Hand-Picked Daily GUN DEALS, and Exclusive Coupons Codes >>>
We select and review products independently. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission, which help support our testing. Learn more.

[Review]: Swamp Fox Optics Liberator & Kingslayer Red Dots

Are Swamp Fox's new red dots worth the move from established brands? We hands-on test their Liberator & micro Kingslayer to find out.

    More companies are coming into the market with optics at price points that are within reach of more consumers.

    There are a lot of people that at the drop of a hat will scream, “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!”

    While that can be the case with many options on the market, I spent the last few months finding out if it is true with the red dot line-up from Swampfox Tactical Optics.

    Swampfox packaging

    Full disclosure, these two optics were given to me for free by Swampfox Tactical Optics.

    I received zero compensation from them for this written review, and I will be going over everything.

    The good and the bad.

    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    A Short BIO

    Swampfox Tactical Optics is a Colorado-based company. It was established in July of 2018 and, at the time of this writing, is less than a year old.

    Their red dot optics are the Liberator and Kingslayer, respectively. They are made off-shore by a Chinese manufacturer and imported into the United States, like other companies such as Sig, Vortex, and many more.

    Their name harkens back to the Revolutionary War with Francis Marion. His nickname was “Swamp Fox”, and he liberally brought hate and discontent to the British forces while America was desperately trying to gain independence.

    I am a nerd for history, so it is always cool when a company resurrects a historical figure’s stories.

    Swampfox meme
    Basically what happened. Circa 1776, colorized.

    The company offers a 50,000-round guarantee, which essentially is a limited lifetime warranty.

    They obviously cannot verify a round count with the optic, but they use a “warrior’s honor”. Basically, if the optic fails through no fault of your own, they have you covered.

    Loss, theft, deliberate damage, or cosmetic damage is not covered under their warranty.

    Apples and Oranges

    The Liberator and the Kingslayer are two very different optics. The Liberator is a typical “tube-style” red-dot with a visible LED emitter within the tube and the shooter’s field of view. The Kingslayer is a miniature reflex-type optic with a very small footprint. It is roughly the same size as a Trijicon RMR, or a Vortex Viper. 

    The Liberator weighs in at 3.49 oz. and comes with a skeletonized absolute-cowitness mount.

    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Also, in the box comes a low picatinny mount for use on shotguns, or perhaps an AK that would not need a riser mount. The box also includes a lens cloth, lens covers, 2032 battery, and double-sided wrench for installation. The MSRP is $199.99 at the time of this writing.

    Swampfox Liberator on AR15
    Liberator box and a rifle it was tested on.

    The controls are a rubberized push-button system to increase or decrease the brightness levels and turn off/on the optic.

    There are 10 illumination settings, which at its brightest setting is more than adequate, even on a bright, cloudless day.

    Battery life is measured at 3,000 hours at a medium setting. The body looks more like a typical black oxide finish instead of an anodizing.

    Adjustments at the windage and elevation knobs are easily changed with the back of the caps. Clicks are audible and tactile.

    Close up Swampfox Liberator
    Side mounted push-button system for controlling the Liberator.

    Looking through the glass of the Liberator shows a clear and distortion-free field of view. The lens diameter is 22mm and is not heavily tinted like other models.

    The dot is clear and concise, and their claim of 3 MOA seems to be accurate. The emitter is slightly more in the field of view than I would like, but with both eyes open, the tube and emitter fade away.

    The Kingslayer weighs in at a feather-weight 1 oz. It is preassembled with a Picatinny compatible mount but it also can be mounted on a slide with an RMR cutout with their newest generation.

    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    The optic that I received and tested is not compatible with an RMR footprint.

    Just like the Liberator, inside the box come the standard items, and a rubberized sheath for the Kingslayer.

    Swampfox Kingslayer on shotgun
    Kingslayer mounted on an 870DM Predator while doing drills.

    The main body is low profiled with angled cuts. It appears to share the same black oxide finish on the aluminum body and features the same kind of rubberized push-button controls on the Liberator are on the Kingslayer, albeit smaller.

    It also has 10 different levels of brightness and a 22mm lens diameter. The battery used in the newest generation is a 3-volt 1620.

    The glass on the Kingslayer does have a slightly more tinted lens, but it isn’t nearly as bad as the Trijicon RMR.

    That comes with a price though for battery life, as the Kingslayer’s maximum battery life is at 1,500 hours or roughly 4 months. When you look at an RMR, you can expect 4 years of continuous battery life.

    Through the glass Swampfox Kingslayer and Trijicon RMR
    Size comparison between a Kingslayer and Trijicon RMR. The colored tint is noticeable.

    Practical Application

    Over the course of nearly 6 months, both optics provided to me by Swampfox Tactical were shot, abused, water-tested, and impact tested.

    They also went on hunting trips with me, including a turkey hunt in Texas to the Spike Box Ranch. Not once did I have an issue with either model once I got them in the field or on the range.

    Swampfox sunset
    Typical Texas sunset. God bless Texas.

    There was one issue with the Kingslayer before I even get it on the range. While installing the battery, I snapped the head of the mounting bolt on the battery tray.

    Without putting much torque on the bolt, I immediately felt it release. Upon inspection, the head was obviously out of spec for the bolt.

    Once I notified Swampfox, they immediately sent me out a new set of hardware and assured me that they were looking into better hardware.

    Swampfox Kingslayer screw problem
    Image sent to Swampfox Tactical Optics, explaining the issue with the bolt.

    The Liberator was shot on multiple ARs, including 5.56 NATO, .300 BLK and .308 Win.

    It was also shot on an 870 DM Predator to test for recoil. Loads consisted of 2 ¾” and 3” magnums, varying in birdshot, turkey loads, 00-Buck, and slugs.

    Zero did not seem to walk at all, and when placed back onto an AR, function stayed the same once I easily rezeroed the optic.

    Swampfox Liberator side closeup
    Some light scratches were the only damage done to either optic from impact testing.

    Impact testing from knee height, up to shoulder height showed that the companies impact resistant claims may be accurate. Each optic is rated by the manufacturer to be impact resistant up to 800Gs.

    Dropping onto different surfaces over multiple range sessions showed that both optics retain zero and continue to function.

    The Kingslayer was mounted on ARs of the same calibers, and the shotgun. To really test this bite-sized optic though, I mounted it on a Desert Eagle in .429 Magnum from Magnum Research Inc.

    The iconic Desert Eagle has always been a formidable handgun that is an absolute hand cannon.

    With a cartridge 40% more powerful than a .44 Magnum, what can possibly go wrong?

    Swampfox Kingslayer on 429 D Eagle
    Kingslayer mounted on the mammoth Desert Eagle .429 Magnum.

    After going through a few boxes of ammunition to zero the Desert Eagle for my hunting trip, the tiny Kingslayer performed well.

    Adjustments were positive with both windage and elevation, although not audible or tactile like the Liberator. Round after round, after zeroing, I was able to keep rounds on target.

    Swampfox Kingslayer D Eagle Grouping
    Zero session with the Kingslayer/Hand Cannon combo. Adjustments were positive.

    During my time in Texas, I was able to take a respectable Tom at roughly 22 yards. After setting up in a spot where gobblers were known to roost, I patiently waited inside of my ground blind with my Kingslayer mounted .429 Magnum Desert Eagle.

    After getting a response from two gobblers looking for a good time, once they caught sight of my Flambeau breeding hen and tom, they marched right in looking for a fight.

    Swampfox Kingslayer on D Eagle Closeup
    The aftermath of a 240-grain JSP from the .429 Magnum in the background.

    Unfortunately for the one tom, he only found me waiting for him.

    Once he stepped within range, and gave me a clean center mass shot, I centerered the Kingslayer’s 3 MOA dot. Pulling the trigger, I sent a 240-grain JSP from the Desert Eagle on target.

    Between the Kingslayer and .429 Magnum loads, the gobbler didn’t have a chance.

    The Run Down

    First, the Liberator.

    The lens coating is typical of other red dots within its price range and does a good job of keeping the glare down. Additionally, the lens multi-coated for light transparency and to resist scratching and shed moisture on the outside of the lens.

    Finally, the whole system is nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed. 

    Swampfox Liberator side low closeup
    Multicoated lenses offer good light transparency and reduce glare for the shooter.

    The skeletonized riser mount is a nice design and sheds some weight. It puts the red dot slightly forward compared to the basic Picatinny low-mount, but it is not drastically forward.

    Angled cuts give it its own look and they separate it from other typical “tube-style” red dots. The side mounted battery compartment protrudes a good bit and does affect the field of view though.

    Swampfox Liberator through glass sunny day
    View through the Liberator during a bright, and sunny day.

    One gripe that I have with the red dot is battery life. At 3,000 hours with a medium setting, the optic is poor compared to other models within its price range.

    It does have an auto-off feature that will turn off the optic after 4 hours without motion.

    Overall, the actual red dot is incredibly bright and concise. At its highest setting, on a cloudless sunny day, the dot is incredibly bright.

    Like Aimpoint bright. Visibility is not an issue with this red dot.

    Now on to the mini-reflex red dot, the Kingslayer!

    As stated earlier, this one had an issue with a battery mount bolt.

    While the situation was remedied quickly, the hardware between both models did seem to be less than ideal, and in my opinion, should be reevaluated by Swampfox.

    The Kingslayer, and the Liberator though, did mount securely to any rail I attached it to, and zero was maintained through rough use.

    Swampfox ADS
    Field of view is excellent, whether on a shotgun or handgun.

    The field of view with the Kingslayer is great for its price point. Glass quality is great, and only a very slight tint is noticeable if you look for it.

    Although my test sample is not RMR compatible, the newer generation shares the same RMR footprint per their website.

    This is a very smart move going forward and will give shooters a cheaper alternative compared to the Trijicon RMR.

    The Kingslayer, like the Liberator, has a multi-coated lens that is scratch resistant and hydrophobic. The unit is waterproof as well and is also listed at 800Gs impact resistant.

    Battery life though is its major drawback. Their website lists the optic being able to last up to 1,500 hours, while their competition can be measured in years with the Vortex Venom, or Burris Fastfire3.

    Brightness level for the dot is impressive with the model I tested, and visibility was perfectly fine throughout all lighting conditions.

    Even at high noon in the Lonestar State, the 3 MOA dot refused to wash out against different terrain.

    The Kingslayer has a 4-hour auto-off feature as well, and while hunting, I took notice of it a few times.

    By the Numbers


    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Affordability: 3.5/5

    For the price, the Liberator is not a bad option for someone looking for a recreational optic or for light use or in a home defense situation.

    I would be disingenuous though if I did not point out that other models within the price range of the Liberator have better battery life and can be found cheaper than the $150-200 street price of the Liberator.

    Example being the Sig Sauer Romeo5 with its 40,000-hour battery life and average street price of $120.

    Looks: 4/5

    Aesthetically, the Liberator looks like most “tube-style” red dots, but it has its own design that separates from the pack.

    The black oxide surface finish does tend to look cheaper than anodizing, but it does work as its designed.

    The skeletonized riser mount is a nice touch and functions well.

    Reliability: 4/5

    The optic worked exactly as intended, and the 3 MOA dot is fantastic in any lighting condition.

    It truly is Aimpoint bright and visibility with the 10 different settings won’t be an issue. Hardware on the other hand though needs to be reevaluated.

    More durable, and better-quality bolts would be nicer for the price point.

    Overall: 3.5/5

    Overall, the Liberator is not a bad red-dot. For recreational use, it will hold up fine and can handle getting thrown around, or getting submerged in water.

    The brightness levels are great, but you do sacrifice battery life with this model. The 4-hour shut off is a nice perk, but a shake-wake system would be much better.


    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Affordability: 4/5

    The Kingslayer is a decent deal for what the red-dot offers. For someone looking for a mini reflex optic, the Kingslayer would be a good choice.

    But, I have to again point out that the Vortex Viper is only slightly more expensive at around $230 on Amazon and features a max battery-life of 30,000-hours compared to the Kingslayer’s 1,500 max.

    Looks: 4/5

    The angled cuts on the Kingslayer set it apart from its competition. Its small footprint and RMR compatibility with the newer generation is a smart choice. The side-mounted battery tray is also a nice touch, especially when you don’t have to re-zero the optic when the battery dies.

    Reliability: 3.5/5

    The Kingslayer ran great on both a shotgun with stout 3” magnum loads and with the .429 Magnum Desert Eagle from Magnum Research Inc. It did not falter at all. The reason for the 3.5 rating is strictly due to my lack of confidence in the hardware and mounting bolts for the optic. 

    Overall: 4/5

    I really enjoyed the pint-sized optic while I ran it for the past several months. Using it on a hunting trip on such a big bore handgun, showed me that internally the red dot could handle punches and keep chugging along.

    For the price point, it would be a good choice, although battery life leaves a lot to be desired.

    Parting Shots

    While I may be a bit critical overall with these two red dots from Swampfox, they both performed well with all testing and are still going strong.

    Is battery life important for you? Even for a recreational optic? Let us know in the comments below! For a lot more awesome optic options, take a look at the Best AR-15 Scopes & Optics!

    A Couple AR-15 Optics
    A Couple AR-15 Optics

    The Best Gun Deals, Coupons and Finds

    Subscribe to Pew Pew Tactical's sales and deals email.

    20 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      Mbogo 416

      For my usage battery life don't mean much. Just change it when you change the ones in the smoke detectors and you'll be fine. As far as comparing it to the Viper, (which I have on my Glock model 20) I'd much rather have the green 3MOA dot than the red 6MOA dot, but that's just personal preference.

      March 4, 2022 10:51 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Trijicon and Aimpoint all the way

      Proven reliable in the harshest of conditions

      December 16, 2021 3:23 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Terry C

      For people looking in this price range Chinese made optics are just about the only choice regardless of whose name is on the outside. Maybe if some of the US made products weren’t priced ridiculously high the average guy would buy them. Also, Swampfox discount codes are always readily available and they give 20% off.

      January 21, 2021 1:26 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Another chinese optic.....not for real world operation. You do get what you pay for.

      December 13, 2020 8:47 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Michael Baca

      yeah, i have to say that such a low battery life compared to the competition makes me consider the buy once cry once way of thinking. however, i did just get an arrowhead 1-10x for my new 18" grendel build last week. that thing is niiiiiiice! hopefully swampfox will take our reviews to heart and make some minor tweaks that will put their products up above the competition.

      February 16, 2020 7:26 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Gary from the snowflake state

      Thanks for the honest review. I am leaning towards the Kingslayer circle red dot for these old eyes. I spend 6/8 hours a month @ the range so battery life isn't a big issue. Heck I don't even buy green bananas anymore why should I care if battery life is only 3/4 months.

      January 25, 2020 11:15 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I just got a Holosun 507c for $215.00 in a Labor Day sale....let's see 50,000 hours on battery with Solar Backup/RMR footprint/Circle Dot or 2moa dot/$215.00......I'll pass on the Swamp Fox!

      September 12, 2019 8:04 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I think your device auto corrected albeit to albite which is a mineral.
      I read it way too fast and It threw a wrench into by brain as you were writing about the aluminum, black oxide, and rubberized buttons and I had to reread it trying to figure how albite was part of the construction.

      June 29, 2019 6:30 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        David, PPT Editor

        Go home spell checker, you're drunk!

        Thanks for pointing it out, fixed it now :D

        June 29, 2019 8:49 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Clear, Concise and Honest review. All points taking into consideration, battery life is extremely important, if only for Murphy’s Law... I am one that chooses to support the small independent companies over brand names. (Have gone brand when necessary). I have experienced The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and The WaitaminuteMoFo.... if Swamp Fox takes away the lessons to be learned from your review. Chooses to meet their competitors (make those improvements), I wouldn’t hesitate to give their optics a whirl.

      June 28, 2019 12:45 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Ken Whitmore

        I really appreciate your feedback. Makes my job as a writer enjoyable when people take something away from it.

        I would also like to say that Mike Branson of Swampfox found me on Facebook, friend requested me, and sent me a PM saying he appreciated the review as well and that improvements are in the works. He also responded down below to someone else's comment.

        I have dealt with companies that don't care what you have to say, or become argumentative if you criticize. Not with Swampfox and that says a lot to me. The company is young, but they have experience in their employees. They are taking reviews seriously and working on their products to make them better.

        To me, that speaks volumes.

        June 28, 2019 5:07 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      it looks to me like a sig romeo 5, a holosun #. unless it has some really wizbang features that the others dont have, i am going to say, NO.
      Do you think that since you were reviewing the item, their customer service was treating you better or do you think thats just how they operate for all of us scrubs?
      not to really knock them either just curious.
      thanks for the review.

      June 28, 2019 5:38 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Ken Whitmore

        I don't believe I was treated any different. They seem to have a strong relationship with customers on social media, but I understand where you are coming from. They are a new company, so they will evolve and make improvements in my opinion. They have a few people within the company that have years of experience in this type of stuff. Overall, their product worked well, but little creature comforts like battery life and auto on/off should come along as the company moves forward. At least if they want to compete with companies you mentioned above.

        June 28, 2019 6:20 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Michael Branson

          We have auto on/off "shake awake" in prototype form already, and are also addressing the mounting hardware quality issue. Battery life, however, is a problem, a much bigger challenge that will either take time or cubic amounts of money to solve.

          Without giving away too much, this is an economy-of-scale "local grocery store vs. Walmart" situation. When you buy a component in quantities of 30,000 at a time, each individual component costs less. When you want to buy just 1,000 of them, suddenly the component price goes way up-- or the component seller won't talk to you at all.

          It ain't easy being the little guys, but the good part of it is that we can listen carefully to our shooters and try to make changes faster than the heavy hitters do. --Swampfox Mike

          June 28, 2019 1:09 pm
          • Commenter Avatar

            does the diode in the red dot Liberator look like a "star" ? My vision is great, I don't wear glasses and I have heard that people with astigmatism see a blurry star but i've seen crisp red dots. I do not have astigmatism.

            July 12, 2019 9:18 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Paul W.

      This actually makes me feel better about going forward with the purchase of a Kingslayer. Got a few RMR cut slides and this MRDS might be a great option to let me complete other builds under budget!

      June 27, 2019 5:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Thinking about starting a red dot company based here with products made in China too. I’ll call the tube sight “ Werewolf 69” Eliminator and the reflex sight “Dragon slayer” Optimo Giggy.
      Coming soon to Amazon.

      June 27, 2019 5:19 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Dave Williams

      One can not black oxide aluminum. One can only anodize it or apply a spray-on type coating. The look of different types of anodizing is quite diverse.

      June 27, 2019 5:01 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mike in Santa Monica

      Why not review the REALLY inexpensive red dots like the Ozark Armament Rhino at $40 or the AT3 Tactical RD-50 for $75 and compare them to the SIG Romeo5 (SOR52001) for $121 or the Vortex Crossfire for $131? All prices Amazon

      June 27, 2019 4:55 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Eric Hung

        Yup! We have a sub-$100 red dot article in the works.

        June 27, 2019 4:57 pm
    Join the community! Log in
    Please provide a valid email address.
    Password is required.
    Please provide a valid display name.
    Please provide a valid email address.
    The password should contain at least 8 characters with at least one number or special character.
    Please accept in order to continue.
    Trouble logging in?
    Type your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.
    Please provide a valid email.
    Type your new password and hit button below to confirm it.
    Field is required.
    Account already exists
    We already have an account registered for email address () which is linked to your Facebook account.
    To log in type your Pew Pew Meter password below.
    Field is required.
    Account already exists
    We noticed that you have previously logged in with your Account which is linked to the same email address () - we can link both of your accounts together.
    In order to link your accounts, hit button below and log in to your Account with the same email as above.

    Account in Pew Pew Tactical means more.

    Login or create a free account to get the following
    Access and save hundreds of reviews, gun guides, and articles!
    Find the best daily deals on guns, gear, and ammo
    Manage your newsletter subscriptions and comments