What Is A Killflash

What Is A Killflash?

by

John Wise
March 18, 2022
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In any kind of sports shooting, there are few things as frustrating as a flash from your scope that warns your target. When you’re aiming and preparing for the perfect shot, you have to ensure that you’re taking every precaution to not miss or compromise the shot in any way. That’s why the killflash was invented. But what exactly is a killflash?

A killflash is a cover made of mesh that fits over a rifle or airsoft gun’s scope. Its purpose is to stop any reflections from your scope that could potentially alert your target while reducing glare as well. At the same time, it should allow enough light through for the shooter to see clearly.

A killflash is a valuable addition to any passionate sport shooter’s toolkit. Whether it’s for hunting, paintball, or airsoft, a good killflash could often mean the difference between hitting your target or failing miserably. Let’s look at what makes a good killflash and even some money-saving ideas to make a killflash yourself.

What Does A Killflash Consist Of?

A killflash can be made of various materials, ranging in quality and price. The most prominent feature of a killflash is the honeycomb mesh that’s specially designed to allow enough light through for a perfect visual of the target while obstructing any reflections or glare.

The material that’s most commonly used to make a killflash is aluminum. This makes it solid and sturdy while still keeping it light enough to make it easy to carry and use. Because aluminum is also a cheap metal alloy, it is possible to get a killflash for as little as $15, though the price could quickly go up to $200 or more for famous brands.

It’s a relatively simple device. In front, you have the honeycomb mesh that stops reflections or glare, while there’s a threaded area at the back that allows it to screw into your scope. More expensive models are generally more durable or add extra light-filtering coatings, and they are often painted with camo. Apart from that, there’s very little difference between cheaper and expensive models.

The Difference Between A Killflash And A Sunshade

Though they are made with a similar purpose, the two devices couldn’t be any more different. A killflash screws into the front of your scope and filters the light through a honeycomb mesh to avoid reflection and glare.

On the other hand, sunshades are even simpler devices that you fit to your rifle to block the direct sunlight from the front of your scope. A sunshade is also effective in most cases but lacks some of the easy portability and sophistication of a good killflash.

Some people believe that a sunshade is better because the killflash filters out some of the light. This is not the case with a properly-designed killflash since the hexagonal shapes of the honeycomb mesh allow optimal light flow into the scope while simply blocking reflections and glare from the front. The patterning is usually noticeable, but not so much that it will obscure your view of the target.

Another advantage of a killflash over a sunshade is the fact that the killflash also protects the sensitive optics and lenses of your scope. A much more expensive device, the scope should be taken good care of and protected as much as possible, and the mesh of the killflash does an excellent job at keeping dirt, grime, and things that scratch away from the lens.

Users of both killflashes and sunshades generally follow two rules of thumb:

  1. If it can shoot back, use a killflash. This is because animals won’t usually be alerted to immediate danger by a slight reflection. On the other hand, people will often realize that it’s a threat, and it will indicate to them where they should aim their next shots.
  • In lower light, use a sunshade. Though a killflash doesn’t affect visibility too much, it can be a bit of a problem in low light conditions, like late afternoon or early morning. A sunshade will block direct sunlight from the scope without affecting the shooter’s view of the target at all.

Is A Killflash Useful With A Reflex Sight?

People who opt to use a reflex sight, also known as a red dot sight, often wonder if they will get any benefit from a killflash. The answer is yes, and possibly more so than for a standard scope sight.

A red dot sight has a built-in LED that shines into a mirror, where it is then reflected into the eye of the shooter. These sights have a few benefits over conventional scope sights, but the same LED that’s an advantage also poses a disadvantage: now there’s an added light source, though faint, that could alert the target.

Using a killflash with a reflex sight is helpful since it will block any reflection from the sight’s optics, as with a scope, but it will also filter out the red tint of the LED shining inside the sight. Though the chances of your target seeing the red LED are slim, there is still a chance, especially in low light conditions. A killflash will solve that problem efficiently.

Can I Make My Own Killflash?

A killflash is a straightforward device, and it is entirely possible to make your own. Many people have created their own killflash from various materials, with 3D printed models being the most popular. There are many pre-made killflash designs for 3D printers available online to download for free.

If you don’t have a 3D printer handy, you can always use something as simple as the inside tube of a used-up roll of tape, filled with plastic drinking straws cut to the correct length. Cut the straws carefully, with a very sharp knife, so that they don’t fold or bend. Stuff the straws into the tube and tape it all together, so it’s nice and tight. Now you have a cheap, simple, very effective, DIY killflash.

Disadvantages Of Using A Killflash

There are basically three main disadvantages to using a killflash:

  1. The honeycomb mesh is visible. Though it doesn’t obscure your vision, it could have a negative impact on your precision.
  • Since it is designed to filter light, the killflash does reduce the amount of light coming in, making the image slightly darker than it would usually be.
  • A low quality killflash could damage the thread of your scope or even get stuck, after which you will have to force it loose.

Conclusion

A killflash is a useful, affordable attachment for any sport shooter’s rifle, whether it’s for hunting, paintball, or airsoft. It ensures that there’s one less potential giveaway that the shooter needs to worry about. Knowing that no glare or reflection will affect your shot’s precision helps you focus on the critical things, like loading up, taking aim, and hitting your target with the first shot.  

John Wise

John Wise has a rich background in the use of firearms and has also worked in building construction, particularly designing and installing soundproofing systems for homes and offices. Over the years, he has acquired a ton of experience in sound dampening techniques, technologies, and equipment. Leveraging that rich experience, John Wise now dedicates a chunk of time to show just about anyone how to drastically minimize noise pollution in their spaces, whether at home or workplace.