Variable-power scopes are the norm in the tactical world these days. Small tubes offering little to no elevation have been replaced by 30 or 34mm tubes offering enough adjustment to reach longer ranges. Today’s glass is clear and provides great clarity. Improved light gathering allows for better low-light capability, with dozens of reticle choices. Adjustments are made with large, strong and precise knobs. They include zero stops, covers or protection from being bumped. Resetting the knobs no longer requires a complete set of tools and a magnifying glass. Movement to the first focal plane allows for accurate ranging at any power and incredible versatility for the operator. Lastly, today’s variable-power scopes are built for real-world use by operators in the field. The tactical operator has spoken, and for the most part, the industry has really stepped up to the plate.
The only real issue has always been cost. Some of the European models require a second mortgage. With prices reaching into the $4,000 range, they are just not within reach for the vast majority of tactical operators. Even the mid-range these days is $2,500, and that is still difficult for many departments or operators. There have been a few imports that get the price right but simply do not pass muster for reliability. What we really needed was a good, old-fashioned American icon of a scope company making a true tactical scope within the reach of most operators. It looks like that day is here. Bushnell has introduced its HDMR line of tactical scopes, and they are great assets.
A recent trip to Rifles Only in Kingsville, Texas, provided the opportunity to get behind one of these excellent scopes. The military representative for Bushnell was there to answer any questions and provide some details. The first thing he made clear was that these scopes had all been used, abused and tested thoroughly by our most elite warriors. These were not upgraded scopes—they were built from the ground up with the input of actual operators. They were designed to be rugged, simple and precise in all conditions.