The trend is easy to see. Glass for Modern Sporting Rifles (MSR)—such as the AR-15 and other rifles of the ilk—and long-range shooting continues to gain ground.
By Robert Sadowski
Optics for the MSR platform continue to cover the range from red-dots for close-up work to magnified optics for precision long-range shooting. If you sell MSRs, then having a range of optics choices is a must-have. If you are looking for a new piece of glass to top your rifle, read on for the best new optics of 2017. The trend in long-range shooting optics is toward FFP (first-focal-plane) reticles, which have the ability to increase in size as the magnification is increased. This means the ranging capability of the reticle is easier to use. These scopes also are getting a bit smaller and more compact, so they have less of a footprint. This year you can expect some new spotters and some economical binocular models as well. Here’s the field to view.
The new open-bridge-design Noctivid binocular line offers superior performance with a rugged, compact body that provides comfortable ergonomics. Two models include 8x42mm (SRP: $2,599) and 10x42mm (SRP: $2,699). The Geovid CRF-2000-B (SRP: $799) is a compact laser rangefinder capable of measurements out to 2,000 yards. It has 7X magnification, weighs only 6.5 ounces, and fits in a shirt pocket. The Rangemaster CRF 1600-R (SRP: $599) laser rangefinder feature accurate line-of-sight ranging to 1,600 yards, 7X magnification, and an auto-adjust brightness display. The Geovid HD-B Edition 2200 laser range-finding binocular comes in two models, 8x42mm (SRP: $2,549) and 10x42mm (SRP: $2,599), both of which can range out to 2,200 yards. They also feature more precise ¼-MOA adjustment and a Micro-SD card slot that allows uploading the shooter’s custom ballistics data.
Leupold & Stevens
The LTO (Leupold Thermal Optic) Tracker (SRP: $879) is a handheld thermal observation and game-recovery tool that provides exceptional image quality, fast 30hz frame rates, and detection of heat sources out to 600 yards. It features 6X magnification and a sensor that is effective from -4 degrees F to 140 degrees F. The new VX-3i LRP (Long Range Precision) scopes (SRP: $1,065 to $1,250, depending on model) offer high-end features in an affordable riflescope. Built off the VX-3i line, the LRP is equipped with the Twilight Max light-management system and either first- or second-focal-plane reticles. Reticle options include the MOA-based TS-32X1 and T-MOA, the mil-based TMR, and the new CCH (Combat Competition Hunter) reticle. Models include 4.5–14x50mm, 6.5–20x50mm, and 8.5–25x50mm. The flagship VX-6 line has been improved and renamed the VX-6HD series (SRP: starts at $1,300), with models available in magnification ranges of 1–6x24mm, 2–12x42mm, 3–18x44mm, 3–18x50mm, and 4–24x52mm. All feature the Twilight Max Light Management System, a new automatic reticle-leveling feature, and new Custom Dial System elevation adjustment.
The MeoTac 3–12x50mm (SRP: $2,530) is designed for tactical use and features a 34mm tube and windage and elevation ranges of 100 MOA and 55 MOA, with click adjustments of 1⁄3 MOA. Additionally, the illuminated MilDot 3 RD reticle is located in the first focal plane. New BDC reticles (the illuminated red-dot BDC-2 and BDC-3) are available for the MeoStar R2 and MeoStar R1r scopes.
The FT Bullseye sight (SRP: $199 to $209, depending on model) is a low-profile micro red-dot-style optic for pistols that combines fiber optics and tritium to provide the illumination needed under all lighting conditions. Available in red or green dot/circle for all Glock models, as well as the Springfield XD and XDM.
The VISM ADO (Advanced Dual Optic) incorporates a primary 3–9x42mm compact scope and integrates a reflex sight into the top of the scope to create a streamline optic system. The reflex sight is spring-loaded and deploys with a push of a button. The next generation of the SRT Scope series features an all-new SRT V3 3–9x42mm compact scope. Designed for MSR platforms, the laser system has been upgraded to a green laser integrated into the top of the objective lens bell housing. The Mark III Tactical V3 sight has been updated with a red-and-blue illuminated reticle powered by a AA battery. The top of the scope body is machined to accept an NcSTAR Micro Dot for a low-profile backup-sight option.
The top-of-the-line ATACR series now includes the ATACR 7–35x56mm (SRP: $3,600), which comes in first-focal-plane configuration and features a 34mm tube that allows 100 MOA/27 Mil-Radian of elevation adjustment and 60 MOA/17 Mil-Radian of windage adjustment. The ATACR 4–16x50mm (SRP: $2,400) scope is configured with a second-focal-plane reticle and designed specifically for hunters. The new fixed-power Competition SR Fixed 4.5x24mm riflescope (SRP: $1,950) is purpose-built to comply with 2016 Civilian Marksmanship Program and NRA service rifle match rules, which now allow the use of riflescopes.
The Monarch 7i VR Laser Rangefinder (SRP: $400) features Nikon’s optical VR (Vibration Reduction) technology, which reduces the effect of external vibrations and makes it easier to steady the rangefinder to range objects at far distances. The 6X magnification allows users to range out to 1,000 yards.
The new premium Pinnacle 3–18x44mm TMD riflescope (SRP: $1,560) features a rugged 34mm tube, a first-focal-plane reticle, and an oversize turret design with distinct .1-MRAD windage and elevation adjustments. The Tactical Mil-Dash (TMD) reticle is specifically designed for on-the-fly rangefinding and quick target acquisition—even at extreme distances.
Reporting by SHOT Business Daily, reprinted with permission. SHOT Daily, produced by The Bonnier Corporation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, covers all facets of the yearly firearms-industry show. Click here to see full issues. Product pricing and availability are at of time of publication and subject to change without notice.