The Best Trijicon ACOG Scope in 2019

best trijicon acog scopeTrijicon’s line of Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights (ACOGs) is of the utmost quality. All models are forged from an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, making them lightweight and nearly indestructible. All models pass military drop tests and are water resistant up to 100 meters, filled with dry nitrogen to prevent fogging. For an even more durable product, Trjicon makes their ACOG scopes with fixed magnification. Less moving parts means more reliability. Most models feature a fiber-optic and tritium reticle that adjusts brightness based on available light, operating completely battery-free in bright to low-light conditions, and some offer an LED reticle option that runs for thousands of hours on a single battery. Trijicon’s ACOG scopes are specifically designed for effective use in close-quarters combat, using the Bindon Aiming Concept. It is no mystery why Trijicon ACOG scopes are the most trusted combat sights worldwide.

Trijicon offers a huge assortment of ACOG scopes, with different magnification powers, different reticles, different objective lens diameters, and different physical sizes. This article will give a brief overview of them, arranged by magnification strength and objective size, but first, a quick word about objective lens sizes.

For those of us that are new to firearms scopes, the magnification power and objective lens diameter are listed as, for example, “1.5×24”. The first number, 1.5, is the magnification strength of the scope. An object viewed though the scope will appear approximately 1.5 times as large. The second number, 24, is the diameter of the objective lens, in millimeters. The objective lens is the lens farthest from the eye, and determines how much light enters the scope. A larger objective lens will produce a brighter image, but will be bigger and heavier, and may require additional accessories to attach.

Now let’s talk about the various models of Trijicon ACOG scopes.

1.5x16S

These scopes are built for quick reflexes in close quarters. They feature a super-wide 7.4° field of view, allowing you to see a 12.9 meter diameter at a 100 meter distance. No other Trijicon ACOG scope matches these for maintaining complete combat awareness.

The smallest ACOG scopes Trijicon makes weigh a tiny 5.1 ounces. They are designed for the lowest possible mounting configuration, making them an excellent choice for AK rifles or other firearms with low cheek welds. They also make wonderful accompaniment to M16 or M4 rifles, leading to fantastic fire-control capability.

Trijicon 1.5x16S ACOG scopes feature circle-dot reticles, with no batteries required. The circle is made of high-quality fiber optics that catch and intensify ambient light, automatically adjusting brightness and contrast from bright to low-light conditions. The center dot is made of tritium, which catches and stores energy from collected light and glows when little or no light is available.
1.5x16S Trijicon ACOG scopes are a great choice for close-combat situations or for speed-oriented marksmanship competitions. They are small, light, simple, and durable.

1.5×24

These ACOG scopes feature a larger objective lens diameter than the previous set, with the same magnification strength. The image produced by these scopes is expected to be brighter and clearer than that of the 1.5x16S, but the scope itself is much larger. While the height and width remain the same as the smaller scope, the 1.5×24 scope is 45 millimeters longer, with a total length of 147 millimeters (about six inches). This scope is 6.3 ounces, considerably heavier than the 1.5x16S.

These scopes offer two possible targeting reticles: Triangle or crosshair. Reticles are made of fiber-optics and tritium, like most Trijicon ACOG scopes, and automatically adjust brightness based on lighting conditions. The largeness of the reticles makes them easy to decipher at an instant, allowing you to take aim that much faster.

The field of view through a Trijicon 1.5×24 ACOG scope is an 8.6 meter diameter at a 100 meter distance, or about 4.9°, much smaller than the 1.5x16S.

The benefits of the 1.5×24 ACOG scope are in the large exit pupil and generous eye relief. The exit pupil is a full 16 millimeters, and the eye relief is 91 millimeters. This configuration means that eye position requires much less precision, allowing for lightning-fast target acquisition in rapid-movement situations.

Trijicon’s 1.5×24 ACOG scopes are the right choice for fast target acquisition in close-quarters environments and any situation in which you need to maintain low-distance accuracy without sacrificing maneuverability.

2×20

This is the first step up in magnification, but it comes with a slight reduction in objective lens diameter.

The 2×20 ACOG scope is smaller than the 1.5×24, coming in at 135 millimeters in length, but with the same width and the same low profile. It is only one tenth of an ounce heavier.

Field of view is 5.6°, or a 9.8 meter diameter at a 100 meter distance. This is a wider field of vision than the 1.5×24, allowing a wider view of the combat zone while aiming through the scope.

Trijicon’s 2×20 ACOG scopes have three reticle options: Triangle, crosshair, or 6.9 MOA dot. These large reticles enable faster targeting discernment, but at the expense of long-range accuracy.

This scope’s compact design makes it a great choice for compact firearms, such as UZIs, MP-5s, or other member of the H&K lineup. It’s enhanced magnification extends accurate rifle range up to 200 meters.

3×24

This is the point at which Trijicon ACOG scopes begin to focus on long-distance accuracy. These scopes have the least eye relief of all Trijicon ACOG scopes, at 35 millimeters, and the smallest exit pupil, at only 8 millimeters. The scopes are only 127 millimeters long, and are available at in standard height or low-profile designs. Low-height scopes are perfect for AK style rifles, or other firearms with low cheek welds. The 3×24 ACOG scopes weigh between 5.8 and 6.1 ounces, making them easily maneuverable.

Field of view for these scopes is approximately 8.6 meters at a 100 meter distance, or 4.9°. Reticles at this level are specifically calibrated to either .223 or 7.62x39mm ammunition. The two targeting reticle options are either a dual-illuminated ballistic crosshair, or dual-illuminated horseshoe-dot. Both are made of fiber-optics material that automatically adjusts brightness based on lighting conditions, with a tritium center dot that glows in low-light conditions.

Trijicon builds windage and elevation adjusters right onto their ACOG scopes, so no extra tools are needed. They also integrate housings for their Ruggedized Miniature Reflex sights, or RMRs, so the extra optics can easily be mounted onto the ACOG scope.

Trijicon’s 3×24 ACOG scopes are the right choice for rifles using either .223 or 7.62×39 cartridges, when they need to balance lightweight maneuverability with long-distance accuracy.

3×30

This is one of the most versatile magnification and lens diameter options available. These scopes can be specifically calibrated for .223, .308, 7.62×39, or 300 BLK ammunition.

At 7.8 ounces and a length of 155 millimeters, these scopes are the biggest and heaviest of Trijicon’s compact ACOGs. They have a field of view with only a 6.5 meters at a 100 meter distance, about 3.7°, which is the tightest field of vision of the compact ACOGs.

Trijicon’s 3×30 ACOG scopes offer significant accuracy improvements. The sizable magnification strength extends usable rifle range, and the automatically adjusting fiber-optic reticle features bullet drop compensation for long-distance shooting. At these distances, windage and elevation adjustment is critical, and the 3×30 ACOG scopes feature integrated external adjusters at 4 clicks per adjustment inch at 100 yards.

These scopes offer a little more eye freedom than the 3×24 scopes, with 48 millimeters of eye relief and an 8.4 millimeter exit pupil.

Trijicon’s 3×30 ACOG scopes are the right choice for those who want a compact scope that enhances mid-range accuracy, and are using a .223, .308, 7.62×39, or 300 BLK rifle. This scope does not come in low-height configurations, and so may not be comfortable on rifles with low cheek welds.

3.5×35

This begins the set of Trijicon ACOG scopes built for extended range shooting. The 3.5×35 scope offers accuracy up to 800 meters for .223 rifles and up to 1200 meters for .308.

These scopes are not compact, and so are much larger and heavier than the previous scopes. 3.5×35 ACOGs are 203 millimeters long, 53 millimeters wide, and 66 millimeters tall. They weigh 14 ounces, nearly a full pound of extra weight on your rifle.

This scope has the largest exit pupil of the extended range scopes, nearly 10 millimeters, and the second largest eye relief, at 61 millimeters. External windage and elevation adjusters operate at 3 clicks per inch at 100 yards.

Trijicon offers a wide selection of targeting reticles for its 3.5×35 ACOGs: Chevron, crosshair, horseshoe-dot, triangle, and donut. Each reticle is dual-illuminated with fiber-optics and tritium. All sights are zeroed at 100 meters. Chevron sights are 5 moa thick, or approximately 19 inches at 300 meters. Competitive marksmen often prefer donut reticles, as they will not obscure the target.

Trijicon makes a special 3.5×35 ACOG scope designed specifically to be used with the M249 weapon system. This special scope increases hit probability out to 1000 meters. The special M249 scope is prepared to accept an additional RMR, and is built with GDI auto-locking quick-release levers. The scope is easily zeroed for either 500 meters or 10 meter BZO.

The Trijicon 3.5×35 ACOG scope is popular among competitive shooters for its ease of use, reliability, and accuracy. It is also among the only ACOG scopes specifically designed for use with a machine gun system.

4×32

The classic, the original. This is the first ACOG Trijicon made, and is still one of their most popular products. The 4×32 scope lineup includes several designed specifically for use by the US military, and one designed for use by the Los Angeles Police Department.

U.S. military specifications require the ACOG scopes to allow for bullet drop compensation up to 800 meters without any manual adjustments. Most non-US-military 4×32 scopes allow for bullet drop compensation up to 600 meters.

This magnification strength and objective lens diameter configuration has the most options of any ACOG scope Trijicon makes. They offer several models with the standard crosshair reticle, either dual-illuminated of illuminated with tritium only. They offer many different dual-illuminated reticles in scopes designed for use with the Bindon Aiming Concept. They even have 4×32 ACOG models with LED reticles.

LED reticle 4×32 ACOG scopes require one AA battery. They can last over 12,000 hours before the single battery must be replaced. The use of electricity over fiber optics allows the user to adjust the brightness of the reticle with a simple switch, and means that the reticle maintains the same level of brightness in all light conditions.

5.5×50

This is the longest of Trijicon’s ACOG scopes. It sits a full 305 millimeters in length! It sits relatively low, at only 69 millimeters. It weighs 25.6 ounces, just over a pound and a half, which will definitely affect the maneuverability and ease of use in your weapon. This ACOG scope is built for great accuracy in extended-range shooting, but is still designed to work well with the Bindon Aiming Concept.

The reticle is only available in chevron, but comes with a flat-line top adapter. The large objective lens ensures that the image will be bright and clear even at such a high magnification. A tight field of view, only 6.1 meters at a 100 meter distance, about 3.5°, maintains an accurate image with as little fish-eye distortion as possible.

This ACOG is made for pinpoint accuracy. Built-in windage and elevation adjusters operate at 5 clicks per inch at 100 yards. The reticle includes markings for bullet drop compensation for incredibly long distances. The reticle is zeroed at 100 meters, and the 5.53 MOA chevron signifies 19 inches at 300 meters, allowing easier range estimation for silhouetted targets.

These 5.5×50 ACOG scopes can be calibrated either for .223 or for .308 ammunition. This covers a wide variety of weapons that are generally used at these distances.

The Trijicon 5.5×50 ACOG scope is the right choice for shooters intending to use their weapon at long distances, but who want to avoid the extra weight and difficulty of using the last Trijicon ACOG magnification and objective lens diameter configuration.

6×48

This is perhaps the most impressive of Trijicon’s ACOG lineup. These can be calibrated for .223, .308, or .50 BMG ammunition. All 6×48 ACOG scopes incorporate bullet drop compensation notches in the reticle: the .223 scope has bullet drop compensation to 800 meters, the .308 up to 1200 metes, and the .50 BMG up to 1800 meters.

The .308 scopes can have either a chevron or horseshoe-dot reticle, while the others are only available in chevron. All reticles are zeroed at 100 meters, and the chevron is 5.53 MOA think, or 19 inches at 300 meters. All reticles are dual-illuminated with fiber optics and tritium, which provided battery-free lighting that automatically adjusts in brightness to environmental conditions.

Trijicon makes two specialty ACOG scopes in this range. The first is designed for use with the M240 weapon system, and the second for use with the .50 BMG M2 system. Both specialty scopes incorporate a horseshoe-dot reticle with a tritium center that glows in darkness. Both have a built-in 1913 Picatinny Rail on top, so additional sights can be attached. Both have auto-locking quick detach levers. Both are designed for both-eyes-open shooting, in the Bindon Aiming Concept.

The 6×48 ACOG scopes are incredibly durable. They are built of the same aluminum alloy as the others, need no batteries, and are waterproof up to 500 meters. These scopes go anywhere.

These scopes are by far the heaviest of the Trijicon ACOGs, at 36.9 ounces, over 2.25 pounds. They are 229 millimeters long and 86 millimeters high, making this configuration perhaps the most cumbersome. Windage and elevation adjusters operate at 4 clicks per inch at 100 yards.

The M240 scope provides bullet drop compensation notches up to 1200 meters. It includes a 500 meter zero point, and a 10 meter BZO marker.

The M2 scope provides bullet drop compensation notches up to 2000 meters. Instructions to zero the scope at 100 or 500 meters are etched into the side. This scope is designed to account for bullet spin at extreme distances, specific to .50 BMG ammunition.

The 6×48 ACOG scope is the perfect choice for those who want the highest magnification strength, but understand the importance of the Bindon Aiming Concept. These scopes are the definition of rugged reliability. They are easy to use and capable in nearly any environment.

Summary

Here’s a quick guide to deciding on a Trijicon ACOG scope:

  • Consider the size of the weapon to which the scope will be attached. Smaller weapons are better suited to compact scopes, which range up to the 3×30.
  • Consider the cheek welds. Guns with low cheek welds are often better suited to low-profile ACOGs.
  • Consider your average combat distance. At close quarters, a wide field of view helps maintain peak combat awareness, and smaller, lighter scopes will be more easily maneuverable.
  • Consider eye relief. In high-speed situations, more eye relief space makes it easier to get a full view through the scope without specific head placement.
  • Consider caliber. Longer-distance scopes are specifically designed by caliber, with bullet drop compensation lines that match.
  • If using an M2, M240, or M249 weapon system, go straight for ACOG scopes specifically designed for use with your firearm.

Once you’ve considered every aspect of the scope, use the links above to find what you want on Amazon, and click Buy Now. You won’t be disappointed.

Binoculars Review: Monarch 5 10x42mm

Nikon’s Monarch line of binoculars are some of the most popular in the world. As you’d expect thanks to their popularity and the Nikon name, they are great binoculars.

If you are looking to upgrade that old pair of binoculars in your truck that only really work through one eye, you will be absolutely amazed by the quality of these binoculars. In optics, you get what you pay for, and that’s especially true in binoculars.

The Monarch line is well made and well respected. Even if you are experienced with binoculars but are looking for a new pair, there is very little to be disappointed in with this line. And, you have several configuration options, so you can get exactly what you need.

Monarchs actually come in three configurations – 8×42, 10×42, and 12×42. We tested the 10×42 Monarch 5, which includes the following specs:

  • FOV @ 1000m/yds: 96/288
  • Exit pupil: 4.2 mm
  • Brightness: 17.6
  • Eye relief: 18.4 mm
  • Weight: 21.2 oz

And it has the following features:

  • Extra-low dispersion glass
  • Multi-layer coating
  • Turn and slide rubber eyecups
  • Waterproof and fog free

The Monarch 5 10×42 is a great mid-range binocular. True, they’re on the higher end of that price range, but they are worth the money if you can make your budget accommodate.

Design

One of the first things you’ll notice right out of the package is that the Monarchs feel well made and sturdy. They are also relatively lightweight for this price point, so you won’t feel like you’re lugging bricks around your neck all day.

The rubber armoring makes it easy to hold. The twist-up eyecups are comfortable, as is the 18mm eye relief. Adjustments are easy to make, and the focus wheel works incredibly well no matter what your hands are covered in.

These are very well made, and designed with the elements in mind. Nikon Monarch 5 binoculars are filled with nitrogen, which makes them completely fogproof. For anyone who has experienced the frustration of lenses that fog up, you will be super impressed by how well this fogproofing works. Additionally, the Monarch 5s are waterproof (for up to 10 minutes at a depth of up to one meter).

Key Users

The Nikon Monarch 5 is very popular with bird watchers, hikers, and hunters. The design features support the needs of those populations. And, the multi-coated lenses mean that the true color comes through. The overall visual quality is outstanding. You’ll see crisp, clear views with great detail.

In-House Comparison

We tested these alongside comparably priced binoculars with similar specs, and the Monarch 5s were the clear winner. The lightweight design gives it a competitive edge, but it really comes down to eye comfort and the stunning quality.

Our Verdict

The Monarch 5 is a great pair of binoculars that will work well for a number of uses. Whether you want to take them hiking to check out wildlife, keep them in your vehicle for your birdwatching excursions, or keep them close on your hunt, they will work wonderfully. We can’t wait to get these back outside for hunting season, or even just to birdwatch. Overall, the Monarch 5 is well worth the money and will last you a long, long time.

Click here to check the current price of the Monarch 5

Best Telescope Accessories of 2019

When you first purchase a telescope, it usually comes with standard optics that don’t immediately require additional optics right off the bat. Compared to cameras, which are regularly updated along with a specific line, telescope manufacturers take greater time to produce new models with different features and capabilities. Particular models will have the same manufacturer, they don’t operate along a particular “line” of products like cameras, binoculars, or other optics do.

All telescopes are made to see the stars, but some have limits as to how far and what they can see. Any two telescopes will differ on power and quality of view based on the size and quality of their optics.  However, if you take a good look at two or more telescopes, you’ll probably notice that most have similar mounts, tripods, viewfinders, and so on.

Here are examples of telescope accessories we think you should be familiar with in the case that something breaks or needs replacing.

Eyepieces

Eyepieces are going to be your primary investment. They will determine what you can and cannot see and what the quality of the object will be. Eyepieces can range anywhere from as small as 2.5 mm to greater than 60mm. We know you’ll have a multitude of options to choose from when it comes to eyepieces, and that is why we’ve determined the best eyepieces for amateur astronomers. One thing to be cautious of however is whether or eyepiece is interchangeable across different manufacturers. Most eyepieces are diverse, but there are some made specifically for a particular brand.

Below are eyepieces renowned for their quality and the views they provide for their users:

Celestron 8 to 24mm 1.25 Zoom EyepieceCelestron Lens

It’s no surprise that Celestron tops our list once again. Celestron manufactures some accessories to compliment their already widely popular telescopes. Celestron’s 1.25-inch eyepiece is one such accessory that users have widely applauded. What’s great about this eyepiece that it is compatible with telescopes that accept a 1.25-inch eyepiece, so you don’t have to worry about buying from any specific brand. With a field of view (FOV) of 40-60 degrees, you’ll get crisp images of our moon and even deep sky objects.

  • Those who wear glasses will have no problem with this eyepiece. It has a folding eyecup which allows people with glasses to lean in close.

Meade Instruments Series 4000 8 to 24-Millimeter 1.25-Inch Zoom Eyepiece

Meade’s version of the 1.25-inch eyepiece is not too dissimilar from Celestron. Apart from a slight price difference, Meade offers a similar, high-quality eyepiece compatible with telescopes that can sport 1.25-inch eyepieces. For quick and easy zooming, Meade is your maker when it comes above average atmospheric filtering and image quality.

  • There is a small difference with the Celestron eyepiece in that the 24mm setting offers a 55-degree FOV instead of 60. It’s not the largest distance in the world, but if you’re particular about what you want to see, the Meade eyepiece does offer a slightly smaller FOV than Celestron.

Orion 3.0mm Edge-On Planetary Eyepiece

Of the 1.25-inch eyepieces, Orion’s Edge-On takes the cake for the highest power but with overall stats that make it one of the best in our opinion. Not only will you be able to see objects and planets with its wide FOV, but happy customers have reported being able to see the moons of Jupiter and the individual bands that give it its distinctive look.

  • A 20mm eye relief gives it one of the most comfortable positions for those with glasses.

SVBONY Telescope Lens 0.91″ 23mm Wide Angle 62 Degree Aspheric Eyepiece HD Fully Coated for 1.25″ 31.7mm Astronomic Telescopes

SVBONY is not a well-known optics manufacturer, but in this case, we couldn’t resist placing their 1.25-inch eyepiece on our list. For one, the price is unbeatable. Like Meade and Celestron, it is also compatible with telescopes able to support a 1.25-inch eyepiece.

  • Surprisingly, it sports a 62-degree FOV, slightly larger than both Celestron and Meade. This difference can mean a great deal depending on what you’re looking for, but this can give you a bigger picture of deep space beyond our moon and solar system.

Mounts

Altazimuth mounts are some of the more common mounts you see on telescopes today. They allow you to maneuver your telescope up and down and side to side. The loss of diagonal or full range of motion doesn’t mean you’ll be losing out when it comes to seeing objects. Advances in digital altazimuth technology have allowed users to better track objects as they move across the sky, something that previously wasn’t available to amateur astronomers.

Meade Instruments Coronado AZS MountMeade Mount

Meade has constructed one of the simplest altazimuth mounts on the market. For a reasonable price, the Coronado provides smooth and stable controls for sizable telescopes. Also, it comes with an accessory tray—can’t beat that. Since your focus will be on slow and steady movements, the Coronado employs slow motion control cables that will help prevent sudden or sharp movements.

  • Weighing in at only 7lbs, it is portable and accessible to someone looking to take it beyond their front or backyard.

Orion’s VersaGo II isn’t designed to hold the heaviest of telescopes, but it does the job. A beginner’s or children’s telescope would fit good on this mount; in fact, any telescope less than fifteen pounds is supported by the VersaGo II. Since it is one of the smallest altazimuth mounts on our list, it is also one of the simplest—allowing you to install and remove your telescope with ease.

  • An accessories tray in the middle of the three legs gives you an accessible place to access interchangeable parts and optics.

 Twilight II Heavy-Duty Dual-Head Altazimuth Mount and Tripod

The Twilight II is perhaps the most unusual altazimuth mount because it can carry not one, but two telescopes on each of its primary mounts. In theory, you could use one telescope for normal viewing while the other could be for astrophotography. Although a little pricey, the Twilight II is an excellent investment if you have more than one telescopes with different features.

  • The Twilight II, understandably, is the heaviest of the mounts. Weighing in close to 25lbs, it’s no wonder it’s able to sport two telescopes at once. However, if you do plan to utilize its dual telescope feature, make sure you have a stable and ample power supply nearby because they will draw large amounts of power.

Equatorial mounts are rarer than altazimuth but not entirely uncommon. Two (advanced) telescopes you’ll find them on are the 80mm TwinStar Silver and the Celestron Advanced VX 8″. You’ll also commonly find them in observatories attached to much larger and powerful telescopes and peering out of the domes that house them.

As far as amateur telescopes go, they are less common but provide a more stable system for tracking moving objects according to Earth’s rotation (some pretty advanced stuff!). They are also going to be much more expensive than altazimuth mounts.

Celestron CG-4 German Equatorial Mount and Tripod

The CG-4 tops our list for the best equatorial mount because of its reliability and sturdiness. With equatorial mounts, the key is adjusting to the rotation of Earth, and to do this correctly, they need to be planted firmly on the ground. Celestron’s CG-4 accomplishes its goal of being strong, sturdy, and versatile as to what you can track as the night progresses.

  • A German equatorial mount sports counterweights that are perfect for larger telescopes designed for astrophotography or prolonged exposure in the night sky.Meade German

Meade LX70 German Equatorial Mount

Meade’s LX70 German mount is similar to Celestron’s CG-4 in design, but on the interior, the differences begin to show. Like Meade’s altazimuth mount, the LX70 features slow motion controls for cool control over the telescope. Everything is right where you need it on the mount including the latitude/elevation controls and the accessory tray.

The LX70 is also the priciest equatorial mount on our list, but on the bright side, you can attach it to any telescope twenty pounds or less. It would be a major bummer if it were only applicable to Meade’s telescopes.

  • A steel body and frame ensures that everything is strong enough to survive a journey to an excellent location or an accidental tip over.

Orion 9055 Min-EQ Tabletop Equatorial Telescope Mount

The Min-EQ Tabletop mount is exactly as its name suggests. It’s designed for smaller telescopes weighing less than 7lbs. This equatorial mount is ideal for portability where larger mounts might be too bulky or spacious. Campground and raised platforms will be great locations to place the Min-EQ.

Because equatorial mounts are rare and expensive, the Min-EQ is a bargain when it comes to price. The only problem is you probably won’t be able to mount a full-size Celestron or Meade telescope on it. However, if you do have a lighter telescope in your possession, the stability you will get with the Min-EQ will be unparalleled.

  • Children’s or beginner’s telescopes with less bulk on the primary tube are excellent pieces to fit on the Min-EQ.

Finder Scopes

Finder scopes are a useful addition to a telescope and not meant to be overlooked. Telescopes with motorized or computer tracking systems are rare and expensive, so you’ll usually find yourself using the old point and look method that astronomers have been using for hundreds of years.

Finder scopes usually come in the form of a red dot sight like the ones that appear on firearms. However, these are long lasting and designed to help track far away objects as they move across the sky day or night depending on your telescope’s capabilities. What separates finder scopes from each other is how well it tracks and object and (if it has a red dot sight) if it is easily aligned.

Here are our recommendations for the best finder scopes applicable across different models and brands of telescopes:

Celestron Star Pointer Telescope Finder Scope

Celestron’s star pointer is a fundamental finder scope which has day and night uses thanks to the power provided from its 3V battery. For its size and power, the Star Pointer is easily aligned with any 6-inch or larger telescope.

For a meager price, you’ll get an incredible two-year warranty which is sometimes better than most telescopes that you’ll eventually attach it to. This doesn’t mean you should run wild and tossing it around like a toy, but it will protect the finder scope against most basic accidents or inconsistencies.

Of the finder scopes on our list, the Star Pointer is probably one of the best all-around devices—low price, easy setup, and versatility are all hard to beat.

SVBONY 5×24 Finder Scope

SVBONY’s 5×24 finder scope is a classic design—a throwback to some of the early days of astronomy. This doesn’t detract from its capabilities, however, as the 5×24 has a magnification feature that is unlike most finder scopes.

The 5×24 is designed to give you a level of precision that you just don’t find with other finder scopes. The screws located near the eye port allow for more accurate alignment in combination with its low power magnification. This means that not only will you be almost guaranteed to lock on to an object, but you’ll stay on it and get a proper view.

Due to its versatility and power as a finderscope, the 5×24 may have more success and a more powerful telescope. It’s not pricey, but you wouldn’t put this scope on a children’s telescope that can’t see very far.

Orion 7211 Black 6×30 Right-Angle Correct-Image Finder

Orion’s 6×30 image finder is a lot like SVBONY’s 5×24 in that they both have magnification features, with Orion’s being slightly more powerful. The 6×30 scope is shaped difOrion Image Finderferently than most straight facing scopes in that it is bent upward at the bottom, so you don’t have to squat down to look through a straight one. For those of us that have back problems, we know how much pain that can be!

The 6×30 has a magnifying power of 6x across a 30mm diameter objective as the name suggests. These features are sure to give you a crisp, clean view of your object by way of the 6×30’s tracking and your eyepiece’s viewing power.

Another Orion scope makes our list, this time the more powerful 9×50 CI finder scope. As the most powerful of the scopes on the list, you’ll get one of the most enhanced looks at the object your tracking compared to all other scopes. Like the 6×30 scope, it too is made at a right angle which circumvents hunching and squatting over. Because of its shape, the 9×50 can be ideally used on a Dobsonian telescope, a type of reflector.

As the most expensive of the scopes, you should invest in this scope if you are looking for the best tracking and best imaging possible from your telescope.

Telrad Finder Sight

Telrad’s finder sight is one of the simpler ones on the market, but its high price will leave you wondering what makes it better than the rest of the scopes on our list. This is because the Telrad is preferred by both amateur and professional astronomers who enjoy “star-hopping” or quickly moving from one star/object to the other in quick succession.

If you plan on viewing as many stars and objects as possible, then you’ll want a scope that can easily adjust to quick change of pace. Other scopes will have to be magnified and readjusted depending on how long and how closely you look at an object.

The price compared to other scopes is going to put some people off, but this doesn’t mean that the Telrad isn’t capable of doing everything normal scopes do without the magnification features.

FiltersGosky Filters

A telescope filter is designed to dilute almost every atmospheric anomaly or distortion that might come between you and a celestial object. Some objects are also incredibly bright (like the sun), depending on how close they are and you’ll need a filter to see them.

Gosky Telescope filters set 1.25”

The set of filters that are made by Gosky do just about everything when it comes to filtering out unnecessary light. Sources like street lamps, cities, cars, and aircraft are only some examples of things that could inhibit your ability to see at night. Gosky’s set of filters come in seven different colorations to enable you to see different colored planets, stars, and objects at the utmost quality.

 

The Best Image-Stabilization Binoculars of 2019

It seems like there’s a pair of binoculars for just about every situation and sometimes with intricate pieces of technology infused within. We’ve seen rangefinder binoculars among other things, but an even lesser known form of binos is image-stabilization binoculars.

Image stabilization is a very sought after quality among camera fanatics, including those who own DSLR and SLR cameras. We all want our binoculars to transmit the best quality images to us regardless of weather conditions. While most binos do a pretty good job on their own, these particular binos are specialized to produce some of the best non-shaky images in the world.

Let’s take a look at each of them:

Fujinon

Fujinon is widely known for producing polaroid film and polaroid cameras. Their entries into the IS-camera market have been met with near-universal acclaim, so let’s explore why.

14x40mm Fujinon Techno Stabi TS1440 - 14x40 Image Stabilization Binocular

This 14x40mm pair of binos is more rectangular than your average pair of binos, but does have some hand grip on the left side so you can handle them with ease. These particular binos come with 5 degrees of stabilization. Degrees of stabilization, in the simplest terms, refers to the level of which the lenses operate in order to stabilize the image.

Advanced cameras utilize degrees of stabilization with the utmost importance, especially when filming. The Fujinon 14x40mm has received rave reviews because of its ability to display images in the far distance but with maximum stability and image quality.

  • Fujinon also manufactures a 12x32mm version with 3 degrees of stabilization.
  • You can also view the upcoming 12x28mm version.

Canon

Canon is a renowned camera maker, so its no wonder that they would have a large number of image-stabilization binos.

10x30mmCanon 10x30 Image Stabilization II Binoculars

The 10x30mm model is Canon’s most popular model of IS-binoculars. It differs from other binos like Fujinon’s because it has elongated eyepieces. The eyepieces also flatten images on the edges of your vision, eliminating blurriness that commonly occurs with other binos.

The 30mm lenses utilize the same image stabilization technology that you’ll find on Canon’s line of EF lenses that go on SLR and digital cameras. This technology is battery powered and in ideal conditions can last over 8 hours. We don’t recommend taking these in extreme conditions like below freezing temperatures, but they can operate for about an hour.

Canon really went all out with these binoculars, and its no wonder they’re so popular. Check out some of the other sizes of image stabilization binos by Canon:

Zeiss

Carl Zeiss binos may have some of the biggest price tags in the binos world, but that price is reflected in their almost unmatched image quality and handling.

20x60mm

The 20x60mm pair of binos is the biggest on our list and certainly the most powerful. These 60mm lenses and long eyepieces ensure that you’re seeing objects and a

Carl Zeiss Optical 20x60 Image Stabilization Binocular

nimals in the distance and to the edges of your lenses.

These binos also give you the ability to “lock in” an image while you’re looking through the lenses. This feature will really appeal to

outdoorsmen like birders who really need their binos to be stable as they analyze features of avians.

The high magnification of the 20x60mm makes them a good candidate for nighttime viewing as well. Some users have even used the 20x60mm to spot stars at night before getting a closer look with a telescope.

Design

Due to the construction process of these lenses, the overall design of the binos is a little different than your average pair of 10x42mm or 8x42mm. They look a bit like rangefinder binos but in the end built with image quality and stabilization in mind. The lens sizes are also not the usual size you’d find browsing for normal binoculars, but the kick is getting even better images.

Because the technology for these binoculars is still very new, you’ll see that there is not many of them currently on the market and the ones that are are going to be a bit of an investment.

Besides above average image stabilization, these binos share many of the same characteristics that apply to all binos:

  • The bigger the lens, the more light that is gathered
  • The higher the zoom, the more focused an image will be

The Best Spotting Scopes for 2019

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. 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.

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.

The Best Trail Camera of 2019

browning strike force trail cameraTrail cameras are rugged, weatherproof, remote cameras with long-lasting batteries that can be left unattended for months in remote areas, or in areas that are difficult or dangerous for a photographer to access. Remote cameras have a wide range of uses. Artists, nature photographers, and researchers use them for time-lapse photography. Homeowners, researchers, and hunters use them to observe wildlife. In sports photography, remote cameras might be placed behind a basketball hoop, on a goal, or beside a racetrack. They are used as web cams to display scenic views as well as to monitor equipment in hazardous areas. These cameras are also used for security and surveillance by many.

In this article, we will break down the best trail cameras that fit your specific needs and detail how to use them properly.

Best Overall Trail/Game Camera

The Browning Strike Force Sub Micro ranks high on all features, and it is our top choice. A fast trigger speed of 0.67 seconds and a recovery time of 2.3 seconds ranks it in the top five percent of all trail cameras on the market. Reviewers report that the camera captures head shots of animals as they enter the field of vision, full shots as they pass through, and “butt shots” as they leave, indicating that the field of vision consistently matches the camera’s 50 foot detection range.

In daylight, the camera’s light sensors easily handle direct sun, shade, or a mix of sun and shade, producing bright, clear images with excellent contrast. As a result, this camera captures excellent daytime photos and HD videos with sound. Daytime videos can last from five seconds to two minutes.

At night, the no-glow, infrared flash for night photography emits no visible light, but some dimness, graininess, and blur is expected from these flashes. Reviewers report, however, that the contrast in the nighttime image is exceptional and that all areas of the image are evenly lighted. They could identify human faces and count the points on a large buck within a 50-foot detection range.

This trail camera uses six AA batteries; lithium batteries provide approximately six months of battery life while rechargeable batteries provide about two months per recharge.

Camera setup is easy. The two-inch internal viewer with live preview mode allows you to see the area that is in the cameras field of view as you set it up. The camera’s size (5″ x 3.2″ x 2.5″ ) and the bark pattern printed on the case allow it to blend exceptionally well with tree bark.

Best Wireless/Cellular Trail Camera

Spartan’s HD GoCam is a top ranked cellular trail camera for a good reason: its sleek design is the product of experienced camera users whose design input led to a quality, durable camera. Furthermore, high quality does not mean that the camera is more difficult to use; in fact, it is ready to use right when you take it out of the box. An AT&T DataConnect Pass SIM card is included with the purchase, and activating the service only requires accessing this webpage.

This camera offers a less-than-one-second trigger speed and captures photos that may be set to have a resolution as high as 8 MP. If enough images are taken to fill the 32 GB SD card, you can set the card to overwrite its stored photos with the newest captures, starting with the oldest stored photograph. Furthermore, you can choose between two duty periods for the camera to capture images in different trigger intervals and time-lapse settings if you do not want it constantly taking pictures. Picture parameters are set using the online camera menus available on the website through which you activate your wireless camera service.

An additional feature offered by this trail camera is the ability to record videos instead of transmitting photos. Video resolution can be set as high as 720 HD, and the infra red LED array illuminates up to 70+ feet for clear night videos and pictures.

To protect your 6”x5”x3.5” piece of equipment, this Spartan camera boasts a case that is exceptional in preventing water damage during outdoor use. The flush case mating areas in both the front and rear case halves, as well as the rubber gasket and double-hinged latch attached to these case halves, provide an excellent seal to avoid environmental damage. However, in the event that the camera gets damaged in any way, you can rest easy knowing that all Spartan cameras have an industry-leading 2-year warranty.

The camera is powered by 12 AA batteries that are housed in the rear case, and this will provide a few months of battery life, and no external power source is necessary.

Best Camera for the Money

Bushnell Trophy Cam HDThe Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Trail Camera with Night Vision has a trigger speed of 0.6 seconds and a detection range of 60 feet. A similar Bushnell Trophy Cam lists a recover speed of 2.9 seconds and a detection range of 50 feet. When set to automatic mode, the Passive Infra-Red (PIR) motion sensor monitors ambient temperature conditions and regulates the sensitivity of the trigger based on the temperature readings.

The camera is equipped with a day/night auto-sensor and can be set to take photos only during the day, only at night, or both day and night. Field Scan time-lapse mode allows the camera to take still photographs or videos at your choice of intervals independently of the motion trigger. Field Scan 2X allows two windows for photography or videos which is useful for capturing images during the magic hours of dusk and dawn. A similar Bushnell Trophy Cam stores videos as avi files, but, because it is not a true avi file, Mac computers require a free DIVX player to display the videos.

When triggered by the motion detector, the camera takes still photos or up to 60 seconds of video with sound and is suitable for use during the day and night, and has a video resolution of 1280 pixels by 780 pixels. Images are stamped with the date, time, phase of the moon, and the temperature. A GPS locator tag allows those with multiple cameras to input the longitude and latitude of the camera’s location and have that information embedded in the image file.

The nighttime red-glow infrared LED flash has a range of 60 feet. Some animals notice the flash, but are not frightened by it. A similar Bushnell Trophy Cam provides an adjustable nighttime flash with settings of low, medium, and high. Setting the flash lower shortens the exposure and darkens nighttime pictures, eliminating problems with motion blur and severe white out for objects within 10 feet of the camera. This setting also lengthens battery life. Daytime pictures are clear, sharp, and have excellent color. The video is also excellent and the audio is able to pick up sounds at some distance.

The camera uses four to eight AA batteries. A comparable Bushnell Trophy Cam used just 0.19 milliamps while resting. Daytime photography requires 403 milliamps while nighttime photography requires 685 milliamps, which ranks this camera in the top 10 percent of all cameras for low power consumption. Batteries in the similar model could last from two to four months or up to six to 12 months if the camera takes few pictures. Battery life can be extended with the use of nimh rechargeable batteries.

The camera is user friendly and easy to setup. The case design is simple, durable, and with the Real Tree AP Camo design and a size of only 5 1/2″ x 4″ x 2 1/2″, it is very easy to conceal.

Best Trail Camera Under $100

The FULLLIGHT TECH 1080P 12MP Game and Trail camera takes quality nighttime images and videos due to its 42 pcs infrared LED, clearly capturing anything within 50 feet. These features and five different capture modes will make this camera a top contender for both home security and hunting, especially with an optical lens that pan up to a 120 degree wide angle. It is also safe in the elements, withstanding both rain and snow with its waterproof durability.

Game will not be easily scared off when this camera is snapping images because it was designed with Low Glow Infrared Technology, and the images themselves are quickly captured with a trigger time of 0.9 seconds. The camera resolution is customizable for the user and images are easy to view on its 2.4″ screen.

This camera comes with a 1 year warranty, but the required 8 AA batteries and memory card must be purchased separately.

Best Trail Camera Under $200

Stealth Cam G42The Stealth Cam G42NG No-Glow Trail Game Camera receives an average rating of 4.3 stars out of five stars from 158 reviewers on Amazon. While the camera has a fast trigger speed of 0.49 seconds, it has a below average recovery time of 6.6 seconds. However, a firmware update is expected to reduce recovery time by half.

The camera has a detection range of 60 feet, and the no-glow infrared flash extends to 50 feet allowing the camera to monitor a wide area night and day.

The camera takes both still photos and HD videos with sound that range from five seconds to three minutes. Photo resolution can be set to two megapixels, four megapixels, eight megapixels, or 10 megapixels. Eight or 10 megapixels provide the most detail and the highest quality images. Animals close to the lens are in focus and there is little blurring, even with extensive motion. However, the background and objects more than 70 feet from the camera are out of focus. Interestingly, this is the opposite of most cameras. Daytime photos have vivid colors and good contrast, but some nighttime photos heavily white out objects close to the camera. A firmware update has improved nighttime photographs overall, but inconsistencies continue.

The camera uses eight AA batteries and requires 0.26 milliamps of current when resting, 646 milliamp seconds for daytime photography, and 1,475 milliamp seconds for nighttime photography. While the battery usage for daytime photography falls in the middle of the range when compared with the competition, the other two numbers are higher. Batteries will last three to six months depending on the number of photographs taken. Lithium batteries work best. Alkaline batteries will work, but aren’t recommended. Nimh rechargeable batteries will not fire the infrared flash, so do not use them in this camera.

The case is well designed and measures only 5 1/2 inches by 4 inches by 2 3/4 inches. A bracket for a python lock and a threaded insert for a Slate River Mount are built into the case.

The camera can be set to take from one to nine photos in burst mode. It has three preset modes and one custom mode to choose from in addition to a manual shot capability that is protected with a Secure Lock password. The preset modes include a three-photo burst at eight megapixels with a 30 second delay, a single photo at eight megapixels with a 30 second delay, and a 10 second HD video with audio at a 720 pixel resolution with a 10 second delay. When you move the slider to one of the preset modes, the backlit programming window lights up and the display scrolls through the settings for that mode. If you want a different setup, move the slider to custom mode and choose the settings you prefer.

This camera is a solid choice, but the slow recovery, higher power usage numbers, and inconsistent nighttime photographs are negative attributes to consider.

These trail cameras provide a range of options and prices for those seeking remote cameras for artistic purposes, security, or wildlife observation.

How Do I Select a Trail Camera?

When deciding which trail camera is best, the most important question to answer is how you will use the camera. Will you take interior or exterior shots? Will you use the camera for nighttime photography as well as daytime photography? Are you using the camera for artistic purposes, sports photography, surveillance and security, or wildlife observation? Does the camera need to pan over an area or will it be fixed? Do you want still images, video, or both? Do you want a film camera, or do you want a digital camera with an SD card that can be left in place long term and that may be able to transmit images to your e-mail address or cell phone?

High quality images are important for any remote camera. Do not buy a camera with less than eight megapixels of resolution, especially if you intend to print the images.

Trigger speed is another important consideration. Camera used for sports photography, surveillance, or wildlife observation need a fast enough trigger speed to capture quick movements without blurring.

The range of the camera’s heat and motion sensors should match the camera’s field of view. When the trigger speed, the detection range, and the field of view work together properly, the camera should capture the person or animal that triggers the camera entering, passing through, and exiting the field of view.

The case of a camera used for wildlife observation or outdoor surveillance must be easily concealed, durable, and weatherproof, especially waterproof. It should have a sleek design with no protruding parts or controls that could be damaged.

The easier the camera is to use and the more simply it functions, the less likely it is that something will malfunction while the camera is unattended. The point of a wildlife observation camera is to reduce the presence of humans so that the animals behave normally, so it is important that both the camera’s battery life and its ability to continue to operate both extend for several months.

How to Use a Trail Camera

Braided safety cables and other mounting hardware secure remote cameras in areas where people might pass below; these cables may be secured and protected by gaffer tape and black wrap. Surveillance cameras might be mounted on motorized brackets that pan over a wide area, while trail cameras are mounted in fixed positions and many have camouflage cases.

Selecting a position to mount the camera is also an important variable to consider depending on what one is intending to capture. Mounting these cameras at 30 inches captures images of deer and larger animals, whereas a lower position captures smaller animals and game birds. Setting cameras to take three pictures in succession in “rapid fire” or “burst” mode captures fast moving animals without disturbing animals inclined to linger even when using a red-glow infrared flash that animals notice. Deer look in the direction of the flash but don’t flee, but predators such as coyotes and bobcats are more likely to be spooked. Purchasing a python lock or a security mount or box discourages theft of the camera.

Shutters on remote cameras can be triggered by a cable attached to a button, by radio remote, or, if the camera must operate independently of a photographer, by heat and motion sensors.

Check out this great video on the secrets of successfully using a trail camera:

Where to Put Your Trail Camera

Placement of your trail camera changes the information you receive, and your perspective of the forest alters you hunting plans. Hunters who sit in a perch want to see the forest from a high point of view, but hunters who crouch in the brush like a sniper want to see the trail from their perspective. This article explores three simple ways to install your carefully selected trail camera, and you must choose the vantage point that makes the most sense for your style of hunting.

#1: Go As High As Possible

Skilled hunters are often not afraid to climb a tree, and you must climb the tallest around the place your camera. The high perspective of the camera gives you a greater range of vision, and you can see how animals are moving across the landscape. Tracking animal movement is simple from a high perspective, but identifying animals can be difficult.

A high vantage point is useful when you prefer to sit in a perch, and you place a camera opposite your perch to see which animals approach your location often. You can learn about the animals that live in area, and you can see which animals are most common in that location. You may choose to change your location when you do not animals that are in season, and you may find that few animals come through the area.

#2: At Eye Level

Installing a trail camera at eye level helps you see the trail as if you were on watch all the time. This view of the forest is easy to understand, and you get an idea of which animals come closest to your perch. Some hunters prefer to shoot animals at close range, and you will learn which animals are brave enough to come near your location.

Watching the trail camera will help you learn the area as you would see it, and you can identify animals easily. Animals that are not worth shooting, out of season or uncommon will be readily apparent, and you may plan your hunting accordingly.

#3: In The Brush

You may choose to set up your camera on a crest or in some brush where you prefer to sit in wait. Crouching down like a sniper makes the hunting ground look completely different, and a trail camera in this location will give you only a limited view of the area. You may be willing to sit in wait for an animal, and the camera will give you an idea of what you might see during a day of hunting. You may choose to change your vantage point based on what you see on the camera, or you may discover the crest you choose gives you a good view of the area.

Using a trail camera will help you see the area where you hunt without any interruption. You cannot sit outside all day on your own, but you can sit and watch a video feed of the area to learn the area. Hunting becomes much simpler when you have placed your trail camera in the proper location.

The Best Rangefinder Binoculars for your Adventures in 2019

At the crossroads of the long-range optics industry are the rare products called Rangefinder Binoculars. While still available to the general public, the rarity comes at an increased price. Basically, these optics combine the basic mechanics of binoculars with the acquisition abilities of rangefinders.

As with normal rangefinders, these types of binos do require batteries. They may not be the large CR2 batteries that most rangefinders run on but you will still have to spend some money every now and then to replace them.

The process to hybridize rangefinders and binoculars is very tricky, hence the larger than normal price jumps. These binoculars are fine-tuned during manufacturing to make sure that the rangefinding system is accurate and compatible with each size of objective lenses.

Laser rangefinders usually don’t use the x and y-axis markers that appear within the lenses. They use a laser acquisition system and a pointer reticle that simply tells you how far away each object is.

Best Under $300

Hooway 7x50mmHooway 7x50 Waterproof Fogproof Military Marine Binoculars w/ Internal Rangefinder & Compass for Navigation,Boating,Fishing,Water Sports,Hunting and More

The Hooway 7x50mm model is sort of your all-around tough and reliable set of rangefinder binos. The large, 50mm objective lenses are encased in non-slip rubber armor-making them shock-proof and water-proof. On the underside of the binos is a tripod adapter. A tripod may be ideal in situations where you are planning to remain in one spot for a long time.

The rangefinder on this pair of binos uses a y-axis to determine distance. In this case, distance is approximate and measured in kilometers to as opposed to laser rangefinders which are usually dead on. The calculation is as follows:

Distance=(100)x(Object Size)÷Rangefinder Scale Reading

If you can approximate object height or width, you’ll get the object distance. Aside from the rangefinder itself, the binos are equipped with an internal compass for navigation and direction.

We like that the Hooway’s objective lenses provide a wide FOV and appropriate level of zoom all for a very affordable price. The rangefinder may not be the best in the world, but it gets the job done and saves you the hassle of having to carry two different pairs of optics.

Aomekie Ultimate

Aomekie’s set of 7x50mm binos are very similar to the Hooway model. They are a durable pair built to handle tough conditions whether it be rain, fog, or humidity.

The rangefinder with these binos is nearly identical to the Hooway and the same goes for the compass. The downside is that you won’t get the exact distance of an object to the “T” but it will be very close. The tricky part is knowing or guestimating an object’s height or width.

One thing to note is that the product description is misleading-these binos do not come with night vision but do better in low-light conditions than the average pair. Aomekie has a couple of different colors available, but make sure that you remain on the 7x50mm pair.

USCAMEL 10x50mmUSCAMEL 10x50 Military Waterproof HD Binoculars with Rangefinder Compass - Army Green

The 10x50mm by USCAMEL increases the zoom by a factor of three. This gives it a little bit of an advantage over the Aomekie and Hooway models in terms of close up detail and target acquisition. The more chance of appropriately identifying the target, the more exact your rangefinder calculation is going to be.

We like that these pair of 10x50mm uses folding eyecups. This design makes viewing for users with glasses much easier. Especially when conditions aren’t great, this pair of 10x50mm is durable and reliable for users of all ages and experience levels.

The FOV at 1000 yards with these binos is 396 feet, which is about the same as the Aomekie and Hooway models. The level of zoom on this pair of binos will be key in identifying objects and animals on the water, where vision can be blurry and unfocused.

Best Under $1200

Snypex Knight Arm Yourself With the New SNYPEX Knight LRF1800 8x42 Precision Tactical 1.2 Miles Laser Rangefinder Binoculars, "Crime Fighting Eyes for Cops"

The Snypex Knight is an 8x42mm model of binoculars with a laser range finder. This simplifies the overall process with the push of a button. Speaking of which, the buttons are conveniently located across the top of the binos-one for power acquisition and one for changing the distance measurement.

With a hard rubber exterior, the Knight is built to handle tough conditions and the occasional high drop. A common laser rangefinder problem is inaccuracies when the laser is pointed at or through glass. You can rest assured that the Knight has solved this problem and even allows for continuous ranging with moving targets.

The inclusion of the rangefinder and its batteries barely alters the overall weight of the Knight. In the end, it’s still covered protective armor, so you almost wouldn’t notice the difference until you actually used them.

Bushnell Fusion

The Bushnell Fusion 10x42mm pair of binos give a good introduction to higher-end rangefinder binos. Its powerful laser extends in a one-mile arc in front of the binos.

The internal display is actually pretty intuitive. Not only will the Fusion give you the distance to the target, you can switch between rifle or bow hunting focus and get the angle of elevation. For the hunter or outdoor enthusiast who is nitpicky with detail, these measurements are hard to pass up.

At maximum range, the rangefinder can acquire targets up to 1760 yards away. In particular with the rifle mode, the Fusion has different settings that allow you to sight-in the binos at 100, 200, 300, and 400 yards.

While people may initially be wary of picking up a pair of rangefinder binos, Bushnell really sets the tone for the industry by including multiple ways get the correct distance. It does this, all while providing the user with great light transmission through the lenses.

Nikon Laser ForceNikon 16212 Laser force Rangefinding Binocular Spotting Scopes

Nikon’s 10x42mm laser force binoculars are a sight to behold. Most rangefinder binos of this price range and above use lasers to get the distance to an object. They are more accurate than the cheaper pairs of binos that require you to do some slight calculations to get the approximate distance.

The laser force has a range of 1900 yards and can also factor in inclines and declines. This small but noticeable addition to the laser rangefinder will ensure that you are getting near precise measurements. In low light conditions, you can also adjust the intensity of the display within the lenses.

Like most rangefinders, the laser force can acquire the range of a target as it moves, but only up to 8 seconds. Overall, the laser force is one of the best all-around rangefinder binos despite the price.

Vortex Optics Fury Vortex Optics LRF300 Fury 10x42 Binocular LRF

We all know how popular Vortex can be and they really knock the ball out of the park with the Fury’s. Their 10x42mm measurements give you ideal FOV at 1000 yards and provide ample light transmission so you can study an object or animal closely.

The Fury’s rangefinder reticle is similar to the one you’ll find in a normal rangefinder. Like the Laser Force and Fusion, these binos utilize a laser to acquire distance. If your target is at an odd angle away from you, the Fury employs the Horizontal Component Distance (HCD) to compensate for those angles and ensure you are getting precise distances.

Aside from being a reliable pair, they are waterproof, fog proof, and built to withstand the occasional drop or scratch.

Best Under $2500

Leica GeovidLeica Geovid 10x42 HD-R 2200 Rangefinder Binocular, Black

The 10x42mm Leica Geovid’s look like some oddly designed optics, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re a lackluster pair of binos. The orientation of the binos has no effect on your overall viewing experience, it’s just how the lenses are constructed.

While the Geovid indeed uses a laser to calculate distance, it also factors in ballistic trajectory. For example, the actual distance to an object might differ with a bullet as opposed to a laser. If you were holding a gun instead of the Geovid, the binos will factor in a bullet’s drop to give you perhaps the most accurate information on our list up to 1200 yards.

What makes the Geovid worth the price? It’s quality optics. The Geovid’s wide FOV at 10x42mm makes it nearly unmatched in wide area scanning and target acquisition. The ability to combine a lot of perks like detail and zoom in addition to a rangefinder is what gives the Geovid an advantage over its competitors.

Best under $3500

Carl Zeiss Victory

The price doesn’t get much larger and the quality not any better than the Carl Zeiss Victory 10x56mm models. Despite their price, they’re more than capable of handling rain and fog. They’re encased in thick but grip-friendly rubber to protect against scratches.

So what makes the Victory’s the cream of the crop? They do sport the largest objective lenses on our list with about the same level of zoom. You’re going to notice a difference in zoom quality between the Victory’s and a pair of 10x42mm’s. Zeiss ensures that with this pair of binos, in particular, you’re getting unparalleled quality through carefully coated lenses.

The rangefinder on this set of binos is a simple but incredibly accurate laser that can acquire targets up to 1300 yards away. Another factor you’ll appreciate is the Victory’s performance during twilight and evening. With enhanced optics and larger lenses, the Victory is going to be soaking up more light compared to any other pair of binos on our list. With the appropriate light transmission and zoom, you’ll still be able to see in detail in low light.

Are you considering Rangefinder Binos?

One thing is for sure, Rangefinder Binos definitely cut down on the space and weight given by carrying two items at once, even if it is minuscule. Despite the couple thousand dollar difference between the cheapest and most expensive pair, each of these binos has proven its worth in the field and picked up some satisfied customers along the way.

Personally, we like the laser-equipped rangefinder binos, but the ones that you use an old-fashioned x and y-axis do a throwback to the old ways of calculating distance. We imagine that the laser-equipped binos are going to more suitable for hunting and other tracking activities, while the others will be suitable for sight-seeing and birding.

 

 

The Best Pistol Scopes on the Market in 2019

Recreational shooters and handgun hunters have a list of questions to answer when choosing the best scope for their pistols:

  • Will you hunt from a stand?
  • What is the expected shot length?
  • How long is the maximum distance of a shot?
  • Will you hunt with dogs?
  • How well do you see?
  • Will the recoil of the pistol generate abuse to the scope of choice?

Using a scope on a pistol is different than using one on a rifle: 1) there are physical limitations that are not manufactured or design errors; 2) the location of the scope in relation to the shooter’s eye is not the same; 3) the long eye relief of a pistol scope compromises the exit pupil because of light gathering capabilities; 4) without the whole-body support afforded by a rifle, the movement of a hand gun increases; and 5) the wobbles and shakes are exaggerated when looking through a scope, especially one set on a high magnification.

Scoped pistols function best when used with a solid rest, so use a shooting stick or the rail of a stand when hunting blind over bait or from a stand for optimal performance. A benefit of the scope is its magnification, so hunters assess and judge animals in their sights better with scopes. There is also an increase in shooting ability from longer ranges, and target shooters are more accurate shots when utilizing a pistol scope. The scope provides a more precise sighting system.

Once you have determined whether you can mount a scope on your pistol in the first place, check manufacturer information to ensure the scope you choose is compatible with your pistol, the intended use, and the recoil. The arrangement of scopes described here is by price, starting with the most economical and ending with the most expensive recommendation. Included are the retail prices and features of the scopes. Overall, if you’re looking for a quality optic that you will give you maximum clarity on target, you’ll have to spend more money.

Top Pistol Scopes in Different Price Ranges

NcSTAR 2 – 7×32 mm AO Pistol Scope

NcSTAR Pistolero has a pistol scope features a long eye relief that satisfies just about any hunter’s needs. Professional marksmen and target shooters appreciate this scope. This pistol scope was optimally designed for any platform requiring long eye relief.

 

The duplex reticle of the AIM Sports pistol/scouting scope has a built-in Red Laser and is manufactured with milled aircraft grade aluminum. It is purged and charged with nitrogen to make it fog proof, while a sealing process makes it weather resistant. This scope takes plenty of heavy recoil, and the one-piece design gives the scope its ruggedness. Users can choose between green and red reticles.

 

 The BSA pistol scope is a simple, yet effective scope. You can adjust for elevation and windage with finger-adjustable ¼ MOA clicks. Nearly instant target acquisition is available from the multi-coated optics that yield a clear sight picture. The eye relief is a generous range from 11 to 20 inches.The versatile scope is useful as a scout scope also.
Simmons has a rugged and reliable scope for pistols features a TrueZero™ Flex Erector System that provides non-shifting point-of-aim at all adjustment settings and magnifications. All power ranges have 3¾” constant eye relief provided by the fast focus system of the scope, and the expanded eyebox is superior to many scopes. In addition to elevation and windage dials maintaining accuracy, no deviation occurs in the adjustment range. Images are sharper, flatter, and wider thanks to the Simmons Aspherical Lens Technology, and the lens has a high transmission coating. There are four Simmons pistol scopes that have ¼ MOA adjustments, and they are designed to be shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof.
 The Swift Reliant pistol scope is available with either a matte black or nickel satin finish. The one-piece design of the monobloc tube ensures shock resistance and strength necessary for use with magnum handguns. Multi-coated optics provide the brightest, four-power magnification images. The reticle is a self-centering Quadraplex that makes the scope outstanding for target shooting or hunting over 100 yards. This nitrogen-filled scope is a hard anodized, fog proof piece of equipment, and micro adjustments are available to accommodate for elevation and windage. A lens cover completes the package.

Nikon has built a scope with extended eye relief and shockproof optics. This scope takes the recoil from the most powerful pistol calibers. Its ability to handle powerful recoil is only one of its famed features; one can view maximum brightness from sunup to sundown because of the Ultra ClearCoat optical system, or make an on-the-fly adjustment with the quick-focus eyepiece. This reliable Nikon scope is fog proof and waterproof, and it is available in trajectory-compensating and patented Nikoplex reticles.

 

The Bushnell Trophy is a 2-6x that comes in either silver or black colors. Regardless, both versions have a 20-inch eye relief. Despite their size, the scopes are surprisingly durable, being water, fog, and shockproof to the highest degree.

When operating in the rain, the Trophy can transmit up to 90% worth of light available. Even when conditions aren’t ideal, the Trophy can identify and acquire targets. Bushnell prides itself on making some very durable products, and the Trophy is no exception.

 

 Serious hand gunners often choose the Burris scope. Burris was first to build the variable configuration. They also initiated adjustable parallax and target knobs. A Ballistic Plex reticle is available on some models. The calibration is for short magnum cartridges. The Posi-Lock construction absorbs shock from the recoil that plows into the pistol and scope, which is a beneficial component since the scope of a pistol needs to withstand brutal shot-after-shot pounding that today’s single-shot pistols and revolvers produce.

Weaver has a classic gloss, Dual-X scope with a long eye relief that allows efficient use of the firearm at arm’s length. The accuracy of this scope is reliable and repeatable, and its reliability extends beyond accuracy; this rugged piece of equipment handles a tremendous revolver recoil of 1,000 rounds.

 

The Leupold pistol scope handles the crushing recoil of the magnum and big-bore pistols of today and are available in variable and fixed configurations. Whether you are shooting at a target or opt to hunt game, the noncritical, extended eye relief provides fast target acquisition. These rugged scopes are waterproof and have sight pictures with brightness, contrast, and clarity.

 

Reason for Pistol Scope Use

Modern pistols operate on extreme ranges, so having a pistol scopes can prove to be very beneficial. Overcoming the lack of trigger control is relatively easy with practice, especially when repetition of the movement can help you develop a reflex. Utilizing a scope emphasizes the user’s mistakes while shooting, so this provides an easy opportunity to identify and correct those mistakes. Accuracy can improve by approximately 20 percent with proper trigger control mastery, so pistol scopes prove to be a worthwhile purchase.

Best Scopes for a Rimfire (.22lr) Rifle in 2019

Developed well over 100 years ago, rimfires’ technology has remained unchanged over the years, and rimfire bullets are still popular even after the invention of centerfire bullets.

The .22lr rifle is a fairly affordable and accurate shot, making it a favorite for many budget-minded small game hunters and target shooters. Its lightweight and minimum recoil also make this rifle a great beginner’s tool for youngsters, and overall; most people learn to shoot with a .22lr. It is a preferred option for target practice, plinking, and pest control because it is cheaper than shooting centerfire ammo.

Many shooters operate under the misconception that this rifle’s versatility allows it to be paired with any scope out there. Therefore, very few of them invest in a fitting scope which in turn limits their experience with this rifle. To make the best decision, you need to understand the rimfire rifle’s capabilities and limitations.

The need for a light cartridge and a thin base limits the .22lr’s accurate shooting distance to about 200 yards. Longer shooting distances are possible under the right conditions, but it’s not very effective because your bullet will drop about a foot or more at 100 yards. Since this is the case, you will find that you may not require a very high magnification optic. A powerful magnification at closer ranges causes both blurriness eye fatigue.

Outlined below are our top riflescope choices for a .22lr rifle after taking all of its specs into consideration, and then we further summarize key factors to look for when trying to select the right scope for your rifle.

Top Scopes for the .22lr Rifle

There are several viable options of scopes to select from, varying from optics for plinkers to those for competitive championships. Prices range from as little as $30 for standard makes to over $1000 for top-notch products, and our recommendations are not biased toward popular brand-name products; instead, they are inspired by the functional highlights that count most in rimfire scopes.

Here are our 6 favorite rimfire scopes at different price points:

1) Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 3-9 x 40 Riflescope (BDC 150) (Our top pick)

The simple and “no-frills” Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 3-9 x 40 is perhaps one of the best, if not the best, optics for the .22lr caliber. Although it is specifically designed for rimfire rifles, it is still widely used on all sorts of rounds.

The Prostaff rimfire is equipped with a comprehensive combination of features that will greatly enhance the use of your rifle. The scope’s fully multicoated optics facilitate up to 98% light transmission to aid the shooter in dark conditions, and it is nitrogen-filled, oxygen-purged and O-ringed, so this scope is rugged enough to handle almost anything that nature may throw your way.

The Prostaff Rimfire offers sufficient eye relief despite the .22lr’s lack of recoil, and its 40mm objective lens ensures a large field of view but is not hefty to the point of weighing the rifle down. This scope makes sighting easier, and the BDC reticle works superbly at distances up to 150 yards. This BDC reticle is unique not only because it is designed specifically for a .22lr rifle, but it also has see-through ballistic circles to give the shooter an additional advantage when shooting from long distances. Finally, this scope comes with a lifetime warranty. Click here to check the current price.

2) Nikon P-RIMFIRE 2-7×32 Nikoplex Rifle Scope

 

The Nikon P-Rimfire offers quality optics and precise 1/4″ at 50-yards. Price, versatility, and material quality are favorable aspects of this scope when it is compared to many of the other rimfire scopes on the market.

This rimfire scope offers a unique reticle with rapid action turrets, allowing the shooter to lock in on a target at a known distance while simultaneously having the ability to adjust for elevation with ease. The reticle is designed with multi-coated anti-glare optics to increase light transmission and reduce reflection, and the scope itself is set to be parallax-free at 50 yards.

In addition, with an adjustable 2-7x magnification power, the Nikon P-Rimfire is great for shooting targets of virtually any size at a wide range of distances. Overall, this scope comes with a solid set of features for the reasonable cost. Click here to check the current price.

3) Simmons .22 Mag TruPlex Reticle Rimfire 3-9x32mm Riflescope (Budget pick)

Simmons focuses on developing products that are dependable and extremely affordable, so their rifle scopes will only contain those features needed most by the shooter. Unlike most brands, Simmons specializes in simplicity and do not produces scopes with excess features.

The Simmons .22 Mag Riflescope does not offer the clarity of the Nikon or the ruggedness of the Leupold; what it offers is an affordable alternative with all the basic features that will suit the low budget shooter.

This rifle scope gives you ultimate control, featuring elevation and wind adjustment knobs that can be easily turned even while wearing gloves. It is also fitted with an adjustment knob for the objective lens to ensure that you see a clear, focused view at every magnification.

With an under $50 price tag, it is one of Amazon’s best-selling and best-reviewed scopes. For that price, you acquire a scope that performs impressively at distances below 150 yards. Its 32mm objective lens offers a crisp and clear field of view under the entire magnification range. Targets may appear a bit blurry at 9x magnification power, but that should be expected of a scope at that price range. Click here to see the current price.

4) Vortex Crossfire 2 Rimfire

Vortex is the company to watch in the world of optics; it is continually giving the bigger guns a run for their money with the production of better and more advanced scopes. Vortex Crossfire 2 rimfire edition is built to the same specs as its bigger centerfire sibling, but it is toned down for rimfire calibers.

The Crossfire 2 rimfire is a 2 to 7 power optic with a 32 mm objective lens. The Fully multi-coated lens offers bright light transition, and a clear, high-definition picture. The parallax is set for fifty yards and is adequate for most plinking and hunting operations. The 2x magnification is excellent for close range shooting and picking your shot on a small target.

The Crossfire 2 is made from aircraft grade aluminum and built from a single piece of aluminum to make the finish field-ready, waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof. This scope assures a sustainable performance and great value for the price. Click here to see current price.

5) Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 4-12x40mm Riflescope

I know that the inclusion of this scope in this list goes against our recommendation for low magnification power scopes for the .22lr, which is included in our list of recommendations when selecting a scope at the end of this article. However, as many of you shall find out, 4x magnification is perfect for the rimfire caliber, so this scope fits in just fine.

The other reason we included this scope is its price. It is an affordable scope that would be able to double as your “go to” rifle scope larger caliber hunting rifles without much damage to your wallet. This is the right scope for shooters who are after an above-average performance at a decent price range.

The fixed magnification keeps the Bushnell Rimfire 4×32 light and compact; it only weighs 15 ounces. Its constant 3.3″ of eye relief protects your eyes but still offers a clear view. The Bushnell 4-12x40mm offers a crisp and clear picture and much better magnification than most other scopes its class.

It is 100% waterproof and fog proof and offers proven durability. The manufacturer also offers an attractive warranty and world-class customer care. Click here to see the current price.

6) BSA Sweet 22 Rifle Scope

The BSA Sweet .22 Duplex Reticle Rifle Scope is a tool designed simply for reliably getting the job done. BSA has been in the scope industry for a very long time and is well known for high quality, low priced optics that can run with the big boys regarding features and quality. The Sweet 22 is no exception to that rule.

Designed for the .22 long rifle cartridge, and intended to be a top quality .22 scope, the Sweet 22 features interchangeable target turrets calibrated for all popular .22 loads. The magnification and turrets are optimized for a .22 with low profile movable turrets for adjustments.

Its waterproof and fog proof construction make it ideal for most weather conditions. Its large 40mm objective lens helps to maximize light gathering. This may very well be the best scope for .22 rifles for a budget-conscious shooter who wants to run a precision target scope. Click here to see the current price.

Selecting the Right Scope for Your .22lr Rifle

We have provided a number of scope options above at a wide range of prices, so if you are still trying to figure out what features are most meaningful to you when making a selection, here is a summary of all of the important features to review when selecting a rifle scope for your .22lr:

  • Weight – light, kid-friendly, and quite handy, most .22lr rifles weigh about 5 pounds in their stock configuration. So attaching a heavy optic throws it off balance and consequentially affects its ease of handling and speed of movement. This can act against you while hunting fast-moving varmints or small game.
  • Magnification – I cannot stress enough that a 16 power magnification scope is both impractical and wasteful on your 22lr. 3-9x or 2-7x power scopes are sufficient for rimfire rifles.
  • Reticle – it is not relevant to acquire a scope with adjustments for elevation and windage at over 100 yards because bullet drop is typically significant at these distances. Also, note that illuminated reticles can be too bright and the resulting wash out might make small targets difficult to see.
  • Adjustable Objective – this allows users to essentially adjust the scope’s parallax to facilitate hitting of excessively small targets. An adjustable parallax enhances accuracy at various ranges, as well as provides a clearer sight picture.
  • Lens size – although anything below 32mm will reduce the quality of the sight picture, lenses larger than 40 or 42 mm are too bulky for your rimfire .22lr rifle.
  • Dedication – any suitable, well-built scope can do the job but .22-dedicated scopes perform better at most times because they are correctly ranged and calibrated for the most common .22 rounds.

Reviews of the Best Night Vision Goggles for 2019

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.