Desert Tech’s AMR Reticle provides usable duty capability in a precision-ranging reticle suitable for any competition endeavor.
By Dave Bahde
Competitive shooting permeates every aspect of firearms instruction, including police training. I see it constantly while traveling the country attending classes. Like everything, competition brings with it both the good and the bad. Many techniques cross over well from sport to real life, but others not so much. Little that occurs in a major competition will occur during the typical police deployment. The same can be said for equipment. Most officers will never need, see, or can afford much of what is used at the top-tier levels of firearms competition. Unless, of course, it was a perfect world or we existed on ly in movies and video games.
Competitive shooting has become a game, but that is not all bad. Along with increased skill levels, professional sniper competitions have brought rifles and scopes to levels unheard of when my first precision rifle was deployed. While most of the equipment is out of monetary reach, not all of it is. Police agencies are now realizing that an evidence gun, or the “cheapest rifle you can find” may not really be the best choice for police work. Some agencies are spending serious money on rifles, scopes and gear. Officers are saving their own pennies for years to purchase personally owned, department approved rifles. The result is that choices have expanded and one of those options is the scope reticle.
Precision Ranging Reticles
My introduction to a precision-ranging reticle came in the form of a Horus many years ago. It was interesting, but made me think someone had spilled oatmeal on my eyepiece. The reticle was great for competition and the military loved it, but my world was different. Police snipers need to see everything and while getting fast second-shot hits at 500 yards is fun, it’s pretty useless for the most part in real life. Deploying at a distance of around 60 yards requires little need to “watch the splash” and then hold and fire. Nor is ranging with the use of a scope’s reticle of much use. But, as competitions became popular (even LE restricted ones), it was a nice thing to have. What was needed was a reticle that would do both jobs well, and it seems Desert Tech has come up with a good version.
Desert Tech AMR Reticle
Nick Young (the owner of Desert Tech) and I go way back. Shooting .338 Lapua rifles in the West Desert, we often commented on the lack of quality equipment available in the 1990s and early 2000s. The result for Nick was Desert Tactical and one of the most popular sniper rifles on the market. Nick’s designs lean toward the practical and his AMR reticle is no exception. While some of his clientele are competitors in the Pro Series or similar competitions, he sells a ton of rifles to militaries around the world. He needed a scope and reticle to match that versatility and the AMR in the Kahles K624i 6-24x 56mm scope was the result.
Designed to provide a “see-through” bottom section that provides precise ranging, the markings obscure your view as little as possible. Since it is placed in the first focal plane, it’s precise at any power. With measurements down to .2 mils, it is also as precise as possible. The included fast ranging reticle gets you close very quickly. Lighting in the center provides for use in most low-light conditions. The ranging tree at the bottom facilitates hold-over to more than 1,200 yards using most calibers. The system is incredibly well thought-out, usable and practical.
Kahles K624i 6-24x 56mm scope
Kahles makes some of the finest rifle optics you can buy, so the K624i comes in at a high price range, although less than many others. The optic starts with a 34 mm tube that is light, yet very strong. Using four objective lenses, it provides for a distortion-free image, yet an increased field of view. The eyepiece uses an easy-to-grasp adjustment dial with a small protrusion to grab. Knobs for both elevation and windage are large, easy to see and read, and positive in adjustment. Parallax adjustment is accomplished using a dial at the bottom of the elevation knob and adjusts from 50m to infinity. The reticle placement indicator lets you know when you move past the first revolution in the dark with a red button that pops up. The lighted center section is controlled with the left knob and has almost infinite adjustment. Glass and coatings are among the best in the world.
Using at Range on the Desert Tactical SRS A1
Testing for both the rifle and scope started out with deployment in mind. Ranges were 100 yards or closer, under stress, and using mostly the bi-pod for deployment. It also included some unsupported and unconventional positions. My first impression was pleasant surprise. Expecting the typical cluttered reticle, instead the AMR starts to all but vanish. Set at 6 power most of the time, the view was uncluttered, clean, and provided an excellent field of view. Expectations were high with a $3,000.00 scope and the reticle was outstanding. Cranking up the power for threat identification, the optic continued to remain uncluttered. The design makes it almost see-through. Remaining threat focused, you almost look past the internal markings. But, when you need them they become incredibly useful.
Moving out to farther ranges, this reticle really shines. My qualifications extended to 300 yards and the reticle allowed me to use either the knobs or the reticle with excellent precision. Measurements proved to be precise and accurate. When the knobs were used, even my 55-year-old eyes could still see them. They are positive and you can hear and feel each click. With 14 mils per revolution, it gets to 1,200 yards in less than one complete turn with this rifle and that’s hard to beat. Windage is the same, but marked for 7 mils in either direction.
Lighted reticles are nice but seldom used. When they become necessary, they are invaluable. Many are too bright, but the Kahles gives you infinite adjustment from barely visible to super bright. Start from the off position and turn it up to where you need it to be. Just make sure to turn it off when not in use
Using a parallax adjustment on the elevation turret took some getting used to. I found myself adjusting the lighted reticle instead the first few times and that was annoying. Time and practice changed that, as it usually does, and now it has become a favorite. It means my hand goes to one spot for everything. While different, it is well thought-out.
Finally, putting this scope through some typical competition stages, it proved to be fantastic. Knocking down steel at 500-1000 yards, it was much easier to see the splash on a miss. Since the ranging tree allows you to look through it, you can see the dust or dirt kick up. Just find the splash, move the reticle, and tag it on the second round.
Ranging targets using the included fast ranging reticle was pretty accurate. The process is to place your target between the horizontal stadia line and match up the appropriate line. Using 1m (or 3 yards) to measure allows you to use a typical torso or similar target. Tested to 800 yards, the Kahles was almost dead-on using typical IMPSC-sized steel. When precision was needed, you just move to the cluster below. The capability of being able to measure to .2 mils easily is huge. Just split the dots and you are at .10 mils matching your turrets. This is about as slick as it gets if you are going to range your shots this way.
Most of my other scopes use the H59 or H58 or similar—great for competitions, but they do not cross over as well to police work. This AMR worked as well as those, even better in some instances, yet remained a viable law enforcement deployment reticle. It was as close to the best of both worlds as it gets these days.
Is this the perfect deployment reticle? Probably not. There are many personal preferences when it comes to reticles. We can probably do the job with a duplex reticle, but why would we? There are so many choices available to choose from now and not all of them are expensive and they can make your job much easier. If you are never going to compete, this may not be the reticle for you and surely then not worth the cost. But, if you compete with your duty rifle, The Kahles 624i with AMR reticle is a fantastic choice.
The Kahles scope is top-notch with crystal-clear glass that gathers light as well as any optic you can buy. Turrets are large and easy to read with precise adjustments. Although powerful at 26x magnification, it remains relatively compact with a usable field of view. Weight is not excessive, and it fits easily on any mount. Priced at $3,000, it is in the top tier of optics, but as much as a grand less than some of its competitors. Having used most all of those, the Kahles doesn’t take a back seat to any of them. Having trained with officers sporting expensive optics and rifles, it is not unheard of these days for quality optics like the Desert Tech Kahles 624i with AMR reticle to appear on police department precision rifles.. PM
Dave Bahde is a retired police Lieutenant with over 20 years of experience. As a police sniper, team leader, and commander he has over ten years of SWAT experience. Attending hundreds of hours of firearms and tactical training from world renowned instructors keeps him current. As a freelance writer he has published hundreds of reviews, commentary, and other articles for various publications and periodicals. He is committed to the defense of the 2nd amendment, concealed carry advocate, avid competitor, and dedicated to improving every aspect of the firearms industry.
- Desert Tech’s AMR reticle illuminates the center crosshairs when necessary, providing use in failing or low-light conditions.
- The AMR is one of the least-cluttered multiple-layered reticles, providing a clear field of view at any power.
- Mated to a Desert Tech SRS A1 in 6.5 Creedmoor, this Kahles optic has proven to be an excellent scope, whether on the street or in competition.
- Reticle clarity and focus is easily adjusted to accommodate different shooters. Adjustable to 24 power, the raised area allows for positive movement with gloved hands and in adverse conditions.
- Move past the first revolution and a red dot pops up, letting the user know the scope is one turn out. Adjustment knobs are easy to see, read, and access with positive engagement while providing both audible and tactile feedback.
- The Kahles K624i scope fit well using a single-piece mount, but was just as solid using two-piece Badger Ordnance mounts. Overall length and weight is compact, allowing for this powerful scope to be mounted on most any precision rifle platform.
- While 56mm is not small, the Kahles uses a smooth, one-piece tube that fits the test rifle easily using a 20 MOA one-piece mount.
- Parallax is removed using the ring at the bottom of the elevation turret. The illuminated reticle’s intensity is handled by the knob on the left side.