STNGR USA (said like Stinger) is a family-run business in Texas, and they specialize in USA-made handguards and accessories. Recently, they’ve entered the red dot market.
The STNGR Axiom II red dot sight is a no-fuss, high-quality optic with a 2MOA dot, 11 brightness levels, and a long-lasting 50,000-hour battery life. Priced affordably, it can be mistaken for a budget red dot, but build quality and dot performance are proof that it stands above cheap alternatives.
I received the Axiom II and from first handling, I could tell it was going to hold up to plenty of range days ahead.
Several hundred rounds later, and this has been confirmed!
Here is my STNGR Axiom II review detailing the features I liked about it, what I will learn to live without, and my hands-on experience with the budget red dot.
My STNGR Axiom II Review
What I Like: 2 MOA Dot
What I Don’t Like: No Auto Off
Best Uses: CQB, Close to Mid-Range, Tactical, Hunting, Heavy Recoil Resistance, Fully Waterproof
- Magnification: 1x
- Coatings: FMC
- Eye Relief: Unlimited
- Reticle: 2MOA dot
- Adjustments: 1 MOA
- Battery Life: 50,000 hours
- Dimensions: 2.5 x 1.7 x 2”/3.8-6.1 oz
- Mount: QD Mount
My Verdict: Because the Axiom 2 red dot sight is easy to use, its simplicity makes it a great option for those just getting into red dot sights. The dot, illumination, and build quality of the STNGR sight will set the standard for what to expect from here on out.
How Does the STNGR Axiom II Perform?
In general, the STNGR Axiom II is a high performing red dot sight worth the money. With a crisp 2 MOA dot, quality illumination, and a quick detach mount, it’s a red dot sight that is fast to use and effortless to mount to Picatinny rails.
After having put several hundred rounds through the Axiom II, I’ve determined that it’s a red dot worth keeping for target shooting, varmint and coyote hunting, and it’ll do the job in a home defense situation.
The only thing that will raise a red flag for home defense and tactical/professional use is that it doesn’t have motion sensor tech, so it must be manually powered on and off. The compromise to this is the fact that it will last over five years if you leave it on (at setting 6).
Update: At first, I didn’t think the Axiom II would appeal to professional or home defense applications only because it doesn’t have Shake Awake. After continuous use of the RDS since the time of field-testing, it’s proven to be nothing but a reliable and dependable optic. The continuous-on design with a 50,000-hour battery life makes for a competing RDS against motion sensor alternatives. Power it on at the start of your shift and power it down – or don’t; it’ll still be there when you check it again at the start of your next shift. For SHTF and home defense, leave it on. It produces the same results as a motion sensor RDS – one less button and one less action to perform in the dark.
When it comes to accuracy, the turrets have 1 MOA click values. Red dots are about speed more than precision, but the Axiom performed very well for me at ranges from 15 yards to 100. My shooting skills are another matter.
Overall, the Axiom II is simple to zero, easy to mount, and is a lot of fun to shoot with. It has a high-quality build, is rugged and tough, and can handle big recoil. For the money, it offers quality where it’s needed most.
Who is the STNGR Axiom II Best Suited to?
Both seasoned and new users of red dot sights will enjoy the experience of owning a STNGR Axiom II. Beginners will like that it comes with all the essentials and a quick detach mount. It also comes with a direct-to-rail low-profile mount that is a very nice inclusion as an extra accessory.
More experienced red dot users will appreciate quality versus extra features. The Axiom doesn’t have interchangeable reticles, red and/or green illumination, or any distracting ‘extras.’ It’s just a simple 2 MOA dot sight with metal housing and parts, high quality illumination, and an enclosed body that is both waterproof and fogproof.
Features & Benefits
2 MOA Dot
My first impression field testing the Axiom II was that the dot looked smaller than 2 MOA, but it’s not. It’s just unusual to have quality illumination that maintains dot shape and crispness. The dot is sharp, highly visible, and I was able to take it out to 100 yards and hit steel with a breeze.
It seems that STNGR has taken the ‘less is more’ approach as it lacks interchangeable reticles and interchangeable illumination (red/green). They gambled right because I have no complaints about the dot. I’d rather have the one option and dot quality versus all the bells and whistles and lose dot shape and crispness.
Illumination quality is a feature that separates the cheap red dots from the high-quality ones. The brightness levels are impressive in the Axiom II and covers a range from zero to 11. Levels one and two are night vision compatible and the dot is easily seen in daylight bright conditions.
During my hands-on testing, I found the dot is difficult to see, if you can see it at all, at levels 1 through 4 when I was outside and especially so if it’s sunny. You could mistakenly think that the dot has disappeared, but it’s just so dim in those lower levels. Turn it up.
I liked to sit at brightness 6. Against the bright sky, it’s easier to see the dot starting at level 8 and definitely qualifies as daylight bright. Against targets like rocks and trees, you could sit at level five.
One thing worth pointing out is that if you don’t turn the illumination knob all the way to the next number (stopping between them), the dot disappears. Fortunately, each illumination level has positive stops.
The battery life is like that of Aimpoint and Holosun red dots with 50,000 hours (when set at level 6 brightness). Included in the box is the single CR2032 battery that provides the juice. Long-lasting battery life is a must-have requirement for the STNGR red dot as it does not have Shake-Awake.
The Axiom II red dot sight comes with a multi-height mounting system. The QD lower 1/3 co-witness mount comes preinstalled to the red dot sight and is a high-profile mount. Included in the box is a low-profile mount and the key needed to secure it to Picatinny rails.
The Axiom 2 has a T1/T2 footprint. It was easy to switch out mounts especially since the required tools are included and a few extra screws. My preference is the quick detach cam mount. I don’t use it with sights, so co-witnessing is unnecessary for me, but I did confirm it with flip-up front and rear sights on an AR-15.
Pairing the Axiom with a Sig Sauer Juliet 3x magnifier on a flip-to-side mount, it had great alignment and no flip-up caps that get in the way for close mounting. Unfortunately, I experienced astigmatism issues with use of the magnifier. Through the Juliet, the additional lenses dimmed the illumination and I found myself increasing brightness another notch or two.
Overall, the STNGR red dot sight is tough. There is not a shred of rubber or plastic to be seen on the Axiom II besides the bikini lens caps. It’s made from 6061-T6 anodized aluminum, weighs 6.10 oz at its heaviest with the high mount, and is 2.5 x 1.7 x 2” in size.
During one of my testing days, the Axiom was moved between three different rifles and was accidentally drop tested at a height of 4 feet. There is no evidence of it taking a fall or scratches on the body or lenses.
The electronics are O-ring sealed and it is seen on the battery compartment knob. The encased housing is nitrogen-purged, so it’s completely fogproof. These two factors are noteworthy because I submersed it into a bowl of water with the power on. There are no leaks, internal fogging, and the lenses did decently in shedding water droplets.
I have a bad habit of touching lenses, and I could see my fingerprint smudges. It cleaned up easily with a lens pen. I also scuffed the finish by the mount tension knob when using the included wrench, but they proved to be superficial and have all but disappeared.
The red dot sight is recoil rated to handle big loads including that of a 12gauge slug. Its recoil resistance has been shockproof tested to 600 Gs 1000 times!
1 MOA Turrets
The elevation and windage turret adjustments on the Axiom II have 1 MOA click values. The caps when turned upside down serve as the tool needed to make the adjustments. They move easily but are audible and positive.
The caps are high quality having been made of metal, so they will last a long time if you don’t lose them first. The turrets have arrow markings and inscriptions for “UP” on the elevation and “R” for Right on the windage. The click value is not on the turrets, so keep the box for the specs where it is listed, and it will prove to be a helpful reminder when you zero it.
No Auto Shut-Off
The Axiom II does not have an automatic power on or shut-off feature. It must be manually powered on and off via the illumination dial. Dialing in to “0” powers it down and rotating the dial backwards to setting 11 or forwards to setting 1 will activate the red dot sight.
If you caught that, yes, the illumination dial can be rotated both forwards and backwards.
Since it requires a conscious effort to manually power it down, I forgot several times after using it at the range. But its saving grace is the fact that it has a long-lasting battery life of 50,000 hours.
If used and left on at brightness six, it should mean that it will stay on for around 5.5 years. For a single CR 2032 battery in an affordable red dot sight, it’s more than a reasonable compromise for the lack of auto-off.
Unlike STNGR’s handguards that are made in the USA, the Axiom II red dot sights are made in China. STNGR is aware of the interest in US-made optics, so if there is a point where they can manufacture them in the USA, they will.
The STNGR Axiom II red dot sight does not have an automatic on/off system. It must be manually activated by rotating the illumination knob from “0” to turn it on and back to “0” to power it off. However, the battery is long-lasting at 50,000 hours if left at setting 6.
The Axiom II has a base plate that is compatible with T1/T2 footprints. It can be used with other micro mounts with the same footprint and bolt pattern. A high quick detach and low-profile mount is included with the red dot sight with the necessary tools and extra screws.
Unfortunately, it may be difficult to achieve absolute co-witness with fixed iron sights. The Axiom II red dot sight comes with a high profile quick detach mount that does provide lower 1/3 co-witness. Currently, there is no mid-rise absolute co-witness mount available from STNGR.
STNGR’s Axiom II red dot sight is covered by the SWARM Lifetime Warranty. It covers the original purchaser for defects in workmanship and materials. The box confirms the warranty and states that it is also unconditional and unlimited.
For a red dot sight without the bells and whistles, there was a lot to say about it.
At the end of the day, the Axiom II is high performing thanks to its foundational quality. I probably won’t be using it with the Sig magnifier again any time soon, but that won’t stop me from pinging steel at 100 yards and trying to tighten those groupings while standing rapid-fire.
While it has the build quality for hunting and some professional and home defense use, its fun and easy handling is not lost on me to plink and play on a Smith & Wesson M&P 15/22.