1P78 is the newest optic to
enter into service with the Russian armed forces. The
design is similar in concept to the ACOG with a
relatively low magnification and ability to point and
shoot without having to adjust any controls.
FOV is really nice, very similar
to the PO 3.5x21P and much better than 1P29 or the
Zeiss 4x25 ZFK. At 2.8x it ends up being a really
usable magnification that in some ways does seem more
like a red dot than a magnified scope. Both eyes open
shooting is possible but not quite as easy as PK-AS or
Rakurz because of the eye cup, though with practice it
works well. Like most Russian optics it does have eye
relief but it's easily taken care of with the rubber
eyepiece (a common feature on Soviet/Russian scopes
and works as designed). The optic has an orange/yellow
coating designed to reduce eye strain and enhance
clarity (thanks to Tantal for clarification on that).
Weight is nice at
1.1lb, actually less than many side rail + optic
combinations on the market.
Side view of the
1P78-1, the AK74M version most common in the USA
The Kashtan is tritium illuminated meaning no batteries and no circuitry to break, it's always on and the operator has to do nothing to get the illumination to work. The reticule is black during the day but when light levels drop low enough you can immediately see the illumination. This is a feature I am really enjoying on modern Russian optics like Kashtan, 1P76 Rakurz and the 1P29/UPO-1, it's smart and very simple. No more complaints about battery life on combloc optics ;)
The optic is zeroed on the 400m concept, meaning that if you shoot from 100m your point of impact should be about 22-25cm higher than your point of aim. The large chevron is used from 0-400m (see the '4' on the right of the vertical hash marks). Difficult to see in the photo but there is a tiny dot almost part of the large chevron, which is used for 500m targets. The second and 3rd chevrons are used at 600m and 700m respectively.
While the Kashtan does not have a PSO style range finder it is entirely possible to use the width and height of the hash marks to estimate range.
theakforum.net member "fearrainsdown" has
done the calculations:
1P78 is centered over the bore
and has a good height, it's about the same as an ACOG
over a flat top AR or pretty darn close. Speaking of
the famous 'unusually high' height of Russian optics I
really don't think they are universally designed to be
so high, it's usually assumed they all are but some
are and some aren't. In any case Kashtan is definitely
one of the lower ones out there and is really
comfortable. The 1P78 has an adjustable lense cap that
rotates freely and has a spring loaded detent that
keeps it from flopping around.
Adjusting the base for a tight fit is like any AK mount optic and takes just a minute to get right. It does block the irons when mounted but not a big deal if you have your tension set properly on the clamp because it's easy to unlock and remove in a hurry.
RPK74 version is designated 1P78-2 and sits directly over the clamp mechanism. Other versions include 1P78 for AKM and 1P78-3 for what appears to be the 7.62 version of the RPK but my understanding is that these are not in serial production and getting them in the USA will be doubtful.
As of early 2012 a few 1P78's came into the USA that did not have the military reticule. These version appear to be designated Kashtan C-1 (S-1) but there are versions marked C-1 that have the military reticule. Function and performance will be the same other than there are no additional chevrons or range lines for longer distances.
S-1 with German Post Reticule (theakforum.net sargent_bilko)
S-1 version also but this one has the military reticule
Kashtan on AK103
In conclusion I think the 1P78 is a rugged and
simple optic. There is a lot of engineering in the
design that has made it a pretty easy to use scope and
it's naturally right at home on an SGL31 type rifle,
but should work fine on any 16" barrel 5.45 rifle with
a side rail. Should work on the AK105 style as well
but you'll probably have to learn some hold over for
the second and 3rd chevron.