August 23, 2019
By Steve Gash
Optics for shooters have changed considerably in the last few years. In the past, we were happy if we had a fixed 4X on our .30-06 rifle, and if we were really upscale, a nice 3-9X variable on a short magnum rifle was the norm. No more. These days, scopes cost and weigh about as much as the rifle they’ll be mounted on, have sophisticated reticles, send and receive messages from smartphones, and communicate with computers via satellite. My how times have changed.
Here are some of the coolest new offerings introduced at this year’s SHOT Show.
Aimpoint’s new compact 1X ACRO P-1 pistol sight was built to endure environmental and temperature extremes and has been tested to withstand the firing of more than 20,000 rounds of .40 S&W ammunition. Designed with an enclosed optical channel that completely protects the signal between the emitter and the lens along with sealed electronic components, the sight is submersible to 25 meters. Rain, dust, mud, and sand cannot disrupt the sight.
The 1.9x1.2x1.2-inch sight mounts directly to the optics-ready slide cut on modern pistols, utilizing a one-piece adapter plate. The ACRO P-1 features a 3.5-MOA red-dot reticle, digital intensity adjustment switches, and an aluminum housing. Power is provided by a single CR1225 3V lithium battery. Weight is 2.1 ounces. While the ACRO P-1 was developed for use on handguns, it also can be used on rifles, carbines, and shotguns.
The folks at ATN cover all the bases with day, night, and thermal vision “smart” optics. They meld the technology of smartphones, digital cameras, and electro-optics, including riflescopes, binoculars, and spotting scopes. The X-Sight III is available in 3-14X or 5-20X versions and is the first digital scope to offer clear, full-color images. Its features include recording HD video, Wi-Fi, E-compass, smart rangefinder, Blue Tooth, 3D gyroscope, and more. The 3-14X model weighs 2.15 pounds and is priced about the same as a “regular” scope.
MSRP: $599 (3-14X), $699 (5-20X)
Our friends at Brownells enter the optics market with the new Match Precision Optic (MPO) line. Designed with tactical and PRS shooters in mind, this 5-25X 56mm scope has a unique non-obscuring illuminated reticle and high-grade Japanese lenses. A 3-18X 50mm version is also available.
Burris’s new Veracity 2-10X 42mm and 3-15X 50mm riflescopes have interchangeable MAD trajectory knobs that allow shooters to quickly dial in the yardage. They also have rear focal plane Ballistic Plex II reticles. And the premium lens coatings offer great light transmission and true-color images.
MSRP: $719 (2-10X 42mm), $875 (3.5-15X 50mm)
Bushnell’s new Prime 10X25 binocular is a high-powered, lightweight, and compact package. It has the EXO Barrier, Bushnell’s best lens coating, and waterproof construction.
As we reported earlier this year, Crimson Trace is now in the riflescope and red-dot optic business. The company now offers electronic battle sights, reflex sights, and a line of tactical riflescopes. One of the new scopes is the CTA-2104 2-Series 1-4X 24mm FFP (first focal plane) scope.
The CTA-2104 2-Series 1-4X 24mm FFP is 9.0 inches long and weighs 17.8 ounces. It’s offered with an illuminated SR4-MOA reticle that is powered by one CR2032 battery. The scope has 11 brightness settings, zero-stop turrets, and 3.7 inches of eye relief. It’s waterproof, shockproof, vibration-proof, fog-proof, recoil-proof, and nitrogen-purged.
The Genesis Hybrid from Full Moon Optics demonstrates the evolution of high-tech into shooting optics. This unit is a long-range Thermal Core riflescope that combines a high-resolution 1,024x678 OLED display, a thermal sensor, a 700-meter laser rangefinder, video recording, and a host of other features into one unit. It is user-controlled via a programable button, and the magnification ranges are 2.5-10X, 3.5-14X, and 5-20X. Five types of reticles, 10 color palettes with polarity-image inversion, super contrast, and image detail enhancement are available. You can even zero it on up to seven different target distances.
MSRP: $4,799.95 to 6,595.99
German Precision Optics (GPO)
German Precision Optics (GPO) has expanded its Passion scope line with the addition of a 6-18X 50mm scope. It has a 30mm tube, a double HD objective lens, and standard 0.25-MOA target turrets, but custom turrets are also available. The lenses have proprietary “GPObright” and “PASSIONdrop” hydrophobic coatings.
MSRP: $600 to $1,000
Unquestionably the “cutest” new scope is the Gru-Bee Mini Riflescope. If you remember the small Redfield 4X scope with a 0.75-inch tube, you know exactly what this new scope looks like. It is a perfect match for a fine .22 rimfire rifle, and Gru-Bee has 0.75-inch rings for grooved receivers. Made with a one-piece tube, it weighs a mere 5.83 ounces, has 0.25-MOA click adjustments, 50-yard parallax adjustment, 4.0 to 4.5 inches of eye relief, and a high-gloss black finish. The Gru-Bee Mini Riflescope offers a choice of five different reticles.
The new Frontier from Hawke Sport Optics is a 3-15X 50mm riflescope on a 30mm tube. It has new exposed tactical turrets that are resettable and lockable and have zero stops. Adjustments can be in 0.1 MRAD, 0.5 MOA, or 0.25 MOA. The lens coatings are index-matched, and lenses are multi-coated for true color rendition. Several caliber-specific reticles are available in first or second focal plane versions.
This European company’s top-drawer scopes are being used by many PRS, F-class, and other long-range shooters. The new K1050 10-50X 56mm scope has a 30mm tube, a glass-etched illuminated reticle, a right-side parallax dial that adjusts from 8 meters to infinity, and a generous 4.0 inches of eye relief. It weighs 31.4 ounces.
The CRF 2800.COM from Leica is the first dedicated rangefinder with an integrated ballistic calculator that coordinates with a smartphone and a Kestrel wind meter. It will make range measurements up to 2,800 yards (1.59 miles) and uses the new Leica Hunting app programmed via Bluetooth in your smartphone. It has three ballistic outputs in addition to the distance: equivalent horizontal range (EHR), holdover value, and MOA or MIL corrections to dial in the scope. The LED display automatically adjusts to ambient light and can “fast scan” targets every 0.5 second.
The new RBX-3000 TBR/W 10X42 rangefinding binocular combines excellent optics with a ranging distance of 2,600 to 3,000 yards depending on the type of target. An easy-to-read, high-contrast red LED displays temperature, air pressure, and humidity for input into a ballistic app on your device, and the light management system allows glassing longer in low-light conditions.
Meopta’s new Optika HD binocular comes in 8X42 and 10X42 models. They have Meopta’s proprietary HD optical system of dielectric and phase-correction coatings.
MSRP: $289.95 (8X42), $299.95 (10X42)
The NexOptic DoubleTake is aptly named because at first glance that’s what you do. Instead of looking through a pair of eyepieces, you view a 5.0-inch digital HD LCD display. Actually, it is more of a digital camera than a binocular, and it is incredibly easy to use. It can share photos with a mobile device and record 4K video. There are two levels of optical zoom: 2.5X and 10X; the latter is the equivalent focal length of over 500mm and has image stabilization for viewing at 10X. A lithium-ion battery powers the shockproof and waterproof unit.
MSRP: Not available at press time
Nightforce now has a second focal plane version of the company’s well-received ATACR 7-35X 56mm riflescope. The scope features ED glass, indestructible construction, a 34mm tube with 100 MOA/29 MRAD of elevation adjustment and 60 MOA/17 MRAD of windage adjustment, and either MOAR-T or MIL-C reticle with DigIllum illumination and ZeroStop elevation technology. It’s 16 inches long and weighs 39.3 ounces.
Nikon’s 661 Monarch 2000 Rangefinder uses an advanced laser technology for improved accuracy out to 2,000 yards with 0.5-yard precision displayed in 0.1-yard increments. It features an inclinometer, making it suitable for either bowhunting or long-range shooting.
The five versions of the new Trail LRF Thermal HD50 Riflescope from Pulsar have 30mm tubes and incorporate a laser rangefinder with a detection range of 800 to 2,000 yards. They have a high-resolution, full-color HD display with a heat-signature detection range of 2,500 yards. Fifteen reticles with four color choices are featured. The video and audio recording function has 16GB of storage, and it is compatible with the Stream Video app that allows the user to direct live video through the integrated Wi-Fi. This is a very sophisticated, modern system.
The Riton Optics RT-S Mod 7 4-32X 56mm IR and RT-S Mod 5 6-24X 50mm IR are traditional riflescopes designed for long-range shooting. They have illuminated first focal plane reticles with six levels of brightness and Tactical Zero Turret Stops.
One of the more unusual sights at the SHOT Show was the Sensight. It looks like a space-age ray gun but is actually a fully digital riflescope. Before you go hunting, enter the ballistic data for your load. In the field, it shows the reticle over the target. Just line up the reticle and shoot. It’s like using a digital camera because there are two camera sensors facing forward. One is for daylight, and the other is for low-light or night vision, and it will work with extra infrared illumination. The cameras use the Android OS, and you can use the controls on the unit or a remote control attached to the riflestock. The Sensight app will connect to an iOS or Android phone to control the unit. And you can record your shots on the internal 32GB memory. It will be available “soon.”
MSRP: Not available at press time
SIG Sauer’s Electro-Optics division has a new 1X 38mm ROMEO8H red-dot sight. The ROMEO8H is designed for rapid target acquisition in all conditions and environments. The rugged aluminum housing and 38mm rectangular viewing window allows a large field of view. It has a quad ballistic circle-dot reticle with ballistic holds and 70 MOA of windage and elevation adjustment. The reticle has 10 daytime and two night-vision settings. Weight is 10.3 ounces. Power is provided by one CR123 battery. It is waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes.
While monster scopes with built-in electronic gadgets are all the rage, millions of shooters still happily plink away with the good ol’ .22 Long Rifle. For us, Simmons has the ProTarget Rimfire scopes. Fixed 4X 32mm, 2-7X 32mm, and 3-9X 40mm versions are available at prices any teenager can afford. They have fully coated lenses that provide a bright, clear view and interchangeable ballistic elevation turrets matched to today’s rimfire loads. Adjustments are 0.25 MOA. Weaver-style rings are included.
MSRP: $59.95 to $89.95
The Steiner M-Series IFS scope incorporates the Intelligent Firing Solution (IFS) that shows real-time targeting data on a customized heads-up display. Sensors in the scope gather environmental information and show it on the display. These data include cant, wind speed and direction, range, and the scope’s windage and elevation turret settings. The onboard ballistic calculator instantly displays the exact ballistics settings for the shot—the firing solution—in real time. The shooter can also enter wind speed and direction to determine the shooting solution. The IFS scope is a 4-28X 56mm that has 3.54 inches of eye relief and 0.1 MRAD click adjustments. Four reticles are offered.
MSRP: $5,749.99 to $6,439.99
The Hawk is a clever little add-on device that turns any spotting scope into a “smart scope” in minutes. Just place it over the scope’s eyepiece and tighten the clamp screw, open the Target Vision app on a smartphone or tablet, and you’re ready to go.
Two new AccuPower scopes have red LED reticles and battery-free illumination with fiber optics and tritium aiming point illumination. The 4-16X 50mm has a 30mm tube and a Duplex reticle and is meant for the long-range hunter. The 1-8X 28mm has a 34mm tube, and the MOA segmented-circle reticle. The scope can actually perform the functions of three different sights. At 1X, it is as fast as a red dot. On 3X or 4X, it works like an ACOG. And at 8X, it acts like a precision scope and no critter is safe at long ranges.
MSRP: $1,399 to $1,699
Available through Leapers Inc. and built on UTG’s True Strength platform, the new 1-inch-tube BugBuster 3-12X 32mm riflescope is completely sealed and nitrogen-filled. It’s shockproof, fog-proof, and rainproof. The target turrets are resettable and lockable with 0.33-MOA click adjustments. Other features include a mil-dot, range-estimating reticle and a side parallax adjustment wheel (from 3 yards to infinity). It comes with a sunshade, a flip-open lens cap, a cleaning cloth, and medium-height dovetail rings.
The 10X42 Fury rangefinding binocular from Vortex makes glassing and ranging fast and efficient. The minimum range is five yards, but its “deer range” is 1,600 yards. It has a scan mode for continuous distance readings, a horizontal mode that shows the angle-compensated distance to the target, and a line of sight distance mode. The control buttons can be used with one hand.
Zeiss has several new offerings for 2019, including the Conquest 3-9X 44mm V4 riflescope. This new scope comes with a 30mm tube and a second focal plane reticle. It has Zeiss premium optical glass with T 6-layer coating. There are 80 MOA of windage and elevation adjustment with 0.25-MOA clicks, capped turrets, and a parallax focus dial. Eye relief is 3.5 inches, and it’s “everything proof.”