Review: Meprolight Cuts Weight, Ups Performance with Meprolight M22

By Allen Forkner, Editor

Meprolight includes all the tools you need right in the box to mount and zero the M22.

The Meprolight M22 is built to deliver in all light conditions, despite being smaller and lighter than the company’s earlier M21.

Meprolight’s M21 optic has cut a distinctive profile for decades as the optic of choice for the Israeli Defense Force starting in 2002. Designed to be a battlefield optic that never needed to be turned on, or have batteries changed, the M21 used a mix of fiber optics and tritium to provide an illuminated reticle.

While the idea worked, it came with a few shortcomings. It was bulky, a bit hefty and the reticle was hard to use from a dark room looking into a bright environment.

Meprolight has largely solved these concerns with the new M22 self-illuminated reflex sight. I was excited to put this optic to the test as I have used an M21 on my Steyr AUG for years.

Immediate Impact of the Meprolight M22

The second you open the box, you can see that this isn’t just fresh lipstick on the old M21. This is a rethought, reengineered and redesigned optic built to take a beating.

Smaller, lighter and brighter, the M22 outperforms its older sibling across the board.

Weighing in at just 9.1 ounces (compared to the 13.12-ounce M21), the M22 is noticeably lighter on the rifle. Even with the bullpup configuration of the AUG, losing several ounces at the center of balance made the gun much lighter and more maneuverable.

While the M21 had extremely good glass, the M22 delivers a more crisp, clear and distortion free picture with a sharp dot. Granted, this could be due to the years of use my M21 has had, but the M22 is exceptionally clear.

Quality Throughout

The packaging and contents immediately says Meprolight is serious about its quality, but we’ll get to that later. For now, let’s look at the M22 itself.

With a quick-detach Picatinny rail mount pre-installed, there’s nothing to do but clamp the mount over your rail, flip the lever and give the nut a little tweak. It’s then locked on and ready to zero.

Mounting and zeroing is easy because, as we alluded to, Meprolight includes all the tools with the optic. A dual-headed driver tightens the mount and the included multi-tool works the adjustments dials with ease. With 60 MOA of travel, the M22 can be used on anything from the .22LR to the mightiest of cartridges with plenty of adjustment to spare.

The fiber-optics, often a glowing, glaring eyesore, are tucked around and throughout the M22 like a work of art. Almost like something from the Matrix movies, the M22 fiber gathers light from almost 270 degrees, meaning it’s going to find some photons to share.

When lacking fiber power, the Swiss-made tritium vials bring the power to the reticle. And while there is still some dimming when using the sight in a dark room on a bright target, it’s a vast improvement over the M21.

Ease of Use

There are few red-dot optics as low-maintenance as the M22. Once It’s mounted and zeroed, you’re pretty much done with the work. There is no battery to worry about, no on/off button to press and no never-where-you-need it brightness to adjust, the M22 is just there when you need.

The simplicity doesn’t stop there. A 10-year warranty on the tritium vials means no stressing out. Water resistance to 66 feet (20m) for one hour means the M22 laughs at the rain. And an operating range of -40 to +140 ensures you will give up long before the optic.

The M22 is 100-percent night-vision compatible and pairs great with Meprolight’s new MMX4 and MMX3 flip-to-side magnifiers. You’ll be able to read more about those as they’re getting their own text and review shortly.

The Flip Side of the Meprolight M22

What did Meprolight forget to fix/upgrade from the M21? They’ve cut weight, improved clarity and made it tougher. Even the industrial design is a step forward.

I wish there were a way to better realize the battery-free lifestyle without sacrificing reticle brightness. While the M22 is way better in terms of low-light/bright target reticle luminosity, there’s still just enough dimming to cause worry. But, physics are physics and photons are photons, so I’m going to still give a good grade as Meprolight seems to have maximized the photon flow as best as possible.

Otherwise, I’d like to see more reticle options. The 3.5MOA dot in a 40MOA circle is familiar and a standard, but the 10MOA Triangle is a bit large, even for a 1X sight. Especially if pairing with a magnifier, I’d like to see the triangle max out at 6MOA.

Overall, if you liked the M21 (or any of the battery-free, fiber-optics dots out there) the M22 will be a solid step up for your defensive rifle.  

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