Wilcox BOSS 300 Review
Optics for 300 blackout have been a little tricky given that people like to run both supersonic and subsonic ammunition regularly. The impact shift between these two categories of rounds can be dramatic, leaving people with tough decision on how to zero their gun. The most common practice seems to be zeroing a red dot for your most common super load and then learning your hold overs for subs.
There have been a few solutions that promise to solve for a double zero, such as dual reticles like the Leupold Mark 4 or the Eotech HWS 300. But a few years ago Wilcox Industries chased down a gov contract and came up with a rather unique solution: The Wilcox BOSS 300.
The main feature of the BOSS ("Black Out Sighting System" or "Ballistically Optimized Sighting System" depending on who you ask…) is a toggle that let's you switch between a supersonic or subsonic zero. You zero the optic for your supersonic load, and then in theory, moving the switch to the subsonic setting will auto-adjust the dot zero to account for the new trajectory.
In addition to this, the BOSS has a visible aiming laser, full power IR aiming laser and full power IR illuminator built in. All three of these are co-aligned with the zero. So when you zero the red dot, you're zeroing the lasers as well. When you switch between supersonic/subsonic, it adjusts the lasers as well. Neat.
- The form factor of the BOSS is great; combining your optic and laser in one small package. I have mine on a Sig Rattler upper which has limited real estate for accessories, so saving some room is pretty great.
- It's lightweight for how much functionality is packed in it.
- The unit is compatible with all Insight/L3 switches, meaning for a pressure switch there's plenty of options, they're easy to find, and they're relatively affordable.
- Build quality is great. Glass is nice and clear.
- Built in back up irons are a cool little add-on and prevent you from having to run an actual set up back-up irons which don't work well with this (will explain below)
- Interface is relatively straight forward. Mode selection knob and sup/sub switch are easy to use even with gloves and/or nods on. Options are very similar to a standard atpial so if you've used those, the BOSS feels right at home.
Neutral / Things to be aware of
- The ballistics are not really adjustable between supers/subs. The BOSS was originally designed for a specific military contract, so as long as you're using that ammunition or ammunition with similar ballistics, you'll be fine. They've updated this in the newer version, the BOSS-E to allow you to zero both independently.
- The lasers sit very low to the bore, which is a pro being that they have even less offset than the red dot. But because the optic is meant to be on the receiver, any accessory mounted forward of the optic (e.g., back-up irons, pressure switches, sling mounts, etc…) or you thumb if you're using a C-clamp grip, can either block the lasers or cause splash. You'll see many people running a riser to help with this. For me, I solved it by running a VFG.
- The battery life is poor. With constant-on on the brightest setting I get just a couple of weeks out of a lithium AA before it dies. Compare that with an Aimpoint whose battery life is measured in years… it's not great. An EOTech probably has a similar battery life but it also has auto-shut off which the BOSS does not. And I also prefer to leave the BOSS on so it's ready to go. If you want to run this optic and keep it on all the time, buy lithium AAs in bulk.
- The brightness of the red dot could be one setting brighter. As it is, it's about a hair brighter than setting 10 on an Aimpoint T2 or setting 7 on a Comp M5. I've shot the BOSS on a bluebird day with 100% snow coverage on the ground, and while you can still see the dot, it's not optimal and I find myself wishing for one more level. In any other conditions the dot has been fine however.
- The illuminator is non-adjustable, and I find myself wanting the spill to be a big larger. The diameter of the illuminator seems optimal at about 100yds, but the Rattler PDW and 300blk itself is more setup to be a CQB-distances type of gun. For clearing a house for example, the illuminator is a little tight. Pairing it with a Surefire Vampire alleviates this, but still…
- The IR lasers (illuminator and aiming) have a very small millisecond delay when firing. It's not extremely noticeable, but it's there - especially compared to the vis laser or other IR lasers like the PEQ-15/LA-5 family. This issue has also been reported fixed in the newer versions of the BOSS.
Overall I'm happy with this little optic/laser package. It fits the design/purpose of the Rattler/PDW upper well. While I have a few little niggles with it, nothing else available comes close to offering the same amount of functionality in such a small, lightweight package. For a traditional carbine, I think the a traditional separate optic / laser setup is ideal. But for a PDW package in 300 blackout, it's fantastic.
If you're interested in seeing more pics or info about the BOSS, please check us out on Instagram.