The coolest black rifle on the planet is nothing more than ballast if you can’t hit anything with it. Where once the state of the art was iron sights that were ramp adjustable for elevation, nowadays the revolution in miniaturized electronics has perched some of the most extraordinary aiming devices atop our firearms.
- RELATED: 14 of the Best Less Lethal Products For 2015
- RELATED: 18 Essential Law Enforcement Accessories For 2015
Here are some of the most remarkable sights and optics being released in the firearms industry early in 2015.
Aimpoint Micro T2
While Aimpoint sights have been a staple of military carbines for years now, today’s Micro T2 takes the same capability but shrinks it down to something truly tiny. The Micro T2 is tank-tough and waterproof to 25 meters. The Micro T2 also sports perfect glass and a tiny footprint that leaves plenty of rail space for other stuff. Aimpoint started from scratch and incorporated the latest optical coating technology to increase performance above its already impressive baseline. For more information, visit aimpoint.com or call 877-246-7646.
Armasight Q14 & Zeus Pro
Armasight offers a broad range of image intensifiers and thermal sights of various sizes, capabilities and price points. The Q14 is a tiny but remarkably capable thermal monocular that can be head or weapon mounted. Compared to the earlier versions I used when I was a soldier, the Q14 weighs half a pound and is not much larger than my thumb. The Q14 sports a ruggedized housing as well as an integrated digital compass and laser pointer.
The Zeus Pro is a dedicated thermal imaging weapon sight that represents the pinnacle in uncooled thermal technology. This sight operates on either CR123, AA or rechargeable batteries, includes a digital compass and inclinometer, and mounts via a quick-release mount. The sight has tracking digital e-zoom capabilities—various magnifications are available. The sight is rated against .50-caliber recoil and is waterproof to 20 meters. Its controls are also simple and intuitive. For more information, visit armasight.com or call 888-959-2259.
Barska SWAT-AR Scope
The 1-4x28mm SWAT-AR riflescope from Barska has been specifically designed for tactical AR rifles such the M4 and AR-15. A red/green illuminated mil-dot reticle keeps you on target in low-light situations, and the built-in sniper edge helps reduce glare off of the objective lens. Barska is also offering a larger 1-6x32mm model for long-distance engagements. For more information, visit barska.com or call 888-666-6769.
Burris’ New Side Parallax Adjustments
Burris is introducing a new side parallax adjustment to its popular long-range Fullfield E1 and Predator Quest riflescopes. The new easy-to-reach, ergonomic location makes correcting parallax faster and easier without compromising the hunter’s shooting position for improved long-distance accuracy. Burris’ long-range Fullfield E1 and Predator Quest riflescopes feature high-performance glass for excellent brightness and clarity. They’re perfect for spotting a distant coyote or whitetail in early morning light or in low-light conditions at dusk. The Ballistic Plex E1 reticle allows for easy trajectory compensation out to 500 yards and features cascading dots to help compensate for wind. Like all Burris optics, they’re waterproof, fogproof and backed by the Burris Forever Warranty. For more information, visit burrisoptics.com or call 970-356-1670.
Burris Tactical Kits
Burris’ new Tactical Kits will help tactical and competitive AR shooters get ready to roll. The kits include a quality prism sight and either a secondary red-dot sight or an AR-Tripler, plus mounts, all packaged in a rugged carry case. They’re complete, ready-to-go optics platforms, at over a $100 savings compared to buying each item separately. The AR-332 Tactical Kit features the 3X AR-332 with the FastFire II reflex sight, while the AR-536 Tactical Kit comes with a 5X AR-536 with the FastFire II. Finally, the AR-1X Tactical Kit comes with the AR-1X prism sight and the AR-Tripler. For more information, visit burrisoptics.com or call 970-356-1670.
Burris XTR II Upgrades
Burris has upgraded its popular XTR II line of tactical riflescopes with new competition reticles and improved adjustment knobs on higher-magnification models. The new Burris SCR (Special Competition Reticle), available in mil and MOA versions, increases precision for long-range competition without adding clutter or distraction. The extended center illuminated area lets shooters confidently engage targets at long distances in low light and in shadows. The new Burris XT-100 click adjustment knob features 100 clicks per rotation instead of 80. This means easier calculations, faster adjustments and less chance of getting lost on the dial. With the additional Zero Click Stop feature, shooters can quickly revert back to original yardage without counting revolutions. These upgraded reticles and adjustment knobs are found on 2-10x42mm, 3-15x50mm, 4-20x50mm and
5-25x50mm models. For more information, visit burrisoptics.com or call 970-356-1670.
Bushnell Elite Series
For 2015, Bushnell’s Elite line of riflescopes has been reengineered to offer three levels of high-end precision—the Elite 3500, 4500 and 6500. The new Elite 3500 riflescopes don’t feature bells and whistles for the sake of advancement. They offer elevated performance for the real world and a tangible commitment to building the sharpest, clearest and brightest optics available today. Fully multi-coated optics combined with Bushnell’s exclusive Ultra Wide Band Coating process boost light transmission through the scope to 91 percent. This translates to incredible brightness during those final minutes of shooting light when game animals are most active.
The new Elite 4500 riflescopes further elevate the award-winning Elite series with advancements such as an aluminum/titanium alloy one-piece tube, a shorter overall length and finger-adjustable windage and elevation turrets. The patented RainGuard HD coating offers a permanent barrier that beads water to scatter less light and give a clear view in conditions that would render untreated optics unusable.
Finally, the 6500 series is the pinnacle of performance, packing 65-plus years of innovation into an ultra-rugged scope that delivers a powerful 6.5X magnification range and a 30mm one-piece tube for extra adjustment travel and unfailing reliability while being magnum-recoil-proof. For more information, visit bushnell.com or call 800-423-3537.
Bushnell Elite Tactical 1-6x24mm SMRS
Bushnell’s new Elite Tactical 1-6x 24mm SMRS (Short Mid-Range Scope) features the new Ultra Bright dual-focal plane reticle, which integrates the close-range, quick targeting of a second-focal-plane illuminated dot that does not change size with magnification adjustment, and the medium- to long-range versatility of a first focal plane ranging reticle. The SMRS bridges the gap between red dots and tactical scopes to provide the ultimate in versatility for shooters who demand a close/mid-range illuminated riflescope. The scope has a rugged 30mm, one-piece tube and the ThrowDown Power Change Lever for ultra-fast adjustment. For more information, visit bushnell.com or call 800-423-3537.
Bushnell Rimfire Optics
Bushnell has launched a new scope family specifically tailored to the needs of rimfire rifle owners. The new Rimfire Optics line from Bushnell includes five new riflescopes that range in configuration from a 3-9x40mm scope with interchangeable .22 LR and .17 HMR turrets to a compact 6-18x40mm optic designed for extended-range shooting with high-power rimfire rifles with shorter overall lengths than their centerfire counterparts. The Bushnell Rimfire Optics series features multi-coated optics that deliver bright, clear images from dawn to dusk. Three scopes in the line feature side parallax focus, and the remaining pair offers adjustable objectives, giving shooters the ability to obtain precision accuracy on tiny targets at any range. A new bullet-drop compensation reticle—the BMag350—is even available on the 4-12x40mm AO model with ballistic holdover points to 350 yards calibrated specifically for 20-grain 17 WSM ammunition. For more information, visit bushnell.com or call 800-423-3537.
C-More Systems C3 Scope
The C-More Systems C3 1-6x24mm scope was designed around the AR platform—for competition and recreational shooting. With a main tube machined from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, the scope also has lockable target turrets with elevation zero stops. Reticle drops and click adjustments are in yards and inches—ballistics based on a 200-yard zero, for a 55-grain bullet exiting the bore at 3,150 fps. Five and 10 mph wind tick marks are provided on all drops. Coated optics ensure the maximum light transmission and clarity for the cleanest sight picture possible. An illuminated center dot is provided for rapid acquisition, while the lack of a vertical crosshair above the horizontal crosshair produces an uncluttered field of view. A ranging scale is available for unknown distances. For more information, visit cmore.com or call 888-265-8266.
Dead Ringer Snake Eyes
The Snake Eyes night sight combo from Dead Ringer offers a novel solution to the age-old challenge of accurately sighting a combat handgun. Featuring tritium luminescent inserts at both front and rear and available for the most common tactical handguns on the market today, the Snake Eyes sight system is unique in the marketplace. What really sets the Snake Eyes sight apart is the large-diameter ghost ring rear sight.
The rear sight on the Snake Eyes sight system consists of a large-diameter metal ring enclosing a bright red cylinder with small pointers at the 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock positions. This ring is flanked on each side by luminescent tritium dots. The sight is fairly easy to install and offers a unique sight picture both day and night. While this sight does offer superb situational awareness, it also makes target acquisition easier for those of us with aging eyes. For more information, visit deadringerhunting.com or call 585-355-4685.
ELCAN is a Canadian company with a proven track record of producing robust and effective weapon sights for the military. The ELCAN SpectreDR is a combat-proven, dual-view sight that transitions from 1X to 4X with the throw of a lever. The new SpectreTR is the latest evolution of this established design.
It offers the choice of three different fields of view and magnification levels with the throw of a switch. A large and easily accessible dial on the side of the sight indexes these settings quickly by feel or in the dark. The SpectreTR weighs 850 grams and provides 14,000 hours of service from a CR2032 battery. For more information, visit elcan.com or call 705-526-5401.
EOTech 518 & 558
EOTech’s new 518 HWS brings all the features of the top-of-the-line EXPS, but it is now powered by easy-to-find AA batteries. The 518 is compatible with the Laser Battery Cap (LBC) that replaces the standard battery cover and adds a visible laser to the mix that uses the same batteries. Controls are mounted on the side to allow close proximity to a swing-out magnifier for responsible management of limited rail space. At standard power settings, a fresh pair of batteries will last about 1,000 hours. The 518 HWS is waterproof to 10 feet. The new EOTech 558 Holosight offers all the features of the 518 along with a waterproof depth rating of 33 feet and 10 additional night-vision settings. For more information, visit eotechinc.com or call 734-741-8868.
The new Leupold D-EVO (Dual-Enhanced View Optic) allows for simultaneous close-quarters and mid-range target engagement without forcing the shooter to move their head or change their cheekweld. The D-EVO is an ingenious combination of a close-range red-dot optic and a 6X CMR-W (Close Mid-Range Reticle with Wind Holds) illuminated sight. The remarkable aspect of the D-EVO is the extraordinary fusion of these previously unrelated technologies.
The 3.2-inch Z-shaped D-EVO essentially looks around the side of an associated conventional red-dot optic. The images from these two sights are displayed so closely together that nothing more than a minute gaze adjustment is required to index from one sight to the other. With minimal time on the optic, the brain can actually fuse these two images so that the red dot remains available for rapid acquisition of fleeting targets at close range while the illuminated 6X reticle allows essentially instant indexing to the magnified image. For more information, visit leupold.com or call 800-538-7653.
The Lucid HD7 Gen III is built around a rugged rubber-armored aluminum chassis and is powered by a single AAA battery. There are four user-selectable reticles, and the sight includes an optical sensor that automatically dims or brightens the reticle for ambient light conditions. Lucid’s newest optic is the P7, which combines all the features of the Gen III HD7 along with 4X magnification and a usable and effective bullet-drop reticle. The HD7 Gen III and P7 have the good stuff you need without the fluff you don’t. For more information, visit mylucidgear.com or call 307-840-2160.
MGM Eagle Eye Switchview
The Eagle Eye Switchview Speedlever is a universal polymer attachment that affixes around the magnification adjustment ring on your scope via an adjustable strap and provides a hand lever for precise, smooth magnification changes. With the Speedlever installed it is easy to index from scanning to targeting without upsetting the position of the rifle. The Switchview Speedlever is a novel solution to a nagging problem. For more information, visit mgmtargets.com or call 888-767-7371.
The new ECO (Enhanced Combat Optic) from NCSTAR is an original design that combines a rugged optic with some solid features at a very reasonable price point. The ECO sports white and red navigation lights as well as a 5mw green laser, all of which are readily accessible via waterproof, side-mounted push buttons. There are three mounting positions for the included backup iron sights as well as a mounting platform for a piggyback micro red dot sight if desired. The integral optics offer a wide field of view (29 feet at 100 yards) as well as a fixed 4X magnification. The housing is aluminum, and the internal components are hardened for serious use. The ECO includes a locking throw lever quick-release mount. At less than $150 the ECO is a great value for the operator on a budget. For more information, visit ncstar.com or call 866-627-8278.
Nightforce ATACR Scopes
Nightforce scopes serve with U.S. and allied special operations units around the globe, and they have set a lofty standard among civilian shooters as well. New for this year is the ATACR (Advanced Tactical Riflescope) 4-16x42mm F1. The ATACR incorporates first focal plane technology and the flawless glass that characterizes all Nightforce products, as well as a Digilum illuminated reticle and an Integrated Power Throw Lever all into a remarkably compact package. Nightforce set out to build the most complete and precise mid-range optic on the planet, and the company might have just pulled it off. There is also a larger version, the ATACR 5-25x56mm F1, for those times when you need to really reach out there. Incorporating all of the cool-guy stuff of the smaller version, the bigger brother is ready to handle serious magnum calibers and monstrous recoil. For more information, visit nightforceoptics.com or call 208.476.9814.
Sig Sauer Bravo 4
Sig Sauer has jumped into the optics world head first with its new Bravo 4. Designed for MSR/AR rifles, Sig’s new fixed-power, prism-based Bravo sights are optimized for close- to medium-range targeting situations where speed is a must. The prism design allows for compact overall dimensions with high-resolution performance. The Bravo 4 with Stealth ID is as tough on the outside as it is on the inside—this is one rugged optic. The Bravo 4 is also the world’s first ultra-wide field of view battle sight. It offers an unmatched 45-percent wider field of view than the leading competitor. The flat, distortion-free target image also boasts unprecedented edge-to-edge clarity by means of low dispersion glass and a spherical lens design. For more information, visit sigsauer.com or call 603-610-3000.
Sig Sauer Romeo Sights
Sig’s new Romeo miniature reflex sights are waterproof and built around the company’s unified industrial design philosophy for the toughness to withstand the punishment of deployment while maintaining a confident zero. The Romeo 1 is built to be integrated directly onto the slide of your handgun while the Romeo 3 is slightly larger and optimized for MSR/AR and shotgun applications. For more information, visit sigsauer.com or call 603-610-3000.
Sig Sauer Tango 4
The Tango 4 supports MSR/AR platforms while sporting a 4-to-1 first-focal-plane, illuminated reticle, a 30mm main tube and easy-to-use zero-lock turrets with magnetic auto-locking at zero. The Tango 4 riflescopes are the ideal solution for shooters who want top-notch technology and real-world value. For more information, visit sigsauer.com or call 603-610-3000.
Steiner’s new 6x40mm Intelligent Combat Sight (ICS) integrates a laser rangefinder and a ballistic calculator into a rugged and compact tactical weapons sight. The ICS, a true electro-optical aiming device, provides trajectory compensation by automatically calculating the point of aim based on ammunition ballistics, measured distance and angle to the target out to 800 meters. Despite its sophisticated technology, the ICS is a ruggedized, simple-to-operate combat optic that requires minimal training. While the magnification is optimized for the 7.62x51mm, the ICS’s internal ballistic calculator is easily configurable for specific 5.56mm, 300 Blackout and .300 Win Mag cartridges. For more information, visit steiner-optics.com or call 888-228-7747.
Steiner’s new 1X holographic Micro Reflex Sight (MRS) weights only 70 grams. The MRS is perfect for engaging moving targets, CQB encounters and rapid-fire tactical situations. Its unlimited eye relief allows the operator to engage targets with both eyes open for wide peripheral vision and greater situational awareness. With its low profile, the MRS balances nicely on any shooting platform, and the 3-MOA red dot is easy to find and won’t obscure targets at longer distances. It’s fully adjustable for windage and elevation with 1-MOA clicks and 30 clicks of adjustment in either direction. The red dot can be set for automatic illumination control or manually adjusted through three brightness levels. For more information, visit steiner-optics.com or call 888-228-7747.
The fire control systems on high-end military weapon systems like the M1 tank, F35 fighter jet and Apache attack helicopter all incorporate technology that will capture a target within an image and keep a weapon oriented on it independent of the operator. TrackingPoint brings that same technology to long-range rifle-shooters.
Once a target is designated within the system, the onboard computer calculates the perfect ballistic solution and guarantees a hit, even taking into account modest winds. Taking this technology to the next level, the Tracking Point system is Wi-Fi enabled and allows anyone with an internet connection to stream real-time video and audio from a hunt. What’s more, control of the weapon can be managed remotely such that disabled shooters and hunters can now enjoy a real-world connection to the gun despite their disabilities.
TrackingPoint technology is expensive, but it is a legitimate game-changer. Now a computerized fire control system can do with a rifle what previously required months to years of training to master. For more information, visit tracking-point.com or call 512-222-0500.
Trijicon optics are staples within the tactical community. Commonly encountered in all of the U.S military services, law enforcement units across the country and countless Hollywood productions, Trijicon optics are proven effective and rugged. Now Trijicon has added to the VCOG (Variable Combat Optical Gunsight) to its extensive lineup. The VCOG is an externally powered gun sight that sports a variable power range from 1X to 6X. The sight uses a standard AA battery that is typically good for around 700 hours of operation. The sight is armored and waterproof to 66 feet. Trijicon reticles are some of the most effective anywhere and the VCOG sports several variations. For more information, visit trijicon.com or call 800-338-0563.
TruGlo TFX Sights
The new TFX tritium/fiber-optic day/night handgun sights from TruGlo are exceptionally unique. Featuring fully protected TFO technology encapsulated in a virtually indestructible configuration, the sights are impervious to oils, chemicals, cleaning solvents and ultra-sonic cleaning processes. Utilizing Swiss tritium for maximum brightness, the sights offer top-notch visibility in all shooting conditions, 24/7, without any batteries. The glowing inserts are also concealed so they cannot be seen by the target. For more information, visit truglo.com or call 888-887-8456.
While not an optic, per se, the Wilcox RAPTAR is a lightweight, integrated technology system that’ll help you get on target quickly. The RAPTAR harnesses and fuses an infrared (IR) laser, a visible Laser, an IR flood and a laser rangefinder—all within a single, compact, ruggedized, all-weather package. The system is designed to be repairable, unlike any current system in the field, and has the ability to be upgraded and expanded with emerging technology, producing an overall cost savings throughout the lifecycle. For more information, visit wilcoxind.com or call 603-431-1331.