While AR-15-style rifles are still quite popular, there’s a growing trend toward long-range pursuits. Red-dot sights for pistols are gaining popularity, and thermal-imaging devices continue to become more affordable. As the market adjusts to the new normal, and shooters think about accessorizing the firearms they’ve purchased over the past decade, optics manufacturers have been hard at work producing clearer, more powerful riflescopes and red-dot sights with which to equip our newly acquired arms. Our roundup captures what stands out among 2017’s newest releases.
Aimpoint 3XMag-1 Magnifier
The 3XMag-1 joins the 6XMag-1 in Aimpoint’s magnifier lineup. The compact, rubber-armored unit can be used in conjunction with all Aimpoint sights for long-range aiming or observation. Its variable-diopter (-3 to +3) setting permits adjustment to the individual shooter’s vision. Aimpoint magnifiers use the red dot in Aimpoint sights as the aiming reticle, eliminating the need for re-zeroing when shifting between non-magnified and magnified aiming. The 3XMag-1 also works as a hand-held 3X monocular. Magnification: 3X Field of View: 7 degrees Reticle: N/A (Works with Aimpoint red-dot sights) Length: 4.6 inches Weight: 8.1 ounces MSRP: $873 (703) 263-9795; aimpoint.com
ATN ThOR-HD 640x50 mm Thermal Riflescope The new ThOR-HD from ATN is designed to offer consumers some of the best technological advancements in thermal-imaging technology on the market. The riflescope uses ATN’s Obsidian “T” II thermal core, which includes more power and features than any other thermal scope offered by the company. Another update to the ThOR HD riflescope is the ability to record videos and images with a MicroSD card, allowing hunters and shooters to record their highlights.
Axeon launched its new Tactical Series scope to provide shooters with modern optics technology on a budget. The company boasts that the scope features the largest field-of-view in its class, providing 15 percent more FOV than competitors and providing 93-percent light transmission. The optic features a first-focal-plane reticle, giving it the ability to accurately measure mils at any magnification. Other features include machined locking turrets, fully multi-coated lenses and a nitrogen-purged 34 mm tube.
An entry-level AR-15 optic for those looking to get started in 3-gun competition, the Burris RT-6 1-6x24 mm is designed for easy handling and has a number of features intended to be beneficial in a shooting match. A 1-6X zoom range—with a true 1X setting—allows for eyes-open engagement at close ranges. The Ballistic AR mil-based reticle features 11 illumination settings and comes with trajectory compensation to aid shooters in accurately putting shots on target out to 600 yards. There’s also an integrated throw lever that can be adjusted anywhere along the zoom ring to fit a shooter’s preferences.
New for 2017 is Bushnell’s smallest and lightest red-dot sight, the Advance micro sight. Offering a 5-MOA dot projected through a water-, fog- and shockproof housing, the design is offered as a convenient option for AR-15-style carbines or handguns. The Advance is compatible with Glock mount plate number 1 for the MOS series of Glock handguns.
Also new for 2017 in Bushnell’s line are the Enrage and Incinerate red-dot sights. The Enrage offers a 2-MOA dot, while the Incinerate offers a 2-MOA dot with a 25-MOA circle. The Enrage red dot offers increased battery life (Bushnell claims twice the battery life of its previous line of red-dot sights) with “off” settings between each of eight brightness levels for ease of operation. A high-rise mount is included with the Enrage, and the lenses are multi-coated for glare resistance.
EOTech designed its new Vudu riflescope to be a compact option loaded with high-quality features usable by all kinds of shooters. The company’s Speed Ring reticle is designed to provide shooters with the ability to engage targets quickly at close range on the low-power setting, but also to take intermediate-range shots with accuracy due to its clarity. The Vudu is built on a 30 mm tube to provide a bright sight picture and can be mounted on ARs and bolt-action rifles alike. It sports a first-focal-plane (FFP) reticle.
GPO-USA Passion 1-8x24i Riflescope GPO-USA aims to bring German-designed technology (albeit inside scopes made in Asia) in a feature-rich, tactical-riflescope package. The Passion scope incorporates mil-based lockable turrets, a first-focal-plane horseshoe reticle along with the company’s trademarked iControl fiber-optic illumination system that features auto-off capability. The main tube on the optic measures 34 mm and offers a total adjustment range of 104 inches, ensuring that shooters can meet almost any adjustment need for elevation.
All longarms beg for quality optics, and Hi-Lux Optics has delivered a precision, high- quality optic in the Close to Medium Range CMR8F. Each lens is multi-coated with DiamondTuff14 for maximum light transmission, and the scope has a 1-8X magnification range. The glass is housed in a solid, 34 mm aircraft-grade aluminum tube. Nitrogen and rubber gasket seals guarantee fog-proof performance in all climates. The Zero-Lok turrets prevent the user from losing the scope’s zero.
HoloSun added a number of upgraded features to its HS515C series, incorporating what the company calls “military-grade” aspects to the latest model of red-dot sight out from the company. The red dot features a maximum battery life of 50,000 hours and includes a built-in solar panel that acts as a fail-safe and automatically adjusts the reticle brightness based on available sunlight. The optic also features the company’s trademarked Shake Awake motion activation that recalls the optic’s last brightness setting.
Kahles K624i Riflescope Kahles has long been known for its superior optics, and the company’s entrance into the tactical market is no exception. The Austrian-made K624i is available in a host of models, with choices for the location of the windage-adjustment turret (either left or right side) and between four mil-based reticles or an MOA-based option. Thanks to its sturdy 34 mm tube, the K624i offers 25.5 mils (86 MOA) of elevation adjustment and 11.5 mils (37.8 MOA) of windage, in .1-mil increments (.25-MOA in the MOAK version).
Following quickly on the heels of the LTO Tracker, the Quest thermal imager from Leupold offers another take on hand-held heat tracking. With a 2.4-inch LCD screen and built-in, 300-lumen flashlight, the Quest offers a 15-Hertz display that’s easy to see in most lighting conditions. The Quest has eight color palettes for viewing, offers a camera with easy output for saving images and a simple, three-button interface for toggling through the various options.
Whether your interest lies in 3-gun competition, long-range pursuits or home defense, Leupold’s new VX-5HD series has you covered. Positioned between the VX-3i and the flagship VX-6, the VX-5HD utilizes a 5X erector assembly and offers 1-5X and 2-10X variants in addition to the 3-15X. A custom dial system allows two complete revolutions of each turret, ensuring a precise match to your rifle’s ballistics. A variety of reticle options include the FireDot illuminated reticle, a standard duplex and Leupold’s Impact-29 MOA reticle for ranging.
Magnification: 3-15X Objective Lens Diameter: 44 mm Reticle: Duplex, FireDot 4, Wind-Plex, Boone & Crockett Big Game and Impact-29 MOA Length: 13.5 inches Weight: 19 ounces MSRP: $1,169 (800) 538-7653; leupold.com
Lucid MLX 4.5-18X Riflescope
Lucid’s first-focal-plane riflescope, the MLX, contains a proprietary mil-based reticle that allows 10 mils of holdover and 5 mils of holdunder on the highest magnification level. Changes in windage or elevation are made in .1-mil increments with both audible and tactile confirmation, and the MLX provides 6 inches of mounting length for optimal eye relief. A one-piece, 30 mm, 6063-aluminum tube allows for added internal adjustment.
Created expressly for long-range, precision rifles, the latest scope from Meopta features resettable .1-mil windage and elevation turrets. The second-focal-plane MilDot II RD illuminated reticle is calibrated for 7.62 NATO, .338 Lapua Mag. and 12.7 mm rounds. Its MeoBright lens coating promotes 99.7-percent light transmission per lens surface, while the MeoShield ion-assisted coating protects those surfaces from scratches.
The versatile MicroRDS can mount to pistols or long guns, making it a solid option for any shooter. With the company’s Night Sight & Quick Release Adaptor (included), the MicroRDS can attach to a wide variety of handguns (this mount also fits micro red dots from Trijicon, Leupold, Docter and other manufacturers). On a rifle, the MicroRDS takes up only a tiny space on a rail and adds little weight, making it ideal for a lightweight platform or a truck gun. Thanks to motion-detecting technology, it conserves its CR2032’s battery life, adding peace of mind to your defensive firearm.
The VISM FlipDot reflex optic has a very unique folding lens assembly that folds down flat into an incredibly compact size, making it less likely to snag or print when in a holster. The FlipDot is designed to mount directly onto Glock MOS pistols and will also fit onto most RMR cut slides with the included spacer. The folding lens also functions as the On/Off switch. When the lens is deployed upright the optic automatically turns on and when the lens is folded down, it powers off.
Magnification: 1X Objective-Lens Diameter: 22x16 mm Reticle: 3-MOA red dot Length: 2 inches Weight: 1 ounce (without MOS interface plate) MSRP: $109 (866) 627-8278; ncstar.com
Nightforce ATACR 7-35X Riflescope
As the name might indicate, Nightforce’s newest ATACR (Advanced Tactical Riflescope) is designed for the long-range precision shooter in mind. With a 34 mm main tube for superior strength and greater adjustment range, capped windage turret and 30-MOA/12-mil per revolution elevation turret, parallax adjustment down to 10 meters and an integrated throw lever for magnification range, the ATACR is built for distance. Three reticle choices and Digillum illumination round out the ATACR’s impressive list of standard options.
Featuring capped turrets and Nikon’s Speedforce reticle, the Black Force1000 is clearly aimed at the MSR market. A double-horseshoe-style reticle is visible at 1X for rapid target acquisition and the Force1000 is compatible with Nikon’s Spot-On custom turrets for various popular calibers and bullet weights. A 30 mm main tube supports this water-, shock- and fogproof optic, which also features spring-loaded, zero-reset turrets.
Schmidt & Bender 5-45x56 mm PM II High Power Riflescope
Available with four different first-focal-plane reticles, including the TReMoR3, this illuminated scope is designed for long- and ultra long-range use. The elevation turret is a revelation, as it is a low-profile, lockable, double-turn unit with 35 mils of total travel. Every tenth click is exaggerated, and a top-mounted gold pin indicates the second turn both visually and tactilely. The turret is lockable and has a zero stop.
In its quest for world domination, SIG Sauer has cleverly paired its new Juliet4 magnifier with its existing Romeo line of dot sights. Should you find yourself in dire straits, the Juliet4’s ability to turn the unmagnified Romeo into a 4X scope could be life-saving. Thanks to the included PowerCam QR mount, the Juliet4 can be easily pushed to the side to transition for CQB purposes. Clear optics are housed in a CNC-machined, waterproof, aircraft-grade aluminum housing, ensuring reliability in rough conditions.
The latest addition to SIG Sauer’s Romeo line of red-dot sights is the XDR, which powers from a single, readily available AAA battery. Thanks to the Romeo5XDR’s Motion Activated Illumination (MOTAC), it can preserve that battery for up to 50,000 hours of use. The optic boasts a user-selectable Dual Reticle, allowing switches between a 65-MOA circle and a 2-MOA dot, making it extremely versatile. Its total adjustment range is +/- 40 MOA for both windage and elevation, and the dot sight is fully waterproof.
Designed for close-combat use, the Steiner P4Xi 1-4x24 mm balances adaptability, precision and speed in a variable-power optic. It offers true 1X magnification for shooting with both eyes open and 4X zoom to maintain situational awareness and welcome versatility. A generous field-of-view and more than 3 inches of eye relief make it ideal for quick acquisition of close- or intermediate-range threats. Five daytime and six nighttime illumination settings, with an off position between each setting, make this purpose-built riflescope go-to gear for any life-or-death situation that may arise.
Tract continues to expand its tactical line with the new 2.5-10X Response, which boasts specs normally found on scopes twice its price. By selling direct to consumers via its website, the company cuts out several layers of middle men, keeping the retail price low for a scope with so many high-end features. The 1-inch tube is argon purged to ensure it is water- and fogproof, and the glass-etched Impact BDC reticle is calibrated for a 55-grain, polymer-tipped .223 Rem. round, making it an ideal choice for an AR-15.
Built around a 34 mm tube, this scope maximizes both light transmission and versatility. Multi-coated, broadband, anti-reflective glass and an increased exit pupil assure a bright image. The LED-illuminated, first-focal-plane reticle is available in Segmented Circle in either mil or MOA. The turrets are locking and resettable without tools and graduated in .25-MOA or .1-mil increments. The tough, compact scope benefits from Trijicon’s military heritage, and is eminently practical and should prove very durable.
Utilizing TruGlo’s illuminated, second-focal-plane TacPlex Reticle (T.P.R.), both scopes in the Eminus series are designed to maximize the potential of modern sporting rifles. Available as the Eminus9 (3-9x42 mm) and Eminus16 (4-16x44 mm), these scopes have MOA adjustments on the dials and MOA measurements in the reticle, simplifying use. The series features multi-coated lenses, a 30 mm main tube, glass-etched reticle, .25-MOA locking target turrets, quick-zoom lever and a one-piece APTUS-M1 mount.
Comprised of two models, the Omnia4 (1-4x24 mm) and Omnia6 (1-6x24 mm), these compact scopes feature TruGlo’s illuminated All Purpose Tactical Reticle (A.P.T.R.) calibrated for the 55-grain XM193 5.56 NATO round, with a 50/200 zero and bullet-drop compensation indicated to 600 yards. They include multi-coated lenses, a 30 mm tube body, locking target turrets and an included APTUS-1 mount. The scopes are waterproof, shockproof and fogproof, and offer generous eye relief.
Vixen Series V-III riflescopes are engineered and built in Japan for superior quality and performance.High-quality aviation-grade aluminum construction ensures long-lasting durability under extreme conditions. The 30 mm tube is also Nitrogen purged for complete fog and waterproof performance. With a second-focal-plane, illuminated etched-glass zero plus reticle and fully multi-coated lenses, the VX82031 provides a versatile platform for medium-range pursuits.
Magnification: 1-6X Objective-Lens Diameter: 30 mm Recticle: Zero Plus Length: 10.9 inches Weight: 34.40 ounces MSRP: $1,359 (817) 783-6001; sunopticsusa.com