDHB being a pretty popular budget reflex sight, this unit has sold thousands over last few years. As such, we are blessed with many reviews that mention both the good and the bad about the sight.

Starting with the positive, and reading a fair few of the 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon a couple of things become pretty clear. The first is the build quality for a budget item. Many people were impressed by this. Secondly, many like the ‘mom and pop’ experience of the customer service at Dagger Defense.

It is a veteran-owned company and emailing them with any potential problems seems like a small shop you are dealing with, not some corporate entity, so you get a very personal touch when approaching Dagger Defense.

Perhaps the biggest thing pushed by the previous purchasers of the DDHB is the value and simplicity of use. For the price, people often mention that you couldn’t expect any more. Dagger Defense seem to have acquired some lifetime customers.

Firstly, some people have found the reticle a little blurry. Whether this is a symptom of a low voltage battery is difficult to say, but it has been mentioned. Others have aid after a few rounds the glass popped out, but these seemed to be earlier reviews, so maybe this issue has been sorted.

The fact that the battery life isn’t as long as the more expensive models has also been brought up, so some replacement CR2032 batteries might need to be kept around. There’s no auto shut off so leaving it on will drain it.

There is also no off button. To turn off the optic the reticle selector needs to be turned. Another complaint is that they would have preferred the elevation and windage adjustments to have been made by hand, not an Allen wrench.

Finally, some have mentioned that there’s didn’t hold zero particularly well. Quite a few of these types of reviews never mentioned whether they tried the zero lock nut on the optic, to which a lot of the 4 and 5 star reviews point out this is what cured their problem. Some said they did but it wasn’t successful.

Pros and Cons

So, to summarize the product here’s what most people thought about the device

Pros

Cons

Great Value


No Separate Off Wwitch  (No Auto Shut Off)

Quality Aluminum Casting


Reticle Can Be Blurry

8 Reticle


Has a Screw to ‘Hold Zero’

Good Customer Service


Need an Allen Wrench to Adjust Windage / Elevation

User Friendly

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does the Dagger Defense DDHB have an online manual? There does not appear to be one online.

Is the Dagger Defense DDHB water-resistant? Yes as it is a sealed unit but it is not waterproof. You should not keep it underwater.

Will the Dagger Defense DDHB work on an S&W MP40, an AR15, an etc etc? The description of the Dagger Defense is that it is used for an AR15, an AK47 an M4s. The Picatinny rail system is required. In the example of the S&W MP40, if it does not have a Picatinny rail system then you will need to purchase a Picatinny mount. It is not designed for pistols but can be used if the required mount is present.

Will the Dagger Defense DDHB work on a shotgun? Numerous people in the reviews have stated that it will work well enough on a shotgun. It seems robust enough to work on this weapon system.

Are there recoil issues? People are not reporting recoil issues from those who have purchased the product.

Will the Dagger Defense DDHB work in low light conditions? Yes, the unit comes with the ability to use varying levels of brightness intensity. Both green and red dots will work in both low and high light levels. You can use well enough in darkened rooms or woods as well as snowy conditions that reflect light.

Is the Red dot blurry? Not especially, if it is it could well be the battery. Even new ones can come with a low voltage battery. Replace these first. Most people report a good sight picture for the 100-yard range, the dot covering more of an area at 200 yards.

Is the Dagger Defense DDHB compatible with a magnifier? Yes, absolutely.

Will the Dagger Defense DDHB fit a weaver rail? Yes, absolutely.

Does the Dagger Defense DDHB come with a warranty? Numerous people have reported it and it is not mentioned in the paperwork but the Dagger Defense website states ‘The warranty is one year from the date of purchase.  To claim a warranty, you will need to be the original owner (no second-hand purchases permitted) and have a copy of your receipt. Send the receipt with a description of the issue to: sales@defensefirearms.com’

Does the Dagger Defense DDHB maintain zero on a rifle? As with most optics, continual taking on and off the weapon will probably require, some check zeroing, especially if high accuracy is required. Once the zero has been made, it should maintain it well enough. Any adjustments are simple to make and are explained well enough in the product information that comes with the sight.

What is the difference between the Dagger Defense DDHB and the Dagger Defense DDHQ? The DDHB variant attaches to the rail with Allen keys, whereas the DDHQ has a quick-release mount. The actual sighing unit is the same.

How easy is it to adjust the Dagger Defense DDHB? The unit comes with the provided Allen keys and adjustments are very simple. Windage adjustments are made from the left outside of the housing and elevation adjustments are made from the middle inside. Accessibility is provided with instructional arrows.

Are there any issues with accuracy and distance? The sight is accurate enough to put an 8-inch grouping at 100 yards pretty consistently.

The zero on the Dagger Defense does not hold, what should I do? There is a set screw located on the right side of the mounting bracket. The unit comes with the required Allen key to use. It may not have been tightened from the factory. If your zero does not hold, turn this screw a few times clockwise and the unit should now maintain the zero.

Does the Dagger Defense DDHB fit on a handgun? The unit requires a Picatinny rail for mounting. With any firearm that does not have one, you will not be able to mount this red dot sight. The Bushnell TRS-25 is more compatible with pistols.

Conclusion

If you are in the market for a budget friendly red dot optic then the Dagger Defense DDHB has to be a worthy consideration.

When you consider the price, the good far outweighs the bad, and there are many satisfied customers who have gone before you who have put thousands and thousands of rounds through an AR15 with this optic and very satisfied with the results.

Reading through the Amazon reviews, especially the early ones, there is some mention of a poorer quality that all the 5 stars reviews seem to refute. The product is made in China, despite Dagger Defense being an American veteran-owned company, so there could have been some early production issues. Better to purchase a new one rather than a 2nd hand one on that basis.

So, all in all, this is a user friendly budget optic with good build quality that gives you the option of a red or green reticle. These are not cheap knock offs but are worthy Red Dot sights in their own right. It’s a good example of a robust, accurate red dot optic for the budget conscious and should be on anyone’s list in the market for one.

Please feel free to go and check out the thousands of satisfied customers who have already left a positive review on Amazon.

To see a Dagger Defense DDHQ being mounted and turned on, take a look at this video.

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