Sig Sauer KILO 2200 Laser Rangefinder Review
Great googly moogly! What an amazing bit of kit, really! The new Sig Sauer KILO 2200 is just spectacular beyond words, and you won’t even begin to be able to understand until you own one of these laser rangefinders, or find someone that’ll let you try one out.
Well that was a surprise wasn’t it? An excited first paragraph about a laser rangefinder, coming from me of all people. Let me explain: I’ve passionately hated laser rangefinders for decades and have been a vocal advocate for their being looked upon with bitterness and scorn because every one I’ve ever used with only one exception just plain sucked. I was convinced until just weeks ago that the inventor of LRF’s had in his patent application a line to the effect that LRF’s were expressly engineered to extract from me, personally and individually me, my last full measure of pain and misery.
Either they failed to give me a useful gizmo, over-promised to the point of dishonesty, or were just horrible to actually use. Usually more than one negative from that list would be there. Not only have LRF’s historically been uniformly rated at about twice their actual useful range, they were also unreliable and expensive for what I got from them. The only one that I ever was satisfied with was the Vectronix Terrapin, and satisfied is a term we’d have to qualify and define within the specific context of the Terrapin.
Well, I used to hate LRF’s. I’m in bit of a weird position now. You see, I hated LRF’s so much and for so long that I got pretty quick with using scaled reticles over the years and even got used to dealing with the amount of slop in my range estimations done via scaled reticles. That “dealing with it” usually boils down to getting a bigger target or getting closer but, I digress.
Upon being asked if I’d do a review on this SIG Kilo 2200 I was pretty excited. I was just down at the range moving targets around on our Long Range Precision match course. That means we had no current distance data for them but we did have a match quickly approaching. We move targets around periodically to keep the match interesting and when weather burns us we have to change the way we use the course. Of course that means that the target ranges are subject to change without notice. That wouldn’t be a problem if our targets weren’t so small but many of them are quite small, especially by long range standards. When you get to the “Long Gongs” part of stage 1 where you’re shooting at 700-900 yards there are 1MRAD and .3MRAD (roughly 1MOA - 3.5MOA) targets at each location. Throughout the rest of the course though the targets are usually closer to 2MOA or slightly smaller. When we have to run special course layouts because of weather issues it’s not uncommon to have 1MOA and even slightly smaller targets scattered around the course.You can purchase the new Sig Kilo 2200 and the 2400 models right HERE at the Long Range Hunting Store.
It’s always the same story with laser rangefinders: Spend a few hundred bucks and get a LRF that couldn’t do half of what it said it could do, then go back to my scaled reticle, blow the range call by 50-200 yards and regularly miss my first shot. This is also one big reason I’ve personally not engaged in nor advocated long range big game hunting for many years for those not already thoroughly steeped in the art of long range rifle shooting. It’s me being a big skeptic and a bit of a softie and that’s been mitigated now by the availability of a LRF that I know I can trust at any range that I can see to and that I can tell you with a clean conscience that you can trust too.
Using a Vectronix Terrapin, a full-on military grade and wickedly expensive LRF, we’ve always been able to get ranges reliably on our long range course. The problem is that only one of our regular shooters owns one and he doesn’t show up every weekend, nor is he at our beck and call. Because Terrapins are well over $2000 new and they’re not even manufactured anymore it’s unlikely we’ll be getting our hot little hands on another. Heck, on the aftermarket a used one still goes for $1800 or more. No other rangefinder we’ve tried up there has been reliably able to get ranges on the smaller targets. This has been a problem for literally years, and because of the inverse square law of the propagation of light I didn’t think that it was something that could be reasonably solved at a price point that consumers could tolerate in large numbers or with a sensor smaller than a wagon wheel.
Enter Sig’s new Kilo 2200. I received it in the mail and upon removing it from the shipping box I was faced with a really slick looking box with a clamshell top covered in cool looking and informative graphics with a well laid out interior. Some people may not care about such things but what sells the steak is the sizzle and in this case the box has a lot of sizzle and it’s rugged enough to actually protect the contents.
Pulling the device in its carry case from the box I noticed that the carry case has a little leather tab on the securing strap which prevents the strap from laying evenly on the hook. The little leather tab sits off to one side or another. The problem I had with that was every time I pulled on the little leather tab to open the carry case I’d encounter a little hitch and have to more deliberately get the elastic strap unhooked. It’s not a big deal but it did slow me down by a second or two repeatedly. All they’d have to do to fix that is ditch the leather tab and replace it with a loop or even a snap or better yet, a magnet.
Jumping up and taking the rest of the two mile hike that is our course, I proceeded through the rest of the stage targets, getting updated ranges for all of the 50 targets on the course and taking a few practice shots for fun. I was really having too much fun with the Kilo 2200, getting ranges on buildings and dirt and cows and whatever I could find to lase. It was just so easy to use and fast I couldn’t help but play with it like a kid with a new toy.
The last time we moved all the targets around I had to use a 600/1200yrds LRF from Brand X and was not able to get accurate ranges for anything beyond 500 yards, at least with me behind the wheel. That was very not helpful. The guy with the Terrapin normally has to get called out after we move the targets to get fresh ranges. This time I saved him a very long drive and we’ve got the data a week before match day.
When SIG released the Kilo 2000 many of us were talking about it and trying to decide if we really needed to burn the $350 to get one. Now that I’ve had a chance to use the slightly upmarket 2200 version, I gotta say that this is one of the best uses of $500 for long range shooting that I could give someone. Whatever the Kilo 2000 is capable of it’s obviously less than this is so I’m glad I waited. The Kilo 2200 is not just a great bargain because it’s helpful to have ranges, but because the thing works very well and works very well at amazingly long range. It also does all of that in a tiny package that’s (and this is the important part) easy and fun to use and at a price point that’s legitimately in line with capabilities.
Just to make sure I wasn’t being a kid in a candy store I took the Kilo 2200 to a mixed long range precision/PRS match before finishing this article (the rules between them and styles of shooting differ greatly). After the match someone noticed me putting the Kilo 2200 back into the box and that it was a 2200, not a 2000 or 2400 and asked about it. That promptly ended up with me being surrounded by 30 shooters that are heavy into PRS, general long range precision, long range hunting and all of the usual shooting-from-way-off sports simultaneously barking rapid fire questions.
To shortcut that whole thing, I thought it judicious at the time to allow each interested guy to try their hand with it. You have to understand that these guys in particular are not beginners. Every one of them comes to the match with a custom built match rifle, top tier optics and wicked skills. They have lots of money in their kit and aren’t shy about spending more if needs be. They’re the target market for this thing. Seemed only right to get some opinions from the peanut gallery then.
Some pulled out their own LRF for an on-the-spot comparison. Leica 1200’s and Leupold 1200’s started coming out of shirt pockets and backpacks followed closely by cuss words coming out of the mouths of owners of Leica’s and Leupolds. The handful of pro-shooters there also took the opportunity and all had the same reaction. What started as a “oh new toys” kind of conversation turned rapidly into a “holy wow that’s so amazing, did you see how it…” sort of conversation.
Part of the reaction of some guys was them being loudly and sarcastically mad at me for costing them another $500. Part of it was an honest 30 minutes of excited group discussion about how awesome the Kilo 2200 was and how it blew away everything else they’d tried. Comparisons to the Vectronix Terrapin, Leica 1200 and 1600, Leupold 1200 among others and sighs of relief that our long national nightmare is once and for all, at last, finally, over. We have arrived at a point in history where we have a great piece of kit that does not only what it says it’ll do but, and this is the important bit, it does what the user, rightly or wrongly, expects it to do, which is to do its job but in a way that’s easy for a human brain to cope with.
Some other reviewers will focus on the selection of reticle options or the angle indicator or the grip texture that feels exactly like the texture of the new S&W M&P 2.0. Some will speak of battery cover design and battery life. I don’t honestly care about those quite as much, like nearly at all. Some are handy bits of info but in my normal shooting life none of those matter to me as much as pulling a gizmo from my pocket, using it and getting on with my life. I want one button simple, fast function and I want it inexpensively.
I think the average shooter will use it just like I found I liked to: Pull it out and press the button. Some will use the advanced bits, but I think what people will spend a lot of time on with this product, and theyll spend years doing this, is getting used to just having this one function work reliably. Later on they will sophisticate but for now the elation of having a functional tool is likely to overshadow the usefulness of the other features.
It’s all just too much to take in at once, the same sort of thing that happened when we introduced high torque electric motors into manufacturing. We spent decades after that redesigning factories from giant brick and stone built and water power driven behemoths that were built to take the power of a water wheel and axles and shafts being strewn throughout a factory with multiple floors into single story, long structures of much more fragile construction with high voltage electric lines providing the power. It took a long time for things to catch up with that and I think it’ll take a while for us in the long range precision rifle shooter world to catch up with the Kilo line and update our methods, limits, laws and the rest of our gear.
There are some points that I did have minor trouble with. The leather flap on the case strap for instance gave me fits when I was doing timed practice drills for shooting at unknown distances (range target, address rifle, DOPE optic, aim, fire, stand up). The part of the focus ring you touch is some kind of rubbery substance, perhaps silicone, which isn’t very rigid and the little grab-me tab on it flexes badly when you’re trying to adjust focus. Kinda irritating but not a fatal flaw. It’s only a problem because actually focusing the thing is done from that. So it’s more of a little bit of a pain than a real problem. I had more trouble with the amount of force it took to actually adjust the focus. I’m a lot arthritic and the force needed was actually hard to generate from these old bones and was a smidge uncomfortable to exert. If you’re young, not an issue. If you’re old like me, set it and then don’t let anyone mess with it and the problem is solved. The eye relief is in theory adjustable but what that boils down to is the little cup around the ocular lens just screws in and out to change how close you physically can get to the lens. So, it’s not really so much of an adjustment. That was handy for bashing the thing against my glasses instead of holding off in space. There aren’t any more controls that aren’t single buttons and those buttons are plenty easy to use by even the most silly of goofs.
I was very skeptical at first and now I’m very much converted. Not only that, I’m amazed and now a fan. As someone with a very good understanding of the sorts of technologies inside the thing and what it takes to get to where they got from where technology was, I can tell you this is really worthy of recognition. SIG had to do some actual innovation, or at least purchase some. I’m not sure which way they ended up going. Either way it’s never cheap to innovate, and doing so may or may not cause the marketplace to adopt your new widget, so it’s financially very risky to do at all, and to compound matters it’s technologically difficult to innovate, and there’s the slop in predicting accurately how much capability you’ll get in the end for all your money and effort versus the market acceptance.
SIG pulled it off and delivered the next generation of LRF’s to the marketplace in an approachable and well-priced package. They didn’t leave anyone out with a high price or a compromised capability set so I think what they’ve actually done is probably set the ball rolling on a whole new generation of technological innovation with respect to optics, signal amplification and processing, light sensors and a whole lot more. Well done SIG! They didn’t just add a product, they added more distance to the list of things humans are capable of conquering.
About The Author:
MeccaStreisand is a long time competitive and recreational shooter, wildcatter, computer geek, exterior ballistics geek, inventor, outdoorsman, writer, husband and father. With over 20 years of experience in local and regional airgun, handgun, rifle and shotgun competitions of all sorts he competes currently in high power and smallbore metallic silhouette in the western states and long range precision and tactical matches throughout northern and central California. In his free time he wishes that he had enough free time to do anything other than wish for more free time.