To me NIT-A has always been one
of the more interesting Russian optics and it has
without doubt set the standard for being the highest
mounted optic that I believe I've seen on any AK (in
person anyway). If you are fan of co-witnessing you
might as well skip this review, NIT-A is liable to
give you a heart attack due to how high it sits :)
NIT-A was adopted by the Russian
Army and has seen action in the Chechen conflicts.
I passed on the NIT-A when they made a brief appearance in the States back in 2005-2006, but I have always wished that I would have picked one up when I had the chance. As luck would have it I recently bumped into a friendly overseas collector who had one for a good price so I snagged it and after getting a hold of it in person I really wished I would have bought one a long time ago when they were available.
First thing out of the box I learned something very interesting about NIT...it is the forerunner of the space age looking Obzor and appears to use the same light gathering sensor method of making the reticule always on. The lens coating is the same purplish color and the reticule is the same green illumination, it has a switch for darkening the view to make the reticle higher contrast and it is tritium illuminated for low light shooting (or it was tritium lit... mine is almost completely gone). Interestingly to me it uses a smaller version of the German post reticule similar to 1P76 Rakurs instead of the Obzor's pattern. I like the Obzor pattern quite a bit and think it's pretty ingenious actually. NIT-A weighs 17 oz.
Light Sensor on the front and filter switch to darken the FOV
NIT-A is zeroed by turning the dial with the X pattern screw slots. There is one on the right side for windage and one on the bottom for elevation. The long switch is off/on
NIT-A reticule (always on during
daylight, originally tritium illuminated at night)
Obzor reticule, showing it's heritage from NIT
I had a chance to put a few
rounds down range and FWIW I think the sight is very
practical...like Obzor the reticule is easy to acquire
and works with both eyes open. When using both eyes I
found it was harder for the NIT-A (and Obzor) to
superimpose the reticule image due to the darker tint
of the lens...it tended to make my shooting eye
dominant which made the rest of the world disappear.
Other optics like Rakurs, PK-AS and Kobra are
generally easier to keep the reticule superimposed
because both eyes are seeing mostly the same
background. With NIT-A and Obzor it is clearly darker
in one eye than the other. Still works but I found it
required more concentration to keep both eyes open and
during different periods my shooting eye would become
dominant at random.
The height of NIT-A is actually
very comfortable when standing up...not so much
sitting down and I think it might be tough using it
One thing I believe is probably true about Russian optics is that it's not an accident some of them are so high, I think they are designed for CQB/ on the move, as well as for using ballistic helmets like the K6-3 Atlyn for example. With the visor down there is really no way to get on the irons from what I can see and concepts like co-witness go out the window too, so I believe part of the reason NIT-A is high is for helmet use.
NIT-A received excellent reviews during after action combat reports when used by the MVD forces in Chechnya:
(Quote from Tantal)
"It truly made the grade back in the day, being officially adopted by the MVD in 1995 after extensive testing inside Chechnya the previous three years. It's actually the first 1x both-eyes-open collimator officially placed into service by Russian armed forces units. Just a couple years later, the sight won a great deal of praise after beng specifically cited in official combat mission reports as playing a key role in the successful outcome of several important battles inside Daghestan in the hands of ODON rapid deployment (special forces) units, who received it as a standard issue item.
During it's field trials, the MVD cited NIT-A's performance as being measurably superior to the army's sole standard daylight combat sight of that era, the 1P29, as well as a few other contenders that were also tested. Not sure why, but it was most likely target acquisition speed, and cost."
This isn't one of the optics I'd recommend running out and getting for everyday use but I find it to be a pretty interesting addition to the collection and will be looking forward to getting more range time with it.