Tactical optics have always been the laboratory where the latest technology makes the transition from psychotically expensive, military-grade products affordable only for governments to less expensive (but still not cheap) models utilizing similar technology available to the shooting public. This year, many more options are available with features normally seen only on optics costing five-figures. Incremental advances are also present, making affordable optics better and expensive optics more feature-packed than any time in the past. Our roundup is sure to include an optic for your latest acquisition that will be better than anything previously offered.
Aimpoint | CompM5 The latest red-dot sight from the company that made red-dots famous is a rugged, reliable technological marvel. Its 10 brightness settings (including four for use with night-vision devices) provide versatility, and it can last, turned on, for more than 5 years at setting seven, making it an ideal choice for a ready-to-defend carbine.
Armasight | BNVD 51 The Armasight (by FLIR) BNVD is a dual-channel night-vision system with a large, 51-degree field-of-view. The BNVD uses advanced, multi-coated optics and is durable, thanks to its composite housing. Operating from a single AA battery or a CR123A, the BNVD has a run time of up to 20 hours. It is also equipped with an integral infrared illuminator for reading in the dark.
Armasight | PVS-14 51 This versatile, single-tube, night-vision device can mount to a firearm, attach to a helmet or headgear and also be used as a stand-alone monocular. It boasts a wide field-of-view and a built-in IR illuminator to help you see in the dark. The PVS-14 51 runs off of a single AA battery for up to 50 hours.
ATN | X-Sight 4K Pro 3-14 Smart HD Day/Night Riflescope ATN built on the success of the company’s X-Sight II and added a number of innovative features to its latest model. Battery life is enhanced to 18 hours, and the night-vision mode is refined with a high-definition output, thanks to the optic’s new dual-core processor and Ultra HD sensor. The new platform allows for Wi-Fi streaming and video recording in 1080p, and a built-in ballistic calculator ensures users are on-target at any distance.
Magnification: 3-14X Resolution: 600 lines per mm Reticle: Multiple patterns & color options Length: 13.8 inches Weight: 33.6 ounces MSRP: $699 (800) 910-2862; atncorp.com
ATN | ThOR 4 384 50 mm Thermal Scope The ThOR lineup of thermal optics from ATN is back in a fourth-generation format. The latest iteration is loaded with new technology in the design and construction of the built-in, dual-core processor. This enables the ThOR 4 to offer more capability at a lower price than ever before. Stand-out elements of the thermal optic include recoil-activated video, one-shot zeroing and an enhanced battery life of 18 hours.
Axeon | Dot Sight While red-dot sights have become popular options for owners of modern sporting rifles, many models on the market are limited to a single-color output. In certain environments, red-, green- or blue-dot sights can get lost in the background. Axeon solved this issue with the launch of the company’s Dot Sight, designed with all three color options available with three brightness settings each to accommodate ambient lighting.
Burris | T.M.P.R. Also available in a 5X configuration, the Burris Tri Modular Prism Riflescope (T.M.P.R.) offers fast target acquisition, a large field-of-view and trajectory compensation out to an impressive 600 yards. Best of all, the compact optic features three colored-reticle options powered by a single CR123 battery, providing a runtime of 1,000 hours. The platform seamlessly integrates with the T.M.P.R. Fastfire M3 and T.M.P.R. laser sights.
Magnification: 3X Objective Lens Diameter: 32 mm Reticle: Ballistic AR (illuminated) Length: 5.6 inches Weight: 18.2 ounces MSRP: $839 to $1,259 (888) 440-0244; burrisoptics.com
Bushnell | AR Optics 1-4x24 mm Built for the modern sporting rifle, Bushnell AR Optics riflescopes have a number of built-in features designed to enhance rapid-target acquisition. Caliber-specific reticles ensure users are on-target at multiple distance points, and a throw-lever located on the magnification ring provides quick adjustments. The 1-4X models are built on a 30 mm tube and feature an illuminated reticle for use in low-light conditions.
Bushnell | CQTS II Red Dot Bushnell revamped the company’s premier red-dot optic in 2018, rolling out a second-generation model designed for close-quarters tactical use. The hardened CQTS II is purpose-built for durability, having been tested to ensure its waterproof, fogproof and shockproof construction. Brightness settings on each of the reticle choices are adjustable through intuitive push-button controls.
Bushnell | Tac Optics Lil P Offering a mid-range optics category between its budget-priced brands and high-end tactical models, Bushnell launched its new Tac Optics category. One of the latest offerings is this all-new prism optic, offering an extremely light, compact sight with a drop-compensating reticle and a large eye box for fast target acquisition. The prism design of the optic also ensures that users will be able to use the reticle without relying on illumination.
EOTech | EXPS2 Green EOTech took the design of its holographic sights to a new level with a compact design that provides more rail space for users to mount magnifiers, backup iron sights and other accessories. The new EXPS2 also provides a green reticle instead of the traditional red. Additionally, the sight features a QD lever for easy mounting and removal.
Magnification: 1X Display window: 30 x 23 mm Reticle: Green; nine styles available Length: 3.8 inches Weight: 9 ounces MSRP: $665 (888) 368-4656; eotechinc.com
EOTech | Vudu 5-25x50 mm FFP Designed as one of the shortest precision riflescopes on the market, the EOTech Vudu is tailor-made for use on compact rifle actions with limited rail space. The purpose behind the compact construction of the Vudu is to provide extra rail space for additional optical enhancements, such as night-vision or thermal devices.
FLIR | Breach PTQ136 Featuring the new FLIR Boson core and a compact design, the Breach thermal sight provides incredible capability in a lightweight, consumer thermal optic. It can be concealed in a pocket or mounted to a helmet thanks to its mini-rail feature. Additional features include onboard still and video recording, as well as seven color palettes for fast detection.
Magnification: 1X (optical); 1-4X (digital) Internal Memory: Up to 1,000 images and 2.5 hours of video Refresh Rate: 60 Hz Length: 5.5 inches Weight: 7.4 ounces MSRP: $2,495 (877) 596-6115; flir.com
FLIR | ThermoSight Pro PTS233 Designed to mount to a Picatinny rail on your firearm, the PTS233 delivers clear, high-definition thermal imaging with a wide field-of-view, seven color palettes and multiple reticle options for greater precision. Perfect for short- to medium-range engagements, the ThermoSight Pro also offers shot-activated video recording. Controls are simple to use and ergonomically located.
Magnification: 1.5X (optical); 2X or 4X (digital) Reticle: 4-MOA dot; line dot; cross center dot; cross; crosshair (each in four color options) Refresh Rate: 60 Hz Length: 8.7 inches Weight:23 ounces MSRP: $2,199 (877) 596-6115; flir.com
GPO | GPOTAC 1-6x24i The GPOTAC 1-6x24i is German Precision Optics’ newly scaled-down version of the larger GPOTAC 1-8x24i. With a slimmer tube, a lighter footprint and a slightly shorter profile, the GPOTAC 1-6x24i provides a platform ideal for short- to medium-range targets. Much like its larger sibling, it comes with a first-focal-plane horseshoe reticle, the company’s iCONTROL fiber-optic illumination and lockable adjustment turrets.
Hi-Lux | TAC-VF 4-20x50 mm FFP Gen 2 Hi-Lux’s new TAC-VF FFP is a great choice for those who want to shoot at longer ranges without breaking the bank. It comes with a choice of a red or green CW1-FFP reticle with 20 mils of adjustment for elevation and windage. The scope sports a 30 mm nitrogen-purged, aircraft-grade aluminum tube for added durability in harsh conditions.
Holosun |HE515CT Elite Loaded with the company’s Multi-Reticle system, the HE515CT is designed as a compact, lightweight sight option that can rapidly switch reticle choices with a single push of a button. Reticle illumination is powered by a CR2032 battery that keeps the sight going for up to 5 years on battery power alone. The built-in Solar Fail-Safe technology allows for battery-free operation in daylight conditions, further extending battery life.
Holosun | HS507C Built as a micro-size reflex sight that can fit a range of rifles, pistols and even shotguns, the new HS507C is constructed with a rugged aluminum frame. The optic is powered by a combination of a CR2032 battery and a Solar Fail-Safe backup developed by Holosun. This enables the optic to run continuously for up to 10 years on setting six.
Magnification: 1X Display Window: 23.1 x 16 mm Reticle: 32-MOA circle-dot; 2-MOA dot; 32-MOA ring Length: 1.8 inches Weight: 2.65 ounces MSRP: $352.93 (909) 594-2888; holosun.com
Kahles | K525i Kahles’ latest offering for the tactical scope market is a high-end 5-25x56 mm featuring the company’s proprietary Twist Guard technology. This protects from accidental bumps of the windage knob via a freely rotating end cover, while still allowing the shooter speedy windage adjustment without the usual hassle of “locking” and “unlocking” the turret. The K525i will be available for purchase this fall.
Leupold | LTO Tracker HD Thermal Viewer With a startup time of less than 3 seconds, eight different color palette displays and 10-hour battery life (on a single CR123 battery), the updated LTO Tracker also features increased resolution and distance capabilities. All these new features, however, haven’t changed the compact size and light weight from that of the original LTO.
Leupold | Mark 5HD 5-25x56 mm Also available in 3.6-18X, the Mark 5HD family features zero lock elevation adjustments, rapid-focus eyepiece, side focus and a light-management system for low-light scenarios. This new line of scopes offers four different first-focal-plane reticles, with illuminated options available on two of the four, in both MOA- and MIL-based designs.
Leupold | VX-Freedom 1.5-4x20 mm A scope with a gold ring for under $300? Leupold released the VX-Freedom series of riflescopes at SHOT earlier this year, with the same lifetime guarantee and ruggedness standards as the remainder of the Leupold line. This variant fits easily in the low-variable-power optic category popular for home defense and 3-gun-type pursuits.
March | 1-8x24 mm Shorty FFP The new “Shorty” is March’s most recent foray into the tactical market. The hand-assembled scope uses a first-focal-plane reticle and a true 1X setting that permits use with both eyes open. Meanwhile, the diopter-adjustable eyepiece brings excellent, easy-to-obtain focus to the image in the scope. Both reticle options are illuminated, and come in a package lighter and shorter than most 1-8X optics.
Meopta |MeoNight 1.1 Night Vision Device Valuable as either a hand-held, night-vision monocular or firearm-mounted in conjunction with a riflescope, the MeoNight 1.1 takes the mystery out of the dark. It is set at 1X magnification, but an optional 3X booster is offered. The MeoNight 1.1 can detect human-size subjects out to 600 meters and includes an external brightness control. It can be mounted ahead of a riflescope or directly to the scope’s objective with an adaptor.
Meopta | MeoRed T Reflex Sight The MeoRed T Reflex Sight adds Meopta quality to the advantages offered by red-dot optics, including unlimited eye relief, speed, versatility, compactness and long battery life. It features a 1.5-MOA illuminated red dot with 12 brightness settings. Compatible with night-vision devices and magnifiers, the sight is ideal for MSR platforms. At the medium setting, the MeoRed T’s battery life is a minimum of 2,000 hours.
Meprolight | MOR Pro For 2018, the versatile MOR platform gets an update, featuring a green laser, two laser-designating modes (constant on and momentary on) and an improved switch cable for activating them. In addition, the new MOR Pro has a smaller reticle option and maintains its IR laser for use with night-vision optics. It easily attaches to any railed firearm via a QD mount.
Magnification: 1X Objective Lens Diameter: 30 mm Reticle: 2.2-MOA red dot Length: 5.9 inches Weight: 15.9 ounces MSRP: $1,199 to $1,249 (631) 843 0490; themakogroup.com
Meprolight | RDS Pro v.2 This popular red-dot will have some significant enhancements for 2018, including 16 brightness-level options instead of the original four. In addition, the reticle will be available as a dot, a bullseye or a drop-compensating version for .300 BLK, and the reticle will display in red or green with the press of a button. It promises thousands of hours of battery life from its single AA battery.
Nightforce | NX8 1-8x24 mm Not only is Nightforce’s NX8 1-8x24 mm scope new for 2018, the entire NX8 family is a new addition to the company’s lineup. With a true 1X setting and rapid adjustment to 8X, the NX8 is capable of close-up work as well as long(er) range target acquisition and engagement.
Nikon | Black FX1000 6-24x50 mm FX-MRAD Nikon’s new, first-focal-plane reticle FX-MRAD offers a glass-etched reticle that can be used for range-estimation purposes. The Black FX1000 also features elevated windage and elevation turrets with return-to-zero capabilities, as well as compatibility with Nikon’s “Spot On” custom turrets.
Pulsar | Trail XP50 LRF Thermal Riflescope With the ability to detect human-size heat signatures as far away as 2,000 yards, Pulsar’s brand-new Trail XP50 LRF Thermal Riflescope also offers an integrated laser rangefinder accurate out to 1,100 yards. Thirteen digital reticle options, 8-hour battery life and the ability to save the zeroing profiles for three separate rifles make this one versatile thermal scope.
Sightmark | Photon RT Digital Night Vision Offering remote viewing over Wi-Fi, built-in audio and video recording and six reticle options total, the Photon RT night-vision scope offers the ability to see in the dark out beyond 200 meters. Four color options in the display round out the impressive list of features in this affordable night-vision offering.
Sightmark | Pinnacle 3-18x44 mm Offering either capped or open turrets, a first-focal-plane reticle, an included sunshade and an illuminated reticle available in both red and green, the Sightmark Pinnacle riflescope series is worth investigating. With a 34 mm main tube, fully multicoated lenses and Japanese glass, this is a serious long-range option.
Steiner | Prism S Series Available with either 3X or 4X magnification, the Prism S Series features a wider field-of-view, a larger eye box and more eye relief than its predecessors, providing for faster target acquisition. It is waterproof to 10 meters, fogproof and rugged enough to withstand abuse equivalent to 900 Gs. Side-mounted rotary-dial controls make windage, elevation and reticle-brightness adjustments simple and intuitive.
Steiner | T5Xi Designed for long-range precision, the Steiner T5Xi is built around a one-piece, oversize 34 mm tube. Its Special Competition Reticle (SCR) boasts accuracy-enhancing features such as .2-mil windage and .5-mil holdover lines. The addition of .1-mil brackets aid in exact ranging to target. An angled magnification ring allows the shooter to see the power setting from behind the scope.
Tract | Toric UHD 30 mm Thanks to Tract’s direct-to-consumer model, the company’s first purpose-built long-range scope sports features normally found only on riflescopes costing twice as much. A first-focal-plane, illuminated MRAD-based reticle allows for ranging, drop compensation and windage holds, while the elevation-adjustment turret allows multiple rotations and locks in place.
Trijicon | AccuPower 4.5-30x56 mm Available in a choice of first- or second-focal-plane reticles in either MRAD or MOA calibration, the new AccuPower is suited to your particular needs. The reticle options make milling and holdover intuitive and precise. Features include five red and five green brightness settings, an exposed 100-MOA elevation turret and a capped 50-MOA windage adjustment with a restrictor for an easy return-to-zero, side parallax control, a repositionable magnification lever, tool-free battery changes and a 3-inch sunshade.
Magnification: 4.5-30X Objective Lens Diameter: 56 mm Reticle: FFP or SFP MOA or MRAD (illuminated) Length: 14.3 inches Weight: 36 ounces MSRP: $2,675 (800) 338-0563; trijicon.com
Trijicon | MRO Green Trijicon’s popular MRO is now available with the option of a green dot. That’s important, as the human eye is more sensitive to green than red, making the new optic somewhat better for rapid target acquisition in low or changing light. There are eight brightness settings (including two for night vision), and a particularly bright setting for use with a weaponlight, all adjusted via an ambidextrous brightness control.
TruGlo | Eminus 24 Joining the Eminus family of affordable long-range tactical riflescopes is the Eminus 24. This feature-packed scope includes a glass-etched, TacPlex MOA illuminated reticle. The central crosshair is illuminated, as are 5-MOA boxes to enhance contrast in low light. Perhaps best of all, the Eminus 24 comes as a complete package including a one-piece Picatinny mount, a quick-zoom lever, a 3-inch sunshade and flip-up lens caps.
Vixen Performance Optics | VX82031 Looking for CQB-based features? The Vixen Performance Optics VX82031 is worth a gander. Its 30 mm tube sports low-profile, finger-adjustable turrets with return-to-zero capability. The company’s Zero Plus reticle includes an illuminated micro dot that makes for quick and accurate target acquisition at close to intermediate ranges.
Magnification: 1-6X Objective Lens Diameter: 24 mm Reticle: Zero Plus Length: 10.9 inches Weight: 14.8 ounces MSRP: $1,359.99 (817) 783-6001; sunopticsusa.com
Vortex | Strike Eagle 3-18x44 mm A long-range optic in a trim, svelte and robust package, the Vortex Strike Eagle 3-18x44 mm will appeal to the value-minded shooter. Its 6X zoom range allows targets to be engaged at close to intermediate ranges, while its XD optical system—featuring fully multicoated lenses and anti-reflective coatings—delivers images that are clear, crisp and bright. The glass-etched, second-focal-plane reticle gives detailed MOA-based holdover points.