Communication between your smartphone and your rifle’s optic via Bluetooth offers quite a bit of variety and options in reticles, zeroing and measurement of distance, depending on the optic and its related app.
Today’s wireless technology connects to cars, automates our homes and makes many day-to-day tasks less time-consuming and cumbersome. When it comes to migrating that same innovation into firearm optics, there are additional considerations, including less-than-ideal operating environments and recoil. Despite the challenges, a revolution is underway. Are firearm enthusiasts ready for equipment that connects to a smart device? We asked three of the industry experts.
“Within five hours of unveiling the Thermion XM30, over 2,500 devices were sold,” said Kevin Reese, Pulsar senior media relations specialist. “It was one of our most successful Pulsar launches … and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.”
There’s good reason for that warm reception. A staggering array of reticles, in an equally dizzying number of colors, are available in Pulsar’s Thermion riflescope night-vision line. Enable Wi-Fi, connect to the Stream Vision app on your smartphone and you can adjust or remotely control the scope. Live video streaming, firmware updates and even free cloud storage space are also available from Pulsar.
SIG Sauer’s introduction of the BDX rangefinder and riflescope system confirms the willingness to embrace digital. “We have had a great response to the system since it was launched in 2018,” Joe Fruechtel, director of development at SIG Sauer Optics, explained. “We launched the upgraded version of the scope in 2020 and the upgraded versions of the rangefinders…in 2021. We look forward to adding more products to the BDX ecosystem.”
Magnified and night-vision scopes don’t hold an exclusive on connections. The Meprolight Foresight reflex optic has been a huge success for the company. It ships with five reticles on board, but another 21 are available after it’s wirelessly mated to the app. You can zero the sight using the system and it features a built-in redundancy. “The sight works perfectly without any connection to an external phone,” Bill Yerby, general manager and vice president of sales and marketing for Meprolight USA said. “The app just allows additional smart features to be activated.”
When asked about difficulty in connecting SIG Sauer’s system, Fruechtel said, “It is extremely easy to pair our LRRs and scopes to both the smartphone app and each other. In fact, it can be done without the app through the use of our QuickBond feature. Simply put your sight in illumination setting #1 and hold the LRF’s [laser rangefinder] range and mode buttons down for greater than three seconds. The LRF will instantly go out and pair the closest sight. We also have a very easy-to-use wizard built into our smartphone app.”
With the Foresight, “Bluetooth should be enabled,” Yerby said. “You open the app, choose your sight from the available Foresight in the area and it is connected.”
Pulsar doesn’t see demand for its night vision dropping in the future because, “ … thermal imaging and all the advanced technology [it] has to offer for a growing list of activities, from surveillance, search and rescue and law enforcement uses to hunting feral hogs and predators in zero light,” according to Reese.
And the long-distance addition also shows no signs of slowing. “We are always looking for new product categories to expand our technologies into,” Fruechtel said. “You will see BDX products across our entire product offering in the future.”