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Tools Review

The ACR Electronics Hot Shot Signaling Mirror and whistle provide a simple and affordable safety solution for outdoorsmen

Date: 4/08/05
Tackle type: Safety Equipment
Manufacturer: ACR Electronics
Reviewer: JIP

Total Score: 9.16 + INNOVATION AWARD

Introduction: Survival tools range from very high-tech electronics to the simplest apparatuses. ACR Electronics has a very basic and innovative functional signaling device that's easy to use and extremely effective. The Hot Shot Signal Mirror is a complete package for both audible and visual signaling, and the best part is that anyone can afford this safety device.


ACR Electronics Hot Shot Signal Mirror (1700) Specifications

Material Polycarbonate
Color Optically clear with polished reflector backing
Size 4.25 x 2.75 x 0.19 in
Weight 1.8 oz
Features Mirror & whistle combo, holographic red spot viewing window, lanyard, float
Limited Warranty 1 year
Price $9.95

About ACR Electronics: ACR Electronics, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was founded in 1956. Their goal is to provide the best electronic life support and signaling equipment modern technology can devise.  Their equipment have been through the paces reaching as far as space travel to boaters to outdoor adventurers. Today ACR Electronics is a leading supplier of safety and survival products to commercial and government agencies, boaters, outdoorsmen, fliers, and much more.


The ACR Hot Shot Signal Mirror and Whistle is a safety tool that anyone can afford


Impressions: We all like high-tech toys, but sometimes the most simple tools can get the job done just as well. Made by ACR Electronics, the Hot Shot Signal Mirror is an outstanding and affordable device to carry while you're outdoors, either by land, air, or sea. The Hot Shot is in essence a mirror and whistle combo, all attached via a lanyard and a float to keep it from sinking if dropped in the ocean or lake while fishing.  The low profile 102-decibel whistle is patented and meets USCG's audible level for alerting nearby rescuers under low visibility conditions.


The Hot Shot Signal Mirror has an innovative viewing window for sure accuracy


The Design: The ACR Electronics Hot Shot signaling mirror isn't just any plain mirror.  This mirror is designed for durability, superior reflection capabilities, and pinpoint accuracy. Fabricated out of polycarbonate, the mirror will not break easily and it's more resistant to scratches than many other types of plastics. The reflective film layer is placed on the back of the polycarbonate and sealed with a colored coating where detailed instructions are printed. The feature that really stands out on the Hot Shot Mirror is the holographic red spot viewing window. When you look through the window and a red spot is present on your target, you can be sure that your reflection is targeting the intended subject. The red spot is an optical illusion created by red reflective material designed into the viewing window.


The combo consists of a polycarbonate mirror, a whistle that meets the USCG requirements, and a float to keep from sinking if dropped in water


Real World Tests: To test the ACR Hot Shot Signal mirror and whistle combo we worked in teams of two.  One team would act as the transmitter while the other would be the receiving end. We ventured onto mountainous trails, flat roads, lakes, and the ocean to field test this product, and here are our results:

Usage: The whistle, I don't think we have to get into too much on this device's operation. The 102-decibel whistle on a calm day on the water or on the trail, can be heard just a little over half of a mile. Range will greatly depend on surrounding noise.


Using the Signaling Mirror is simple, and detailed instructions are printed on the back for reference when needed


The Signal Mirror, with the integrated red dot viewing window, is very straightforward to use. Just place the back of the mirror close to one eye. ACR Electronics recommends a distance of about two inches. Then reflect sunlight into your hand or onto a nearby object where you can easily see the reflection. Now look into the viewing window and look at the reflection from the mirror. You'll notice a red dot where the reflection is located. After you have obtained the red dot, simply move the red spot to the target. The spot shows you where you're signaling. By viewing your subject through the window and the red indicating spot on the target, you know you're sending the reflections where it counts. The only down side to any mirror used as a signaling device is that when there's no sun, you cannot use it. But when there is, the reflective signal from the Hot Shot mirror can travel a great distance. We were able to easily see the reflection over 2 miles away on the water and on land.


When looking through the viewing window the red spot will appear like the picture on the right when your light source is the bright sun.  Point the red dot at your target when signaling

Durability: Both the Hot Shot mirror and whistle both did well when we tested them for durability. The whistle is constructed out of high-impact plastic and survived all our trauma tests. Its slim construction is well reinforced. We sat on it, sandwiched it between hard surfaces, and also stepped on it causing no damage to the whistle.


The mirror is extremely durable and the reflective film is kept from harm behind the polycarbonate


Polycarbonate is one durable material, and is used in many products including prescription glasses, protective lenses, food storage containers, and medical instruments. The material exhibits very high strength and superior impact resistance. We didn't send the mirror straight to our test lab to do scratch tests, but it did go through some brutal collision tests with other rough objects. The polycarbonate plastic is relatively thick, 0.19 inches, and it would take tremendous effort to try and damage this device to a point where it would cease to function.


Some mirrors and whistles are made from metal materials and will corrode when water, especially saltwater, comes in contact with the alloy. This is simply a non-issue with the Hot Shot package, which is constructed completely out of plastics. No matter how much water you expose to this product, it won't affect it in any way.


The ACR low profile whistle meets USCG requirements and can produce an audible signal of 102-decibels


Application: The Hot Shot can be used by any outdoorsmen, especially when it only weighs 1.8 ounces and packs fairly small. I would recommend any outdoor enthusiasts to carry an ACR Hot Shot Signaling Mirror and whistle combo. Hiking, backpacking, off-roading, boating, fishing, skiing, biking, hunting, or any outdoor activity where you have the potential of getting stranded or lost, a simple device like the high-decibel whistle and accurate signaling mirror can save your life.

ACR Electronics Hot Shot Signal Mirror Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Constructed exceptionally well out of high-grade material.  The polycarbonate mirror is outstanding and the slim whistle is well reinforced for durability 9
Performance The performance of the whistle and mirror is excellent.  The whistle meets the USCG requirements.  The mirror, with its outstanding red spot viewing window design just blows us away with accuracy on signaling for help 9.5
Price This is one product anyone can afford 9.5
Features This package is complete with both audible and visual signaling.  It features a high-decibel whistle that meets USCG requirements.  And the best mirror we have ever seen, designed with a viewing window with a red spot for assisted accuracy 9
Design (Ergonomics) The package is lightweight and can be packed small due to its slim design for both the mirror and whistle 9
Application This is something everyone should have.  Anyone that participates in any outdoor activities can make use of the Hot Shot Signaling system in an emergency 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Innovative and helpful red spot viewing window L Mirror requires sun for signaling
J Durable L Mirrored rescue devices don't have homing capabilities like electronic systems
J Easy to carry  
J Extremely affordable  
J Effective signaling device  

Conclusion: The ACR Hot Shot Signaling Mirror is a very simple product, but includes a wealth of added features, such as the red spot viewing window, which improves the performance greatly. Having a site to pinpoint your target on a reflective mirror ensures your accuracy and makes sure your call for help doesn't go unseen. The Hot Shot package includes a whistle that meets the USCG requirements, which is a product we feel confident carrying, and the novel patented mirror is both very easy to use and built for a lifetime of use. The product is very basic in function but extremely effective, and best of all is that it's very affordable. The patented red dot targeting system embedded in the ACR signaling mirror is extremely original, and something you simply don't find on other signaling mirrors, and the fact it is included in a quality package that still manages to remain under the 10 dollar price point makes it all the more impressive. The ACR Electronics Hot Shot Signal Mirror shines with quality, excellent value, and most of all... radiant innovation.









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