Best Hunting Binoculars of 2020

Hunters have specific needs when it comes to optics, so finding the right pair of binoculars takes more than just finding a trusted brand. Binoculars are one of the most important pieces of equipment for hunters. But with so many choices on the market, how do you know which pair is right for you?

We have reviewed five of the top options for hunters, so you can narrow your search to find the best pair for your outdoor adventures. These pairs range in price and features, so there’s something for everyone.

 

Upland Optics Perception HD: #1 Recommendation

While it’s true that spending more money on optics means better quality, our top pick doesn’t break the bank. In fact, it’s one of the most affordable premium optics around. Upland Optics Perception Binoculars

Every product from Upland Optics is designed by and for hunters. This means that the Perception HD offers exceptional glass, great durability, and weather-resistance.

Some of the key features and specs of the Perception HD binoculars include:

  • Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Glass
  • Waterproof & fogproof
  • 10x42mm
  • 113m FOV at 1000m
  • 17.2mm eye relief
  • Dimensions: 5.5″ x 5″ x 2″
  • Weight: 1.44 lbs
  • Lifetime Warranty

Click here to shop for the Upland Optics Perception HD.

 

 

Nikon Monarch Best Hunting BinocularsNikon Monarch 5 Binoculars

Nikon Monarch binoculars come in three sizes: 8X42, 10X42, and 12X42, so you have many choices at your disposal. Nikon’s high-quality glass and prisms ensure a solid viewing experience in most lighting conditions.

The build is designed for comfortability and durability, making it an all-around excellent pair of binoculars for most uses, including hunting.

Some notable features of the Monarch 5 10×42 include:

  • Premium ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) Glass
  • Fully Multicoated Eco-Glass Lenses
  • Apparent FOV: 51.3°
  • 288′ field of view at 1000 yards
  • 18.4mm eye relief
  • Weight: 21 ounces
  • Dimensions 7.6 x 3.1 x 5.9 inches

Click here to shop for the Monarch 5.

 

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD

These are one Bushnell’s most popular binoculars, and it is no surprise that they are some of the best binoculars for hunting out there. They come in 4 sizes: 8X36, 8X42, 10X36, and 10X42.Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42

Like others we have discussed so far, these are built for durability and all weather conditions. These are often found for slightly less than the Nikon and Upland pairs that take the top spots.

Notable features of the 10×42 include:

  • Exceptional optics with ED Prime Glass, Ultra Wide Band Coatings, and RainGuard HD water-repellent lens coating
  • Waterproof & fog proof
  • Ultra wide field-of-view with long eye-relief; locking diopter
  • Weight: 22.5 Oz
  • Dimensions 5.28 x 4.02 x 6.89 in

Click here to shop for the Bushnell Legend Ultra.

 

Upland Optics Venator

This is the upgraded version of our top choice. For the discerning hunter, the Venator 10×42 are the pair to get for the best possible glass. Excellent light transmission and premium lens coatings help deliver top grade optical performance while also being durable enough to survive tough hunting excursions.

Though these are priced higher than any of the binos we’ve discussed so far, they are still very well priced for their quality and the amazing glass. You can read our full review of the Venator here. Our most significant findings are that the build quality is outstanding and the premium glass makes it worth the splurge.

Here are some key features and specs:

  • 10x optical zoom, 42mm objective lens
  • 114m field of view at 1000m
  • 15mm eye relief
  • Waterproof & fogproof
  • Includes carrying case, lens cloth, neck strap, and lens caps
  • Dimensions: 5.5″ x 5″ x 2″
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs

Click here to shop the Upland Optics Venator.

 

Vortex Diamondback

Vortex Diamondback binoculars are of very high quality, and although the company is not as big as its competitors, it can deliver a great product. Diamondbacks come in 4 sizes: 8X28, 8X42, 10X42, and 12X50. Vortex Optics Diamondback 10x42

One of the most appealing things about the Diamondback in this list is that it is the most affordable pair we recommend for hunting. It’s currently priced well under $200 and isn’t usually much more than that.

Some of the notable features of the Vortex Diamondback 10×42:

  • Dielectric, fully multi-coated lenses transmit more light and clearer, brighter images
  • FOV 330′
  • Eye relief 15mm
  • Multi-position eyecups twist up for adjustable eye relief
  • Waterproof and fogproof 
  • Weight 21.4 oz
  • Dimensions: 5.8″ x 5.1″

Click here to shop for the Vortex Diamondback.

Best Crossbows Scopes of 2020

Crossbow hunting and target shooting are becoming popular activities among hobbyists and professionals in this modern age. If you’re practicing archery, crossbow scopes are an essential tool to have whether you’re on a range or hunting game.

Nikon Bolt XR Crossbow Scope (BDC 60)

We’ve compiled a list of the very best crossbow scopes available. We’ll also discuss the fundamentals of crossbow scopes, including types, designs, and mounts. First, though, let’s dive right into the scopes.

Why Use a Scope?

Scopes are typically used to magnify one’s target to get a more precise shot and makes it easier to visualize the goal. Scopes can additionally lend aid to one’s accuracy and can make for clean and quick kills so game from hunting won’t suffer. There are various kinds of scopes — or sights as some refer to them as — all with different features and functions. It’s very important that the archer chooses a scope that best suits their specific needs and fits their crossbow nicely.

powerful-crossbows

Recommended Crossbow Scopes

While there is a vast variety of scope brands to choose from, only a few make it to the top and are worth mentioning.

 

Nikon Scopes

The Nikon Bolt XR Crossbow Scope (BDC 60) (pictured above) is designed to outdo what other scopes are capable of. It’s equipped with 3x Nikon optics that transmit up to 92% of available light for brightness and contrast, and Nikon also included a multi-coated lens with multiple layers of anti-reflective compounds. What’s even greater about this scope is that its advanced BDC 60 reticle provides precise aiming points up to 60 yards based on a velocity of around 305 fps. Some additional features include a large ocular that utilizes its full field of view, 3.4 inches of eye relief, and a quick-focus eyepiece.

The Nikon Prostaff P3 3×32 BDC 60

The Bolt XR furthermore has zero-reset turrets allowing you to sight in at 20 yards, lift the spring-loaded adjustment knob, then rotate to your “zero” allowing you to re-engage. You can simply dial in your subsequent ranges to make your field adjustments, and with the Bolt XR being waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof, this scope virtually matches with any crossbow velocity and bolt weight.

Many archers have deemed the Bolt XR as an excellent scope. It was mentioned that it works very well in low light with crystal clear glass. The multiple aim points were said to make it easier to accurately shoot from 20-60 yards with little to no effort. It’s highly recommended for archers looking for quality optics for their crossbow, for it has received a high rating amongst many that have bought and used this scope.

The Nikon Prostaff P3 is a newer version of the brand’s crossbow scope, and it is very similar in specs to the Bolt XR, including the BDC 60 reticle and reticle adjustments via 1-MOA click-stop moves. With this one, you’ll find a smoother experience and heartier build, so it’s definitely worth investigating the Prostaff P3.

Excalibur Scopes

Excalibur Twilight

The Excalibur Twilight Dlx Scope Multirange Reticle is one of a few worthy scopes from Excalibur. This one is particularly good in low light situations, and it’s at its best on crossbows at 300-400 fps. This is especially true when it comes to sighting in the scope. This 1962 Scope 6X44mm 30mm tube boasts excellent durability, so it’s a good option for hunters who encounter harsh conditions. Though the magnification is 6x, it offers 50-foot range at 100 yards.

Excalibur offers two other excellent options that come highly recommended.

Each of the Excalibur scopes we reviewed are shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof. It’s one of the most versatile crossbow scope brands on the market.

Other Crossbow Scopes

Another worthy crossbow scope is UTG’s 4×32 1″ Crossbow Scope with Pro 5-Step RGB Reticle and QD Rings. It’s built on a TS platform with a 1″ tube, wide angle lens, and parallax at 50 yards. It also includes broadband lens coating, RGB side-wheel illumination, zero-reset/locking W/E knobs, and comes with complete flip-open lens caps and UTG RQ2W1104 QD rings. The side wheel with green/red illumination has flexible adjustment for most versatile weather and lighting conditions and the scope has ergonomic and precise windage and elevation adjustment turrets for a more precise shot.

Plenty favor this scope for its crystal clear glass view and effective green/red colored sight reticle, great for day or night shooting. It’s pretty solid and well-built with a comfortable

Hawke Crossbow 1.5-5X32 IR SR

eye relief and houses overall wonderful optics, fantastic for archers looking for an effective yet affordable scope.

One last scope in the list of top scopes is Hawke’s 1.5-5×32 Matte IR SR Scope with Illuminated Circles. This scope matches up to the Bolt XR’s high performance and is specifically designed for crossbows. It features a crossbow speed selector which allows the scope to be compatible with any crossbow, and the precision reticle is engineered to provide aim points at exact 10-yard intervals from 20 to 100 yards. Its 1″ optics are fully coated for high levels of light transmission, and the red/green illumination (only on the SR model) allows for excellent reticle clarity.

It’s around the same value as the Nikon Bolt XR, and its users like its simple set up and quick sighting in. It seems to be highly recommended for those that do target shooting or hunting for archers can truly reach out to 100 yards, which is a best for many that couldn’t reach that before with other scopes.

Scope Design Basics

The scope is to be placed on the body of the crossbow above the trigger. An obvious component to a scope’s design is the long black tube with an ocular lens eyepiece on one end and the sight on the opposite end past the eyepiece. If the archer decided to add zooming features, there should be a power ring to be able to adjust the magnification of the sight. The elevation adjustment and windage adjustment tool can be found in the middle of the scope tube, and at the end of the scope is the objective bell where the scope’s body seems to get wider and almost bell-shaped. The objective bell is where the objective lens is contained. There are three main types of scopes an archer can choose from; a laser sight scope, red dot sight, and reticle scope.

Types of Scopes

A laser sight scope is an alternative, mostly practical for when you’re aiming at a moving target. The laser is meant to help the archer anticipate when the arrow will strike the objective. Laser sights can either be mounted underneath an archer’s crossbow or to the upper portion of the scope. If the laser sight is used with a quality scope, it can be utilized to accurately determine midrange targets. An iron sight is another alternative and is the most basic yet durable. There can be two sights on the crossbow, with one as a post, bead, or ring in the crossbow’s front and on the back of the bow perpendicular to the crossbow’s line of sight.

A red dot sight scope makes a red (or sometimes green) dot that the archer can see and use to pinpoint his aim at the target. You can either get red dot sights with single style distance settings or more advanced multi-dot scopes with several distance settings, it depends on what your preferences are. A lot of times, the red dot sight can be adjusted so it will be brighter or darker according to your liking too.

A reticle scope has crosshairs that section the lens view into four parts. This type of lens scope is the most common and more traditional. The crosshairs might be etched, wired in, or lit up in the scope depending on the model.

Scope Mount Types

When selecting a type of mount for your scope, there are the Picatinny, Dovetail and Weaver rails to choose from. Picatinny mounts can elevate the scope by about ½ an inch above the crossbow body and is most practical if you are using a red dot sight scope. “Picatinny” comes from the place of origin where the system was designed at the New Jersey-based Picatinny arsenal.

The Dovetail mount looks similar to the Picatinny mount in that it has a set of grooves running parallel that grasp onto a tiny set of ribs raised in the middle part of the scope’s base. Dovetail mounts are actually the oldest used mounts, and because of a 1931 patent on the mount’s design, Dovetail mounts are also known as Redfield style or Leupold style.

The Weaver rail grips onto scopes’ beveled outer edge and is considered to be sturdier than other alternate mounts such as the Picatinny and Dovetail rails.

Crossbow scope rings are usually made out of steel or aluminum. Be sure to pay attention to the scope’s accuracy, size, and range when picking the best scope for your target shooting or hunting needs for these will be important in how your scope performs.

Most of the time, archers look for scopes that can increase their range so that they can hit targets easier. If you’re using your crossbow for hunting small game, then your scope should feature a short to mid-range distance and it needs to fight nicely onto the scope mount while being lightweight and sturdy. If you have something like a variable scope, which can be a bit on the heavy side, it can affect your ability to hunt and be anything but an improvement.

Terms You Should Know Before Buying a Scope

There’s nothing like knowing exactly what you need to improve your crossbow’s accuracy. So before deciding on the perfect scope, here are some terms you need to know and keep in mind as you’re exploring the scope market.

Magnification is a basic function of a scope’s features which allows the archer to zoom in on objects from afar since the naked eye doesn’t have the ability to do so. There is a wide range of magnifications on scopes, with most of them having up to 32x maximum.

A scope’s field of view is essentially the sight picture with a particular width. For example, if your target’s distance is at 150 yards, the scope will give you a sight that is 15 feet wide. Thus, it’s not only magnified, but it also provides the focal lengths of the lenses. Usually, if the magnification is high, then the field of view will be narrow. While this feature isn’t necessarily for new crossbow users who still need practice, it’s very important for hunters that need to hone in on their prey, especially smaller game.

Stray light is an internal coating which disperses light that enters in the scope and prevents it from reflecting off the scope’s metal. Overall, this helps you achieve the clearest sight of the goal.

The eye relief is simply the space between your eye and the eyepiece lens. It prevents any accidents that may happen your eye while shooting, such as the lens bumping into your eye if your crossbow has a bit of kickback.

Length refers to the distance from the edge of the objective lens up to the back edge of the eyepiece. As a rule of thumb to remember, the longer that the scopes measure to be, the greater the magnification will be, but it will also be heavier. Depending on your preference, the magnification will vary if you like lightweight scopes versus heavier scopes.

The center tube diameter lets you know the size of the scope’s rings as well as the base of the scope.

Questions to Ask Before You Buy

When browsing for the perfect scope, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself in order to make sure the scope fits your needs.

Does the scope fit your budget? Typically, the pricier a scope, the more features it has and the better it performs. Cheaper scopes come with more standard and basic features and don’t have as many advanced settings such as higher magnification or illuminated sights.

What is your purpose for buying a scope? Believe it or not, this matters very much for it can affect how you perform whether you’re just a hobbyist archer or a serious hunter. If you spend most of your time at a shooting range, then perhaps a red dot sight scope or reticle scope would be most ideal. If you like to hunt game, then a red dot or a laser scope could serve you well. Laser scopes are especially great for moving targets as mentioned before.

Is it easy to sight in with the scope? If you’re familiar with sighting in, you’d know how irritating it is if you have a scope that takes dozens of tries to adequately sight in on your target. You won’t have this issue if you get a quality scope.

Is the scope waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof? These qualities are important if you’re shooting in different weather situations, as they will aid you in getting a more accurate shot and prevent any inconveniences.

Is the scope made of durable material? Depending on what the scope you choose is made of, it could last from a couple months to up to 10 years. Most scopes are made of aluminum alloy while others are made of a less durable material.

Those who own crossbows all have different priorities as to how they use it and what they use it for. Some like red dot sight scopes, others may prefer the traditional cross sight or laser sight, and some like more lightweight scopes compared to heavier scopes. If the scope you ultimately pick can provide you with easy visualization of your target, magnify for a better view of your prey, give you quick and humane kills when hunting, and offer features that serve all of your specific needs.

Click here to see the full selection of crossbow scopes.

Best Reflex Sights of 2020

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

 

 

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.

 

Reviews of the Best Thermal Imaging Rifle Scopes for 2020

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.

Best Action Cameras of 2020

Action cameras are some of the most popular on-the-go video and photo taking devices on the market. Their video and photo taking capabilities are matched by some of the higher-end DSLR and SLR cameras. We use them to document our lives (no matter how crazy they are) at the moment. That’s why it’s not uncommon to see them mounted on shoulders, helmets, vehicles, aircraft, and even pets.

GoPro is definitely the first name that comes to mind when it comes to action cameras. Sure, GoPro certainly makes some high-quality cameras that are raved about. However, some of their cameras have limitations as to where you should take them and what conditions you should put them under. If you’re on a budget, a couple hundred dollar GoPro may not be in your best interest. That is why we’ve compiled a list of action cameras according to budget and occupation.

Furthermore, we’ll discuss how to compare one action camera vs. another and what you should look out for.

The HERO 6 is the newest toy in GoPro’s expanding product base. Soon to follow is the GoPro Fusion, but for now, the HERO 6 tops the market as the best action camera in the world. Customers might be a little hesitant based on price and how new it is, but trust us, you’d think you were a filmmaker with this little camera.

Aesthetically, it’s not all too dissimilar from the HERO 5. The one button on top of the camera and touchscreen on the back both make a reappearance. The actual lens placement on the front of the camera is a little different to allow for a new type of camera.

This camera is by far the most advanced in the world. Regardless of the fact that the HERO 6 hasn’t been out for so long, 4k at 60FPS quality is about as close as you can get to something like Blu-Ray quality. As soon as you’ve recorded your videos, they are also uploaded to the GoPro app for improved editing.

You won’t have to worry about jarring or shakiness because the HERO 6 features even better stabilization technology than the HERO 5 (which already made a statement on its own). It’s also waterproof without a casing up to 10m (best not to try and test that limit).

It’s hard to make a case for why the HERO 6 shouldn’t be the best action camera in the world.

 

Best Action Cameras under $100

FITFORT Action Camera

The Fitfort is a simple looking action camera that is loaded with impressive specs. It’s natural for people to be wary of brands that don’t say “GoPro” on the front but the Fitfort really handles the competition with a wide range of capabilities. The biggest spec is its 4k/25FPS setting—the highest setting for the video component. This is basically saying HD without specifically saying HD.

For less than a hundred dollars, the FitFort is waterproof above ten meters (thirty-three feet), and users have taken it with them biking, bungee jumping, and snowboarding among other activities. If you’re attaching the Fitfort to an area that you can’t easily reach, not to worry. The camera comes with a wireless controller that will fit around your wrist for easy access.

 

The Crosstour is a bulkier camera but still offers many of the same specs that the Fitfort does all for an insanely low price. We know what you’re thinking—cheap doesn’t always mean good quality but the Crosstour is here to dispel that rumor. 12MP and 1080P quality video (not 4k but still awesome) will still get you prime shots no matter the conditions you put it in. That being said, don’t treat the Crosstour like it’s indestructible. Like the Fitfort, it operates best underwater above 

The Crosstour has nearly triple the operating floor of the Fitfort underwater at thirty meters (ninety-eight feet). This will definitely appeal to swimmers or divers looking to take a camera to deeper spots than just beyond the shore.

 

We might as well call this camera the “McCool” because that’s what it is. With 4k at 30fps and 16mp, the Explorer-Pro is one of the fastest shooting action cameras at the highest quality for an affordable price. Using both rechargeable batteries will give you at maximum, a little over three hours of recording time—perfect for outdoor excursions.

The Explorer Pro comes with two additional shooting features—slow-motion and time-lapse. These features basically give you control over normal and slow to extremely slow speeds. If you consider yourself at the crossroads between hobbies and artistry, then the Explorer Pro is the right balance for you.

 

DBPOWER N6

You may recognize the name DBPOWER by the drones they manufacture. They manufacture the N6 action camera with the same precision and quality that they do their drones. A simplistic camera with 4k video and 170-degree camera angle (almost completely horizontal) makes sure that your shots are of the utmost quality.

Some designs you might find handy is the inclusion of a touchscreen on the back of the camera. Like many cameras, the N6 can be controlled via a smartphone app. The CamKing app also gives you the ability to do some slight photo and video editing with the camera’s onboard software. This is perfect for getting repeated shots in a particular area without having to go home to a laptop or desktop to do dedicated editing.

 

AKASO EK7000

The Akaso EK7000 could also fit under the best waterproof cameras section, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to put it in our budget section.  The EK7000 is a more dedicated camera for the extreme athlete or hobbyist. It combines a lot of the specs that make previous cameras great—4k video, 25FPS, and 12mp, all of which point to high-quality shots. A remote control attachable to your wrist will enable you to control the camera without much difficulty.

The operating floor of the EK7000 is around 100 feet below the surface of the water. It’s hard to find a better camera better equipped for nature than the EK7000 and for a low price.

 

Best Action Cameras under $200

 

SJCAM SJ5000X Elite

The SJ5000X may look like your average GoPro, but the reality is it’s anything but. It’s’ built to handle most grueling of journeys but still return some of the best images and videos possible. On the inside, it’s equipped with a number of programs and components to keep its shutter steady. In extreme environments, you can expect your camera to be tossed around almost as much as you are. The SJ5000X makes sure to compensate for these conditions while still maintaining a high standard in light filtering and coloration.

This camera also comes equipped with a slow motion feature (240FPS), enabling you to capture precise movements and details as they occur.

 

Best Waterproof Action Cameras

HLS Action Camera

The HLS action camera is a masterpiece of durable, waterproof technology. The highest possible setting on the HLS is a 4k/30 FPS, one of if not the best in the action camera market. Like the rest of the cameras in the waterproof section, it’s perfectly capable operating above and below the water line.

In regards to operating underwater, the HLS has an operating floor of a hundred feet, which is about the lowest floor of any camera on this list. To take full advantage of this feature, diving will probably be preferable to snorkeling.

 

Best Action Cameras for Hunting

Spypoint Xcel

During a hunt, it’s key to have a reliable action camera that can capture sights and sounds of game with precision. The Spypoint Xcel has a 4k quality option and every spec below that with the corresponding megapixel setting. You’ll also enjoy the fact that it’s camouflaged for forest terrain. It’s possible game might be scared away or confused by any other color of action camera.

The Xcel also has a burst mode feature—able to take three photos in only one and a half seconds. If you’re looking to track the position of game over time, this feature will definitely come in handy.

 

Olympus TG-Tracker

The TG-Tracker is a more dedicated action camera for hunting as opposed to ones that are applicable for hunting. It shoots at 4k quality which is what most people are going to be looking for. Its design is a little wonky in that its front facing with the LCD screen located on the side. This means you probably won’t be holding it when its recording. Instead it would probably work best strapped to some part of your body or tree.

This camera, besides its video and camera capabilities, has five senors—GPS, compass, accelerometer, thermometer, and a barometer. It would appear that camera is more of a multi-tool than just a camera, which is extremely beneficial to the dedicated hunter.

 

Best Action Cameras for Sports

GoPro HERO5

Not to be mistaken with the HERO5 Session. The simply put “HERO5” is the crown jewel of current GoPro technology. This camera truly has the most astounding specs about it. The price is still looming but if you’re looking to capture important moments on vacation or holiday, the HERO5 is the best camera for the job.

Like the Session, the HERO5 is a simple, one button camera. This button turns on the camera and you can basically control the recording from there with your voice. The back screen is also touch sensitive, giving you the ability to alter the quality and do some slight editing.

 

GoPro HERO5 Session

The HERO5 Session is another odd looking action camera. Don’t mistake this feature for the inability to do its job well. The camera itself is relatively easy to operate compared to the more rectangular action cameras. Aside from being waterproof, the Session fits snug onto everything from surfboards to helmets.

The Session is one of GoPro’s most advanced cameras. It can be voice controlled, enabling you to record without having to reach around to press a button.  Its 4k video at 30FPS is the fastest and highest quality on the market. The price is going to be a concern for most people, but GoPro really knocks it out of the park with the Session. This camera is built to handle the elements and give you some of the recordings of images and videos.

 

YI 4K Sports and Action Video Camera

The YI is definitely an advanced piece of equipment, employing a number of technologies to produce high-quality shots. The YI’s lens covers 160 degrees, slightly lower than the average degree angle but the difference isn’t too noticeable. Basically, the YI’s specs are designed to compensate for the worst of conditions.

Some cameras (and even phones) will get blazing hot when you set them on the highest quality. The YI compensates for this factor with an advanced cooler that will keep the camera and its valuable electronics from overheating, even on a hot day. The touchscreen will also give you editing capabilities

 

Best Action Cameras for Helmets

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30

The VIRB tops our list in this category for a number of reasons, not the least of which because of its all-around specs and capabilities. While not a dedicated helmet camera, it’s the best kind for the job of off-roading or helmeted sports. It shoots at 30FPS, the highest setting for 4k quality. You’ll be getting more than just above average quality.

The VIRB is almost on point with the hunting camera, the TG-Tracker, in that it has a number of sensors built into supplement your journey. If you plan on staying away from home or taking an extended trip, the VIRB can help you adjust to your surroundings and even keep track of your heart rate.

 

GoPro HD Helmet Hero

The Helmet Hero is an older model of GoPro but don’t let that fool you as to its capabilities. It doesn’t have the 4k quality option that a general action camera does by 1080p setting is still up there in terms of quality. The advantage with this is at 1080p, you get a whopping four hours of recording time!

This camera comes with a couple of mounts so you can mount it on everything from motorbike helmets to sports helmets. A multitude of shooting modes will give you an equally diverse way of looking at your footage.

 

Kodak PIXPRO SP1

The PIXPRO is a cute little camera similar in design to the TG-Tracker. It’s probably the simplest action camera you can get and pretty small at that. It won’t have the quality that bigger and more advanced action cameras do but it makes up for these in its versatility. It’s waterproof up to thirty feet and has stabilization software to avoid blurry shots.
Its shape is ideal for fitting on helmets or even the sides of helmets.

Comparing Cameras

With technology being updated almost every day, you can expect to see prices drop as higher quality optics becomes more affordable. Still, there is a multitude of action cameras out there, and it’s pretty overwhelming. As you’re looking through this guide, you’re probably wondering, how do I choose between two really good cameras?

If the categories didn’t already narrow down your decision, we’ve provided some pointers and tips to help guide your search.

Sports, Environments, and Conditions

One of the biggest factors you’ll have to consider when purchasing an action camera is where are you going to take it and how are you going to use it. Some examples of activities outdoorsmen and women have taken action cameras on are the following—

  • Rafting
  • Hiking/Backpacking
  • Running
  • Snowboarding/Skiing
  • Skydiving
  • Bungee Jumping
  • Helmeted Sports

While these are just some examples of activities, you’ll also have to factor in the weather should it come into play. Rain, wind, and snow are all threats to sensitive optics. Most manufacturers realize that their customers will be going on adventures with their action cameras, so they prepare them as best they can for rugged terrain and harsh weather.

  • This doesn’t mean you should treat your action camera as invincible. Treat it how you would treat a sensitive telescope or camera—with caution and handling.

Quality

Most of the action cameras on our list have the ability to shoot in 4k, 1080p, and 12mp quality. There are some cameras with specs above and below those mentioned, but for the most part, you should be able to get an excellent camera for under $400. However, maybe your budget and desire for camera quality are interlinked, how do you reconcile the two?

If you consider yourself a hobbyist and adventure above all, maybe you’re not too keen on purchasing the camera with the highest possible specs on the action camera market. If you’re contempt with the shots you get the first time, then you can probably push your search towards the $100 range and below.  If specs are your primary ambition, then the higher priced cameras are going to be your best bet. You may even get a few more shooting methods and editing styles for paying a little more.

  • Keep in mind which action cameras say they are waterproof. They may be common, but you don’t want to purchase one that isn’t just because it has fancy specs!

 

What does it mean when a camera says it has “built-in WiFi”? 

  • Most, if not all cameras require a WiFi connection to operate. Out in the wilderness or under the water, the internet doesn’t exist, so what does this mean? Well, it’s actually pretty simple. The camera will have a WiFi adapter compared to your smartphone’s emitter. The two will search for each other even outside civilization. Once they’re connected, you’re good to go! Just don’t expect to run much beyond the camera’s specific app.

 

Overall

We guarantee that you’re going to be satisfied with whatever action camera you end up purchasing from this list. While GoPro is still the hottest name on the market, don’t count out the various other manufacturers. Some of them, like the Ppap and the MGcool have some unique qualities about them that will make you do a double take.

It’s important to take care of these optics despite how battle-tested they may be according to other users. The warranty can only cover so much for so long. Carefully and soundly attaching a camera to your body or helmet will extend its lifetime dramatically.

 

 

Best Scopes for a Rimfire (.22lr) Rifle in 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Top Scopes for the .22lr Rifle

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2) Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope, Rimfire MOA Reticle

The Leupold VX-Freedom offers quality optics with multi-coated lenses and 3:1 zoom ratio. Price, versatility, and material quality are favorable aspects of this scope when it is compared to many of the other rimfire scopes on the market.

This rimfire scope notably offers Twilight Light Management System, scratch resistant lenses, and 1/4 MOA click turrets. In addition to the zoom ration, the Leupold has ranges for windage and elevation which allows you to compensate for both wind and bullet drop.

In addition, the classic duplex reticle is highly versatile and minimalist. Overall, this scope comes with a solid set of features for the reasonable cost. Click here to check the current price.

 

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

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

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

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

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

4) Vortex Crossfire 2 Rimfire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6) BSA Sweet 22 Rifle Scope

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

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

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

Selecting the Right Scope for Your .22lr Rifle

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

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

The Best Red Dot Sights of 2020

Anyone who uses a gun for target practice or hunting will agree that having a sight is essential for being able to accurately hit a target. Traditional iron sights can be used to achieve this desired accuracy; however, red dot sights provide a faster way to aim and shoot without missing. While these sights were typically used by the military, they are now often employed for recreational means, including hunting and paintball. Red dot sights are popular to use for aiming at moving targets, especially since this type of sight allows you to line up the target and take a shot at a quick rate of speed. Let’s take a look at some of the best red dot sights on the market, and then we will cover key features to look for and evaluate when purchasing a red dot sight.

What is a Red Dot Sight?

If you are unsure of what a red dot sight is or how it differs from other types of sights, here are some additional details to go over before exploring the following options: Any non-magnified, illuminated sight that can be equipped to a shotgun, a rifle, or a handgun is considered a red dot sight. The reticle or “red dot” is created by an LED or a laser diode light that is reflected or projected into the field of view. This “red dot” is aimed directly in your line of sight to become the aiming mechanism that lines up the gun with the targets to make the perfect shot.

The Best Red Dot Sights on the Market

1. Vortex SPARC 2 Red Dot Sight (Our top pick)

The Vortex SPARC 2 is a well built, extremely sturdy sight that provides great features at a really reasonable price. An upgrade to Vortex’s original SPARC, the light weight sight is built to impress, and many reviewers have not had problems with it standing up to the tests of time at all. The battery life of this sight at minimum brightness can last up to an incredible 5,000 hours. A six hour auto shut down feature is also present to help preserve battery life. A simple button press makes it easy to adapt the color, shape, and illumination of the reticle. This sight also features a fully multi-coated lens as well as waterproof optics to keep moisture, dust, and debris away from the lens. It is also parallax free, which allows for more rapid shooting while you have both eyes open. Click here to see the current price.

2. Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic

The Aimpoint PRO is a great sight that has new, never-before-seen features incorporated into its’ design that maximizes the performance and battery life of the device. The sight can be turned on and left on for at least three years before a new battery will be required. The service date and battery change reminders are perfect for tracking and making sure that you never let your batteries die while you are out on a hunt. The front lens of this sight also features a band-pass coating, which enables compatibility with most types of night vision devices. Both the front and the rear lens are set back from the edge to cushion the sight from impact devastation and safeguard it from scratches and fingerprints. The Aimpoint PRO also has a mount with a removable spacer as well as a torque limiting twist knob that optimizes the pressure places on the rail. Click here to see the current price.

3. Sightmark Ultra Shot Pro Spec Sight NV QD 

The Sightmark Ultra Shot Pro Spec Sight NV QD is ideal for someone looking to purchase a high quality, cost-effective sight. The double pane lens helps to eliminate parallax, which is a very helpful and common feature among red dot scopes, and the sight has four different reticle patterns to allow for maximal customization. You will also have the unique ability to mount the sight in front of a night vision monocular to create a co-witnessed sight setup. Furthermore, if you are in pursuit of a fast target, this sight is equipped with a quick detachable rail mounting system and an internal interlocking system that holds zero extremely well; therefore, you won’t have to worry about frequently readjusting this sight in the field. Finally, you can be sure that this scope will hold up in multiple types of environments and situations due to its durable aluminum frame and metal shield. Click to see the current price.

4. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Rifle Sight

The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 is a great, durable, lightweight sight that does not lack in quality. The multi-coated lens has an amber bright, high contrast coating that is designed to help you quickly distinguish where your target is in any lighting. The parallax free design adjusts to your eyes, which allow rapid shooting with both eyes open. The sight has the ability to adjust the size and the illumination of the reticle to three different levels and preserve the battery life. An additional feature that is useful for shooting excursions in the great outdoors is the waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof construction. Click here to check the current price.

5. Burris FastFire III with Picatinny Mount

The Burris FastFire III is a very versatile sight that was built to stand up to rugged outdoor life for long periods of time. Windage and elevation adjustment upgrades are available with this sight. This Picatinny mounted sight has a 3 MOA dot reticle that can be adjusted to three brightness settings, and it also sports an automatic brightness setting that adjusts to the current lighting conditions. Battery access is conveniently located on the top so the sight so that it does not need to be removed when the battery needs replacing, and the low battery indicator will help you best prepare to have a fully powered sight for your next adventure. This Burris FastFire III also comes with waterproof and shockproof features.

Choosing the right sight is imperative for any hunter or marksman. Whether you are shooting for the fun of the sport or for the competition of it, it is best to find a sight that you are comfortable using. The key is to be able to make an accurate shot without spending a long time lining up the shot, especially if you are aiming at a moving target. Red dot sights are a great option for accomplishing that, but make sure you are aware of the important features to consider when purchasing one. Remember, expense does not always equal quality. The five sights listed are all excellent choices, but continue reading the content below before deciding which red dot sight is best for you. Click here to see the current price.

Benefits of a Red Dot Sight

• Faster Targeting Capabilities

Once a target is acquired, it is easy to quickly center the reticle on the target and fire the gun. There is no need to align the sights and take time to aim. This type of sight gives a much greater accuracy rate when taking aim at a moving target.

• Greater Field of View

Red dot sights have a wider field of view than most tube style sights. Having a wider field of view allows for a shot from a greater distance, but the sight is still not magnified so being reasonably close is still recommended.

• Unrestricted Eye Relief

For most sights, it matters how far away the shooter’s eye is from the sight, but with a red sight, the eye relief is unlimited. This feature allows for faster targeting, because it takes away part of the restraint placed upon someone who is aiming with another type of sight.

• Works Well with Low Light

Red dot sights are easy to aim in the dark of night. The cross hairs of most sights become invisible in the dark, but the red dot is even visible in the darkest environments.

Features to Consider when Purchasing a Red Dot Sight

• Housing Configuration

A red dot sight can come in either a tube style or an open style. The tube style is closer to a traditional sight in appearance. This type of housing allows the shooter to apply filters and protective covers to the lens, which could make the “red dot” easier to see in bright sunlight. Open sights do not have the classic tube style. These types of sights consist of only the bare basics, and objective window to see through and a source of illumination. Since an open housing configuration has less room for flair, filters cannot be used to enhance the viewing experience.

• Type of Projection

Red dot sights include both holographic and reflex sights. With a holographic projection, the sight is illuminated from the front of the lens and a laser diode light is projected onto the viewing window to create a holographic red dot to assist with aiming at a target. Reflex sight projections are much more common in red dot sights that are used for recreation. A reflex sight reflects an LED light that is positioned behind the lens into your line of sight.

• Style of the Reticle

The reticle is effectively the “red dot” that is used to bring the gun in line with the target. All Reticles are designed to be illuminated to make it easier to shoot in low lighting conditions, but they are not required to be red or to be a simple dot. The color and patterns of red dot sights vary, so it is best to find one that allows comfortable shooting. Styles range from a single dot, to cross hairs, or even bullseye patterns that can be displayed in a red or green color. A good sight will be able to utilize multiple patterns and adjust to the desired color. The size of the reticle can also often be adjusted. A bigger dot typically means that targeting is faster. Make sure to avoid fancy styles; it is important to naturally align your eye to the center of the reticle for faster target finding.

• Battery Life of the Sight

The battery life of any red dot sight is extremely important. You need to know that the reticle will be there when it is needed, and a sight that has a short battery life presents the chance of the light going out when you are getting ready to aim for a target. Without the reticle, targeting becomes more complicated and accuracy can suffer. Reflex sights that use LED’s to create the “red dot” consume much less energy than holographic options. A good sight should be able to get roughly a thousand hours of usage before the battery life diminishes. Make sure to preserve battery life whenever possible by turning the sight off when it is not being used. Shooing in cold weather can also be a factor of how long the battery life will last, so make sure to always carry a backup just in case.

Tips for Choosing a Red Dot Sight

• Higher Price does not mean Better Quality

Spending a lot on a sight is not always going to guarantee that the quality is better than the cheaper models. Sometimes advertising will suck you into a more expensive red dot sight that is missing key features, like being able to change the shape or color of the reticle to something that allows your eyes to focus at a faster rate.

• Compatible with Gun

Not all sights are able to be mounted to just any gun. Sights are designed to go with certain types of guns, and they will only fit properly on those styles. Make sure the sight that you are looking to purchase is compatible with the gun you own or are looking to own.

• A Comfortable Size and Weight

Make sure the sight is an appropriate size for your gun and the area where it will be stored. The weight of the red dot sight will affect the overall weight of the gun. Make sure that the gun can still be handled effectively with the sight attached to make assure that the accuracy of your aim is not diminished.

• Mounting the Sight

Mounting the sight to the gun is an extremely important step. If the sight is slightly off, then your whole aim will be off as well. Take your time when mounting and adjusting the sight to assure that it is straight. Your precision when mounting the sight will help you nail the target every time.

Overall, there are multiple features to take into consideration when making your red dot sight purchase. A sight equipped with all of the right features fit for you will take your recreational hunting or target shooting to the next level.

The Best Spotting Scopes for 2020

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

The #1 Spotting Scope On the Market Today

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

The Upland Optics Perception HD is our #1 pick.

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

Shop now for the Perception HD Spotting Scope.

Typical Spotting Scope Uses

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

Features to Consider When Buying a Scope

Body Style

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

Objective Lens

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

Magnification

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

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

Lens Coating

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

Eye Relief

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

Prism Type

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

Eyepieces

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

Close Focus

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

Waterproofing and Fogproofing

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

Tripods

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

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

Camera Adapters

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

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

Best Spotting Scopes for Hunting

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

Swarovski 80 mm STS HD Straight Spotting Scope

 

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

Vortex Razor HD 20-60×85 Angled Spotting Scope

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

Upland Optics Perception HD 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope

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

 

Best Spotting Scopes for Target Shooting

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

• Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 20-60x80mm

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

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

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

Best Spotting Scopes for Birding

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

Kowa TSN 883 Angled 88mm Prominar Spotting Scope

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

Leica Televid APO 82mm Angled Spotting Scope

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

Best Compact Spotting Scopes

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

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

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

Best Spotting Scope for the Money

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

Vortex Razor HD 16-48×65 Angled Spotting Scope

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

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

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

Best Spotting Scopes under $200

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

Redfield Rampage 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope

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

Barska 30-90×90 Colorado Spotting Scope

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

Best Spotting Scopes under $500

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

Vortex Diamondback 20-60×80 Straight Spotting Scope

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

Vanguard Endeavor HD 15-45×65 Angled Spotting Scope

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

Best Spotting Scopes under $1000

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

Vortex Viper HD 20-60×80 Angled Spotting Scope

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

Pentax PF ED II 65mm ST Spotting Scope

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

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

Reviews of the Best Binoculars of 2020

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

My #1 Recommendation

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

 

 

 

What to Look For in a Pair of Binoculars

Specifications

Magnification and Objective Lens Diameter

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

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

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

Field of View

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

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

reviews of binoculars

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

Actual and Apparent Field of View

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

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

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

Eye Relief

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

Exit Pupil Diameter

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

Additional Binocular Features

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

Compact Size

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

Weatherproof Binoculars

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

Lens Coating

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

Basic Uses and Recommendations

General

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

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

Bird Watching and Hunting

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

Golfing

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

Stargazing

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

Best Binoculars for Hunting

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

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

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

Upland Optics Venator

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

Nikon Monarch Binoculars

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

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD

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

Vortex Diamondback

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

 

Best Binoculars for Birding

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

Athlon Cronus 10×42

If your main priority is high quality glass and you don’t want to spend a fortune, the Cronus might be the perfect fit for you. High quality glass and ESP Dielectric coating give these binoculars excellent clarity and light transmission, making them perfect for bird watchers who want to see every detail.

Zeiss Victory Best Birding Binoculars

Zeiss Victory TFL 8X32

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

Nikon Monarch 7

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

Leica Trinovid

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

Best Compact Binoculars

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

Swarovski CL Pocket 8X25 Binoculars

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

Vanguard Orros 10X25 Binoculars

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

Pentax 9X28 DCF LV Binoculars

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

Best Astronomy and Stargazing Binoculars

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

Celestron Echelon 20X70 Binoculars

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

Celestron 15X70 SkyMaster Binoculars

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

Best Binoculars for Safaris

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

Celestron Granite 9X33 Binoculars

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

Swarovski EL W B Traveler 8X32

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

Best Binoculars for Kids

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

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

Bresser 6×21 Junior Compact Binoculars

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

Opticron Discovery WP PC 8×32 Binoculars

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

Best Binoculars with Built in Camera

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

Vivitar 10×25 DigiCam Binoculars

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

Eoncore 2″ LCD Display Digital Camera Binoculars 12×32 

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

 

Best Rangefinder Binoculars

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

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

Leica Geovid HD-B Binocular

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

Zeiss Victory RF Binocular

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

The Best Binoculars for the Money

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

Swarovski CL Pocket 8X25 Binoculars

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

Upland Optics Perception HD 10×42 Binoculars

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

Celestron Nature DX 8X42 Binoculars

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

Best Binoculars for Under $100

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

Nikon 8245 Aculon Binoculars

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

Celestron 20X80 Skymaster Binoculars

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

Best Binoculars for Under $200

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

Vanguard 10X42 Spirit XF Binoculars

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

Hawk Nature-Trek 8X42 Binoculars

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

The Best Binoculars on the Market

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

Upland Optics Perception HD 10×42 Binoculars

See description in the Best Value section.

Zeiss 10X42 Victory HT Binocular

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

The Best Binocular Brands

Bushnell

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

Zeiss

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

Nikon

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

Steiner

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

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

Conclusion

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

The Best Pistol Scopes on the Market in 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Top Pistol Scopes in Different Price Ranges

NcSTAR 2 – 7×32 mm AO Pistol Scope

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Reason for Pistol Scope Use

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