The swamp fox is a mid tier red dot aimed and marketed to budget conscious shooters who are looking for a reliable red dot optic that’s patterned in the RMR footprint. It was a smart business move to model the red dot under the RMR footprint, as there aren’t a lot of budget friendly options in this configuration and yet RMR is by far the most popular slide cut pattern for many sub compact to full size handguns (think aftermarket Glock 19, 17, 34 slides). However, there aren’t many options in this cut and configuration, especially at the roughly $209 price point of the swampfox Liberty and Justice models. Given the price of the Trijicon RMR floating around $450 to 500.
Above it all, Swampfox offers a “50,000” round guarantee. On paper, everything sounds incredible, but are the Swampfox offerings too good to be true?
Today we’ll set out to find that answer.
Rating (Overall 3.56 out of 5.00)
We judge pistol red dot optics on a number of criteria when coming up with a cumulative rating. We judge these products on where they’re made, price, accuracy (or ability to hold accuracy), ease of use, concealability, features compared to competitors, clarity, and durability. Here’s how the Swampfox Liberty stacks up.
Where it’s made – 2 out of 5
Price – 4 out of 5
Accuracy – 5 out of 5
Ease of Use – 4 out of 5
Concealability – 4 out of 5
Features – 4 out of 5
Clarity – 3.5 out of 5
Durability – 2 out of 5
We give the Swampfox Liberty an overall score of 3.56 out of 5 stars. After months of testing and about 600 rounds later, we’ll go into detail why, but in our opinion it is a descent range quality optic but not an optic we’d trust for every day carry.
Where It’s Made (2.0 out of 5.0)
Let’s start with where its made. We’re unabashedly pro American. The Swampfox Liberty model is made in China. We realize that most products are made in China nowadays. To be clear about this rating, we rate products made in the USA as 5 out of 5, products made by American allied countries 4 out of 5 (for example Israel, Germany, the UK, South Korea), products made in neutral trade partner countries 3 out of 5 (Czech republic), and products made in countries that are major economic competitors to the United states 2 out of 5 (so essentially China). 1 out of 5 is reserved for countries that are outright hostile to the United States. China tends to be one of our major economic competitors, so 2 out of 5 in this area.
Price (4.0 out of 5.0)
Next is price. The Swampfox really shines here. It isn’t the cheapest RMR pattern red dot, but it is one of the cheapest produced by a reputable industry brand. When you compare it to say the Trijicon RMR which sits in the $450 to $500 range, or say the Holosun 507C which is currently retailing at $309, the Swampfox is definitely competitively priced. Now we caveat that, because the Holosun 407C is priced at $245, which is only $30-40 more than the Swampfox, so there are some other options for not that much more than the Swampfox Liberty.
Accuracy (5.0 out of 5.0)
Accuracy is very good once dialed in. Here’s some footage of me dialing the Swampfox in. Prior to shooting this video, after I put about 200 rounds through a gucci glock with the Swampfox mounted, I started carrying the optic every day, mainly to test its durability over time. I did this for about 4 months. Then for this video, I moved the swampfox over to a PSA dagger so I could review both products.
Here you can see once dialed in, the Swampfox (while it is in working condition), will hold zero allowing you to put round after round on top of each other at 20 yards. So my experience is that while it works, it is a very accurate optic. However when something internally to the optic broke, which we’ll go over in durability, the red dot started losing zero instantly.
Ease of Use (4.0 out of 5.0)
The Swampfox Liberty is very easy to use in practice. It feels natural. The optic sits low on the gun so its natural point of aim cowitnesses easily with supressor height sights. Its very easy to pickup and find the dot, even out of the box. I found the learning curve to be a lot smaller than competitively priced red dots even in different footprints, so say that of the Vortex Venom or the Riton MPRD. My only complaint is the eye box of the Swampfox Liberty is fairly small, in favor of concealability, so it may not be suitable for competition. The swampfox justice model may be a better option in this regard. 4 out of 5 stars on ease of use.
Concealability (4.0 out of 5.0)
The Liberty conceals reasonably well. It is about the same width as a Glock 19 slide. It is comfortable to carry. It might not be as concealable on smaller micro 9mm pistols however, but these usually aren’t cut in the RMR pattern anyway. I rate it 4 out of 5 for concealability, only because the sight does print a little bit (although anything in the RMR cut will a little), but obviously smaller red dots with smaller footprints do exist like the Shield RMSC.
Features (4.0 out of 5.0)
Let’s talk about features. The Swampfox Liberty has some really high end features on it. The shake awake feature is awesome, many other cheap red dots in this price range don’t have an automatic shut off feature. It really sucks to get to the range and find out that your optic won’t operate because your battery died. I personally prefer push button controls on pistol red dots as well and the swampfox delivers here with high quality controls. The turrets for the swampfox also use a flat blade screwdriver which can be turned using a spent shell in a pinch. Some pistol red dot optics only have allen wrench controls which is incredibly frustrating. The only reason I rate it 4 out of 5 for two minor reasons. The first is the placement of the battery compartment. The battery compartment is placed on top, which is very good, however the way it is positioned with standard mounting screws that come with two separate slides I’ve tested, the screws overlap the compartment (meaning you still have to unscrew the screws to replace the battery). You might be able to find smaller head screws that will work with your slide, but this is kind of a pain. The second very small issue that I have is a lack of reticle selection. This is a very small point as I never use other reticles, but I have to mention it since at the next tier red dots like the Holosun 5O7C have a configurable reticle which may be important to some people. 4 out of 5 on features.
Optical Clarity (3.5 out of 5.0)
I like the Swampfox but I had to give it a lower mark on clarity. Out of the box the optic is pretty clear. I don’t know if its the lense coating, but after maybe 30 rounds the optic ends up caked in powder. I find myself having to clean it constantly, more often then other pistol red dots that I have, mounted on the same gun, using the same ammo. I don’t know why this is. When its clean, the glass is crystal clear, but it seems to pick up dirt really fast. 3.5 out of 5 on clarity.
Durability (2.0 out of 5.0)
The last point is durability. Pistol red dots have to take a lot more brunt than other red dots, as you mount them directly to the slide, which is constantly reciprocating back and forth like a saws all. How long do you think any electronic will last like that? This is my biggest gripe with this optic. After about 600 rounds, the optic started losing its zero. Some of the previous footage I was showing during accuracy, I was on a big high with that grouping, the next target I hung I decided to do the dot torture test and that’s when something snapped. The optic started trailing an inch right and half an inch low with every shot. You can see that consistent pattern here. I then stopped using the optic for the day, took the weapon home, rechecked to make sure the mounting screws were tight, and i brought the gun out on a second range trip. Same problem. I ended up having to warranty the optic. 600 rounds is not a lot, but I will give Swampfox the benefit of the doubt. To their credit, the warranty process was easy and the customer service was great and very responsive, for this reason I’m giving the optic 2 out of 5 instead of 1 out of 5. I just can’t trust it for any EDC or home defense scenario after that, but for a range optic it would probably be fine.
So overall we rated this optic 3.56 out of 5. The optic is an okay choice for a range pistol. It probably would work well on a low powered rifle like up to a 223. I may end up using it as a backup optic to my LPVO. If you bought it for range use, you should keep it, it does perform very well. If something breaks, Swampfox will cover you, but you should very much consider looking at other options if you plan to use it for self defense, every day carry, or competitive shooting.
Personally, I like the holosun 507C. It is a rock solid, dependable red dot, for about $100 more. Or, comparably, the 407C is only $35-40 more and is just as dependable with only a few less features than the 507C. Don’t get me wrong, the swampfox has its strengths, and its a great introductory affordable optic for those being introduced to red dots for the first time, but if you spend just a tad bit more money you can get something a bit more durable.