Athlon Optics Helos BTR GEN2 2-12×42 Rifle Scope Review

I have to say, I wouldn’t have picked the Helos BTR at first glance. It’s just not my type of scope for my hunting rifles. I like simple, no moving parts, and plain reticles. But after Athlon sent me this scope to try, I’ll admit that I became a convert. It’s more elegant than needlessly complicated, more elegantly durable than fragile. And the features it has, though not necessarily designed for what I’m going to use it for, are excellent.

This scope is in the mid range of the market, and has very high quality glass with Advanced Fully Multi-Coated lenses. The image quality from this scope was actually pretty shockingly good. So far I’ve only tested it at the range, but I’m really looking forward to using it in the field this fall. One thing really cool about this scope is the wide range of zoom settings. Starting at only 2 power, it can be used in very close up situations. It’s very rare that I’ve seen a scope go down to 2 power before, but I can imagine plenty of instances when it’ll be useful. And a 12 power on the high end is more than enough for my purposes, as hunting shots are never taken at super far distances. It also has a 42mm objective lens which gathers plenty of light and gives a good wide field of view without being overbearingly huge.

This scope is offered in a few different reticles, all of which fall into the category of complicated “christmas tree” reticles. That means they have a variety of hold points to account for both elevation and windage, and you can make accurate shots in a variety of situations without adjusting the turrets at all. In the past I’ve skoffed at such complicated reticles. After all, they do make the sight picture very complicated and harder to understand in the heat of the moment. My scope has the AHMR2 FFP IR MOA option. This reticle has hold overs that are designed for a variety of cartridges in 100 yard increments out to 700 yards, and can also be used to make distance estimates out to 600 yards based off of a deer’s body. After shooting this scope once, I can tell that my fears of complication were overblown that and that it’s going to make an excellent addition my arsenal. Here’s the scope reticle so you can see for yourself it’s versatility:

The scope has true precision zero stop and locking turrets, which are very intuitive and feel extremely solid. I have a much more expensive Night Force scope on another one of my rifles, and I think the Athlon’s are designed better. They are beefier, lockable, and seem ready to withstand the rigors of the field.

I mounted this scope using Talley one piece rings to my Tikka 6.5mm Creedmore, which has quickly become my go to rifle to hunt with. After getting it all dialed in, I took it to the range. I haven’t been able to do a ton of shooting with it yet (the ammo shortages have been making that harder and harder), but I did get it zeroed immediately thanks to the awesome and precise measurements from the turrets. It’s intuitive to use, and I’m looking forward to refining the scope and get it dialed in to take a mule deer this fall.

Overall, I would highly recommend this scope for a lot of people. It’s not a simple beginner scope like I would recommend to a new hunter, but if you have the budget for it and the desire to step up to a more versatile scope, this is a fantastic option.

 

Athlon Optics Neos 3-9×40 Rimfire Riflescope Review

Athlon has been impressing me lately with a lot of their quality sporting optics. One of their most popular items of late has been the Neos riflescope, particularly the version designed specifically for rimfire rifles. I’d been wanting to get my hands on it for a long time after reading some excellent reviews and seeing it climb the bestseller charts, and they sent me one to put through the ringer.

First off the basic details. This is a 3-9 power scope with a 40mm objective lens. It is fully multicoated to increase light transmission. It’s tube is constructed from a single piece of aircraft grade aluminum, and it’s waterproof and nitrogen purged for fog resistance. The scope is available in three different reticle options: Center X, BDC 500 IR, and the BDC22 Rim Fire that I tested out.

I was immediately impressed by this scope. I’d been looking to get a scope on my old Savage bolt action 22 (which was my very first rifle!), which hasn’t had a scope mounted on it since I broke the cheap one that I first put on it. The Neos was a perfect fit for this great old gun of mine. It mounted without issue, and zeroed in only a few quick adjustments at the range. It looks great, like a much more expensive scope, and is definitely one that I’m going to be showing off.

The reticle is designed specifically for use with a .22lr. When zeroed at 50 yards, it has bullet drop compensation marks for 75, 100, 125, and 150 yards. That definitely gives you a lot of great options for a caliber that you won’t be using beyond that distance anyway. The second focal plane design also means you can use those drop compensation marks at any zoom setting on the scope.

The scope is simple and very user friendly. After I’d zeroed it in at 50 yards, I handed the reigns over to a couple of teenagers who were out shooting with me. They easily and intuitively picked up how to accurately take shots with this scope/rifle combo and were shooting tight groups immediately, even though in one case he had never shot a rifle before.

Overall, considering this scope can be had for just barely over a hundred dollars, I would highly recommend it for anyone who wants a scope on their 22. It makes the joy of plinking more accurate and stretches your effective distance. It’s also an obviously very high quality scope that is built to handle large calibers, so it’ll be able to take a beating. You can’t go wrong with this scope.

Reviews of the Best Thermal Imaging Rifle Scopes for 2021

Thermal imaging rifle scopes have been used with great effectiveness in military and tactical situations, and these scopes have also proven to be an advantageous asset for hunters, especially when hunting boar. The following guide will go over everything you need to know to purchase a thermal scope on the civilian market.

Thermal imaging is a lucrative tool for hunters because it allows the observer to not just see their target in the dark of night, but to actually witness the ambient heat that targets give off at any moment in time. This ambient heat can be fluorescently colored or simply display as a brighter animal-shaped figure on a dark background. In any situation, this technology makes hunting live prey exceptionally easier.

Top Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope Recommendations

Detailed below is a variety of our top thermal imaging scope recommendations. Each of these quality scopes provide a diverse set of features to fit a variety of needs, depending on what is most important when making your purchase.

Best Overall Thermal Rifle Scope:

ATN ThOR HD 640 

ATN’s ThOR series of thermal hunting rifle scopes has made a firm reputation for its reliability, strong features, and overall versatility. The ATN ThOR HD 640 lives up to the great reputation that the ThOR line brings to bear. As this is a thermal scope that is rated for combat, ATN utilizes mil-spec germanium ballistic lenses for the eyepieces on this unit. This model is also very lightweight and fits well within the palm while weighing only two pounds.

This scope also has a plethora of menu options available by simply operating the directional pad positioned directly on the body of the scope itself. Some of the options that are included are the ability to change the color of the reticle, adjust the display’s brightness level, a full-color overlay mode that features rich tones that vary depending on the environment, and in the menus you can also adjust the reticle type. This device also starts up very fast; it takes less than three seconds from power up to sighting. Also, you can expect twenty-two hours of continuous use from the 20000mAh battery pack.

This scope also has great range; its full 5X optical zoom is essential when you need to visually get closer to a target. Since the ThOR 640 has no springs or screws and utilizes a fully digital system to hold zero, the ThOR will never let the reticle move off of base. ATN has also included video-out connectivity so that you can capture your thermal imaging excursions on video.

With a thick set of features, great levels of image quality, resolution, and additional functions, the ATN ThOR HD 640 is one of the most versatile thermal rifle scopes on the market, and the winner of our best overall pick. Click here to check the current price.

Best Thermal Rifle Scope for the Money

Armasight Predator 336 2-8×25 (30 Hz) Thermal Imaging Weapon Sight

You don’t always need to break the bank to get a quality thermal scope. The Armasight Predator 336 2-8×25 (30 Hz) Thermal Imaging Weapon Sight provides some great, rich features that all come in at a very low price tag.

Very light and portable, this thermal scope measures in at 3 x 7.6 x 3.2 x 2.8 inches and weighs only 1.4 pounds. The Predator utilizes solid state, un-cooled, long-wave infrared magnification technology to provide a reliable experience not just to the sportsman, but to law enforcement and military users as well. The targeting display is of a LED type and can display a resolution of 640 x 480. This is a great resolution, so the images are crisp and detailed.

This FLIR detector utilizing thermal scope has several features that make it one of the most competitive on the market. The Predator makes use of a drop down menu system to help users navigate through the thermal scope’s features. This ensures that the user experience is both intuitive and simple. This software is upgradeable and allows you to pick from six digitally controlled reticle patterns, access the thermal scope’s recording feature, access the digital E-zoom (up to 4x magnification), and adjust the contrast of the image. Overlay color modes include, white hot, black hot, and rainbow.

In addition to the digital E-zoom, this scope also has a optical 1.6x zoom for resolution loss-free sighted magnification. For the recording feature, there is a SD card slot where you can save your hunting videos for later viewing through the TV-out functionality. This sight is a great option with a rich feature-set and costs less than $3,000. It provides well-rounded design and customizability without breaking the bank. Click here to check the current price.

Best Thermal Rifle Scope for under $5,000

 Zeus 336 3-12×42

Our best thermal scope for under the $5,000 is another in the Armasight line of products, which is their Zeus 336 3-12×42. This scope employs a mid-sized 42mm lens to provide great resolution and vivid thermally enhanced images to the user. Its most noteworthy features include build quality, great drop down menu, and the inclusion of the exceptional FLIR TAU 2 un-cooled micro-bolometer thermal imaging system.

This is one durable scope. The Armasight Zeus is comprised of aircraft quality aluminum that can take several tumbles without compromising the chassis of this quality scope. Despite this sturdy construction, this scope is still almost feather light and compact. Measuring in at 10 x 3.2 x 2.8 inches and 1.5 pounds this scope will add minimal weight to your weapon, and will fit comfortably in your hands. As mentioned previously, Armasight created this scope to be 42mm; this is quite larger than the industry standard 35mm. This extra size ensures that the thermal imaging that this scope creates has larger pixels and is thus more detailed. The screen is a color organic LED screen that has a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels.

From a features perspective, this scope has more than enough. The keypad for the menu is durable and blends in very well with the body of the scope. The drop-down itself has features that allow you to access the six different reticle types, reticle patterns, color, polarity, and overlay colorization. The E-zoom feature allows you to utilize the digital zooming system without losing as much of the details as typical digital magnification systems. A really neat feature available in the drop-down is the ‘scenarios’ selection. This lets you cycle through high-value target, hog hunting, coyote hunting, deer hunting, bear hunting, mountain lion hunting, and elk hunting scenarios. Click here to see the current price.

Best Thermal Rifle Scope for Hunting

Flir ThermoSight RS64 2-16X

When utilizing a thermal scope for clearing varmints or hunting for game, you’ll find no better scope than the Flir ThermoSight RS64 2-16X

Hunting takes patience and a scope primarily used for hunting needs to have measured versatility for all of the types of hunting usage that it will encounter and the RS64 doesn’t disappoint in this regard. This scope is around two pounds, and while that adds a little heft to your weapon, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This unit comes packaged with an active matrix LCD display that displays a resolution of 640 x 480 and is capable of providing 16x magnification. The focal length of the lens is 60mm.

While the included internal lithium-ion battery pack guarantees more than four hours of life, it’s the fact that this pack is rechargeable through a USB connection that makes this scope great for hunting. You don’t have to replace your pack at all if you keep the cable wired into a local power source, so there’s no need to necessarily enter standby mode.

Insofar as internal features, the RS64 has a simplified scope interface that utilizes a four-button control system. You can access batter charge info from the display, adjust the reticle colors from white, black, red, or green, choose between three distinct reticle types, adjust the color palettes, or establish the included E-zoom magnification. When using the digitally-based E-zoom the targeted object’s resolution is automatically corrected for the extended zoom which helps for high magnification shots. Finally, like many of the scopes present on our list, this thermal imaging scope has video out capability, so that you can keep a record of your hunts. Click here to see current price.

Best Thermal Rifle Scope for an AR-15

ATN ThOR 640 5-50x

As the AR-15 is a great precision rifle, utilizing a thermal scope that is designed to give as much precision at the potential higher moving speeds that you might need to hunt active, larger game is just what the doctor ordered. With its 640 x 480 high-resolution sensor, the ATN ThOR 640 5-50x is exactly what you need.

Simply put, this ATN ThOR scope has built-in technology called the Smart Shooting Solution that allows you to forgo hassling with charts, reticles, and calculators to acquire your perfect shot. After you range in on your target and enter wind readings, your scope will adjust your point of impact as necessary for you. Furthermore, the scope’s Recoil Activated Video feature records a video that starts right before you take a shot, the moment itself, and whatever amount of footage you would like to have after the shot is taken; you don’t have to worry about forgetting to record the perfect kill shot or losing your target when trying to mess with video recording. Overall, the HD imaging provides a crisp and beautiful video recording experience to perfectly capture the best moments of your excursions.

This compact instrument weighs just a little more than typical ThOR scopes at about 2.75 pounds, and it is 10.67″ x 3.97″ x 3.47″ in dimension. On board are a bevy of features that make this scope perfect for utilization with an AR-15, including a built-in smooth zoom feature with the ability to reach 50x magnification. The scope’s built-in E-Compass and weather resistance make this the ideal tool to have on long hunting trips in a variety of conditions and locations, and you can record where your excursions lead you using the geotagging capabilities. If you plan to use this scope for more than one rifle due to its vast number of technologically advanced capabilities, you can make use of the scope’s profile manager to customize a series of settings specific to each of your rifles. Only 4 AA lithium batteries are required to operate the scope, and it comes with a 3-year warranty. Click here to see the current price.

Top Brands of Thermal Rifle Scopes

When looking for a great thermal imaging rifle scope there are a few strong brands that always release products that are functional, last for years, and are feature-rich. The recommended scopes listed above are all manufactured by one of the following top global thermal imaging rifle scope brands:

ATN

In operation for two decades, ATN has made its specialty the creation of quality night vision and thermal imaging scopes. According to their site, “Our R&D Department has consistently allowed us to launch cutting edge and innovative products and technologies. The new Thermal Line ThOR Series Weapon Scopes, launched in 2011, have been universally recognized as the best line of Thermal Scopes on the market today.” Check out all the ATN products here.

Armasight

Armasight creates quality thermal imaging scopes for a myriad of sectors. Their mission statement encompasses their desire to provide functional, versatile thermal imaging: “The primary goal of Armasight is to create a meaningful presence in the night vision and electro-optical arena by supporting elite military units, law enforcement professionals, first responder agencies and commercial consumers worldwide with the highest value price-to-performance goods and services that are delivered on time combined with the best after-sales support in the industry.” Check out all the Armasight products here.

FLIR Systems

FLIR took its name from the detector system that is most vital to thermal imaging and is responsible for many of the thermal technology that is used today. FLIR is also one of the oldest producers of scopes and thermal imaging technologies. From their site, “An industry pioneer for over 60 years, FLIR is the most vertically-integrated thermal imaging company in the world. We control the technology that’s key to our products’ thermal performance. In producing the R-Series, we leveraged our vast experience designing military-grade thermal imagers that have to be durable, precise, and reliable. The top shots around the world depend on FLIR. So should you.” Check out all the FLIR products here.

Pre-Purchase Considerations

In addition to considering the brand of scope that you’re interested in, there are multiple factors to consider before making your purchase, especially when trying to identify the features that are most important to you. If you are still unsure about which scope to purchase solely based on the information above, here are some other points to consider:

Price

Even the un-cooled types of thermal imaging scopes can get expensive. Models go from around $1,500 to more than $8,000. As a rule, the more costly thermal imaging scopes have a richer feature set and greater magnification. When searching for a great scope, try to keep your budget in mind, but also remember that you might not want to sacrifice functionality for a cheaper scope. This is a device that you’ll use for years to come and hopefully it’ll bring you success in use, so be sure to balance your need with your wallet judiciously. Also, thermal imaging technology is becoming more mainstream, so while today’s scopes might seem to be more on the expensive side, prices are sure to come down a bit in the near future. Even today, prices for these types of devices are a fraction of what they were even a few years ago.

Battery Life

Like many modern devices, thermal rifle scopes require power to function. Typically, you can use lithium batteries to power your scope and charge will vary greatly based on model. If you can find a thermal imaging scope that lasts around eight hours on a charge, then you’ve found one that lasts fairly well.

Refresh Rate

Just like in today’s graphical processor and television systems, refresh rate has great value in thermal imaging. Most scopes on the market today come in 30 or 60 hertz varieties. Hertz, when it comes to digital images represents cycles per second or how often a presented image is refreshed. The more refreshes the more lifelike the displayed image will appear. As a rule, when it comes to refresh rate, shoot for a thermal imaging rifle scope that has a rate over 30 hertz, this will ensure that if whatever you’re tracking starts to move it won’t appear like a slideshow. Some find that a larger 60 hertz display isn’t really that important as that level of cycles per second won’t make a noticeable difference unless the target is moving at a fairly rapid pace. Others have noted that if trying to target something from a moving platform, such as the bed of a truck, 30 hertz tends to lag too much, so this is a situation where 60 hertz shines.

Resolution

Thermal imaging scopes aren’t like standard mechanical scopes; their image is relayed using technology not unlike what is found in many of our current crop of digital devices. Just like in any other digital display, resolution is the primary means to providing a crisp, reliable image while using a thermal imaging scope. The reasoning for this is simple; too much pixilation distorts the edges of the target which can then cause misses. When it comes to resolution, your best bet is to purchase the highest resolution that fits within your scope budget. Thermal imaging doesn’t always provide as high detail as standard night vision imaging as its power is in detection, so having extra resolution for clearer image finding can really help you out on a hunt.

Zoom

Zoom typically goes hand-in-hand with resolution. There are two types of zoom, optical and digital. As a rule, optical zoom will allow you to magnify in on a target without losing quite as much of its resolution. Digital on the other hand, utilizes software to get closer to the target and zooming too far with this, at least without the help of other tech, will result in a lower resolution image. Thermal scopes with a combination of these types are a great way to get the extended zoom of the digital, with the image quality of the optical. When you’re thinking about making a purchase of a scope, definitely take a look at what the scope has to offer for zoom.

Reticle Option

The reticle, also known as a crosshair or reticule, helps provide accurate target sighting on a thermal scope. Some scopes feature a fine reticle while others feature one with thicker lines. Some scopes have a wide selection of reticles which you can select and can range from a standard crosshair to a simple central dot. Some manufacturers don’t provide a reticle in their thermal scopes, so be sure to do some research on the scope you intend to buy so that you know what to expect when you use it to target.

Germanium lenses

Glass is a great insulator; and as a result, it isn’t a material that can be used very well in thermal optics. The reason why glass is transparent is because visible short wavelengths pass freely through the material, but since infrared is heat energy and the glass blocks these wavelengths as an insulator, it’s impossible for the infrared detector elements to pick up the thermal information as the glass is blocking its reception. Germanium, a chemical rare element, can be made transparent and allow for the transmission of light on the infrared spectrum so the lenses on thermal imaging scopes tend to be made of this material. One caveat though, germanium is very expensive, especially compared to standard glass. As a matter of fact, a sizeable reason that these scopes costs so much compared to standard scopes is because of this lens material. You can safely assume that the larger the lens, the more you can expect to pay for the rifle scope.

Color or Monochrome

When many think of thermal imaging, they think of the bright oranges, reds, and yellows portrayed in the 1987 film Predator. While with the current crop of thermal scopes, you can get a great approximation of this effect, it’s not the only option for thermal imagery. For a little less you can get a monochromatic option that provides a great gradation level when observing an option. For monochrome thermal scopes, warm targets are simply brighter on the grayscale and still stand out very well from their cooler environments.

Clip-on versus Standard

For rifle sights, there are two types of scope systems that can help you utilize thermal imaging on your next hunt. These types are:

  1. Clip-on – Clip-on sights employ a thermal imager that you attach via rails to your current scope. These work very well, and many of the scopes in this category can be used independently but typically have slightly reduced zoom capability, so they are better when used in conjunction with another scope. Since your standard scope is view finding through the screen of your thermal imaging scope, at high magnifications some loss in resolution can occur.
  2. Standard – This is the type that utilizes standard scope technology and works in conjunction with an internal thermal imaging sensor. The images that this type produces provide great heat detail by using a myriad of colors, or it can present the thermogram display in a more monochrome readout. This typically depends on the manufacturer and the imaging system’s components.

Extra Features

Some scopes have extra bells and whistles on them like a DVR to record everything that the scope sees. This allows you to take a look at the days hunting after it’s done. Some models even feature an RCA out setup that will allow you to hook a monitor directly to the scope. Another extra feature on some scopes is the addition of a standby mode. Since most scopes incorporate a battery as a power source, this type of feature allows you to save the battery during times when you are relaxing or when the scope is not in active use. Many thermal scopes utilize a menu system that allows you to select your reticle, adjust brightness, or wind and elevation settings. Having extra features can make your thermal scope seem more versatile, which adds value to your purchase.

Selecting a great thermal imaging scope is a process that requires a lot of due diligence but is ultimately a very rewarding experience. Take the time to establish a budget, get to know the technology intimately, and learn the feature sets of some of the best units on the market. This guide, hopefully, will help you through the process and help to educate you on some of the features of the tech, the brands available on the market today, and some of the best units for sport shooting and beyond.

How Does Thermal Imaging Work?

How does this technology work? Initially developed in the military sector, thermal imaging allows those who utilize it to see the seemingly invisible. As a rule, all animals emit infrared energy as heat during the natural processes of life; it is that thermal energy that is visible to an observer using an thermal imaging scope. Since the majority of objects in the natural world emit heat in one form or another, the majority of scopes capture the differences in heat between the target and its immediate environment.

Forward looking infrared (FLIR) systems are the types of infrared detectors that many rifle scopes utilize to pick up infrared light. The lens in the scope focuses all of the incoming infrared light; this light is then scanned by infrared detector elements in the array, and these elements create a thermogram. It only takes about one-thirteenth of a second to create a thermogram, so to the observer it appears to happen in real-time. The thermogram is then processed and projected to the display for the observer to use. The images that are delivered can tell you when a target is under a bush or even hunkered down to avoid a strong rain shower. The majority of external elements such as weather or poor lighting do not decrease the reliability of this type of imaging.

Types of Thermal Imaging Systems

When it comes to thermal imaging, there are typically two systems that are used on the market: cryogenically cooled and un-cooled. Here is how these two unique systems work to provide sharp thermal imaging:

  1. Un-cooled thermal imaging – This type of thermal imaging is what the majority of thermal imaging devices utilize. The elements that detect infrared energy operate at standard temperatures; and as a result, they don’t need additional materials to keep the key thermal elements below 32 degrees fahrenheit. Since extra machinery isn’t needed, this system is very quiet, which can be beneficial for hunters. These types of sights provide great temperature differential information but aren’t quite as sensitive as the other type.
  2. Cryogenically cooled thermal imaging – This is typically the more expensive option. The system employs internals that are sealed and mechanically cooled to freezing temperatures or below. These types of devices can have a slight hum to them though that is typically only noticeable in close proximity to the assembly. Despite the additional cost, this system provides a great advantage as they have heightened sensitivity compared to un-cooled systems of thermal imaging. These types of scopes can observe very minute temperature differentials from more than 1,000 feet away from the target. The only negative aspect of this type of thermal imager outside of the cost is the fact that with all of the extra components for cooling, this type of device is not quite as rugged as the un-cooled variety.

For the most part, the majority of weapon targeting thermal imaging scopes are un-cooled and the weapons scopes that we’ll be covering in this guide are of this type as well. As mentioned before, cryogenically cooled devices offer more temperature detail and this type is perfect for many civilian applications, but as these can get to be very expensive they are mostly limited to thermal imaging cameras.

The Best Spotting Scopes for 2021

If you’re a hunter, bird watcher, target shooter, or engaged in any activity where enhanced vision is an asset, a spotting scope is a fantastic investment. Spotting scopes are designed to be used with a tripod, and are less portable than a pair of binoculars. However, they offer the best magnification and clarity of any type of sporting optic, making them ideal for spotting animals from long distances. This article will review what to look for when making an investment in a spotting scope to help you choose the best scope for your needs.

The #1 Spotting Scope On the Market Today

It is incredibly difficult to name a single spotting scope as the best available. But if you’re looking for a general use scope that can be used for a variety of activities, has good features, and is priced within the realm of reason for most outdoorsmen, you should really consider the Upland Optics Perception HD.

The Upland Optics Perception HD is our #1 pick.

A 20-60x60mm scope, it has the ideal amount of magnification for spotting, and the large objective lens lets in plenty of light without being excessively heavy. Its extra low dispersion glass gives it unbeatable image quality that you won’t get with very many other scopes, especially in that price range. Our partner company Upland Optics does a great job, and we feel like they are the company to beat in the optics world right now.

Shop now for the Perception HD Spotting Scope.

Typical Spotting Scope Uses

A guide to the best spotting scope for hunting, birding, and more.Spotting scopes can be used in a variety of contexts, but they are generally used to provide greater magnification than a pair of binoculars. These scopes are often used for hunting, archery, birding, and spotting wildlife. They can also be used to magnify a beautiful scenic mountain range. A spotting scope can be attached to a camera to take a long ranged pictures of a majestic animal without disturbing them or putting yourself in danger. Some people who use spotting scopes use them in conjunction with guns. This allows the person that is hunting to get a better view of the actual target before taking a shot. Spotting scopes are also used during target shooting to view the target hit at greater distances.

Features to Consider When Buying a Scope

Body Style

There are two types of spotting scopes: an angled body spotting scope, and a straight body spotting scope. Both work well in most situations, but one may be preferred over the other in certain viewing circumstances. An angled body scope is great for looking either up at your target or across flat ground. This type of scope is also perfect for viewing from the window of a vehicle. A straight body scope is best for viewing from a higher position, like from an elevated point on a mountain to catch a glimpse into the valley below.

Objective Lens

The absolute best option for a spotting scope is a high quality objective lens that is comprised of high performance glass. Always go for lens quality over size if you have to choose, as a larger lens of poor quality will result in a mediocre view when compared to a smaller lens of optimal quality. A larger lens will always produce a superior image at higher magnifications than a smaller lens of the same quality. Objective lens size can make a massive difference in price; expect to pay more for a larger scope.

Magnification

The magnification of a spotting scope is designed for viewing at ad distance where conventional binoculars no longer function. Most observation done with a spotting scope requires a magnification of 30x – 40x, which assures that most scopes are capable of producing reasonable images. As the lens quality goes up, the quality of the image increases as well. A bit of quality will always be lost at higher magnifications, but a higher quality scope will reduce the image drop-off quality.

The atmosphere also plays a big factor in the quality of the image being viewed. Humidity, glare, wind, and dust can all lower the quality of the image. High altitudes with dry climates are bound to produce higher quality images at high magnifications. Low altitude areas that are wet and humid may require a low magnification for a clear image. Many spotting scopes do not go higher than 60x due to the limitations set by the atmosphere for magnified viewing in the daylight.

Lens Coating

Lens coating is an important feature of a spotting scope, especially for viewing images at high magnifications. The lens can be fully coated, multi-coated, or fully multi-coated. Each lens coating improves the light transmitting into the lens, but the quality depends on the coating chosen for the specific scope. Premium spotting scopes all tend to be fully multi-coated to produce the optimal viewing experience.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is the distance the viewer’s eye can be from the eyepiece without losing any of field of view. This feature is especially necessary for people who wear glasses. With a big enough eye relief, even people who wear glasses with thick lenses will be able to see the full image without an issue. For those who require glasses to see, it is recommended to have at least 14mm of eye relief on a spotting scope.

Prism Type

Most spotting scopes are refractors that use prisms inside the scope to flip the image right side up and left to right. There are two different types of prisms used in spotting scopes: a roof prism and a porro prism. The roof prism spotting scope is slim and compact, but it tends to lack some key features like interchangeable eyepieces. It is an extremely portable scope that is perfect for someone who is always on the go. The porro prism spotting scope is the most efficient and the least expensive prism to produce, which makes it the most common.

Eyepieces

When purchasing a spotting scope, be aware that sometimes the eyepiece is not included in the price of the scope. If the eyepiece is included in the price, the eyepiece may not be removable. Higher end spotting scopes have removable eyepieces that often do not come included with the price of the scope, to give the buyer a chance to choose from the different options available. A single powered eyepiece has some optical advantages, but most people who use spotting scopes prefer the convenience of a zoom eyepiece. With this type of eyepiece, the magnification can be changed easily in a situation where the atmospheric conditions are not stable. A zoom eyepiece that is high quality will have a great eye relief as well as produce exceptional image quality.

Close Focus

A close focus is the nearest distance a spotting scope can view. Most spotting scopes do not have a close focus of less than 20 feet, so make sure the image being viewed is an adequate distance away. This feature is perfect for viewing birds and seeing intricate details on their feathers.

Waterproofing and Fogproofing

Waterproofing and fogproofing are not absolute necessities, but they are features that protect the spotting scope from atmospheric conditions. The seals that are produced to keep moisture out will also keep dust and debris from the scope, which will keep the spotting scope in good condition for a longer period of time.

Tripods

Due to the magnification levels of a spotting scope, a tripod or some support is needed to keep it steady during the viewing process. A car mount works well if viewing from a vehicle, but in most situations a tripod is required. All spotting scopes are threaded like a traditional camera, so there is no need for a specialized tripod. The tripod needs to support the scope, so if the spotting scope is heavy, the tripod needs to be heavy as well. For anyone using a spotting scope while hiking or traveling, make sure to consider the weight of the scope and the tripod before you commit to a long haul.

You can read our guide to the best tripods for spotting scopes to get some ideas for great tripods to use with your new optic.

Camera Adapters

Most spotting scopes can adapt to a camera to take long distance pictures. This process is often referred to as “digiscoping.” Make sure the scope and camera are compatible to assure a great picture from the mountain top. To properly “digiscope,” specific adaptors may be required for the camera to produce vibrant, razor sharp images that are of exceptional quality.

To learn more about the basics of spotting scopes, check out this awesome video:

Best Spotting Scopes for Hunting

For an avid hunter, the scope used to identify a target can mean the difference between a prized catch and the one that got away. A spotting scope will allow a hunter to get a better look at an elusive deer before taking a shot. It can offer a chance to pick an animal from a herd with enough magnification. Hunting spotting scopes all differ slightly, but they can be a tremendous help when using a rifle or a bow and arrow. Here are some of the most reliable spotting scopes for hunting:

Swarovski 80 mm STS HD Straight Spotting Scope

 

This 80 mm scope is a straight scope design that is perfect for hunting in the great outdoors. The scope features high density glass and a fully multi-coated lens to produce a razor sharp image. A rotating tripod ring gives the hunter some much appreciated positioning flexibility. With a close focus of 16 feet, wildlife near or far can be viewed with great results. The aluminum alloy body is a lightweight, sturdy solution for trekking through the woods, and the scope is coated with a Swaroclean Coating for extra protection from the elements. This water and fogproof scope also features a sunshade to help reduce the glare and shield the objective lens. With this model, the eyepiece is sold separately.

Vortex Razor HD 20-60×85 Angled Spotting Scope

This angled spotting scope comes at 85 mm. It has a close focus of 16 feet and produces crisp enhanced images through its sophisticated triplet apochromatic lens system. The compact, lightweight magnesium alloy body is equipped with an adjustable eyecup as well as a duel focus feature that allows for fine adjustments to image clarity. The Vortex Razor spotting scope is coated with an ArmorTek Lens Coating to repel oil from the lens. The scope is a model that has been weatherproofed against rain, snow, and fog suitable for any hunting expedition. A 20x – 60x magnification eyepiece is included with the purchase of this spotting scope as well as a rotating tripod ring to allow for more flexibility when positioning the scope.

Upland Optics Perception HD 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope

Mentioned above as our overall favorite spotting scope, hunting is where the Perception HD really shines. Upland is a company that focuses exclusively on hunters, and this scope is a fine example of that. Weighing just 2.5 pounds, you can actually carry this scope with you into the field if you wanted to instead of just leaving it in the truck at the base of the hill. Should anything happen to it on your adventures, it is covered by a lifetime warranty. And perhaps most appealing to many hunters is its price, which rings in literally thousands of dollars cheaper than options from other top brands.

 

Best Spotting Scopes for Target Shooting

In regards to target shooting, the distance for magnification may vary. Rain may not be an issue in this scenario, but it is important to remember that other atmospheric conditions such as humidity, air turbulence, and dust can affect the performance of the spotting scope. A few of the more dependable spotting scopes for target shooting are listed below.

• Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 20-60x80mm

The SX-1 Ventana 2 features a sleek design and excellent optical quality. It delivers high contrast, bright visual, and has a good (and expansive) field of view. The angled eyepiece is comfortable and twist up eyecups and smooth focusing enhance the experience. It has fully multi-coated lens coating, is fog- and waterproof, and is less expensive than many of the other premium scopes it competes with.

Swarovski ATX 30-70×95 Angled Spotting Scope and separate ATX Eyepiece

The Swarovski ATX is a high-powered, angled scope that uses cutting edge lens technology to take the viewer to their spotting destination. The 30x – 70x magnification range will define a razor sharp image anywhere within the range that is free of distortion. The focus wheel and the zoom wheel are within easy reach to allow for a quick zoom with little to no adjustment. The high density, fully multi-coated lens produces a brilliant optical image, even in low-light situations. This scope is a bit on the heavy side, but the rotating tripod ring minimizes the need to move the scope once it is positioned.

Best Spotting Scopes for Birding

Birding has been revolutionized by spotting scopes, especially angled body scopes that are perfect for viewing an area where birds might be observed. A good quality spotting scope can be used to enhance images of a bird’s plumage in both short and far distances. A high magnification lens will bring to light the finest detail on a bird’s feathers, which will allow for species identification from greater distances. You can also combine your scope with a camera using digiscoping techniques to capture amazing pictures. Here are a few of the more popular spotting scopes available for bird watching:

Kowa TSN 883 Angled 88mm Prominar Spotting Scope

The Kowa TSN is a spotting scope that is perfect for birding because the lens and optical features are included. The dual focus, fluorite crystal lens provides superb images with enhanced features, such as color, contrast, and resolution. The fully multi-coated lens and the porro prism allow for a viewing experience that has exquisite light intake, even in low-light settings. Viewing birds at long distances results in a sharp, undistorted image, and higher magnification levels maintain an impeccable image quality. A lens of this quality is a bit heavy, so the body of the scope is made of a corrosion resistant, magnesium alloy material to help offset the weight. Eyepieces for this model are sold separately, but the design includes a locking mechanism to lock the removable eyepiece in place.

Leica Televid APO 82mm Angled Spotting Scope

The Leica Televid APO is an excellent angled spotting scope for bird watching. Compared to previous models, this scope has a six percent light yield increase that makes the image resolution even more distinct in any lighting. The fluoride glass brings vibrant color and detailed contrast to the table without sacrificing any range of view. This scope comes with a fog and water proof seal as well as a AquaDura Lens Coating that will repel water and moisture. These protective layers assure quality images are not obscured by dirt or fingerprints. The 12 feet close focus on this spotting scope is designed for bird watching. An avid bird watcher can use this scope to identify a bird from across the lawn to across the lake.

Best Compact Spotting Scopes

A compact spotting scope is a great tool for hunters and wildlife observers who are always on the move. Having a lightweight scope that can easily be managed on trails or in dense foliage will make a wildlife expedition easier and more exciting. Some of the best compact spotting scopes available on the market are listed below.

Bushnell Sentry 12-36x50mm 789332 Ultra Compact Spotting x 40mm

Another great compact scope for those on the go is the Bushnell Legend in 12-36x50mm. This scope is a lightweight instrument perfect for hiking and other modes of travel. The fully multi-coated lens and the extra low dispersion glass give the scope a high-quality image with excellent light transmission. Make sure the image is pristine with the dual focus feature. Unfavorable weather is not a threat for the weatherproof protection.

Best Spotting Scope for the Money

When deciding which spotting scope to purchase, one should consider the features of the scopes as well as its performance. A great scope will be one that has most of the optimal features, but is offered at a lower price than competing scopes. After careful consideration, a few of the best buys for spotting scopes are:

Vortex Razor HD 16-48×65 Angled Spotting Scope

The Vortex Razor HD exceeds the quality level of many spotting scopes with heftier price tags. The top of the line lens features high density glass that is implemented to produce impeccable images free of imperfections. The high resolution and astounding sharpness can be seen throughout the entire field of view; it is even evident at full magnification. The angled body scope has a close focus of 11 feet, so wildlife that is nearby can be viewed without difficulty. In addition, a 16x – 48x magnification eyepiece is included with the purchase of the Vortex Razor. This specific spotting scope is protected from most atmospheric conditions, including rain, fog, snow, wind, and humidity. The protective layers also safeguard against dust, debris, and unwanted fingerprints.

Celestron Regal M2 16-48×65 ED Angled Spotting Scope

The Celestron Regal M2 is another great buy. This spotting scope produces exceptional images without distortion. The extra low dispersion glass enhances the image with a crisp resolution as well as vibrant colors. The edges of the viewing area are never out of focus, even at increased magnifications. Fine adjustments can be made with the dual focus feature. This light weight scope has a magnesium alloy body to prevent corrosion, and the optics are fully protected from the elements. A 16x – 48x magnification removable eyepiece is included with the purchase of the Celestron Regal M2 as well as a photo adapter that helps get the scope ready for “digiscoping” in the great outdoors. The scope is also equipped with a rotating tripod ring for greater flexibility while viewing and a sunshade to reduce the glare on the pictures taken.

Best Spotting Scopes under $200

Some situations call for products that don’t break the bank. Here are a few suggestions for quality spotting scopes under $200:

Redfield Rampage 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope

The Redfield Rampage is a great selection for anyone looking for a spotting scope in a low price range. In addition to a 20x – 60x magnification range, this spotting scope offers many features that are commonly seen in more expensive models. This lightweight scope will give you a clear image, especially at the mid range magnification levels. The fully multi-coated lens increases light transmission, giving the viewer a sharper image. The Redfield Rampage is designed to be rugged; the scope features weatherproof qualities to protect from the rain and fog.

Barska 30-90×90 Colorado Spotting Scope

Another great spotting scope under $200 is the Barska. This spotting scope features a straight body model that has a high magnification range of 30x – 90x, which is exceptional for this class of spotting scope. A fully coated porro prism helps increase the optics, giving the viewer a bright, high quality image. The Barka maintains noteworthy image quality and clarity in low light situations and at higher magnification levels.

Best Spotting Scopes under $500

Mid-ranged spotting scopes can still exhibit exceptional features. After some careful consideration, here are some great selections below the $500 price point:

Vortex Diamondback 20-60×80 Straight Spotting Scope

The Vortex Diamondback is an excellent mid-rang spotting scope. The great value is matched by a great performance that has a reputation for being on par with spotting scopes that cost twice as much. The fully multi-coated lens is coupled with a dielectric prism coating that optimizes light transmission, which gives the viewer an image that stays true to the bright colors seen in nature. The classic straight body design also features fog and water resistant seals that will protect the scope from moisture or debris. The Vortex Diamondback is a very sturdy scope that is great for “digiscoping.” A sunshade is included to help reduce the glare in the field of view.

Vanguard Endeavor HD 15-45×65 Angled Spotting Scope

A spotting scope with a top of the line reputation at a reasonable price is the Vanguard Endeavor. Vivid colors and sharp details are the result of an extra low dispersion glass and a fully multi-coated lens. This scope features a close focus of 14 feet and a magnification range of 15x – 45x to produce picture perfect, distortion-free images. Small adjustments can be made with the dual focus feature. This scope design also features weatherproofing as well as rubber armoring that are meant to protect the scope from damage. The Vanguard Endeavor is a scope that has an extended eye relief for more comfortable observation in the impressive field of view.

Best Spotting Scopes under $1000

Most people are willing to pay a little extra money to get the spotting scope features and the magnification levels they desire. A few of the choice spotting scopes under $1000 are listed below.

Vortex Viper HD 20-60×80 Angled Spotting Scope

The Vortex Viper is an angled body HD spotting scope that sports all of the top of the line features that are often seen in high end scopes. The optics on the Vortex Viper produce exceptional high resolution images that remain vivid in color and contrast. The lightweight design also features a rotating tripod ring and an adjustable eyecup for more comfortable viewing. It also has a dual focus feature that allows for coarse, fine adjustments to the image. The design is waterproof and fogproof with some added protection to keep any oil and debris from the lens. This model does include a 20x – 60x magnification eyepiece, which makes the overall value even better.

Pentax PF ED II 65mm ST Spotting Scope

The Pentax PF ED is a popular straight body spotting scope that offers extremely high performance at an affordable price. The lightweight scope has a magnesium alloy body that is easily portable for the spotter on the go. The extra low dispersion glass and the fully multi-coated lens give the scope an optical excellence characteristic of high end scopes. This model includes a 20x – 60x magnification lens that is combined with a sunshade to reduce glare. Images that are fully magnified maintain the clarity and vibrant detail seen at low magnifications. This scope can also be fit to a variety of astronomical eyepieces that create possibilities for the spotter to have a view into the galaxy.

There are a lot of different spotting scopes available on the market today, but not all scopes are created equally. This article was designed to introduce someone who is new to birding or other recreational activities where a spotting scope is useful to the different features that are available. Once a spotter is sure of the magnification they need, it comes down to knowing the price restraints for purchasing the scope and determining which extra features should be included in the price. If “digiscoping” is an ambition, make sure the spotting scope selected can accommodate. Hopefully, this article will help a new spotter determine which scope is best suited for them. Make sure to consider the suggestions made above, but also do additional research so your spotting scope lasts generations to come.

Reviews of the Best Binoculars of 2021

The Best BinocularsIt may seem like a strange notion to those who have never done it before, but buying a great pair of binoculars takes quite a bit of research and knowledge. Just like anything else, a quality pair of binoculars will provide you with a lot better images than buying a cheap pair from a discount store. As technology has improved, binoculars have become more modern and have improved in quality. Nevertheless, there are still some basic features that you should look for in a pair of binoculars, and this is what we will explain first. We hope that this guide is useful to you in finding the perfect pair of binoculars for your needs.

My #1 Recommendation

Choosing just one pair of binoculars to crown as our number one pick is a difficult thing to do. But if we had to, we would choose the Upland Optics Perception HD 10x42mm. These binoculars are tough as nails and give an excellent picture quality. They have the perfect magnification and field of view for a general pair of binoculars and can be used for everything from hunting to bird watching. Our partner company Upland Optics does an amazing job, these binoculars are first class! Click here to see their price.

 

 

 

What to Look For in a Pair of Binoculars

Specifications

Magnification and Objective Lens Diameter

One of the most important features in a pair of binoculars is the magnification and objective lens diameter, which is typically included in model information. For example, in the Upland Optics Perception HD 10×42 mm – “10×42” is the magnification x objective lens diameter.

The magnification will usually appear as 8X, 10X, or even higher. When a pair of binoculars has a magnification of 10X, it means that you will be able to see a distant object 10 times larger than you would if you were not using binoculars. For instance, if you are viewing something that is 500 yards away, it will appear as if it were only 50 yards away. Magnification is often the most important thing that a buyer will look for in a pair of binoculars.

In the example above, 10 is the magnification, while the 42 means that the objective lens diameter is 42 millimeters. Lens objective size is very important, as larger lenses collect more light than smaller lenses. This means that objects will appear brighter in binoculars that have larger lenses. Furthermore, the size of the objective lens will greatly affect the field of view you will have, which we will discuss next.

Field of View

The next feature to understand is field of view. This is simply the amount of area that you are able to see when you are looking through your binoculars. The magnification of your binoculars, as well as the diameter size of your objective lens, will affect your field of view. There are a few ways to understand field of view:

  • Higher magnifications – smaller field of view
  • Larger lenses – larger field of view

reviews of binoculars

So, if you are comparing binoculars and they have the same magnification, the lens size will determine the field of view.

Actual and Apparent Field of View

The units of measurement that you may see when looking at field of view statistics are degrees and feet. When you see degrees, you will often see two numbers, and these will represent the degrees in the actual field of view and the degrees in the apparent field of view. The actual field of view is the number that matters. The apparent field of view is calculated from the actual field of view.

The actual field of view is the angle of your viewing window at the point after the binocular lenses. If you have a pair of 10X binoculars, and your actual field of view is 5 degrees, then your apparent field of view will be 50 degrees. You simply multiply the actual field of view measurement by the magnification of your binoculars in order to get the apparent field of view.

When the field of view is measured in feet, it is a bit less complicated. If you see a field of view of 300 feet, it means that you are able to see 300 feet at 1,000 yards. This means that if there were a 300-foot building off in the distance, you can get as close as 1,000 yards and still be able to see it in its entirety through your binoculars.

Eye Relief

For people who wear eyeglasses, eye relief is an important specification. Eye relief is closely related to field of view, as it is the distance that you can hold the binoculars away from your is a good rule of thumb for people with eyeglasses. With sufficient eye relief, a person that wears glasses is able to enjoy the same field of view as everyone else.

Exit Pupil Diameter

The exit pupil diameter relates to the brightness your binoculars provide. It is the measurement of the size of the ray of light that will hit your eyes after it travels through the lens. The exit pupil diameter is determined through dividing the lens size by the magnification. The larger the number that is obtained, the brighter the images will appear when viewing through the respective binoculars. Matching a higher magnification with a larger lens size ensures that you will not sacrifice on the brightness of your image.

Additional Binocular Features

Aside from those key specifications that were discussed above, you may be interested in some other features that are common in binoculars.

Compact Size

Many people find that having compact sized binoculars is an advantage when traveling through rough terrains or carrying lots of equipment. New technology is constantly improving on the size and weight of these binoculars. Currently, you can find models that weigh half a pound and are of very high quality. In the future, compact sized binoculars may even be the norm. Today, however, many are not as powerful as their full-sized counterparts.

Weatherproof Binoculars

Many environments where binoculars are used are treacherous, and binoculars are constantly exposed to the elements. Water can damage the equipment that we carry, so developers have started to design water resistant and waterproof binoculars. Many also include fogproof design. While the degree of water protection may vary, this is a good feature that will prevent your binoculars from fogging up or getting water damage. Some binoculars may even be able to submerge in water for a short time, but make sure that you have checked your manual before attempting that.

Lens Coating

Lens coating is often what differentiates cheap binoculars from high quality binoculars. Binoculars that are worth buying often have at least one coat over the lenses that improves clarity and protects them from scratches. This makes them more durable, and they will produce higher quality images for a longer period of time.

Basic Uses and Recommendations

General

If you are looking for binoculars for general sport use, marine use, or for the theatre, you will want at least a pair of 7 x 25 lenses. This will ensure that you have enough magnification, but not too much where your field of view will be impaired. The field of view should be between 300-350 feet, with the higher end being for marine use. You may also want to consider waterproof binoculars for marine use.

If you want to read more about what to look for in a pair of binoculars, here is an excellent article that expands on the subject.

Bird Watching and Hunting

For bird watching and hunting, you will want a pair of 8 X 30 lenses. Waterproof is always a good idea for these purposes. The field of view should be at least 350 feet. You may want to consider more powerful binoculars if you are looking at far away animals, or maybe even a spotting scope to complement your field binoculars.

Golfing

If you want binoculars for golfing, either as a player or a spectator, a pair of 6 X 17 should suffice. In golf, you are looking at stationary objects that are not terribly far away, so you do not need very high powered lenses. A range finder may be useful if you are using them for golf in order to know the distance between you and the hole or other obstacles such as bunkers and bodies of water.

Stargazing

Stargazing presents a special set of circumstances, as you are viewing stationary objects that are very far away. To make it more complicated, the environment will have minimal light available. 10X 40 binoculars are typically recommended for this purpose. You can afford higher magnifications because you will not be moving the binoculars much, and to make up for the diminished field of vision and darker images that this will present, you have the large lens diameter. See our full guide to the best binoculars for stargazing here.

Best Binoculars for Hunting

When hunting big game, binoculars are one of the most important pieces of gear you will need. They will allow you to scan for animals that you cannot see with your naked eye. This makes them an indispensable tool in the field.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when choosing a pair of binoculars for hunting. First off, remember that you’ll often be looking for animals in low light conditions, so light transmission is crucial. Also, you’ll be lugging them around difficult terrain, so buy a quality pair that will be able to take a few bumps without any major problems. 10×42 is the most common size of binoculars to carry while hunting, although you may want a larger pair if you are doing long range spotting.

Here are four five that are extremely highly rated and are worth checking out:

Upland Optics Venator

Upland Optics Venator BinocularsThe upgraded version of our #1 recommendation above, the Venator are the pair to get if you are a hunter looking for the best glass possible. With excellent light transmission and lens coatings, they deliver top grade optical performance while also being durable enough to survive hunting in the toughest of environments.

Nikon Monarch Binoculars

Nikon Monarch binoculars come in three sizes: 8X42, 10X42, and 12X42, so you have many choices at your disposal. The standard 10X42 have a 288 ft. field of view, and 18.4mm eye relief. Also, these binoculars are waterproof, fog proof, and have coated lenses. They weigh around 21.9 ounces.

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD

These are Bushnell’s most critically acclaimed binoculars, and it is no surprise that they are some of the best binoculars for hunting out there. They come in 4 sizes: 8X36, 8X42, 10X36, and 10X42. The 10X42 variety have a 340 ft. field of view, and 15.2 mm eye relief. Like the Nikon pair, Bushnell Legend Ultra binoculars are waterproof, fog proof and have coated lenses. They weigh in at 24.7 ounces.

Vortex Diamondback

Vortex Diamondback binoculars are of very high quality, and although the company is not as big as its competitors, it can deliver a great product. Diamondbacks come in 4 sizes: 8X28, 8X42, 10X42, and 12X50. The 10X42 pair have a 345 ft. field of view and 16 mm eye relief. These binoculars are waterproof, fog proof and have coated lenses. They weigh 24.4 ounces.

 

Best Binoculars for Birding

If birding is your hobby, the following are some binoculars that you should definitely consider purchasing in order to have the best viewing experience. Because birding is more about the picture quality and feel, picking a pair of binoculars without trying them first is very difficult.

Bluebird Optics Zonos 8×25

This compact option from Bluebird is great for bird watchers who don’t want to be constantly lugging around a full sized binocular. Weighing less than a pound, it’s small enough to even be slipped into a pocket. They are also very affordable considering their high end features, like ED glass.

Athlon Argos G2 UHD

If your main priority is high quality glass and you don’t want to spend a fortune, the Argos G2 UHD might be the perfect fit for you. High quality ED glass and ESP Dielectric coating give these binoculars excellent clarity and light transmission, making them perfect for bird watchers who want to see every detail. These are part of Athlon’s new lineup of binoculars, and they have performed excellently in our testing.

Zeiss Victory Best Birding Binoculars

Zeiss Victory TFL 8X32

These are a smaller version of the THT binoculars, but they still have all of the benefits of a top-of-the-line pair of binoculars. If you can afford these, you cannot go wrong with them. Zeiss also has midrange priced binoculars, Zeiss Conquest HD, which are of excellent quality and a great alternative to the Victory line.

Nikon Monarch 7

These are ¼ of the price of binoculars like the Zeiss Victory, but they deliver exceptional quality and image. The Monarch line has been very popular among birders for years, and it continues to deliver.

Leica Trinovid

The Trinovid line has been around for a long time, and experienced birders will likely recognize it. The new Trinovid line offers exceptional quality and a bright, clear image.

Best Compact Binoculars

If you are looking for compact binoculars that you can take with you comfortably everywhere, here is a list that will give you an idea of where to start looking. The following are widely considered some of the best compact binoculars on the market.

Swarovski CL Pocket 8X25 Binoculars

These are very high quality compact binoculars that fold up easily and can fit in your pocket. Furthermore, they are waterproof and fog proof. They are made by Swarovski, so you know you are getting some of the best binoculars on the market with these.

Vanguard Orros 10X25 Binoculars

These binoculars feel great in your hands, as they have a very lightweight rubberized body. The shape is very compact, and they can fold down to store anywhere. Furthermore, these binoculars are very affordable.

Pentax 9X28 DCF LV Binoculars

Unlike many compact counterparts, these binoculars offer a 9X magnification without sacrificing too much field of view. They are waterproof and fog proof, and while they are mid-priced binoculars, they offer exceptional optical quality. They also have a great design and feel great in your hands.

Best Astronomy and Stargazing Binoculars

Many stargazers and astronomers prefer to use binoculars instead of telescopes to look at the stars. If you want to get into stargazing, or are already an avid stargazer and are looking for binoculars, the following are a few binoculars that are definitely worth your consideration.

Celestron Echelon 20X70 Binoculars

Since you are stargazing, you want a higher magnification along with a bigger lens. These are very high quality binoculars that are tripod adaptable in order to allow for long stargazing periods. They are not too heavy that you cannot pick them up and use them with your hands for added flexibility.

Celestron 15X70 SkyMaster Binoculars

These offer exceptional performance and come at a great price for viewing the night sky. The lenses are multicoated, which makes your image of the stars much clearer. Aside from stargazing, these have other great uses including bird watching as well.

Best Binoculars for Safaris

If you enjoy viewing wildlife, specifically wildlife on safaris, there are a few binoculars that you should research and test before looking at any others. Consider these as you embark on your safari trip.

Celestron Granite 9X33 Binoculars

These binoculars have a wide field of view, which is excellent for safaris. Since they are 9X, you get a little more detail of the object you are looking at. The lenses are very high quality, and with these you will get a very crisp image.

Swarovski EL W B Traveler 8X32

These are top-of-the-line midsized binoculars that offer impeccable optical quality. They are optimal for taking on safaris, and their open bridge design makes them comfortable to hold with one hand. Furthermore, they offer a digital camera adapter so that you can take high quality photos through them. Swarovski produces some of the best imaging products in the world, and this is no exception.

Best Binoculars for Kids

When engaging children in nature activities, the right set of binoculars can go a long way towards getting them excited about their surroundings. Certain binocular features are more important than others when it comes to children’s binoculars, such as the maximum magnification level. The recommended maximum is 8x, as this gives children a wide enough view to keep their eyes on the interesting sight even if their hands are shaky.

The size and weight of the binoculars is also important, as bulky binoculars may be difficult for children to hold on to. With these factors in mind, consider both of the following highly rated binoculars for kids:

Bresser 6×21 Junior Compact Binoculars

With a colorful casing guaranteed to catch your child’s eye, the Bresser 6×21 is a compact binocular with a maximum 6x magnification that is perfect first binocular for children of any age. The state-of-the-art optical system delivers clear images, while the rubber armored body is built to endure all types of damage. Affordably priced, the Bresser 6×21 also comes with a five year guarantee.

Opticron Discovery WP PC 8×32 Binoculars

Built for the older child, the Opticron Discovery is both compact and lightweight enough to deliver comfort regardless of how long the nature walk lasts. An 8x optical system also delivers clear images from a distance, while the affordable prices guarantees a great return on the investment. With a durable design built to last through years of wear and tear, the Opticron Discovery remains one of the best children’s binoculars on the market.

Best Binoculars with Built in Camera

For the professional photographer or birdwatcher, a quality sighting through a pair of binoculars is only worthwhile if the image can be captured. Luckily, modern technology has intersected with current demands to yield a new generation of binoculars with built in cameras. Some of the best digital camera binoculars on the market today are both inexpensive and easy-to-setup. Learn more about two of the industry leaders below:

Vivitar 10×25 DigiCam Binoculars

Though the slightly heavy design may seem inconvenient at first, the Vivitar Digicam Binoculars are well worth the effort with a 640X480 resolution on the attached camera. Add to that the 16 megabytes of internal storage and these camera binoculars become perfect for both long and short sightseeing events, from sports games to nature walks and more. Designed for comfort and precision, the Vivitar 10×25 carries a long battery life as well to ensure long-term use on almost any outing.

Eoncore 2″ LCD Display Digital Camera Binoculars 12×32 

For a highly affordable set of binos with a built-in digital camera and video camera, look no further than this Amazon bestseller that averages 4 stars from customers. These are very popular with avid birdwatchers, making it simple to capture quality images of the birds in the wild for identification or saving for later. There are many things you can do with this device, so it’s highly versatile and easy to customize.

 

Best Rangefinder Binoculars

Open ranges can be a thing of beauty all on their own. However, there are few ranges that cannot be enhanced by a great pair of rangefinder binoculars. Regardless of the type of rangefinder binoculars you plan on purchasing (golf, hunting, digital, etc.), the goal is to improve aim while also allowing for a wide field of view regardless of the terrain. If you want this feature in a separate device, you can always get a stand alone laser rangefinder.

Learn more about two of the best rangefinder binoculars on the market below:

Leica Geovid HD-B Binocular

Though pricier than other brands of binoculars, the reward is well worth the cost as the Leica Geovid is one of the most accurate rangefinder binoculars on the market. Featuring state-of-the-art optics and a field of view exceeding 1,000 yards, these industry-leading Leica binoculars offer everything from automatic adjustments of the visual settings to an ergonomic design that ensures comfort regardless of how long they are held.

Zeiss Victory RF Binocular

Fluoride glass is one of the secrets to the Zeiss Victory’s premium imagery, ensuring that every sight seen through these lens is of the best quality possible. A 45 millimeter objective lens adds to sight quality while the field of view remains one of the best in its class. Though slightly heavier than other comparable binoculars, the Zeiss Victory makes up for it with convenient button placement for added comfort.

The Best Binoculars for the Money

After all of the binoculars that have been listed so far, you may be wondering, “Which ones provide me with the best value?” The following binoculars are widely thought to give buyers the best bang for the buck.

Swarovski CL Pocket 8X25 Binoculars

Although they may seem pricey, these binoculars are cheap compared to the other $1200+ priced binoculars that Swarovski offers. Furthermore, they are better than almost anything else on the market.

Upland Optics Perception HD 10×42 Binoculars

These are some of the best binoculars out there at any price point, and they are under $300 dollars! They offer exceptional optics, water repellant lens coating, a light weight chassis, and unparalleled image quality.

Celestron Nature DX 8X42 Binoculars

These will appeal to those on a tight budget, but also to those looking for a great value and optical quality. These are fully sealed waterproof and fog proof binoculars that deliver a great image, and the price will make you very happy.

Best Binoculars for Under $100

If you are on a tight budget and can only spend $100 or less, you can still get quality binoculars. The following binoculars will offer great quality for their price.

Nikon 8245 Aculon Binoculars

These binoculars are so good that you may find some vendors selling them for $200 due to demand, but if you look in the right place, mainly online, you can find them for under $100 dollars. They provide a quick central focus system and a 420 foot field of view. One downside to these is that they are not waterproof.

Celestron 20X80 Skymaster Binoculars

Celestron simply makes great quality products at a great price. These are great for stargazing and many other uses, and they have a water-resistant, not waterproof body.

Best Binoculars for Under $200

If you have a little more to spend, these are some binoculars you should consider that are under $200 dollars.

Vanguard 10X42 Spirit XF Binoculars

These binoculars offer a wide field of view, multi coated lenses, and high quality images. If you are a causal binocular user, you simply cannot go wrong with these.

Hawk Nature-Trek 8X42 Binoculars

If you want high quality, low weight binoculars, then you have found them. These are fully waterproof and fog proof, and they provide a relatively good field of view and close focus. These are a great choice for the budget conscious buyer.

The Best Binoculars on the Market

If you want the best-of-the-best, and you are fortunate enough to have no price limitations on the binoculars that you are looking for, then the following is a list of the best binoculars that money can buy.

Upland Optics Perception HD 10×42 Binoculars

See description in the Best Value section.

Zeiss 10X42 Victory HT Binocular

These are often listed as the best binoculars that money can buy, period. They offer a viewing experience like no other binoculars, and you can see even the finest details of your object in dimming light. They are very robust, and offer a staggering 95% light transmission. If you want the best-of-the-best, then these are the binoculars for you.

The Best Binocular Brands

Bushnell

Bushnell is a giant in imaging products in the United States, and it makes everything from high quality rifle scopes, microscopes, telescopes, and of course, binoculars. The company was founded in Japan by David P. Bushnell when it was occupied by Allied forces during WWII in 1948. Bushnell’s binoculars have won multiple awards for their quality, and most recently, the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10X42 binoculars were awarded binocular of the year by binoculars.com.

Zeiss

Zeiss is one of the oldest, most reputable optics and imaging companies in the world, and it makes very high quality binoculars. Not only does it deal in sporting optics like Bushnell, but it also makes optic devices for medical use and even space telescopes. It was founded in Germany in 1846, and it has become a leader in the industry since then. One of the most popular binoculars it has on the market right now are the Zeiss 10X42 Victory HT binoculars.

Nikon

Known for its digital cameras, Nikon also makes stellar binoculars. Nikon is now a huge company that was founded in Japan in 1917. It specializes in lenses, binoculars and other advanced imaging technology. Their best-selling binoculars have historically been from the Monarch line. Today, the 8X42 Monarch 5 take that distinction.

Steiner

Steiner has a rich history in the optics industry, and it has arguably one of the most advanced optics laboratories in the world. Every lens and pair of binoculars that Steiner produces is field tested extensively to ensure that it is a very high quality product. This German company prides itself in producing binoculars that will be serviceable for multiple lifetimes. You can be sure that if you buy Steiner binoculars like the Safari Ultrasharp 8X22, you will have a product that you are satisfied with for life.

Of course, this is not an all-inclusive list, and there are many more manufacturers that make outstanding binoculars. If you are in the market for a pair of high quality pair of binoculars, you should not limit yourself to these brands.

Conclusion

The world of binoculars is huge, and it will take many years for the beginner to explore and learn. With time, you will be able to appreciate minor differences between binoculars, and you will develop a taste of your own. I hope that this guide will provide you with sufficient information to begin your exciting journey into the world of binoculars.

Reviews of the Best Night Vision Goggles for 2021

Night vision goggles are the perfect tool for after dark use because they can be lightweight, versatile, comfortable and hands free all while providing you with the power of improved vision in the dark. This makes them ideal to use in a wide range of low light operations. Your experiences will widen as you take on the low light with the power of a good pair of night vision goggles.

This guide will show you why you should get night vision goggles, what you should look for, and then help you determine the best pair of goggles to suit your needs. Use the table of contents to jump to the section that interests you.

Why Night Vision?

Human eyes are powerful tools. Thousands of years of achievements speak to the power of the human eye as is seen from the many wonders created and achievements made over the generations. From the age of the hunter-gatherer to the modern man the human eye has been a vital part to humanity, but as strong as your eyes are there are certain times where natural eye power is not enough. After nightfall your eyesight drastically diminishes leaving you in the dark. This can be detrimental to your enjoyment if you are wanting to see the less illuminated side of nature. It can also be fatal if you are take a misguided step due to your lack of proper vision.

If you have ever tried to hunt in the dark, hike a trail through the mountains in the evening hours or attempted to capture delicate photographs of nocturnal creatures such as owls, bats or lemurs in their natural dark habitat then you know that the human eye has its limits. It operates at its most effective level when there is ample light present.

That is why it is important to consider adding a pair of night vision goggles to your list of outdoor gear if you plan to engage in any kind of nighttime outdoor activity that requires clear and high definition sight without the sun or other sources of light.

 

Generations of Goggles

Nigh vision goggles come in three generations, shortened to Gen 1, Gen 2 and Gen 3. Gen 1 goggles are the most affordable, have minimal but quality features and tend to last about 1500 of hard use. Gen 2 costs a little more and has a longer overall life at 5000 hours. Gen 2 usually has a higher resolution image and wider field of view. Gen 3 is very expensive, lasts for about 10,000+ hours and are used by special forces around the world.

You can expect to spend anywhere from $400 all the way up to over $5,000, but there are more than enough options that fall somewhere in the middle of the price range. Educate yourself with what is out there on the night vision goggle market before you make a purchase.

Below you will find the best choices for under $500, under $1000, for the money and the overall best choice for all around functionality. All are either Gen 1 or Gen 2 goggles, but the brands listed do offer Gen 3 units if that is what you are seeking.

You can use the recommended models below as a starting point on your path to obtaining your first pair of night vision goggles. All four are top of the line items that will fill many different roles. They all keep your budget and preferred uses in mind.

Best Night Vision Goggles For Under $500

It can be tricky to find quality night vision googles for under $500. Most will be $1000 and above. However, this pair of night vision goggles, the Sightmark Ghost Hunter 1×24 Night Vision Goggle Binocular Kit, is listed for under $400 (it’s regularly $599). 

 

Affordability meets versatility in this particular product, as the Ghost Hunter features a range of options for night vision use, as well as simple and comfortable hands-free operation. It includes a built-in IR illuminator for better range in total darkness. It has a smart shut off to automatically power down when the device is exposed to light. Sightmark offers a limited lifetime warranty (plus three year warranty on the dual tube system).

Here are some of the specs:

  • Magnification: 1x
  • Lens Diameter: 24mm
  • Resolution: 36mm
  • Field of View: 30 Degrees
  • Max Viewing Range: 184yds
  • Dimensions: 139mm x 57mm x 74mm
  • Weight: 13.4oz

Click here to see the current price.

 

Best Night Vision Goggles For Under $1000

If you want to keep your spending under $1000 you will want to check out the Pulsar Edge GS Super 1+ 1×20 Night Vision Gogglewhich is full of solid features while keeping your budget in mind.

 

The Edge GS features an IR Illuminator with adjustable power and dual tubes for depth perception. The construction is durable and built to allow for use in any weather or harsh conditions. These goggles are made of of quality optics, CF-Super Image Intensifier Tube, and wide-angled five-lens eyepiece which provides lack of distortion and the highest edge-to-edge resolution performance.

Here are some key specs:

  • Magnification: 1x
  • Objective lens: 20mm
  • Resolution: 42 lines per mm
  • FOV: 36 degrees
  • Exit pupil: 6mm
  • Dimensions: 163mm x 113mm x 60mm
  • Weight: 0.65kg

Click here to shop for the Edge GS

Runner up: Armasight Spark-G Night Vision Goggle (CORE IIT, 60-70 lp/mm)

Armasight Spark-G, our runner up in the under $1000 category

Best Night Vision Goggles For The Money

The most expensive item on the list but one that will grant you the most power for the money is the Nyx7-ID Gen 2+ Night Vision Goggles by Armasight. It runs just under $2k, but is hands down the best pair you will find for a little more money.

 

The Nyx7-ID weighs in at only 1 pound, making it a super lightweight model. The headset and chinstrap can be adjusted to fit a wide range of head shapes and sizes. This model is great for the serious user of all ages but should not be considered a toy. It is a no-nonsense pair of goggles that is known for being a professional level product.

One special feature that this model includes is a water resistant design. If you ever hunt, fish or explore the outdoors you know that the weather can change in an instant. In those moments this pair of night vision goggles is perfect because you can continue to use it while making your way to safety without fearing that your goggles will be rendered useless and destroyed by the rain. Being water resistant also makes this model ideal for search and rescue situations where you are looking for someone who is lost and the weather has prevented him or her from being found. You can rest with confidence knowing that these goggles will perform when you need to them to no matter the weather.

The built in IR light in the Nyx7-ID helps keep this unit working for many close range situations whether you need to check your GPS device, a map or read a sign in the dark. Depth perception and high definition vision are guaranteed.

Unlike other night vision goggles you can shop from a wide range of accessories. For longer range magnification you have a large option of accessories for 3X, 5X and 8X optional lenses. These are attached with ease and can be stored when they are not in use. The Nyx7-ID is a great modular device because of this. If you enjoy customizing your device this one is perfect.

Armasight has made sure with this model that you will not be left stranded in the dark. The stock battery is a lithium CR123A. You can also use an alkaline AA battery, and changing the battery is easy and can be done on the fly. A power adapter is included for quick and efficient charging so that you can stay on the go.

As a Gen 2+ pair of goggles the Armasight Nyx7-ID has a stronger power than most Gen 1+ goggles and is a great pair if you have the money. For overall money versus functions the Nyx7-ID is the first choice for all of your night vision needs.

 

Shop now for the Nyx7-ID Gen 2+ Night Vision Goggles.

 

History and Modern Features

Night vision goggles were developed for military use in the 1940s during World War Two. Soldiers uses them to their advantage and turned the tides of key engagements because of the obvious advantage that the night vision goggles provided them.

Night vision received much wider use in the dense and dangerous jungles of Vietnam as snipers and other special military personnel used them to have an edge against their enemies under the cover of darkness.

Over the years many types of night vision goggles have since spread into the civilian market and carry the same strengths as their military cousins at a fraction of the price. You do not need to be a military or hunting buff to know why these goggles have been loved by many since their inception. Night vision goggles continue to be popular among outdoor enthusiasts, from the casual user to the most dedicated disciple of night activity.

Modern technology has made low light vision devices available for almost any price and for a large range of uses. It is not uncommon to see night vision goggles being used for nighttime photography, hunting, fishing, gaming and personal security. The affordability and reliability of most night vision goggles has given rise to a large following of loyal users who can not imagine life before night vision.

Features to look for on a new pair of night vision goggles should fall in line with your needs. If you are into night photography it might be important for you to have a zoom magnification option and a pair that will not interfere with your camera.

If you are hunting in low light perhaps you will want to consider a pair of goggles that has the option to flip up and down for when you do not need to use them. They should not weigh much because you never know how long you will be sitting waiting for your game to appear.

Battery life is another factor to think about as you will not want to lose sight in the middle of use. If you plan to hike in the dark for long stretches consider units that offer an easy way to exchange or charge batteries.

When you are looking for a new pair of goggles it is important to consider how you plan to use them and weigh that against the options available. Explore the different manufacturers and see what is offered.

There are many companies to choose from. Each one offers something similar but with varying features. Popular brands include, but are not limited to, Armasight, Firefield, ATN, Night Optics and EyeClops. Each of these can be trusted for producing high quality and affordable night vision goggles.

Conclusion

When you are shopping for a new pair of night vision goggles that are hands free and compact you need to consider your needs as well as what is offered in your price range. Features to look for include:

  • lightweight
  • long battery life
  • zoom options
  • available accessories

You might be a hunter who would like to take on beasts that are more prominent during the night, you could be a wildlife photographer who wishes to see those rare animals in their moonlight environment or you could be a neighborhood watchman who wants to ensure maximum safety in his neighborhood. By using night vision goggles in your nighttime activities you are furthering your operating capabilities in low light conditions. This will prove you with even more freedom to do what needs to be done no matter the lighting.

Night vision goggles also make exciting gadgets for your kids, and with affordable options available you can provide them with hours upon hours of fun without the sun. Give your kids supervision and that competitive edge while playing hide-and-seek in the dark with their friends.

Your reasons for needing a pair of night vision goggles may vary but what remains is that you need the best options for what you can afford. Research what is out there and find something that fits into your lifestyle without ruining your budget. You do not have to spend an entire life’s savings in order to own a powerful, reliable and awesome set of night vision headgear.

Technology is at a point in time where a person from any walk of life can own night vision goggles. There are dozens of brands and models that are always pushing the limits of what these goggles can do. Headsets are getting smaller and lighter while magnification is getting smarter and higher powered. Night vision goggles of today are not entirely different from what was used 60 years ago, but there are noticeable improvements on what can be considered a basic utility device.

Whether you are a nighttime hobbyist or a professional hunter you will find plenty of use with the right device, and owning the right pair of goggles will take your adventurous lifestyle to the next level. You will smile when you are seeing the world of the night in new light for the first time. Few have seen what you will see as you step into the dark with the power of light behind you.

The Best Scope for an AR-15 in 2021

best scope for an ar 15A high-powered rifle isn’t going to do you much good if you can’t hit your target. Spending the money upfront on a good rifle scope can drastically increase the effectiveness, enjoyment and reliability of your rifle. Sorting through the wide assortment of available scopes may seem like a difficult task, but provided you have a clear understanding of what to look for you can quickly narrow down your options. Factors such as the materials used in the build, the quality of the glass and the accuracy of the reticle are all important considerations when buying a scope. Scopes are small, portable and can easily be attached to the top of any rifle for the ultimate in portability. Additionally, red dot sights can be used on an AR-15 to increase your accuracy by creating a visual aid for aiming.

Features to Look For When Purchasing an AR-15 Scope

A lot of products on the market have the same basic features, but you can narrow down the available options by excluding scopes with components you don’t need. For example, you might be able to save some money and get a scope with a lower magnification if you don’t plan on shooting long-range targets. On the other hand, if you have the extra money, it might makes sense to buy the best scope you can get since your needs may change. The magnification, reticle, degree of parallax, scope to eye distance, and minute of angle are all important features you should understand before buying a scope.

  • Magnification: The level of magnification will determine the distance of a scope’s viewable range. Scopes can come with variable and fixed power magnification. The best scopes use variable magnification, since it allows for a better range.
  • Reticle: The reticle helps you to see objects at a distance. Reticles are also known as crosshairs, and they come in a wide variety of styles. Dot and duplex are the most common types. Duplex is good for camouflage operations, while dot works well for distant contact operations.
  • Parallax: Parallax occurs when you look at something from a different angle. Take the speedometer in a car for example. As a passenger, if you look at the speedometer, you’re going to see the needle resting on a different speed than the driver. The driver, who is sitting directly in front of the speedometer can view the needle as it was intended. Scopes that have a magnification of more than 10X will experience parallax, so it’s important to have an adjustable objective lens to counteract the parallax and get an accurate shot.
  • Eye Relief: The distance from the scope and your eye is known as eye relief. It’s important to have enough room so that if the rifle recoils when you shoot, the scope won’t hit you in the eye.
  • Minute of Angle: The minute of angle (MOA) allows for minute adjustments. The specification on the scope for MOA usually determines the amount of adjustment in inches. For a scope with a one-quarter inch MOA, the bullet will hit one-quarter inch from the crosshairs on the scope. This can be used for adjustments in windy conditions, or to account for other advanced adjustments that may be needed.

With those points covered, here are the scopes that come with the highest recommendations and the best prices:

Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope with Rapid Action Turret: Under $250

This is a high-quality scope that is unlikely to reflect light from the lens, which provides a clear and bright image quality. The exit lens is the perfect size for most needs, and uses Nikon’s multi-coating formula. The scope is lightweight and very portable, weighing in at just 2.2 pounds. The reticle includes the BDC 600 opening circle aiming points. The open circle is capable of adjusting according to the distance of the target. The one-quarter inch MOA allows for quick adjustments in the field.

The rifle is optimized to work with Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Match Technology for increased accuracy and reliability. This scope is one of the best scopes out there in this price range, and it comes with a lifetime guarantee from Nikon. The large scope is built for distance, but red dots make it suitable for close-range targets as well. This scope stays honed in no matter what you throw at it. Bumps, shakes and off-road adventures won’t affect it’s ability to stay on target and give you an accurate shot.

UTG 3-12×44 30 mm Compact Scope: Under $150

If you want a stable, consistent and reliable rifle scope, this mid-range scope offers an ideal option. It has a consistent eye relief that helps to keep your brow and eyes safe from kickback. Super compact, the UTG  is a 36 colors Mil-dot with good accuracy. Coated lenses offer good clarity and light transmission.

If you’re operating with a limited budget but don’t want to sacrifice clarity, this is a great option. The majority of reviews are positive and the price makes it too good to ignore.

Vortex Optics Spitfire Prism Scopes: Under $350

If you don’t mind spending a bit more, this Vortex scope is worth the money. Multi-coated, anti-reflective coatings make these optics stand out. The Spitfire will work best in medium range shooting applications and it’s built for situations where speed is critical.

Many reviewers compare this favorably to the ACOG, at a much more wallet-friendly price. And, Vortex is well-known for offering excellent optics, so this scope is highly recommended overall.

Reviews of the Best Night Vision Rifle Scopes of 2021

Night vision rifle scopes prove to be very useful for multiple groups of people; hunters can attest to the importance of owning this type of scope when hunting animals like hogs and raccoons in the dark. The military relies on this form of optic technology extensively in low light conditions. If you hunt or hold target practices at night, a night vision riflescope is essential for locating your target and optimizing accuracy.

This guide covers everything you need to know to make an informed purchase of a night vision rifle scope. We’ll cover options in various price ranges and with varying technology, as well as go over what the different brands and generations of technology have to offer.

Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for the Money Under $500

Sightmark Wraith HD Digital Riflescope

 

sightmark wraith hd digital riflescope black isolated on white background

This Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32×50 is good for an AR-15. It comes at a lower to medium price point as well, so it is affordable. This scope can be used for both day and night modes. It features high definition sensors, high-resolution imaging, and recording capabilities.

It has a 1920 x 1080 HD sensor for full-color clarity while in the daylight. You can then switch the scope to night mode and choose from green, black, and white viewing options. You can use this riflescope with up to ten reticle options, and the night illuminator of the scope can detect up to 200 yards.

You will also find 8x digital zoom and a 2x optical system for up to 16x magnification. With its five weapon profiles, you can save zeroes for different firearms and calibers.

With this purchase, you will receive an IR flashlight, objective lens cover, fixed Picatinny mount, and user manual. The included IR flashlight is a powerful 850 nm and is removable. It grants you up to an additional 200 yards of night detection.

The weaver rail of this night vision scope allows you to purchase and add additional accessories. The micro USB and memory card slots allow for photo and video export and an additional outboard power supply.

The removable eye cup can help stop light dispersion during the night and can be removed easily during the day to allow for easier viewing in better lighting conditions.

Night Owl Optics NightShot Digital Night Vision Riflescope

 

If you need a night vision scope to hunt vermin at night, this is definitely the pick to consider. It is another affordable night vision rifle scope you can find for under $500. It is great for recreational shooting and comes with more advanced features that allow you to also use it in nighttime shooting scenarios.

It is an easy to use scope. Simply mount, sight, and shoot. If you need advice on the proper mounting of this scope, you should consult with the manufacturer or call 800-444-5994 for more information. It is weaver or Picatinny rail compatible. They are the same .835 dimension. If you instead have a dovetail rail, you will need an adapter rail to convert it from dovetail.

This scope has a range of between 100 and 200 yards in a typical nighttime environment and has a high-resolution, 640×480 display. You can use this scope with rifles up to 30 calibers. The objective lens offers 3x magnification, a focal length of 52mm, and a field of view of 5.6-degrees. The aperture is 40mm, and the focusing distance is 3m to infinity.

You can purchase an optional high power IR illuminator separately if you wish. You can choose between three different reticle types with this night vision rifle scope. Each of these types can then be configured in black or white, allowing you to adjust the type and color based on your current shooting environment.

The scope uses 4 AA or lithium batteries and can run for four hours with IR on high or seven hours with IR on low. The scope is constructed with a thermoplastic material and has a built-in infrared illuminator. Using this scope during the day will not damage it.

Firefield 3×42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope

firefield 3x42 gen 1 night vision riflescope isolated on white background

If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider the Firefield 3×42 Gen 1 night vision scope. It comes in at under $500 and is great for entry-level night vision optics. You can use it for nighttime activities, including hog hunting, coyote hunting, or any other nighttime shooting excursions.

This night vision scope is designed specifically for an AR-15 and other similar and more modern sporting rifles. It is incredibly lightweight, durable, and has an easy to use mounting system. You can quickly and easily swap out your optics for either daytime or nighttime.

The scope also features high-quality, multi-coated glass and a built-in infrared illuminator. It has an illuminated duplex reticle with brightness adjustments.

The titanium body of this night vision scope comes with an IPX4 water-resistant rating, so it is great for all your rugged outdoor adventures. However, keep in mind that its range is only around 75 yards, so you will need to get closer to your targets.

Budget Pick – Under $200

BESTSIGHT Night Vision Scope

bestsight night vision scope isolated on white background

The BESTSIGHT night vision scope is not simply a scope; rather, it is a system that you can use with your rifle scope as a night sighting system. There are separate parts that, when combined, create a complete system you can attach to your scope.

It includes a unit that slips over the viewing end of the scope, a unit attached to the main tube that serves as the illumination system, and a camera style viewing screen, which is what the scope sees through and displays on the primary optical system, or the main scope, with the 5-inch clear display screen.

Even if you find yourself immersed in complete darkness, you can achieve a high-quality visual experience. The best working distance for the infrared illuminator of this model is around 100 yards. Beyond this distance, you will see dots and lines begin to appear on the night mode screen. If you need to achieve greater clarity and see further distances, you want to purchase a higher-power infrared illuminator.

This model does not say anything about generational levels, so we can’t testify to the state of the generated light gathering ability of this particular scope. However, you will find a bargain with this system, and it works great as a recreational sight compared to a professional-grade optical system.

Higher Price Tag Options – Under $1800

ATN Night Spirit-2 Gen 2+ Night Vision Multi-Purpose System

atn night spirit-2 gen 2+ night vision multi purpose system black color

This is another multi-purpose night vision system. The ATN Night Spirit-2 Gen 2+ is also waterproof and has a built-in infrared illuminator to be used while in total darkness. The multi-coated optics and 2nd generation intensifier tube allow for maximum light gathering.

It has a 3x magnification, pro-shield lens coating, and a field of view of 18 degrees. It is easy to use with its single switch knob operation, and it also features automatic brightness control and a bright light cut-off.

This unit is compact, durable, and rugged and can be handheld or head-mounted to allow for hands-free use. It offers high resolution for clear and bright images in low light conditions and total darkness. It has all-glass optics coated to absorb light.

Pulsar Phantom 4×60 MD WPT Night Vision Riflescope

pulsar phantom 4x60 md wpt night vision riflescope isolated on white background

This Generation 3 Pulsar Phantom Night Vision Riflescope is good for medium to long distances while allowing for a clear view of your target in 57-64 Ip per mm resolution. It comes with a 60mm lens and a 1.69 Relative Aperture for more efficiency. It also comes equipped with a powerful IR illuminator to enhance visibility at night. It works well in the darkest shooting environments and still allows for precision placement.

For brightness control, you can use the green on green and red on green feature. It also has a long battery life and low battery indication, so you are never stuck in the dark. It is built from a durable and made to last composite material and aluminum D16. The scope is rainproof and dustproof, with an IPX6 weather rating.

For comfort, it offers 50mm eye relief. It is both reliable and efficient. The internal focusing knob allows for easy operation of this night vision scope. It features a military-style design and can be used virtually everywhere and in all types of environments.

The IR illuminator has a high light gain and allows you to see clearly in critically low light situations. The fast start-up function also allows you to make quick assessments. This scope also comes with a Pulsar Phantom remote control with three buttons: On/Off, IR illuminator, and quick start-up.

The Pulsar Phantom Night Vision scope is on the higher end of the price spectrum, so you will also want to consider this when narrowing down your purchase options as well.

More Information – Top Night Scope Brands

There are many great brands out there that produce quality night vision scopes. Most likely, if you’re reading this article, you’re either a novice, or you’re an expert who is seeking the “best of the best” scope for a bargain price.

Below, we have detailed more information regarding the night vision scopes brands that we outlined at the beginning of the article. This information may help you decide which scope to purchase above, especially since they all come with a variety of enticing features and capabilities.

Armasight

Armasight is a big name in the thermal imaging and night vision technological field; they’ve designed and invented products like night vision scopes for years. Their main headquarters is located in San Francisco, California, and they offer spectacular quality for a wide range of prices.

You can purchase a high standard night vision scope for $10,000.00 or purchase a scope for as low as $150.00. It merely depends on the features and technology you desire and the amount of money you’re willing to spend.

ATN

ATN is another brand that specializes in night vision and thermal imaging scope technology. “ATN” is an acronym for American Technologies Network, and like Armasight, it is also located in San Francisco. This company has been around for over two decades. It takes great pride in having all of its products manufactured in the United States, producing scopes that are expensive and relatively inexpensive. Both ATN and Armasight are used frequently by hunters, law enforcement employees, and the military.

Firefield

Firefield is a night scope brand established in 2009 and is rapidly building its reputation among the shooter community. Firefield saw the growing need for affordable scopes and thermal imaging products with the decline in the economy; they realized that there was an opportunity to serve people who couldn’t afford over-priced tactical products, so their philosophy is to provide optical equipment for shooters that are of high quality but low price. Never let the newness of a company deter you from giving their quality of products a try!

Sightmark

Emerging in 2007, Sightmark is also a new brand and company increasing in popularity among the shooting community. According to their slogan, Sighmark’s technology equips users with the ability to “make the mark.” With their main headquarters in Mansfield, Texas, the brand and products have found their way into many outdoors retailers such as Academy Sports and Cabela’s, and Gander Mountain. Sightmark offers high-quality riflescopes for affordable prices. It’s no wonder that Sightmark a rapidly growing brand.

Yukon

Yukon is another great rifle scope company. They’re committed to giving their consumers the latest and greatest in night vision rifle scope technology. Most people that have never shot a rifle in their life have heard of this brand and name, which speaks to the popularity of this brand. It’s a name to consider when shopping for the perfect night vision riflescope for you.

Night Vision Generations

If you’re new to the shooter community and learning about what rifle scope is best to purchase, it is not only important to compile information about all of the best brands to purchase from, but also to know the difference between Generation 1, Generation 2, and Generation 3 scopes. These terminologies are typically shortened to Gen 1, Gen 2, and Gen 3, so keep this in mind as you start searching and shopping for the best scope.

Gen 1

Gen 1 is fairly simplistic and affordable. For most shooters and hunters, it offers everything that you need and then some while also being the most inexpensive of all the generations. Gen 1 was introduced during the early sixties when the Space Age developed new technologies that humanity never thought was possible.

A Gen 1 night vision scope is sufficient for most shooters’ needs; however, since it is the first generation, it has fewer perks and may operate more slowly than the later generations.

Gen 1 scopes typically have the following capabilities and shortcomings:

  • The average useful sight range for Gen 1 is about 75 yards
  • It has a shorter battery lifespan than Gen 2 and Gen 3 scopes
  • Overall life expectancy is 1500 hours of use
  • Due to older technology, the user is generally illuminated, thus making them obvious and visible
  • Lower resolution imagery

Gen 2

Gen 2 is a step up from Gen 1. Although it is more expensive than the Gen 1, it’s still not as expensive as the Gen 3. However, in the form of technological advances, Gen 2 blows Gen 1 scopes out of the water.

Here are some of the details regarding a Gen 2 scope:

  • The average useful sight range is about 200 yards. (That’s 125 more yards than Gen 1’s 75 yards)
  • It has a longer battery life than Gen 1
  • Overall life expectancy is 4500 hours
  • Great resolution for images
  • Doesn’t need the IR illumination

Gen 3

Gen 3 is the big, bad boy when it comes to night vision rifle scopes. It’s so advanced that the United States Military uses the Gen 3 on all of their rifle scopes and other optical equipment. However, keep in mind that most Gen 3 riflescopes are very pricey.

Don’t fret, though; with its advanced technology and accuracy, you will get what you pay for!

Here are some details regarding a Gen 3 scope:

  • The average useful sight range is 300 yards. (Sometimes more depending on the model and grade that you have)
  • Offers the best low light performance
  • Imagery technology allows it to work in all light shades and conditions
  • The absolute best resolution for images
  • Has the longest life expectancy with an amazing 10,000 hours and more of operation!

Night Vision Scope FAQ

Still have questions about the best night vision rifle scopes of 2021? Read through our brief FAQ below for the answers to some of the more commonly asked questions.

Can you use a night vision scope during the day?

It really depends on the technology the scope uses. You can use a digital scope during the day, and it will still work great and offer amazing resolution. However, you can’t use a traditional night vision scope during the day because they may become damaged by the sunlight. No matter what, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations regarding your specific night vision scope.

What should I look for when purchasing the best night vision scopes?

First, you need to decide on the kind of technology you want. You can find more traditional night vision scopes that are more affordable but may not do everything you want them to do. Next, consider the magnification. Most night vision scopes have a very moderate level of magnification. Typically, you will find that 3x or 4x magnification is enough.

Do I need anything extra?

If you have a digital scope, then it will likely require an IR booster or light. If the scope doesn’t already come with one, then this will be an additional cost to consider. Some people also like to record what they are seeing through their scope and transmit it through Wi-Fi.

How long does a night scope typically last?

Digital night scopes do not burn out as fast as a traditional scope. As long as you follow through with proper care, they can last a lifetime. A Gen 1 scope can vary depending on its quality but can usually see up to 1000 hours of use. Budget models may only see hundreds of hours.

Conclusion

After reviewing the product options listed, as well as the additional information provided regarding different brands and scope generations, you have found the best night vision scope to suit your needs.

The Best Shotgun Scopes for 2021

When you’re hunting with a shotgun, common sense clearly tells you not to expect any sniper-style shooting feats. For many hunters, the need for a shotgun scope seems laughable. “I’m just shooting a turkey, and not that far away. Why would I need a scope?”

Believe it or not, the addition of a scope to your shotgun can dramatically improve your chances of bagging that trophy Tom. And that isn’t to mention those who hunt larger game with slugs, which requires even greater accuracy with your favorite shotgun. While it’s true that you can get a bead on your target using iron sights, the assistance of a scope is like the difference between reading in fine print and reading in large print. With a quality scope, your time is much better spent and frustration is reduced to a minimum.

In this guide, you’ll find the reasons that you should consider purchasing a shotgun scope, what to look for when making a decision, and finally the four scopes we most highly recommend.

Reasons why Shotgun Scopes make a Difference:

Crosshairs

Crosshairs allow you to pinpoint your target without playing guessing games.

Scope

With a scope, you aren’t tempted to raise up to check the movement of the bird or other game animal. As many hunters have learned, this is a major reason for losing that bird that seemed a sure thing.

Magnification

It never hurts to have a clearer view of your target.

Whether you’re hunting turkeys or whitetail, a scope can improve your game to the point that you’ll wonder how you ever got along without one. Although the addition of a scope to your gun may add a small amount of weight, it more than makes up for it by making your trek into the woods so much more profitable.

What to Look for in your Scope

When you decide it’s time to begin shopping for a shotgun scope, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are some important tips to help you make your decision when a world of choices make settling on the right scope a victory in itself:

Durability conquers all.

When you’re choosing a shotgun scope, the most important thing to keep in mind is that in order get your money’s worth, your scope will need to be tough. When you’re crashing through the thick brush or your gun slides down from the tree stand and lands against the trunk with a crack, once you’ve given thanks for the fact that it didn’t go off and kill anyone, you’ll be thankful you chose a scope that could stand up to anything your shotgun can handle.

Clarity is a must.

Another top priority for choosing a shotgun scope is clarity. Although it isn’t necessary to buy the priciest scope to achieve maximum resolution – more about that later – there’s no point buying a scope that makes discerning the difference between your target and the background a mystery. Make sure the scope you choose provides a sharp view of whatever you point it at so your eyes get the break they’ll need when you’ve been peering so hard for so long.

Keep it simple.

As you begin shopping around, you’ll find that different scopes offer different features. While many of these may seem tempting and like downright must-haves, keep in mind that anything that adds complication to your scope is one more thing that can break and render your scope useless. Unless you know that your scope would still work if a certain feature became inoperable, keep it simple and forego the fancy features.

Pricier doesn’t mean better.

Although it’s true that you get what you pay for, when it comes to shotgun scopes, there’s really no need to spend an arm and a leg. As long as a scope fulfills these other requirements, don’t be afraid to settle for a scope that just gets the job done without an exorbitant price tag. Unless you plan to make your living hunting, a cheap yet adequate scope should be all you need.

Slight magnification is plenty.

Obviously, with a shotgun, you don’t have much need for long-distance reconnaissance. As long as the scope provides slight magnification, you should be pleased with the results.

Shiny scopes are easily spotted.

It would be a shame to head out with your Mossy Oak gun stock and RealTree head-to-toe camo, just to have the deer turn tail and run at the flash of morning sun glinting off your gun scope. When looking for your shotgun scope, keep in mind that camouflage is just as important for scopes as it is for gunstocks. If you can’t find a suitable camo-colored scope, a matte-finished scope will prevent sunlight from giving away your presence to any vigilant wildlife you’re trying to evade.

Brighter isn’t always necessary.

Sure, it’s true that the brightness feature can be helpful for hunters out in the wee hours of the morning. Still, there’s no need to worry about making your scope too bright since you’ll be hunting when it’s somewhat light anyway. Why tempt yourself with ultra-bright technology when bagging that deer at night while it’s not legal to do so can get you in serious hot water. Although laws differ from state to state, good sportsmanship alone would dictate that too much technology can take the sporting chance out of the equation and cheapen the experience for everybody.

Reviews of the Four Best Shotgun Scopes on the Market

With each of these things in mind, here are four top examples of shotgun scopes that should provide what you need to make your hunting experience that much more profitable.

Bushnell Trophy Shotgun Scope with Circle-X Reticle

Color: Matte Black
Weight: 12.7 ounces
Magnification: 1.75x to 4x

The Bushnell shotgun scope is an all-around winner. The matte black, lightweight scope isn’t crazy expensive, but its durability makes it a favorite and one that many hunters will buy again – after their first one finally gives out after fifteen years.

 

Top features of the Bushnell Circle-X Reticle Shotgun Scope:

  • Wide view field allows minimal movement
  • 100% waterproof, shockproof and fogproof
  • Rain guard HD lens coating
  • Fast-focus eyepiece
  • 91% light transmission
  • 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments
  • Multi-coated optics allow for excellent contrast and clarity
  • Perfect for multiple hunting applications
  • Backed by Bushnell “no questions asked” lifetime warranty
  • 1.75-4X magnification
  • 3.5 ” eye relief

Nikon ProStaff Shotgun Hunter 2-7 x 32 Black Matte Riflescope(BDC 200)

Nikon ProStaff Shotgun HunterColor: Black Matte
Weight: 13.9 ounces
Magnification: 2x to 7x

True to its name, the Nikon ProStaff Shotgun Hunter Riflescope integrates professional Nikon technology into this cutting-edge tool to make hunting precise and smooth.

Top features of the Nikon ProStaff Shotgun Hunter Riflescope:

  • 3.8 inches of eye relief keeps you safe from recoil
  • 100 yard field of view
  • Nitrogen-filled housing to keep out fog and moisture
  • Bright, crisp images
  • Works great with muzzle-loaders
  • Zero-reset turrets with spring-loaded adjustment knob
  • Quick-focus eyepiece
  • Great even with severe shooting angles

Simmons ProHunter ProDiamond Reticle Shotgun Scope, 4x32mm (Matte)

Simmons ProHunter ProDiamondColor: Black Matte
Weight: 8.6 ounces
Magnification: 4x

The affordable Simmons ProHunter ProDiamond shotgun scope offers advanced technology at an easy-to-swallow price. The sharp focus is made possible by the use of high-quality optical glass so that you can see your target clearly, regardless of the weather.

Top features of the Simmons ProHunter ProDiamond Reticle Shotgun Scope:

  • TrueZero windage and elevation adjustment keeps your focus fixed
  • Durable construction can resist 1,000 rounds from a 12-gauge slug gun firing 3.5-inch shells
  • O-ring sealed, 100% waterproof housing
  • 4-inch eye relief protects vision
  • 25 years of customer satisfaction
  • Multi-coated optics offer clearly contrasting images
  • Pro-Diamond reticle
  • Easy grip and adjustment

Truglo Compact Strut N Rut Scope

Color: Camouflage
Weight: 16 ounces
Magnification: 3-12x

The Truglo Compact Strut N Rut Scope is an excellent choice for hunters targeting turkey and deer. It’s made of aircraft quality aluminum to provide a durable, scratch-resistant, and non-reflective matte finish that is optimal for use while hunting.

 

Top features of the Truglo Compact Strut N Rut Scope:

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Fully-coated lenses providing maximum brightness, clarity, and contrast
  • Fingertip windage and elevation adjustments
  • Diamond reticle
  • 100% waterproof and fogproof
  • Nitrogen gas filled
  • Finish is durable and scratch resistant

Regardless whether you choose one of these fine scopes or another one not listed here, be assured that the addition of clarified sighting will improve your hunting results dramatically. Happy hunting!

The Best Rangefinders of 2021

Upland Optics Best Selling Rangefinder

The Upland Optics Perception 1000 is our favorite rangefinder. Click the picture above to learn more.

Rangefinders belong to an innovative class of technology that has been evolving over the last century. These handheld gadgets are useful in a variety of situations. The system itself arose almost one hundred years ago, primarily adapted alongside cameras. In recent decades, these helpful tools have been utilized for solo performance in a variety of fields. They offer great benefits for hunting, archery, and golf.

This technical guide explores the vital specifications of these revolutionary devices. Before detailing the essential characteristics of a sound rangefinder, we will present the best ones available on the current market. While the functional mechanics remain relatively identical, minor modifications allow these machines to be employed for a variety of different purposes.

The Best Rangefinders for Hunting

Hunters use rangefinders to gauge the distance between themselves and their prey. Once they know how far away the prey is, they can make a more accurate shot. A rangefinder works exceptionally well when paired with a rifle scope. Here are the best gadgets for an accurate shot:

1. Upland Optics Perception 1000 Laser Rangefinder

Upland Optics is the brand we recommend the most for hunters, and their all-new rangefinder is a perfect example of why. Simple and effective, this device is built to be rugged enough to handle the extreme conditions that hunters often face.

Upland Rangefinder

With an effective range of 1000 yards, this rangefinder will be dialed in on distances well outside the effective range of most hunters. You will always know exactly how far of a shot you are taking or how much distance you have to cover to get within range.

Lightweight and portable, the device isn’t even noticeable when added to your other heavy gear. I personally carry it on my chest attached to my binocular harness, making it very easy to access quickly. Click here to see the current price.

2. Bushnell Michael Waddell Bone Collector Edition 4x 21mm Laser Rangefinder

For an authentic hunting experience, experts recommend this rugged rangefinder. Bushnell machines always carry a proud legacy, but this Collector’s Edition release is especially unique. The camouflage exterior lends itself to a gritty outdoor lifestyle. This tough appeal is not just for show, either; in fact, this boisterous device is meant to handle extreme environmental conditions. One of the special attributes of this model is its rainproof shell. The compact design also makes it extra portable.

This gadget simplifies the hunting experience more than any other machine. All functions have been condensed to a single-button operation. With a magnification versus objective lens ratio of 4X21mm, this viewer can spot anything between 10 and 600 yards. Accuracy is always within three feet.

The primary asset of this rangefinder comes in the form of advanced low light abilities. It is known to deliver unprecedented levels of bright crystalline optics in near darkness. Click here to see the current price.

The Best Rangefinders for Archery

Archers use rangefinders to hone their accuracy while developing an understanding for environmental factors. To make every arrow count, look into one of the following machines:

1. Nikon Arrow ID 3000 Bowhunting Laser Rangefinder

Archery aficionados swear by this premiere rangefinder from Nikon. All measurements are very specific. The increments are given for every 0.1 yards or meters. The gadget comes with First Target Priority Mode. This is the main selling point, mainly because it can be used to aim onto really small objects. It is designed to read thin fence posts 100 yards away. The mapping interface also does not falter with close range distances down to 5 yards. The objective diameter is an ideal 21mm.

This machine is durably suited for tough conditions including fog and rain. The 89 degree angular range is truly impressive, and it enables straight shots up and down. An 18.3mm eye relief zone enshrines true comfort. The CR2 lithium battery promises reliable use for extended periods of time. It is water resistant and rainproof, so you don’t have to worry about the elements. Click here to see the current price.

2. Bushnell G-Force 1300 ARC Laser Rangefinder

To launch arrows a greater distance than the usual hundred yards, archers flock to this notorious Bushnell creation. This is probably the most accurate design currently available in the field. It extends its reach up to 1,300 yards, and the precision is on the dot. The units are given for every 1/10 yards. For the nearest 475 feet, shots are guaranteed to land within 1/2 yard without human adjustments. Everything beyond that marker still promises a single yard range of accuracy.

The legendary 6x optics are brilliantly enlivened by Vivid Display Technology. This approach severely boosts clarity and contrast. Another specialized feature that has been built into this machine is Variable Sight-In (VSI).

There are three different modes available for the bow and arrow, and each one is sincerely advantageous. Bulls-Eye mode emphasizes sharpshooting, while Brush and Scan focus on panoramic aiming practices. Finally, the machine possesses a powerful protocol known as “Extreme. Speed. Precision.” This software is the most renowned rangefinder mainframe being offered to casual customers today. This stylish piece of machinery can be further enhanced by a tripod, which can be linked into its factory-installed mounting chamber. Click here to see the current price.

3. Simmons LRF 600 Laser Rangefinder

For archers just getting acquainted with the sport, it is impossible to go wrong with this Simmons model. It combines all of the basics at an astonishingly affordable price.

This release earns rave reviews non-stop, especially since this rangefinder brand has a name for swift precision. The magnification of 4x is more than enough for beginners. A tightly compacted vertical layout makes this gadget a breeze to bring anywhere.

With a capacity in between 5 and 600 yards, this bold device contains LCD visuals within the view itself. The optics are exceptionally bright and crystal clear, which is surprising for this price range. It is also housed with a superior casing that is resistant to harsh weather situations. Overall, this machine boasts accessibility and efficiency. Click here to check the current price.

The Best Rangefinders for Bow Hunting

When archery is applied in the field, the stakes are raised even higher. A dependable rangefinder must be on-hand to guarantee a successful experience. This surveillance equipment instills safety through awareness, and it allows perfect opportunities for exact kills. Here are the most trustworthy tools for these rigorous hunters:

1. Bushnell G-Force DX ARC 6x 21mm Laser Rangefinder

For something a little more powerful than the previous entry, check out this upgrade, which is also from Bushnell. Angle displays are fully tackled by an automated inclinometer. The magnification reaches a whopping 6x, and MOA is fully integrated.

This release also contains Bulls-eye, Scan, and Brush, but all specifications are extra detailed. The exterior also boasts the benefit of being handsomely decorated with symmetrical layouts, anti-slip grips and an iconic logo. A lithium ion battery is included, so this product can be used immediately. It is economically savvy and ergonomically sound.

This specific model also conveniently includes a dual purpose interface that properly accommodates most guns. Click here to check the current price.

2. Bushnell Elite 1600 Arc Rangefinder 7×26

Here is perhaps the most extraordinary tool bow hunters have available. Once again, this rangefinder ditches the traditional monocular approach to enshrine more accuracy, focus and distance. These benevolent binoculars can detect activity up to 1,760 feet away.

The rangefinder itself is an Angle Range Compensation (ARC). This revolutionary piece is attached alongside a 96×48 Pixel Matrix Display. Aesthetics blend with functionality, and the PC-3 Phase Corrective Coating is dazzling on both counts. This machine also contains state of the art BaK-4 Prisms to instill total sharpness and crispness for images.

Because the conjoined reader retains a minimum of 80% light, it can be used in several dim environments. This light retention rate leads the entire rangefinder industry! Click here to check the current price.

The Best Rangefinders for Golf

To pick the right golf club before every stroke, wise players must take several conditions into account. Luckily, a rangefinder can do most of the measuring work! Here are our top recommendations:

1. Bushnell Tour V4 Jolt Golf Laser Rangefinder

For a truly well-rounded golfing experience, it is hard to top the state-of-the-art equipment that is featured in this mainstay from Bushnell. This is the most popular tool of choice for golfers around the world. Its stylish contour is outfitted with a stellar 24mm objective alongside 5x magnification.

This device can precisely calculate ranges up to 1,000 yards, and its minimum distance is a mere 10 yards. With the combo of PinSeeker with Jolt, players can estimate flags within a single yard of accuracy up to a total of 300.

The laser is top-notch and completely safe. A sturdy carrying case is provided, and the 3-Volt battery is a standard inclusion. This design features an ergonomic structure that has one of the most stable grips available. A generous two year warranty is granted, and it is legal for official tournaments. Click here to check the current price.

2. Leupold GX-3i2 Series Digital Rangefinder

If accuracy is your top concern, then check out Leupold’s signature rangefinder. With Prism Lock, it is possible to precisely locate any pin from a distance. Quickness is also a prominent feature of this brand. They often deliver measurements after the very first target return.

Anyone who plays golf in adverse environmental conditions will want to consider this rangefinder based on its trademark Fog Mode. This feature detects all vital surroundings regardless of environmental conditions or changes in topography.

This sleek device boasts refined technical specifications, and its interface is astonishingly accessible. The commands are all very intuitive; plus, it automatically beeps and freezes upon recognizing a properly outfitted flag stick. The grip is suited for intense conditions and the laser is truly beyond comparison. It comes housed in a fine bag that is complete with a protective strap. Click here to check the current price.

3. TecTecTec! VPRO1 Rangefinder

For a dynamic approach to golfing, it is difficult to beat the simplified technology of TecTecTec!. Crystal clear imagery is a focal point of this gadget, and it is embedded with 6x magnification. Every shot will be within a one-yard accuracy zone up to 540 yards.

This tool can completely replace binoculars. Its optic system is a stand-out in today’s industry, especially since it showcases the most evolved digital circuit design currently possible. For golf amateurs, this may be the prime choice.

The key to this item’s innovative success lies in its three unique modes. The First Target Priority Mode simply measures distance in regards to the nearest object. Distant Target Priority does the opposite by seeking the farthest object. All of the essential visual data is streamlined immensely, and the view makes it possible to gauge exactly where all hazards are lurking with Scan Mode.

Once you have picked out a rangefinder to take with you on the golf course, check out this awesome tutorial on how to use it effectively:

The Best Rangefinders for the Money

On a financial scale, rangefinders can be costly. Luckily, their powers are available in several affordable variations. For the penny pinchers, this list of inexpensive devices will be invaluable:

1. Redfield Raider 650

Here is a nifty device that is the perfect mix of functional and affordable. It looks prototypical, but it is actually capable of viewing up to 1,000 yards. It has a field of view that cuts off at 325ft, however, the viewing angle is limited to 6 degrees.

This is a laser intended for use primarily by hunters. It aims to capture mobility with refined accuracy. At a mere 5 ounces, it is also one of the lightest rangefinders in production. It is also outfitted with single-button mechanics for immediate comprehension and use. In terms of objective lens diameter, buyers can look forward to a respectable ratio of 23 mm / 0.91″.

On a side note, the cubic shape is exclusive to the Redfield line. These futuristic devices disguise themselves with retro appeal. Click here to check the current price.

2. Leica Rangemaster CRF 2000

So, how did a $700 rangefinder end up on this list of economically oriented selections? Well, it is because the value is still out of this world. With limitless potential in a 2,00 yard range, this model receives flawless reviews from plenty of customers and critics alike.

The plastic exterior is reinforced with an advanced carbon treatment to ingrain as well as an indestructible surface. The bold black finish is simultaneously suave and purposeful. It also comes with special lenses that received a rare AquaDura treatment. This product comes with several effective ballistic modes and it can be applied in endless fields.

If you are still not convinced, you may just have to check it out for yourself. Afterwards, there will be no turning back. These are the kind of clear optics for which you typically would have to spend thousands of dollars. Click here to check the current price.

The Best Rangefinders for Under $200

Here are some more affordable rangefinders. These products condense all of the vital elements into a compact product that can be mass produced. The rangefinders listed here are suitable for curious hunters and first-timers.

1. Simmons LRF 600 Tilt Intelligence laser Rangefinder

For being sold at such a low price, this model is still a step up from the standard version. Priced under $150, this grand device flaunts intuitive Tilt Intelligence. This interface rapidly calculates True Horizontal Distance.

All modes of use can be simplified to one button. The carrying case is surprisingly slick for being an automatic add-on accessory. With 4x magnification and 600 yards of range, the LCD in-view picture is stunningly clear every time. It has the welcome bonus of being bright and weather-resistant.

While this model is ideal for golf, it can also be useful for archers and bow hunters. Those who need extra ballistic controls may need to look elsewhere. Click here to check the current price.

2. SA Sports 7.26 Dragon Eyez 1500 Yard Rangefinder

This stellar Dragon Eyez release is currently being offered at $187. This price is unbelievable, especially considering the maximum range of 1,500 yards. Of course, this is with the implementation of an exclusive reflective surface, which can be subject to shutter speeds. Luckily, it also has an uninterruptible standard field of view that extends to an even 1,000 yards.

Rifle owners will fall in love with this mighty machine. Its astute measurements can be used to line up the perfect shot time and time again. Prize caribou will have no chance escaping the hunter that confidently utilizes this tool.

The 25mm lens is pretty big, and it comes with a fine cloth for long-term preservation. A lanyard and case are also provided for customer convenience. Finally, the LCD display is cutting-edge! Click here to check the current price.

The Best Rangefinders for Under $500

For a little more cash, you can get some serious bells and whistles. Here are some of the best rangefinders available within a more reasonable price limit:

1. Vortex Optics Ranger 1000 with Horizontal Component Distance Rangefinder RRF-101

This is one superb piece of technology right here! Vortex has crammed a ton of special amenities into this $380 model. It has a regal rubber exterior that protects from heavy impact while simultaneously allowing for a seriously unrelenting grip. Each one of the lenses is coated to enshrine anti-reflective powers, which leads to a wonderfully high level of brightness during use.

The O-ring instills one of the best moisture prevention methods possible. This tight seal completely combats all interference from dust and debris. It is also programmed to fully prevent moisture contamination. These machines are known to emphasize a streamlined diopter, which refers to the curvature of its interior mirroring. Thus, focus is crystal clear no matter the occasion. Click here to check the current price.

2. Nikon 8381 Laser Forestry Pro Rangefinder

This is the rangefinder that professionals demand! At just under $400, it factors in every possible measurement of distance. It can keep track of complex elements including vertical separation, horizontal distance, angulations, and elevation.

It has two distinct modes to toggle between priority detections. The striking yellow surface represents true industry savvy. The module contains three separate units and users can freely switch between yards, meters, and feet. In the end, this release trades extra calculations for a shorter overall range. The 6x magnification lends itself to an ample 999ft field. Click here to see the current price.

History of Rangefinder Use

Rangefinder equipment for cameras originated in 1916. They were an exceedingly prevalent means of photography for several decades, but single lens reflex (SLR) cameras rendered them somewhat obsolete. Fortunately, the technology lingered on outside of the picture taking field.

Today, the rangefinder industry covers a lot of different ground. They are regularly used for land surveying purposes. Many navigation systems rely on them as well. Digital cameras still sometimes use rangefinder technology to instill proper focus for their images. The military is also presumed to use high-tech variations of this hardware, but this information is presently classified.

The Components of Conventional Rangefinders

Most modern rangefinders involve some variation of an electronically outfitted monocular. The techniques they use to estimate space can vary widely. Laser rangefinders are becoming increasingly prominent, but other approaches include ultrasonic, radar, and simple trigonometry.

Most of these machines are meant to be held, but they can be attached to tripods for maximum stability (similar to a spotting scope). Angular mounts can be applied to uncover exact measurements of elevation. Spherical coordinates may be precisely deduced as well; for the non-layman, a proper term for these rounded measurements is “azimuth.”

Lasers work by calculating the exact time of flight for each burst of light. Their mathematical determinations are rapid and exact! Meanwhile, radar applies pre-determined numerical figures for quick estimations. For the most accuracy, rangefinder connoisseurs stick with the traditional means of triangulation. With the mere power of sine, cosine, and tangent, this type of standard model can still trump all of its fancier competitors.

To convey useful data, a screen is usually mandated. These monitors can come in a variety of forms, but their most common incarnation is liquid crystal display (LCD). Lately, this high-tech inclusion has been structured into the viewing apparatus itself.

Why Rangefinders are Useful

These visual aids can be used to measure vast distances. The most advanced versions are equipped to detect distant objects. This prioritization over close objects commonly sets hunting rangefinders apart from their golfing counterparts.

These devices are equipped with ultra powerful lenses that can accurately capture an entire panorama at once. Sharpshooters often utilize these gadgets to figure out ideal ballistics before firing. This enshrines the zenith of accuracy for every shot. The same is true for archers and bow hunters. Basically, rangefinders are divine accessories for anyone who desires a fuller comprehension of their visual field.

Final Word

This list may be detailed and comprehensive, but it is by no means complete. The truth is that everybody should conduct their own research to ensure that their rangefinder needs are met. Hopefully, this guide is able to help you make a decision in regards to your next rangefinder purchase!