What's New in Optics for 2009
September 22, 2010
Fresh from the SHOT Show floor: a look at some new offerings in the world of optics for 2009.
Aimpoint introduced simple accessory filters for enhancing images viewed through their red-dot sights.
Optics have been really hot in the past few years. Shooters are recognizing that quality is the way to go, and manufacturers have hardly held back in bringing new and innovative products to market. To that end, we've seen everything from riflescopes with built-in laser range finders, to binoculars with built-in digital cameras.
That quality shooters are looking for doesn't always have to mean shelling out a lot of bucks. For example, this year Aimpoint introduced simple accessory filters for enhancing images viewed through their red-dot sights. The filters are easily mounted and removed from any of several Aimpoint sights without the need for tools.
The polarized filter helps to reduce reflection and glare. That;s a feature obviously "aimed" at the law enforcement and military markets where a shot through glass might be necessary. But there's also folks like me who have an Aimpoint mounted halfway down the barrel of a hunting rifle who will see the benefit of reduced glare and reflection when hunting in snow.
Hunters will also like Aimpoint's other new filter--it's yellow. One of those little shooting tricks I learned early on is that wearing yellow tinted glasses adds contrast, which makes game pop out against green or dark backgrounds. The effect is most noticeable at dawn and dusk when game is most active, so simply keeping the Aimpoint filter in your shirt pocket during the day and installing it (again without the need for any tool) just at dusk will help you make shots you might not have been able to make without.
This year Bushnell adds two new tactical riflescopes to the Elite 6500 line with features for tactical and military marksmen. Elite 6500 riflescopes offer 6.5x magnification range, making it one of the widest zoom ranges in the industry. The new tactical scopes include a 2.5-16x42mm and a 4.5-30x50mm.
Bushnell added new tactical riflescopes to the Elite 6500 line (l.),and a new DOA (Dead On Accurate) riflescope reticle that provides both hold-over aiming points and trophy estimation of both whitetail and mule deer (c.).
Features include a tactical matte finish that further reduces glare and reflection. Also new are tactical-style turrets for easy finger-tip adjustable windage and elevation controls. These scopes are available with Mil-Dot reticles. The 30mm tube construction delivers plenty of light and provides more adjustment for windage and elevation. Each scope features side parallax and focus adjustment, and the 2.5x models can be adjusted from 10 yards to infinity while the 4.5 x models adjusts from 25 yards to infinity.
Like all Elite riflescopes these offer fully multi-coated optics with RainGuard, ensuring a consistently sharp, clear view even in the worst conditions.
It wasn't all tactical at the Bushnell booth. Bushnell also introduced its new DOA (Dead On Accurate) riflescope reticle that provides both hold-over aiming points and trophy estimation of both whitetail and mule deer. There are two DOA reticles available on a variety of Bushnell riflescopes — the DOA 600 and DOA 250. Both are etched glass reticles that are easy to see in any light condition and are unaffected by recoil.
The DOA 600 is calibrated for centerfire rifles with aim points calibrated at 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 and 600 yards. The DOA 250 is designed for use with slug guns and inline muzzleloaders (with magnum loads) with aiming points at 100, 150, 200 and 250 yards. Trophy hunters will appreciate the new Rack Bracket feature of the DOA reticle. To estimate the antler size of a potential trophy deer, first set the scope at full power. Each aiming point has a Rack Bracket reference line that measures 24 inches (the average distance between the tips of a mule deer's ears) at the indicated yardage. The Rack Bracket hash marks on each crosshair indicate 17 inches or the average width from ear tip to ear tip for whitetail deer.
Leupold has a new flagship line of riflescopes with multiple advanced features and superior optical performance — the all-new VX-3 and VX-3L scopes. The new line lists a new lens system and models with the Light Optimization Profile among the enhancements.
New items from Leupold include a line of Northfork binoculars (l.), all-new VX-3 and VX-3L (c.), and Rogue Porro prism binoculars (r.).
All VX-3/VX-3L riflescopes feature Leupold's Xtended Twilight Lens System. The system uses index matched glass with proprietary lens coatings that rebalance blue and purple wavelengths to provide hunters an even brighter, sharper image in low-light conditions.
Other new features for the VX-3/VX-3L include cryogenically treated, Titanium-Nitride coated, high-strength aluminum adjustment dials and Leupold's most durable dual spring erector system. This combination of features makes the VX-3/VX-3L riflescopes more rugged than ever before.
The VX-3L models feature the Light Optimization Profile — the cut crescent shape made famous by the VX-L and much more.
The new riflescopes are offered in configurations from 1.5-5x20mm, for dangerous game and close range shooting, all the way to 8.5-25x50mm Long Range Target for long range varminting and competition shooting. The riflescopes have one-inch maintubes and 1/4-MOA adjustments for both windage and elevation Selected models also have finer adjustments and/or 30mm maintubes.
Leupold also got interesting with its binoculars. First is the Northfork line that looks like an open bridge roof prism, but without the conventional bridge.
The binoculars' design incorporates a single, slim hinge near the eyecups--similar to an open-bridge style but without a hinge near the objective lenses. This configuration allows for an increased level of comfort and ergonomics since both hands can wrap around the
The Northfork line features 45mm objective lenses and Super High Reflection prism enhancement. Combined with a fully multi-coated lens system and additional anti-reflection coatings on the BAK4 prisms, the binoculars reportedly provide hunters with a sharp, bright image in virtually any light or weather conditions.
Also new for Leupold is a classic look packed with modern performance. Leupold's new Rogue binoculars feature fully multi-coated lenses, giving users a vivid, crisp image. The Porro prism design delivers a rich, three dimensional image that is stereoscopically balanced. And with a locking mechanism conveniently located on the center focus dial, users can be sure the image stay in focus. Rogue is available in 8x42mm and 10x50mm models with either black or Mossy Oak Break-Up armor coatings. Waterproof and nitrogen filled, the binoculars can withstand the harshest weather conditions.
Nightforce showed a 2.5-10 x 32 NXS Compact series to complement its 24mm objective lens line that proves a scope needn't be massive to provide exceptional performance.Nightforce designed it to answer the requests of hunters for a larger objective lens with even more low-light capability, yet in a compact, lightweight, streamlined instrument that does not overwhelm a hunting rifle.
Nightforce showed a 2.5-10 x 32 NXS Compact series to complement its 24mm objective lens line.
Compact NXS scopes were originally created for U.S. Special Forces for use with night vision devices. The new 2.5-10 x 32 has no parallax concerns; a larger exit pupil makes for faster target acquisition--and at just 12 inches in length and 19 ounces, it represents an optimum ratio of size-to-weight performance.
Like crafting a fine watch, building a small riflescope that outperforms many larger, bulkier scopes demands a commitment to tolerances, materials, and innovative optical design.
Nikon had plenty of new optics, not the least of which is a new African riflescope series. Three riflescopes make up the new Monarch African Series from — a one-inch tube 1-4x20mm and two 30mm tube 1.1-4x24mm models. Each scope features Nikon's fully multicoated optics to provide crystal clear viewing and a power range designed to handle fast shots with dangerous game.
Left to right: Nikon African, Coyote, Slug and Monarch.
If shooting a hard-kicking rifle, Nikon's four full inches of eye relief will keep all the pain on the barrel end. The lower power range keeps shooters on target in fast, "both eyes open" situations. The easy, light to handle 20mm and 24mm objectives combine with Nikon's durability to carry the rifle without worry. All of the new African Series scopes utilize the proven German #4 reticle for fast target/reticle acquisition, and for late night predators of the toothy kind and other low-light hunting, an illuminated #4 is available as well.
Paired with Nikon's all new BDC Predator Hunting Reticle the new Coyote Special riflescopes are designed around the needs of predator hunters. The unique, open circle reticle design does not obscure the target, making shots on a moving coyote simple.
Each of the new Nikon Coyote Special riflescopes also includes ARD (Anti Reflective Device) technology that eliminates game-spooking objective lens glare, and are available in a choice of camouflage finishes.
The new Coyote Special riflescopes are available in two power ranges and two camo options to match any terrain or riflescope need. For hunts that take place in more open country the 4.5-14X40 gives the power range necessary to make the longer shots while thick cover hunters will enjoy the wide field-of-view the 3-9X40 offers.
Nikon's new SlugHunter 1.65-5x36 features an increased exit pupil for better low-light performance in a more compact version. Available with the proven BDC 200 reticle specifically calibrated for ballistic tipped Sabot slugs, and a lower profile objective for low mounting, this slug gun scope is as accurate as any riflescope Nikon has ever produced. The new SlugHunter is available in a matte finish with the BDC-200 or Nikoplex reticle and features a 75-yd parallax setting.
Nikon's New Omega 1.65-5x36 muzzleloader scope is a lower magnification, more compact version of its big brother the 3-9x40. Fully packed with features, including the Nikon BDC 250 Reticle calibrated for ballistic tipped sabot muzzleloader bullets, the new Omega is every bit as precise as the original.
The new Nikon Monarch X binocular series with 45mm objective lenses provide larger exit pupils for increased low light performance, while maintaining the balance and comparable weight of many competitors' 42mm models. Available in 8.5x45 for the ultimate in light transfer and 10.5x45 for an ideal combination of power and performance, the Monarch X works equally well on tough stalks or long sits on stand.
By utilizing Nikon's advanced Dielectric high-reflective multilayer prism coatings, the Monarch X delivers a brighter, more crisp view during critical dawn and dusk periods. The long eye relief (8.5x45=20.6mm and 10.5x45=16.0mm) multi-position click-stop eyecups make using the New Monarch X a simple pleasure for any user--with or without eyeglasses.
In response to last year's introduction of the Nitrex Optics TR one series, Nitrex unveils their next generation of riflescopes. The TR two series continues the tradition of tough and rugged scopes designed for premium big game hunters and features new magnification options of 2-10x42, 2-10x50, 3-15x42, 3-15x50 and 4-20x50. Each model focuses on perfecting the fundamentals of optics manufacturing with such features as:
Nitrex Optics TR
- Fully multi-coated lenses
- 3-position, resetable pull-up turrets with 1/4 MOA adjustments
- Side focus parallax (except on 2-10 models)
- Argon purged, one inch, one-piece tubes
- Fogproof/waterproof/shockproof performance
- New reticle offerings such as glass etched EBX (Enhanced Ballistic X), Fine-X with dot and illuminated reticles (on limited models).
x Optics also expanded their TR one offerings to include the proprietary Trex Multi-Plex ballistic wire reticle on their popular 3-9x42 and 6-20x50mm models. The Trex Multi-Plex enables shooters to compensate for bullet trajectory when shooting at long range targets. These two new scopes contain the same great features as the original TR one line-up including TruCoat fully multi-coated lenses, and nitrogen purged tubes.
This year, the Swarovski Z6 series is being supplemented by several new models.
In January 2007, Swarovski Optik launched a line of rifle scopes with 6x zoom--the Z6. This year, the Z6 series is being supplemented by several new models--the new Z6 3-18x50, Z6(i) 2.5-15x56, and Z6 (i) 2.5-15x44 rifle scopes. These enable high precision even in poor light conditions. The BR Reticle, which is specifically designed for long distance shooters, will also be available. And like all the other Z6 models, these are available with and without reticle illumination.
Trijicon's AccuPoint 1-4x24 variable riflescope features true 1x, and up to 4x, magnification with a straight 30mm tube.
Trijicon, Inc. had its new AccuPoint 1-4x24 riflescope for tactical shooters, law enforcement professionals and safari hunters of big and dangerous game across the globe. Trijicon's AccuPoint 1-4x24 variable riflescope features true 1x, and up to 4x, magnification with a straight 30mm tube, allowing more light and consistent eye relief at all magnifications.
As with other riflescopes in Trijicon's AccuPoint line, the new model offers a battery-free illuminated reticle for fast target acquisition and pinpoint accuracy in any light. The variable scope's 30mm tube design also allows for a much broader range of mounting options in order to acquire proper eye relief. Other features include optimum quality glass with multi-layer coatings, a rugged aircraft quality aluminum body, dual illumination through the use of fiber optics and tritium phosphor lamps, highly reliable battery-free operation, waterproof up to ten feet and a choice of several post and crosshair reticle options. Dimensions of the compact new Trijicon AccuPoint 1-4x24 riflescope are 10.3" long by 2" wide, with a height of 2".
Weaver announced a new series of Tactical scopes scheduled for release in the spring. The new scopes have features ranging from rugged one-piece construction and waterproof/shockproof/fogproof performance to argon purged tubes and fully multi-coated lenses with extra hard exterior coatings.
Magnification is 5x with the reticle in the first focal plane and side parallax adjustment. Serious shooters will also appreciate the 3-position, reset-to-zero turrets and Mil Dot reticle as they choose between the 4-20x50mm or 3-15x50mm offerings in matte finish.
Weaver Tactical Series (top), Weaver Super Slam Series (bottom).
Weaver also announced a new line of Super Slam riflescopes and binoculars. This line is manufactured in Japan to meet the strict standards of the legendary Weaver name. Features include 5x magnification, fully multi-coated lenses with an extra hard coating on exterior lenses, side focus parallax adjustment on most models, and Argon purging to eliminate internal fogging.
Additional features of the Super Slam series of optics include 3-position, resetable pull-up turrets that eliminate the hassle of lost turret caps and one inch, one-piece tube construction for waterproof/shockproof/fogproof performance. In addition to these features, the Super Slam also Weaver's our new proprietary EBX glass etched ballistic reticle. The new reticle allows for accurate bullet trajectory compensation for long range shots and complements the 3-point erector system with improved spring design.
The newest Carl Zeiss riflescopes for dangerous game and fast target acquisition are the Victory Varipoint 1.1-4x24 T* and 1.5-6x42 T* with the new reticle # 60. This reticle is different from all others on the market today as Carl Zeiss is the first manufacturer to combine a classical crosshair in the first image plane with a brightly illuminated red dot in the second focal plane. As a result, the extremely fine Varipoint dot in the second image plane covers only an absolute minimum of the target — on any power setting. At the same time, the crosshair size changes in relation to the power setting providing a good feel for the respective shooting distance due to the constant subtensions. This reticle concept combines the advantages of both first and second image plane reticles in one scope.
The Varipoint dot in the second image plane offers a wide range of intensity levels for use in bright daylight and snow-covered areas to even the lowest light conditions. The brightness level is controlled manually on the Varipoint 1.1-4x24 T* through the rotary knob located on the left side of the center tube. All other Varipoint models feature an automatic brightness control once the illumination feature is activated. Manual control of the brightness level is also possible.
With the new reticle # 60, the dot size remains constant to the eye of the hunter as the scope magnification is increased, thus keeping subtensions small on the target. Also, for fast target acquisition at close range, the illuminated dot covers a mere 3.9 inches at 55 yards guiding the eye into the target quickly and safely. On the highest magnification, the dot covers only 0.87 inches at 110 yards allowing the user to shoot extremely tight groups.
Reticle # 60 is also available in the Varipoint 2.5-10x42 T*, 2.5-10x50 T* and 3-12x56 T*. All Varipoint models are nitrogen filled to prevent fogging during extreme temperature changes, recoil proof and water tight. In addition, the ZEISS LotuTec water repellant coating ensures a clear, detailed image in inclement weather since water beads and rolls right off while dust and smears wipe off with ease.