Best Holographic Sights of 2018

What are Holographic Sights?

Holographic sights are part of the primary trio of gun sights with red dots and reflexes. They are also the most advanced type of reticle sight, utilizing internal lasers to craft the image of a reticle in the sight’s viewing panel.

They come in a variety of shapes, but the holographic fabrication process is pretty much the same across all holographic sights. These are not to be confused with authentic laser sights, which produce a laser dot on target that almost everyone can see.

  • It’s not uncommon to see tube and open circle versions of the holographic sight. A tube version looks sort of like a dedicated scope but provides better sighting at close range.

It’s commonly thought that reflex and holographic sights are constructed differently but solve the same problems. Zeroing and focusing issues are common across all sights, even iron sights. A holographic doesn’t entirely eliminate those problems, but like reflex sights, they eliminate the need for eye relief with a more accurate optic.

Why Were They Developed?

The first holographic sight was developed by EOTech in 1998. These sights are the first to use true lasers in order to craft the reticle you see in the sight. The thought was that these sights would even further increase target acquisition speeds and reduce sighting problems that one may still encounter when using reflex or red dot sights.

EOTech remains the largest manufacturer of holographic sights in the country and due to their price, you’re not likely to see holographic sights as widespread as red dot or reflex sights. Regardless, those that have them are in for an entirely new shooting experience.

Note: You’ll definitely come across some sights that say “holographic” in their name. Upon closer inspection, you’ll see the word “reflex” in their title as well. These are not pure holographic sights, they are reflex. Holographic and reflex sights may look similar but their construction and use is different.

How Do They Work?

Reflex sights and holographic sights work in similar ways. If you move your head left, right, up, or down, the reticle will always remain pointed forward or down the barrel of a gun its mounted on. The concept is different than if you were to move the sight around freehandedly.

It’s astonishing to think that so much goes on inside these little sights in order to correct zeroing and parallax problems. The basic concept of a holographic sight is that a laser bounces light off a collimating reflector.

  • A collimating reflector straightens light.

The light then travels to a holographic grating panel which produces the holographic image you see in the sight. Light is technically reflected three times, but no two sights are completely identical to each other.

Best Under $500

The XPS2-0 is EOTech’s lightest and easiest to use holographic sight. When you set the illumination factor to its basic level, you can get nearly 600 hours worth of use out of the XPS2. Considering the battery life of holographic sights is relatively short, this is a huge plus.
This sight is similar to the XPS3 sight, also sold by EOTech, but the XPS2 does not have night vision capability.

Vortex Razor AMG UH-1 Holographic Sight 

The Vortex UH-1 is one of the more unique sights we’ve seen, even if it is holographic. It’s housing definitely makes it stand out compared to tube or open constructions. Despite this construction, the UH-1 is popular for its larger than normal viewing panel and 15 levels of brightness settings.

You also have the option of using a rechargeable battery and using the UH-1’s onboard USB port to charge it. Otherwise, it runs on a standard CR2 battery.

Best Under $600

The 552 model is one of EOTech’s smallest holographic sights. The reason for its elongated structure is that it is actually powered by two AA batteries instead of a single CR2 battery. It can also support Lithium or rechargeable batters, the former allowing for nearly a thousand hours of use.
This model is night vision equipped, which explains part of the price jump but gives hunters and other handlers an edge in nighttime shooting.

What to Consider When Buying A Holographic Sight

Purpose

A holographic sight is pretty neat, but you shouldn’t consider just because it is a holographic sight. It’s designed to give you better target acquisition compared to normal red dot sights. You should be considering a holographic sight if speed of handling and acquisition are integral to your job.

Price

There are few “cheap” holographic sights on the market. As we explained earlier, they are still a relatively new technology and more likely to be seen in the hands of law enforcement and the military than civilians.

Regardless, each of the holographic sights has proved its worth with a happy fanbase. While the EOTech XR308 may be the most expensive and versatile sight on our list, it shouldn’t have to be your first choice. Remember, a high price doesn’t always mean the best sight for your gun.

Battery

One of the noticeable drawbacks is battery life. The power used to illuminate the laser diode in a holographic sight is considerably larger than a reflex or red dot sight. As such, the battery life is shorter.

Red dot and reflex sights have noticeably longer lives with their batteries. If you don’t want to pour money into AA and CR2 batteries, consider getting a rechargable battery or USB cable if a sight has the correct port.

Overall

Holographic sights are pretty rare and relatively new, the first only being developed by EOTech in 1998. Even now, it’s still pretty hard to find holographic sights because the process of manufacturing them is very particular. Not to mention working with lasers is always expensive.

In the end, a holographic sight is constructed for a better user experience and target acquisition. Target acquisition is defined as how fast the reticle gets on target, and how much space it takes up on the target. Using different reticles will probably change the experience for you.

Click here to see our picks for the best red dot sights of 2018.
Click here to see our picks for the best reflex sights of 2018.

The Best Shotgun Scopes for 2018

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

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

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

Reasons why Shotgun Scopes make a Difference:

Crosshairs

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

Scope

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

Magnification

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

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

What to Look for in your Scope

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

Durability conquers all.

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

Clarity is a must.

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

Keep it simple.

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

Pricier doesn’t mean better.

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

Slight magnification is plenty.

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

Shiny scopes are easily spotted.

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

Brighter isn’t always necessary.

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

Reviews of the Four Best Shotgun Scopes on the Market

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

Bushnell Trophy Shotgun Scope with Circle-X Reticle

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Top features of the Nikon ProStaff Shotgun Hunter Riflescope:

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

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

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

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

Top features of the Simmons ProHunter ProDiamond Reticle Shotgun Scope:

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

Truglo Compact Strut N Rut Scope

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

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

 

Top features of the Truglo Compact Strut N Rut Scope:

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

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

Reviews of the Best Night Vision Binoculars of 2018

Night vision binoculars are becoming increasingly popular for hunting. They’ve been around for several years as the military has relied on them for one mission after another. With hunting, it gives the hunter a real advantage with allowing them to see their target through the blackened forest. Sometimes, the moonlight just isn’t enough to supply the hunter with needed light. Since many hog and varmint hunts are performed at night, the technology of night vision binoculars is a helpful accessory.  Continue Reading

The Best Rangefinders for 2018

Upland Optics Best Selling Rangefinder

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

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

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

The Best Rangefinders for Hunting

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

1. Upland Optics Perception 1000 Laser Rangefinder

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

Upland Rangefinder

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

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

2. Nikon 8397 Aculon Laser Rangefinder

This bestselling device from Nikon tops our list for a variety of reasons. Priced well below the higher end rangefinders, the Aculon is perfect for someone who doesn’t need ultra high-end features, but still wants to get the job done.

With a range of just 550 yards, others on this list have far more impressive stats. However, 550 yards is a much greater distance than most hunters can safely and ethically take shots.

Another huge benefit of this device is how easy it is to use. The user friendly design allows for an accurate read with a push of a single button. It also is small and lightweight, making it easily portable. Available in gray or Xtra Green, this compact range finder is an excellent option. Click here to see the current price.

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

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

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

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

4. Carl Zeiss Optical Inc Victory 10X56 Rangefinder Binoculars

Sometimes, the standard rangefinder is simply not enough for the fiercest of hunters. These individuals need something a little more powerful in their artillery, and Carl Zeiss Optical Inc. has just the right equipment.

This model completely ditches the monocular design. They have the clearest image quality on the planet; their resolution specifications are literally unparalleled. The exterior shell is practically invincible. It is constructed to totally nullify recoil. When the reticule is illuminated, it can view distances of 1,300 yards. Because it requires both eyes, this gadget staves off potential parallax errors. These optical illusions occur when distant objects seem to be moving slower than closer ones. This visual confusion can throw off a hunter’s judgment, but it can be preemptively prevented with Victory!

On the other hand, they are a bit pricier than the regular rangefinders. Part of the cost is sheer aesthetic grandeur. The sleek matte black finish is luxurious and enticing. The bold appearance is accompanied by unbelievable functionality. With 56mm lenses, this machine employs a trademark coating to enhance light transmission during twilight use. If these are in your budget, it’s well worth it to pick up a pair of these incredible RF binos.  Click here to check the current price.

The Best Rangefinders for Archery

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

1. Nikon Arrow ID 3000 Bowhunting Laser Rangefinder

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

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

2. Bushnell G-Force 1300 ARC Laser Rangefinder

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

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

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

3. Simmons LRF 600 Laser Rangefinder

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

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

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

The Best Rangefinders for Bow Hunting

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

1. Bushnell 202442 “The Truth” ARC 4x20mm Bowhunting Laser Rangefinder with Clear Shot

Here’s a go-to rangefinder for bow hunters in the middle ground. This dashing device is equipped with all of the necessary accessories for a successful wilderness excursion. Bushnell’s equipment is especially useful for handling targets in motion, and it tracks distances between 7 and 850 yards. The powerful 4x zoom extends 199 yards, and it grants pure horizontal perspectives. This forceful machine is pocket-sized, and it is equipped with a comfortable anti-slip surface for tight gripping all the time.

It has a truly complete angle range that touches 90 degrees on both positive and negative ends of the scale. The Clear Shot interface gives immediate data on every shot before and after it is taken. The precise angle of each arrow is instantaneously provided.

This brand always makes the best carrying cases, and the one that comes with this model is no exception to the rule. It also comes with a handy neck strap for rapid access. Click here to check the current price.

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

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

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

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

3. Bushnell Elite 1600 Arc Rangefinder 7×26

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

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

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

The Best Rangefinders for Golf

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

1. Bushnell Tour V4 Jolt Golf Laser Rangefinder

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

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

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

2. Leupold GX-3i2 Series Digital Rangefinder

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

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

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

3. TecTecTec! VPRO1 Rangefinder

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

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

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

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

The Best Rangefinders for the Money

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

1. Redfield Raider 650

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

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

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

2. Leica Rangemaster CRF 2000

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

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

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

The Best Rangefinders for Under $200

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

1. Simmons LRF 600 Tilt Intelligence laser Rangefinder

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

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

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

2. SA Sports 7.26 Dragon Eyez 1500 Yard Rangefinder

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

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

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

3. HALO XTRC 500-yd. Laser Range Finder

This $120 model is already affordable, but it comes with an additional rebate to make it doubly rewarding. The optics are fine-tuned for 6x magnification and the feedback system directly guides shot placement.

The current model is bold and gruff. It features nature imagery and a comfy grip. There are no complaints to be had about this manly version. It may seem somewhat run-of-the-mill, but the HALO rangefinder is a great starter pick. Click here to check the current price.

The Best Rangefinders for Under $500

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

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

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

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

2. Nikon 8381 Laser Forestry Pro Rangefinder

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

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

History of Rangefinder Use

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

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

The Components of Conventional Rangefinders

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

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

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

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

Why Rangefinders are Useful

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

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

Final Word

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

Reviews of the Best Thermal Imaging Rifle Scopes for 2018

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

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

Top Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope Recommendations

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

Best Overall Thermal Rifle Scope:

ATN ThOR HD 640 

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

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

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

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

Best Thermal Rifle Scope for the Money

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

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

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

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

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

Best Thermal Rifle Scope for under $5,000

 Zeus 336 3-12×42

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

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

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

Best Thermal Rifle Scope for Hunting

Flir ThermoSight RS64 2-16X

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

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

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

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

Best Thermal Rifle Scope for an AR-15

ATN ThOR 640 5-50x

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

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

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

Top Brands of Thermal Rifle Scopes

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

ATN

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

Armasight

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

FLIR Systems

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

Pre-Purchase Considerations

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

Price

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

Battery Life

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

Refresh Rate

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

Resolution

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

Zoom

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

Reticle Option

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

Germanium lenses

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

Color or Monochrome

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

Clip-on versus Standard

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

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

Extra Features

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

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

How Does Thermal Imaging Work?

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

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

Types of Thermal Imaging Systems

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

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

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

Reviews of the Best Night Vision Rifle Scopes in 2018

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

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

Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for the Money

Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42S Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope

As you may already know, Sightmark is a steadily growing brand in the field of rifle scopes. This particular model is for sale on Amazon with a stellar star rating of 4.6 stars, so it has proven to be a great scope for the money.

What are the details?

Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42sThe Sightmark Photon is most effective when placed at medium range; nonetheless, it features six digital retical options that allow you to operate on a variety of ranges, and the retical options are available in red, white, or green.

Due to the wide range of reticle options, this rifle scope has an impressive array of applications. The two crossbow reticles allow this scope to be used with crossbows designed to shoot 320, 350, 370 and 400 feet per second. In addition to having crossbow reticles, the two available duplex reticles are for rifle shooting, and they are great for hunting game such as hog or raccoon. The scope’s Mil-Dot optical aids in rangefinding and estimating holdovers. Finally, you can even opt to use German style reticles. Overall, there are several features and options to choose from when operating this rifle scope. It all depends on what your preferences are and the situation in which you are trying to make the shot.

Features beyond reticle options include a magnification of 4.6x, so paired with a large 42mm lens and an above average resolution of 640×480, you’re guaranteed to easily see anything in sharp detail for up to 120 yards! The Sightmark Photon’s digital interface also informs you of the wind direction, elevation height, and adjustments needed for making an accurate shot.

As for the battery life, this scope has a 33% longer life than the average in it’s domain. It’s also lighter than the average rifle scope of this ability, so both of these factors are worth considering when you’re using the scope for extended periods of time. Furthermore, if you’re out late at night, this scope sports a video output feature that allows the hunter or shooter to capture clear images during both the day and night.

The Sightmark Photon is a great device for the money; with a price below $500, this scope has everything that most shooters and hunters need to make those accurate shots. Click here to see the price.

Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for under $2,000

Armasight Drone Pro 10X Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope Resolution 752×582

Armasight is probably one of the most popular brands in the world of night vision scopes and thermal imagery. The Armasight Drone Pro 10x is designed for the professional hunter or shooter, and it comes equipped with an array of technological advances and features.

Although the Armasight Drone Pro 10x is a night vision scope, its sensitivity to both near-infrared and visible light, coupled with its bright-light attenuating CCD camera, makes this scope prime for use during the daytime. It is also water resistant and filled with dry nitrogen to prevent internal fogging, so negative weather conditions won’t have to be a deterrent when planning a hunting trip.

This scope is also equipped with a series of convenient digital features. Eight different brightness levels and seven reticle types are available to choose from, and adjustments can easily be made with the push of a button. Furthermore, its cutting-edge technology enables the user to operate the scope via a wireless remote control, which aids in conserving battery by providing a convenient way to activate the scope without having to leave it on the entire time you are using it.  

In addition to the features detailed above, this scope can be powered for 3 hours with two lithium batteries, has a power range of 5x to 10x with the use of a doubler, and a 752×582 resolution. Finally, the Armasight Drone Pro comes with a convenient two-year warranty. This rifle scope is worth every penny. Click here to see the price

Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for under $1,000

ATN X-Sight II 5-20 Smart Rifle Scope with 1080p Video, Night Mode, WiFi, GPS, Image Stabilization, iOS and Android Apps

ATN is known for manufacturing top of the line scopes, and their X-Sight II 5-20 night vision scope is no exception.

What are the details?

The ATN X-Sight comes with many technical conveniences such as Wi-Fi, GPS, smartphone control, and the ability to geotag your location on your photos and videos. The scope’s obsidian core allows for images to be recorded and captured clearly at night, and its HD 1080p sensor makes these images appear colorful and clear. 

One of this night vision scope’s most sought after features is its patent-pending smart rangefinder; this feature easily implements the necessary technology to estimate the distance you are from your target in a few simple steps. Once ranged, the scope will automatically adjust the point of impact, leaving out any guesswork or calculations on your end. 

Another admirable application offered by this scope is its capacity to offer seven different reticle options and seven color options needed for adjusting to any scenario or environment. Once these components have been set and you are gearing up for the perfect shot, there is another technologically savvy aspect of this scope that will give you peace of mind: the recoil activated video. You won’t have to worry about recording anything because this scope will automatically start to record a video before and after you take a shot. Overall, this scope is a great selection for its selection of features and price point! Click here to see the price

Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for under $500

Yukon NVRS Titanium 1.5×42 Night Vision Rifle Scope with Weaver Mount

The Yukon Titanium scope earned its nickname, the “Varmint Hunter”, due the fact that it is the smallest rifle scope in Yukon’s line of titanium scopes. It is highly durable and lightweight, and its lengthy mount is designed to provide an ergonomically sound experience for the shooter. This scope also fits a large range of rifles – even those that have a bolt action style!

This scope has a 50 mm lens that offers high resolution imagery and also helps to capture all possible light in a given environment, so this component of the scope works in concert with the built in Pulse Infrared Illuminator to enhance brightness and range in the middle of the night, making the Yukon NVRS Titanium an essential tool for many night time scenarios.

Other features include a flip-up objective lens cover, multi-coated optics, and is adaptable to digital cameras. This Yukon scope also has precise wind measurement and elevation adjustment controls. 

Finally, comes with a sturdy tote case and a lifetime warranty, so you can’t beat having all of these features for the low cost of this scope! Click here to see the price

Best Gen 1 Night Vision Scope

Firefield FF16001 NVRS 3x 42mm Gen 1 Night Vision Rifle Scope

Firefield FF16001 Gen 1 Night Vision RiflescopeFirefield may be newer to the rifle scope technologies, but they’ve definitely proven that they can deliver reliable and durable products.

Generation 1 scopes are usually the most purchased night vision rifle scope models due to being relatively inexpensive while still providing the shooter with advantageous technical assistance in terms of long range accuracy.

The NVRS 3×42 Night Vision Rifle Scope is a Generation 1, or Gen 1, scope that comes equipped with 3x magnification to help acquire medium and long-range targets, and these targets can be easily sought out during the early hours of the day or late at night thanks to the scope’s high power IR illuminator.

This scope’s titanium body is protective, sturdy, and very lightweight in comparison to many other rifle scopes, and its ergonomic design aids in delivering a more accurate shot. In addition to it’s rugged build, this scope has other measures that allow for the scope to be used in unpleasant weather conditions, if necessary. The NVRS 3×42’s flip up lens cover protects the multi-coated optics when needed, but when the lens cover is taken off, the illuminated red duplex reticle’s brightness can be incrementally adjusted for brightness in order to remain effective in any environmental condition.

This rifle scope has everything that you need to get the job done when shooting at night, and you don’t have to worry about your wallet suffering! Click here to see the price.

Best Gen 2 Night Vision Scope

Armasight Nemesis 6x-SD Gen 2+ Night Vision Rifle Scope with 6x Magnification

Armasight Nemesis6x-SD Gen 2+ RiflescopeNow that we will be discussing a Generation 2 rifle scope, you can expect to see more advanced technology and a greater variety of capabilities than observed with a Generation 1 scope.

What are the features and details of the Armasight Nemasis 6x-SD Gen 2 Night Vision Rifle Scope?

This scope has an impressive 6x magnification with 6.5 degrees FOV, which is very convenient for those long range points that are often too difficult to accurately hit without this form of advanced technology. Additionally, the well-defined and extremely thin crosshairs set this scope apart from any other night vision scope on the market by giving the user an ability to make extremely precise shots on very small targets, even from far distances.

Its high-quality image intensifier tube, unique adjustable brightness illuminated reticle, and detachable infrared illuminator are a combination of features that make this scope very useful in low-light and essentially no light settings.

This Armasight scopes’s controls are digital and the windage and elevation adjustments are very user-friendly. This is important when you’re needing to remain as steady as possible when gearing up to take a shot; you don’t want to have to hassle with a rifle scope that will cause too much noise or movement. And when you do end up shooting at your target, the scope should remain steadily on your weapon since it is shock protected.

Environmental factors such as rain will have you unconcerned since scope is waterproof; your Armasight Nemesis 6x will be just fine and it won’t hinder the operation at all. Another handy design feature includes the scope’s built-in flip-up and backup iron sights, which further help with aim and may be necessary if dealing with multiple distracting environmental conditions.

This Armasight Nemasis has a lengthy 60-hour battery life, which is much longer than the average Gen 1 models offer you as they aren’t designed to last as long as the Gen 2.

Finally, the Armasight Nemesis 6x has a two-year warranty. If it causes any issues, you can return it without it costing you a dime. It was an easy choice to include this model as the best Gen 2 night vision scope. Click here to see the price.

Best Gen 3 Night Vision Scope

Armasight NYX-14 GEN 3+ Alpha MG Multi-Purpose Night Vision Monocular with Manual Gain

The Armasight NYX-14 is a multi-purpose monocular scope that is both helmet and weapon mountable, and its quality is equal to that of military issued night vision technology.

This scope is comprised of small dimensions and has an extremely durable design. This device will not overload your rifle with heavy weight or strain your neck if you opt for “hands-free” use, and it is durable in weather conditions beyond the rain. According to Armasight’s product description, the NYX-14, “…can withstand salt water, rain, high humidity, extremes of temperature and still give unsurpassed levels of performance.”

While the NYX-14 was built with a standard 1x magnification, it comes with 3x, 5x, and 8x magnification lenses to use depending on the distance that you are trying to shoot a target from. It also produces an image resolution of 62-72 lp/mm.

One of the scope’s unique features is its manual gain control component (MG), which allows the shooter to manually increase or decrease the image brightness to account for the amount of natural light that is present in a given situation. It also comes with a built-in infrared illuminator for clear vision in pitch black settings.

Armasight’s NYX-14 scope is backed by a 2-year warranty, can be utilized in a variety of ways, and is a top quality night vision rifle scope.  This is, by far, is one of the best night vision options for Gen 3 models. Click here to see the price.

More Information – Top Night Scope Brands

There are many great brands out there that produce quality night vision scopes. Most likely, if you’re reading this article, you’re either a novice or you’re an expert who is seeking the “best of the best” scope for a bargain price. Below, we have detailed more information regarding the brands of the night vision scopes that we outlined at the beginning of the article. This information may help you to make a decision about which scope to purchase above, especially since they all come with a variety of enticing features and capabilities.

Armasight

Armasight is a big name in the thermal imaging and night vision technological field; they’ve designed and invented products like night vision scopes for years. Their main headquarters is located in San Francisco, California, and they offer spectacular quality for a wide range of prices. You can purchase a high standard night vision scope for $10,000.00, or purchase a scope for as low as $150.00. It merely depends on the features and technology that you desire and the amount of money that you’re willing to spend.

ATN

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

Firefield

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

Sightmark

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

Yukon

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

Night Vision Generations

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

Gen 1

Gen 1 is fairly simplistic and affordable. For most shooters and hunters, it offers everything that you need and then some while also being the most inexpensive of all the generations. Gen 1 was introduced during the early sixties, a time at which the Space Age was developing new technologies that humanity never thought was possible. A Gen 1 night vision scope is sufficient for most shooters’ needs; however, since it is the first generation, it has fewer perks and may operate more slowly than the later generations.

Gen 1 scopes typically have the following capabilities and shortcomings:

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

Gen 2

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

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

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

Gen 3

Gen 3 is the big, bad boy when it comes to night vision rifle scopes. It’s so advanced that the United States Military uses the Gen 3 on all of their rifle scopes and other optical equipment. However, keep in mind that most Gen 3 rifle scopes are very pricey. Don’t fret though; with its advanced technology and accuracy, you will get what you pay for!

Here are some details regarding a Gen 3 scope:

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

Conclusion

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

The Best Scopes for a 30-06 Rifle

The .30-06 cartridge was first introduced to the United States military in 1906 to replace the .30-03 rimless service round. It was developed to satisfy the necessity for lighter-weight, higher velocity, service rounds with pointed (spitzer) bullets, and was used for seven decades after that.

Today the .30-06 is one of the most popular hunting and sporting cartridges in the world – and for a good reason. As a target round, this one is handy, reasonably priced, and accurate. As a hunting cartridge, it is moderate enough in recoil to be used by even the most inexperienced hunters, and flexible enough to cover the vast spectrum of North American game species: from varmints to mid-sized and large game.

It is only logical that a caliber with as much versatility and performance as the .30-06 should be mated to an excellent scope. Failure to do so not only limits its functionality but also affects your user experience. It does not take an expert to know that you cannot randomly pair a rifle with any scope and achieve the best results. Yes, you might hit your target; but with as much effort as it takes to eat soup using a fork.

So, esteemed shooters, that brings us to the trillion dollar question: Which are the best scopes for the .30-06? Reading this article shows that you have found out, in one way or the other, how difficult it is to find the right scope for this traditional, yet grand scope. You see, a caliber this popular ordinarily has a surfeit of scopes out on the market that is compatible with it, if not made directly for it.

What to Look For

But you should not give up just yet. Because, though there is not one scope that we can name as the overall winner, there is certainly one that will be a perfect fit for you. Just as each hunter’s needs differ from those of the next, so are each scope’s characteristics. Manufacturers have tried, and still, are trying, but they have not yet found a way to build a single scope that will cover everything. Therefore we will evaluate the ones that come close enough and leave it to you to choose the one that suits you best. But before we do that, it is imperative that you first understand how your new sight will work. So – with much apologies to the pros – I will give you a crash course on the front-to-back basics of the scope, and the standard terminology used before I start hitting you with big words.

Here are the scope basics from front-to-back:

  • The objective lens is the front glass, and its size is directly proportional to both the field of view and amount of light transmitted.
  • The scope body also known as the tube is usually one inch or 30mm in length. You should ensure that the rings that hold the tube in place are of the same size as the tube.
  • Adjustment knobs change the windage and elevation of the scope – although some larger magnifications feature parallax adjustment as well. Standard is one click changes impact ¼” at 100 yards. They can be adjusted using finger pressure, a flat-tip screwdriver, or turrets.
  • The eyepiece, the focus knob, and the magnification adjustment make up the rear.
  • The reticle is the series of fine lines in the eyepiece used as a measuring scale. Some are battery-powered.

It will also not hurt to know a few of the terms used:

  • Single or fixed power means that the scope’s power cannot be adjusted while variable power means the opposite.
  • Objective size is the size of the objective lens. The larger it is, the bulkier the scope usually is.
  • Lens coatings repel water and block some wavelengths. They determine how much reflection you might experience.
  • A charged scope is one that has been filled with nitrogen or oxygen to keep out fog r moisture.

Top Scopes for the .30-06 Caliber

You might have heard of the old thumb rule which states that you should only buy a scope that costs more than half as much as your rifle. I beg to differ with that line of thinking. Most experts out there and I believe that price should only be a factor if you are on a budget. That is because there are cheaper brands that work as well as pricier ones, just as there are expensive ones that ride on brand name but offer very little functionality.

Here is our list of the best scopes for your rifle in no particular order.

1) Vortex Optics DBK-10019 Diamondback HP 4-16×42

Though one of the newest companies in the scope and optics industry, Vortex has not only proven to be worth their salt but are giving the bigger names a run for their money. The Vortex Diamondback (HP) 4-16x42mm is no exception. For starters, it is equipped with an array of high-quality features that you will not find in some of the pricier comparisons.

The 42mm lens is made of XD extra-low dispersion glass to increase resolution to the already large field of view. Its XR multi-coated lens maximizes light transmission and reduces reflection to give you a squint less and glare less hunting experience. The 4-16x magnification allows you to push your rifle to its limit at ranges above 1000 yards.

As is the case with most rising stars, Vortex strives to produce the highest quality products in a bid to establish itself and cement its position in the industry. The Diamondback is rugged, to say the least, and the HP in its name is an acronym for “High Performance,” and it shows for it. Click here to see it.

2) Leupold VX-2 3-9x40mm with Duplex Reticle

From the state of Oregon comes the Leupold VX-2, an all American scope for a genuinely American caliber. Leupold’s seven-decade experience in scope-building is reflected in the VX-2’s ruggedness and excellent material quality. And as if to flaunt its superiority, Leupold provides a lifetime warranty for an almost indestructible product.

Leupold goes green with the Index Matched Lens system with lead-free glass and edge blackened lenses. The result is an environment-friendly scope with best-in-class clarity. Waterproof and argon-filled to prevent fogging, it enables you to enjoy your rifle in any weather. What’s more, zeroing has been made much quicker and more precise with the finger adjustable 1/4 MOA click windage and elevation adjustments.

The ergonomic eye piece now features a fast focus that eliminates the need to adjust a lock ring every time you want to change focus. The Leupold VX-2 is a functional and reliable scope that will not disappoint. Click here to see it.

3) Nikon ProStaff 4-12×40 Black Matte (BDC)

Nikon ProStaff 4-12×40’s two-hundred-dollar-ish price tag is a surprise to many seeing how fully loaded it is. A perfect blend of ruggedness and aesthetics, this sight, will satisfy even the most demanding hunters and shooters. The finger adjustable turrets of the Prostaff 4-12×40 can be quickly reset to zero allowing for quick adjustments in the field.

Hunting in the most undesirable conditions is made possible by the nitrogen-purged, O-ring sealed tube and the sun shade adjustable lens. Brilliant sight picture and versatile magnification range come in handy in any hunting situation, from heavy timber to the open prairies.

Multicoated lenses increase light transmission up to 98%, and precise hand-turn 1/4-MOA click adjustments get you zoned in quicker. Nikon’s patented BDC reticle gives you an advantage at long distances but still provides normal sight picture for shorter-range shots while the crosshair itself is the aiming point.

Although recoil is not much of an issue with the .30-06, the Prostaff 4-12×40 still offers generous and consistent eye relief. Nikon Prostaff Rifle Scopes include a lifetime factory warranty. Click here to see it.

4) Nikon Buckmaster 3-9×40 BDC

The Nikon Buckmaster 3-9×40 is what you get when Nikon, a premium lens maker, and Buckmaster, a top-class scope builder, team up. Buckmaster riflescopes constitute Nikon’s medium priced line, and the 3-9x40mm model is the most popular of them all. Nikon itself describes this scope as a: “Classic variable, excellent for game hunting from deer to varmints.”

The Buckmaster is Nitrogen-filled, and O-ring sealed for waterproofing and fog proofing purposes. The Nicoplex reticle, a better copy of the famous Leupold Duplex, is standard on the 3-9x40mm.

The multi-coated 40mm objective lens allows nearly one hundred percent light transmission, making this the right scope for dawn or dusk hunting. 3.6″ of eye relief is enough to protect you while still offering plenty of field of view throughout the magnification range. With a lifetime warranty sweetening the deal, this scope competes with others that double the price. Click here to see it.

5) Leupold VX-I 3-9x50mm

Here comes another Leupold, and it is almost identical to its VX-2 sibling save for its slightly lower lens quality and optical clarity. The 3-9x50mm is considered the best of the VX-I models because it offers you more magnification range and larger objective lenses than the others.

Shooting at distances of about 400 to 500 yards is a bargain for its price and an objective lens of 50mm makes this possible even in dim conditions. The VX-I 3-9x50mm guarantees professional performance on an amateur’s budget and will revolutionize your next hunt.

Expectedly, VX-I 3-9x50mm shares the same ruggedness and reliability with its siblings. Likewise, it is offered with a lifetime warranty. Click here to see it.

6) Nikon ProStaff 3-9×40

You may wonder why I have decided to include the Nikon ProStaff 3-9×40 while its overall specs are almost similar to those of both the Buckmaster and the ProStaff 4-12×40. I was also reluctant until I realized two important things: the ProStaff 3-9×40 is one of the best-reviewed riflescopes on the market, and it strikes a balance between the other two. It has earned notoriety for its capabilities in deer hunting, especially in thick cover. It is also very useful at short ranges and is the scope of choice for stealth hunters.

Multi-coated, multi-colored, and layered with anti-reflective compound, the optical system is made for high performance and efficiency. Similar to the ProStaff 4-12×40, its patented BDC enables you to adjust the bullet drop to up to 600 yards and allows you to stay and hold ‘dead-on’ at various ranges. The crosshair plays as the aiming point for close range shooting and the parallax setting increases the scope’s precision.

It is suitably fog proof, shock proof, and waterproof, given that it is Nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed. Its simplicity makes it perfect for beginners, and its light weight is ideal for situations that call for speed.

This is the right alternative if you are after a scope that will fulfill your hunting and shooting needs with as little complication as possible. Click here to see it.

7) Simmons 8-Point Truplex Reticle, 3-9x50mm

Not many experts would have expected the Simmons 8 Point Truplex to make it to this list, but I dared to include it. Now this is for those of you that are not afraid to explore the roads less traveled – and well, to save a few bucks in the process. As easy on the wallet as it is on the eye, the 8-Point riflescope offers more high-quality features than any other in its class.

Fully coated optics ensure a brighter, higher contrast image while the 1/4-MOA SureGrip audible click windage and elevation adjustments allow for fast and effortless changes. The 50mm objective lens is more than generous for its price range, but hey, no one is complaining. 3-9 power magnification at its best, this waterproof, fog proof, and recoil proof scope will offer you more than you bargained for – literally. Click here to see it.

Celestron SkyMaster 15x70mm Binoculars Review

While Celestron is more known for their telescopes, they sell all sorts of optical equipment including microscopes and binoculars. You don’t normally see Celestron binoculars in the field while you’re hunting and birding. That’s because Celestron manufactures some big binoculars. These 70mm binoculars are apart of the SkyMaster line of optics and isn’t even the largest set of handheld binoculars on the market.

Celestron as a company specializes in viewing objects very far away and objects too small for our naked eyes to see. The SkyMasters feature enormous 70mm lens, capable of getting clear images of the moon in the right settings and conditions.

Here we’ll explore the Skymaster 70mm’s, and where you can use them best.

Optics

Let’s take a look at the overall power of these 70mm optics.

  • 15x magnification
  • Field of View (FOV)-4.4 degrees
    • FOV at 1000yds-230
  • Multi-coated lenses
  • Diopter range- -4 to 8
  • Close Focus Distance 52.5

70mm lens are some of the biggest lenses you can have on handheld binoculars. As a result, you have some of the greatest light gathering power on the market. The diopter settings range from -4 to +8, meaning you can adjust to low or high light situations.

Uses

Since these binoculars are made by Celestron, you can already guess what they’re good at. The moon is one of the brightest objects in our night sky and with the 70mm’s variable diopter settings, you’ll have no difficulty seeing it up close when the sky is clear.

These diopter settings work the same during daytime and landscape viewing as well. They come with a tripod adapter as they do weigh about 3lbs free handed. Birding and nighttime sky watching are going to be the biggest and most logical uses for the 70mm’s. 70mm means that you’re going to soak up whatever is giving off light, notably objects in the sky and the moon.

Versus Other Sporting Optics

These binoculars are big, hence why more often than naught, you’ll see them hooked up to a tripod. They don’t make the best hunting binoculars because they are designed for extreme range viewing rather than detailed viewing. Remember, just because a pair of optics has big lenses, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the best details of an object.

Swinging these binoculars isn’t going to be easy due to their size and weight. Compared to wide angled binos and other smaller sporting optics, the 70mm’s aren’t the most logical to take on hunts when you’re lugging them around for hours at a time. Unless you plan to stay in given area, you’re better off using a smaller pair.

Overall

It’s astonishing to note that the 15x70mm’s aren’t the biggest or smallest pair of binos in the SkyMaster series. Regardless, the 15x70mm’s sit in the middle of the SkyMaster series and provide astounding images for a cheap price compared to other Celestron products.

The 15x70mm’s don’t have the power to see stars or planets beyond the moon up close and personal but provide a sort of middle ground between mainstream sporting optics and telescopes.

Click here to shop the SkyMaster 70mm’s.

 

Best Reflex Sights of 2018

Reflex sights are a type of gun sights that can go on a variety of firearms, depending on the mounting system available. Reflex, red dot, and holographic sights are commonly associated with each other because of their similar construction and electronic reticles. They are also common on many of the firing systems on vehicles, aircraft, and ships.

While they may look the similar or the same on the outside, each of these sights uses a different method of optical imagery. The goal of a reflex sight is to provide the user with the best reticle while eliminating or lessening a lot of the optical problems that come with other sights like parallax, zeroing, or MOA.

How Does it Work?

You’ll see a lot of similarities aesthetically between all three sights. All three commonly use a red dot as a reticle. A reflex sight projects an image (reticle) onto a lens that reflects towards your eye. There are a few different ways a reflex sight can project an image that eventually you see, but in the end, the words “reflex” and “reflection” are the most basic terms.

The most common way reflex sights solve sighting problems is by using collimating lenses and light. Collimating light is light that is parallel to whatever surface it is facing. When light goes through a collimating lens, it straightens and then bounces off another lens into your eye. As a result, the dot or reticle that you see is virtually parallel to the gun barrel. Right off the bat, parallax is eliminated.

Reflex sights offer near unlimited eye relief, so you can mount it on different positions on your firearm and still have excellent target acquisition.

Why Buy A Reflex Sight?

Red dot sights are very popular for their on target pointing with the dot itself. Reflex sights build on top of the illuminating nature of pure red dot sights in order to factor out sighting and zeroing problems. You will have to zero in the reflex sight, this is standard for just about every scope you fit on a firearm.

Reflex sights typically give the user more chance of on target hit at longer range (excluding gun recoil). Whichever way your head moves, the reticle will remain in the center of the panel.

Let’s say for example you’re looking at a target down range. Because the reticle stays in place at the center of the sight, you can acquire targets faster without having to swing the gun about. If you look around or avert your eyes from the center of the sight, it will still point straight ahead. A reflex sight isn’t a massive, groundbreaking upgrade from a normal red dot sight, but it does provide the user with a simpler method of

Best Under $100

Dagger Defense Reflex Sight

The Dagger Defense sight is a fully encased sight with four different types of reticles in red or green fashion.  It comes with four different locking screws so you can adjust and zero in the sight. Most users have mounted this sight on a semi-automatic rifle and have been able to zero it in between 100-350 rounds.

It also features a dial on the right-hand side for choosing the reticle and power level.

  • Aperture: 33mm
  • Length: 82mm
  • Weight:  10 oz
  • Field of view at 100m: 15.8m
  • Rail: Picatinny

 

Browning Buckmark Reflex Sight

Browning, a popular sporting company, has crafted the equally popular Buckmark sight. This sight is designed specifically for Buckmark pistols, which fire .22 ammunition but also works on other rimfire weapons. It comes with four different reticles for your convenience and a dial for brightness.

You should only consider this sight if you are looking into .22 caliber rimfire guns or a Buckmark pistol specifically.

  • Length: 3.25in
  • Height: 2in
  • Width: 1.25in
  • Field-of-view at 100m: 15.7m
  • Weight: 6.6 oz
  • Rail: Weaver base

 

Sightmark Sure Shot Reflex Sight

The Sure Shot sight is a lot like the Buckmark sight in design but isn’t limited to .22 weapons. It comes with a built-in Weaver mount, which saves you the hassle of figuring out what railing its compatible with.

This sight comes in either black or camo pattern, with the latter being a little more expensive than the former.

  • Aperature: 33mm
  • Field of view at 100m: 35m
  • Length: 3.23in
  • Width: 2.52in
  • Height: 2.20in
  • Weight: 4.76oz

 

Ozark Armament Reflex Sight

The Ozark Armament reflex sight features a wide angle casing to give you a wider field of view. Some reflex sights put too much aluminum casing around the holographic panel, obstructing the view of the target. It comes with a built-in picatinny mount.

It has four different reticles and five different brightness levels so you can find the position that works best for you.

 

 

The reflex sight by Survival land is the cheapest sight on our list, coming in at just under $15. Normally the first impression would be horrible reviews and overall dissatisfaction, but this sight maintains a small fanbase. It has a similar construction to most wide-angle sights and mounts on a picatinny rail.

It comes with four different reticles and two different colors or said reticles.

 

The Ultra Shot M-Spec is a big step up from the Sure Shot. This sight is encased in cast magnesium alloy, a very strong and sturdy metal that is unlikely to suffer any damaging dings or scratches. This casing also better protects the interior panel.

The M-Spec is Sightmark’s most rugged and durable sight, built to handle the elements and water submersion up to 40ft. It’s brightness settings also come with a night vision mode, enabling you to find a comfortable setting without the reticle being overly bright.

  • Field of View at 100m: 35m
  • Dimensions: 103x58x61 mm
  • Window Dimension: 33x24mm
  • Weight: 8 oz.

 

 

Best Under $300

Holosun Open Reflex Sight 

In a similar fashion to the M-Spec, the Holosun reflex sight sports a titantium casing with an aluminum finish, making it one of the strongest and most durable sights on our list. Those features are always nice, but what’s even better is its wide 32mm×24mm open lens.

Even with a solid casing, a wide lens expands the field of view so you can a clear shot at your target without having to squint through the metal.There is no automatic shutoff on this sight, so you have to make sure you turn it off manually.

Best Under $400

The Sig Saur Romeo 3 is an advanced, miniature sight that has a couple of neat features. The first is its MOTAC illumination system. When it senses movement, it will turn on and when it doesn’t, it will shut off. Basically, it’s the sight’s automatic shutoff system (no power on/off button needed). The battery compartment is located in the side of the sight, so you don’t have to completely remove the sight from the gun in order to change the battery.
As a high-quality optic, it’s designed for modern-day rifles, shotguns carbines, SMGs, and handguns. It comes with a built-in picatinny mount.

Leupold Delta Point Pro Reflex Dot Sight 

The Delta Point Pro is also equipped with motion sensing technology, saving you the hassle of remembering to turn on and off the sight. While it may be small, its incredibly rugged and waterproof up to 33 feet.
This sight works on everything from ARs to handguns. With its unlimited eye relief, you can mount it anywhere and still see perfectly down the sight.

 

 

What to Consider When Buying A Reflex Sight

Housing

A lot of reflex and red dot sights refer to one another as each other, and it can get sort of confusing. A reflex sight is inherently different from a pure red dot sight, but use many similar housings. Housing refers to the type of construction around the glass panels. Tube, open, or fully encased.

Different sights with different housings will allow for more or less field of view, so choose according to how much you want to see through the sight.

Battery

All sights run on either CR2, AA, or AAA batteries. The amount of life you get out of these batteries depends on the illumination setting you have for the sight. Some sights will give you thousands of hours worth of life on the lowest intensity setting.

Some sights have their batteries in the rear or underside of the sight, which could affect the overall housing. Be sure that you are combing the right housing with battery location.

Reticle

Using different reticles is going to result in a different user experience. Most of these sights come with different selections of reticles that might be better suited for your range and weapon handling.

Just because a reticle looks cool in the sight doesn’t mean it will give you the best target acquisition.

Price

There are certainly some very popular but expensive sights on this list. You shouldn’t feel pressured to purchase the biggest one just because the price indicates quality. Some might come with a couple of small perks.

The higher priced sights are usually more rugged and designed for extreme conditions, so take this into account when considering the higher end sights.

Mounting

Some of these sights will come with built-in picatinny or weaver mounts. Usually, these sights will say which one they come or what type of railing they are compatible with. Nevertheless, you should double-check your weapon and the mount to see if they are compatible with the sight you are considering.

What are the Real Differences?

Between the big three reticle sights (red dot, reflex, and holographic), reflexes are sort of the midpoint between user experience and accuracy. You’ll see a lot more of red dot sights for close range shooting, but reflexes and holographic sights give you the edge in accuracy and focusing abilities.

That’s not to say that red dot sights are wholly unreliable, but reflexes will be more versatile across different firearms, especially with each of them having near unlimited eye relief.

Click here to see our picks for the top red dot sights of 2018.

Click here to see our picks for the top holographic sights of 2018.

 

Bushnell PowerView 20x50mm Binoculars Review

The Bushnell PowerView series is a wide range of wildlife and tactical binoculars that feature high powered optics across the board. Bushnell offers a lot of choices when it comes to binoculars, so why the 20x50mm model?

The PowerView 20x50mm offers a good blend of magnification and light gathering power. The Powerview is another version of the popular wide-angle binos, which are different than your average sporting optics model.

Optics

  • Close focus: 45ft/13.7m
  • Field of View at 1000yds: 170ft
  • Exit Pupil-9mm

The PowerView’s optics aren’t spectacular, but they do have something called Insta Focus, patented by Bushnell. While not exactly working the same way as a camera focus, it keeps objects in focus with a push of a button. It’s extremely useful when viewing things at maximum range.

The field of view (FOV) at 1000 yards is smaller than most top of the line sporting optics. Most of them have FOV’s between 200-400 yards at 1000 yards, but the PowerView does get close. The better the quality, usually higher the price.

While PowerView’s usefulness at maximum range drops off, detail and coloration from 0-1000 yards is still astounding.

Uses

The 20x50mm are perfect for just about every outdoor viewing activity from hunting to concerts and theater. Light transmission within the lenses is also optimal, so you should have no problem seeing objects at long range while indoors.

Extreme range viewing might not be the PowerView’s strong point, but at closer range, it really picks up on detail. Many users have complimented the PowerView’s versatility as an animal watching optic as well hunting.

Compared to Other Sporting Optics

You’ll find that the 20x50mm compares well with other binoculars that are marketed specifically as “sporting optics”. One of the biggest perks about the PowerViews is that they are remarkably cheap compared to other sporting optics.

They feature a tough rubber skin to absorb and protect against dings and scratches. They may sport the biggest lenses in the PowerView line but the overall construction is still relatively compact. They won’t be cumbersome to carry on extended trips.

Overall

The PowerViews are at a slightly wider angle than mainstream hunting binoculars. They combine some of the perks of sporting optics with more compact binos to deliver a good all-around performance.

While there is no limit to where you can use them, you’ll have the best chance of using them for closer range activities regardless if it is indoor or outdoor.

Click here to shop the PowerView 20x50mm model.