In short, if they are going to perform their long-range mission, it requires close-quarters work first. Mounting a red-dot scope and a sniper scope on their rifles was a stopgap solution, but they needed a scope to perform both the CQB and sniper missions. In response, Leupold's Tactical Optics Division introduced its Mark 8 1.1-8x24 mm CQBSS. (For more detailed photos of the CQBSS go here.)
The Marine-Tactical Milling Reticle is a real asset. Large white triangles on the bridge are easy to pick up. The reticle is in the first focal plane, which means as magnification is increased, the size of the reticle increases proportionately.
The new CQBSS is a 1.1-8X power optic built on a 34-mm main tube utilizing a first focal-plane Horus 27 illuminated-dot reticle or a Leupold M-TMR (Marine-Tactical Milling Reticle). The rugged CQBSS has a number of well-thought-out ergonomic features. The windage and elevation adjustment dials are about 1.25 inches in diameter, but they are not protected with any type of removable cap. Instead, they utilize an auto-locking, pinch-and-turn adjustment system. The top halves of the windage and elevation turrets have two knurled, semi-circular squeeze pads with a central, V-shaped groove. Squeezing the two rings together releases the auto-locking mechanism and allows the turret to rotate. Once appropriate adjustments are made, releasing the pads locks the turret in place. Windage and elevation adjustments are 0.10-mil-per-click with 10 mils of adjustment per turn.
The scope's BDC reticle is built around a 100-yard zero. Hash marks indicating each 0.10-mil click run around the base of the windage and elevation turrets. Each 0.50 mil is numerically indexed on the adjustment ring as well. In addition, range call-offs in hundreds of meters for a specific load are superscripted just above those for the mils.
A fully checkered sleeve for the ocular bell controls the scope's magnification setting. Turning the ocular sleeve clockwise boosts magnification and, conversely, turning it counter-clockwise reduces power.
The scope's auto-locking, pinch-and-turn windage and elevation turrets are built for speed and precision. When the user's grip is released, the turrets automatically lock in position. Each of the turrets has clearly labeled zero stops. The reticle's illumination dial has off-position detents between each of its eight brightness settings.
A thumb pad at the front of the bell provides a visual and tactile indication of the magnification setting. In addition to its more than 7X zoom range, the aluminum main tube provides an overall adjustment range of 100 mils for both windage and elevation. The large illumination adjustment knob is on the left side of the bridge directly opposite to the windage turret. It is a large, knurled and grooved turret and also serves as a housing for the CR2032 battery that powers the reticle.
The Horus Vision H27 reticle is offered in Mark 8 scopes produced for the military and law enforcement. Leupold's new Marine-Tactical Milling Reticle (M-TMR) is offered in the Mark 8 for civilian shooting enthusiasts.
Given the military use for which the CQBSS was originally developed, ruggedness and durability were critical elements of the design. The CQBSS is filled with an argon-krypton gas blend that helps make the scope fog-proof and waterproof—tested to submersion of 66 feet. The Mark 8 has a matte-black finish and features Leupold's Index Matched Lens System with DiamondCoat 2 coatings, which help provide increased light transmission and scratch resistance.
The BDC ring on my sample scope was set up for the 5.56 NATO MK 262 Mod I load, so I mounted the scope on an FNH USA SCAR 16S using tall steel Leupold rings compatible with the gun's Picatinny top rail. I took it to our test range in order to familiarize myself with the scope's unique illumination and magnification controls and get a feel for how the M-TMR reticle worked indoors.
After obtaining a solid zero I "shot the box." From zero, I turned 10 clicks up and 10 clicks right then fired a five-shot group. I then turned the elevation dial 20 clicks down and fired a second group. After turning the windage turret 20 clicks left, I fired a third group. I then turned 20 clicks up before firing a fourth group and lastly I turned 10 clicks right and 10 clicks down to return to zero. The groups formed a perfect square with the last one neatly superimposed on the first. Thus, the scope's adjustments were clearly positive and repeatable.
Standard accessories that come with the Leupold Mark 8 1.1-8x24 mm CQBSS include a 2.5-inch sunshade and aluminum flip-up lens covers.
The Mark 8 1.1-8x24 mm is big. It's also heavy and expensive. It's not by any means perfect, but it certainly does a lot of amazing things. An ideal CQB scope would be smaller. For a sniper, the ideal scope would have a larger objective.
It's incredibly rugged and easy to use. Because it is so versatile with its wide range of magnification and rapid and repeatable windage and elevation adjustments, the CQBSS has a lot to offer law enforcement and military precision-marksmen.
Any shooter trained to range in mils will find the M-TMR reticle to be an incredible tool. I suspect many 3-gun competitors may decide that two scopes are a cheaper alternative or that ruggedness is desirable, but not a life-or-death consideration. Given the cost, LE and military users are the most likely buyers, but to paraphrase Ferris Bueller's evaluation of an Italian sports car, if you have the means, it's an excellent choice.
Manufacturer: Leupold; (800) 538-7653, www.leupold.com Magnification: 1.1-8X Objective Lens Diameter: 24 mm Reticle: Horus H27 with illuminated dot; M-TMR with illuminated crosshairs (tested) Lens Coating: Fully multicoated, DiamondCoat 2 Tube Diameter: 34 mm Eyepiece: Lockable, fast-focus Field of View: 93 to 14.7 feet at 100 yards Eye Relief: 3.7 inches to 3.3 inches Adjustment Markings: Pinch-and-turn, auto-locking 0.10 mil Elevation Adjustment Range: 100 MOA Windage Adjustment Range: 100 MOA Length: 11.75 inches Weight: 23.2 ounces Accessories: Flip-open lens covers, 2.5-inch sun shade, BDC rings available for MK 262 Mod 1 77-grain, 5.56 NATO and M118 LR 175-grain 7.62 NATO MSRP: $4,000