leupold freedom rds close up

Leupold FREEDOM Red Dot Sight (RDS) – Review

A red dot sight may not guarantee better accuracy overall, but it will certainly ensure improvement in accuracy when shooting quickly. Your target acquisition will be much quicker and follow-up shots even faster. This is probably one of the main reasons why red dot sights are so popular nowadays. When buying one, there are some critical factors you may want to worry about: battery life, adjustable color brightness, ruggedness, and, of course, your budget. With a budget to mid-range price tag the Leupold Freedom RDS is considered a middle-range red dot sight that preserves quality and durability. If you are in a hurry, you can check out the specifics and Amazon reviews here.

Overview 

leupold freedom rds on rifleLeupold is a company with a long history: it was founded in 1907 and it was specialized in repairing survey equipment. During the years the company invented some innovative pieces, among which the most known is the Telemark water level recorder, patented in 1939.  

Since 1942 riflescopes are being sold under the “Leupold” name and today their scopes are used by organizations such as the United States Army, the NAVY Seals, and the Marine Corps. 

When they launched the Freedom RDS, Leupold Company wanted to offer a durable, dependable, USA-made red dot sight at a price that shooters could quite easily afford. With its lightweight and compact tubular design, the Leupold Freedom RDS is easy to install, built for rugged use, and suitable for both hunters and recreational shooters. It can give them pretty much everything they need in a red dot sight: it is easily adjustable and tough enough to fit anything the typical hunter or recreational shooter would do with it. 

What makes the Leupold Freedom RDS different from most of red dots in the market – except that it is one of the few designed and built in the USA – is its consistency and durability. Leupold is a company with more than 70 years of knowledge and created a red dot that is tough and can perform in extreme conditions. 

The scope comes ready for use in a robust rail mount that makes the Freedom RDS compatible with AR-rifles as well as big-bore revolvers. AR-specific mount comes included in the package – no other accessory is included. 

Aimpoint Pro

Leupold Freedon RDS

Vortex Optics Venom

Mount Type

QRPs mount + standard spacer

AR specific mount

Weaver Picatinny

Optical Magnification

1x

1x

1x

Objective Lens Diameter

23mm

34mm

16 x 26.4mm

Dot Color

Peak Wavelength: 655 ± 15 nm

Bright Red

Bright Red

Dot Size

2 MOA

1 MOA

3 MOA

Length

4.5 inches

5.3 inches

1.6 inches

Weight

7.8 ounces

7.2 ounces

1.1 ounces

Eye Relief

Unlimited

Unlimited - Leupold strongly recommends putting your mount as far forward as possible

Unlimited

Battery

3V Lithium, type 2L76 or D11/3N

Lithium CR 2032

Lithium CR 1632

Features 

Mounting System 

The Leupold Freedom RDS red dot sight comes with an AR-height mount that attaches to any Picatinny-style rail, but it can be also be mounted to other weapons using any 34mm scope ring. In the case you need to mount your new Freedom RDS to a rifle that’s chambered in other popular AR-style calibers, or other types of firearms, the Leupold Custom Shop is available for you to purchase additional accessories. Check the dedicated section on Leupold official website (“Find a mount for your scope”, you can’t miss it!), where you can select your firearm and scope model and see every compatible mount accessory. 

Regarding accessories, a Scope Accessory Fit Chart is also available: there, you can find the complete list of compatible accessories for your model. For further information, Leupold’s Technical Service is also available. 

Brightness  

The Leupold Freedom RDS projects a 1 MOA red dot reticle powered by Motion Sensor Technology (MST) that automatically activates illumination when the weapon moves and switches the device to Stan-by after 5 minutes of inactivity. Also, Freedom RDS scratch-resistant lenses are coated with Twilight Red Dot System, designed to provide consistent colors and clarity throughout a range of lighting conditions. Balancing light across the visible spectrum, this system leads to brighter and crisper images and eliminates the washed-out image that can come from direct sunlight. The Twilight Redo Dot System allows shooters to see more in less light and it’s ideal for hunters who can now make use of those last minutes of legal light. 

PARALLAX 

Any fixed focused optical system can be adjusted to be parallax free at only one distance. Like most Leupold scopes, the Freedom RDS model is parallax free at 150 yards. Before adjusting the parallax the reticle should be focused. In order to focus the reticle, you should secure the scope and firearm in a firm rest and safely point the scope at a light colored background. Look through the scope and rotate the eyepiece until the reticle is sharp.  

To set up the parallax, look through the scope concentrating on the center aiming point of the reticle (while holding your firearm in a firm position). Move your head slightly up and down while turning the adjustable objective dial until the reticle does not move in relation to the target. Do not use the adjustment dial to focus the image: if the reticle is focused and the parallax is properly set, the image should be clear. 

These and further setting instructions can be found on the Riflescope Instruction Manual downloadable from Leupold official site.  Just remember to click the Products Download tab.

Windage and Elevation Adjustments 

Windage and elevation can be adjusted through the dedicated dial placed under a screw-on cap and can be set without the need of any tool. The red dot sight features an 80 MOA windage and elevation adjustment range in 1/4 MOA clicks. Since the dial is marked in distances that are keyed to a particular load, making the adjustments is very simple: if you’re shooting at, say, 400 yards, you’ll just need to turn the dial on 4; if you’re shooting at 350 yards, turn the dial on 3.5; and so on… 

Sighting In 

Before taking your new Leupold Freedom Red Dot Sight with you to your hunting or shooting session, you need to bore-sight it. The procedure isn’t complicated but requires some attention. These are bore-sighting instructions as reported on the product’s instruction manual: 

1 – Establish your sight-in distance 

2 – Fire a three-shot group to identify your shot pattern. 

3 – If you are off center of the target, make your elevation and windage corrections based on your scopes MIL or MOA adjustments. 

4 – Fire another three-shot group to confirm. 

5 – Repeat steps 3 and 4 as necessary. 

Leupold also recommends that bore-sighting alone isn’t sufficient to sight-in a scope. You must make final adjustments by shooting your firearm using the same ammunition you use in the field. 

1X Optical Magnification 

The Freedom Red Dot Sight by Leupold doesn’t have any optical magnification. 

Materials 

Designed, machined and assembled in the USA, Leupold Freedom RDS is made to last long. Lens surfaces are scratch-resistant to military standard extreme abrasion specifications; the scope is 100% waterproof, fog-proof and scratch-proof; the external body is so tough that, as reported on the device’s instruction manual, no maintenance of any kind is required. Simply wipe off any dirt or fingerprints that accumulate with a clean and dry cloth. 

Battery 

Leupold Freedom RDS uses a standard CR2032 Lithium battery. When the reticle fails to illuminate or appears dim even with the highest illumination setting, it’s time to replace it. The battery compartment is easily accessible and it doesn’t require the use of any tool. Just twist the battery cover counterclockwise to open it, and simply replace the battery when needed. 

The Freedom RDS doesn’t have a long battery life (1.000 hours on the medium setting) and it weighs a couple of ounces more than other more expensive models. This is the main complaint about this device. To extend its battery life, Leupold provided its Freedom RDS with an automatic stand-by system: the RDS will automatically switch to a stand-by mode after 5 minutes of inactivity. As soon as the optics is moved again, the internal sensor illuminates the reticle. 

Warranty 

For additional ensurance on the Freedom Red Dot Sight durability, Leupold offers its Lifetime Warranty: they’ll repair or substitute any defected device (whether or not you’re the original owner) without churching the customer any fee. 

Customers Impressions 

Most of the reviews for the Freedom Red Dot Sight are positive. Shooters seem to appreciate the clear image, crisp dot and the possibility that the Twilight Red Dot System gives them of keeping shooting even in the lowest light conditions. The price, toughness, and durability are also appreciated.  

The main complaint about the product concerns the battery life: 1000-hour battery life is considered not enough by most shooters. 

If you want to make your own idea, here you can find Amazon buyers’ reviews here:

Pros and Cons 

Pros  Cons 
–  Clear image and crisp dot  – Quite short battery life 
– Easy set up and adjustment  – No optical magnification  
– Quality built   
– Durable   
– Lifetime warranty   

 

Conclusion 

The Leupold Freedom Red Dot Sight is a real value for money. It’s solid build quality and included mount make it an excellent option for those shooters who don’t want to spend more than $ 500 on a rugged, reliable and durable red dot sight. 

Even though some have complaints about its battery life, for most shooters the Freedom RDS by Leupold is a valid choice. 

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