2019 Optic of the Year: Leupold Mark 5HD

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posted on January 11, 2019
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At the end of every year, Shooting Illustrated staff gathers to consider different optics released in the past year and determine which one is worthy of the title, "Optic of the Year." To qualify for the award, the optic in question must be available to the public, must have been tested and either met or exceeded our testing-and-evaluation protocols and offer a unique value to the American shooting community, whether by innovation, affordability or other stand-out qualifications. For 2019, SI staff chose the Leupold Optics Mark 5HD lineup as its Golden Bullseye Optic of the Year.

Heading into 2018, Leupold's product specialists sat down with serious shooters from competitive, military and law-enforcement circles and developed a must-have list of features and construction elements that each wanted in a serious, top-of-the-line long-range optic. The resulting design developed into two options in the company's Mark 5HD lineup: 5-25X and 3.6-18X models. These first two optics featured milliradian reticles and adjustments, joined by MOA models in early 2019.

However, even these MIL-only optics caught the attention of Shooting Illustrated Rifles editor Steve Adelmann in his April 2018 review of the Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56 mm model:

"...the company continually introduces entire new optic families that are well-suited for hunting, competition, home defense, long-range-precision shooting and professional tactical uses. The latter two categories are well served by the new Leupold Mark 5HD riflescope line, currently consisting of 5-25x56 mm and 3.6-18x44 mm riflescopes. I recently tested the 5-25X model and found it to be a great addition to the Leupold brand.

...Sighting systems like the Leupold Mark 5HD are intended for serious use and are priced accordingly. Unfortunately, that means they are not in the entry-level realm. Given the Mark 5 family’s enhanced features, lightweight, compact designs and excellent quality; tactical and long-range-precision shooters in particular have another excellent pair of options from Leupold to choose from."

Suggested retail pricing on both MOA and MIL models of the company's 3.6-18x44 mm models starts at $2,339.99, while the more-powerful 5-25x56 mm models retail for $2,599.99.

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