This year, Aimpoint’s big news is a very small sight. The 3.5-ounce Micro S-1 was developed for mid-barrel mount- ing on shotguns, where its optical axis is only 14mm above the rib. It features a 6-MOA dot with 12 intensity settings. Zero magnification means you see the target and the dot suspended in space, so you can ignore the gun— as any shotgun instructor would urge.
Few scopes for AR-style rifles are quicker than the new 1-6x24mm RT-6. And none this short deliver 6X magnification. An illuminated Ballistic AR reticle adds versatility to this 30mm sight. Also for 2017, the MTAC 1-4x24mm for AR carbines comes several camo finishes, including SkullTac. For more power in “tactical” optics, there’s Burris’ XTR II series, now with non- illuminated reticles and a 5-25x50mm scope with a Dark Earth finish. Burris has also continually upgraded and trimmed its Eliminator, a laser-ranging riflescope that not only shows you the distance but illuminates an aiming point on the reticle’s verti- cal wire for a dead-on hold. You can choose 3-12x44mm or 4-16x50mm models.
SMRS stands for Short Midrange Rifle Scope, a new entry in Bushnell’s Elite Tactical line. It joins the DMR II-i, a scope whose illuminated reticle is controlled by a knob integrated with the side parallax adjustment. The target-style elevation dial yields 10 mils of adjustment per revolution. It also has a “RevLimiter” device for a positive return to zero. Specifically for AR-style rifles, Bushnell has trotted out the Enrage red-dot sight with eight brightness settings and a 2-MOA dot. Its multi-coated optics deliver bright, crisp images. According to the company, its battery life is double that of its predecessor. Another new AR Optics red-dot sight, the Incinerate, has a circle-dot reticle. Handgunners should also like the Engulf reflex with its 5-MOA dot. These AR sights work with Bushnell’s new 3X magnifier installed behind the optic on a flip mount. You can use the magnifier or instantly swing it out of the way.
Modern and clinically spotless, Kahles’ new facility is now producing a line of top-shelf riflescopes. The K16i is an illuminated 1-6x24mm scope with a 30mm tube and a second-focal-plane (SFP) reticle. It has an integrated throw lever on the power dial and weighs 17 ounces. The 6-24x56mm K624i and 10-50x56mm K1050 MOAK weigh 34 and 31 ounces. The K624i has a first-focal-plane reticle in a 34mm tube. It affords 26 mils of elevation with two turns of the dial. The K1050’s 30mm tube wears a top-side parallax dial and houses an SFP reticle.
For 2017, the 3.5-25x56mm Mark 8 has a non-illuminated, first-focal-plane (FFP) reticle and a low-profile ZeroLock elevation dial with a tactile, visible rotation indicator. There are also new VX-3i LRP (Long Range Precision) scopes in 4-14x50mm, 6.5-20x50mm and 8.5-25x50mm versions with FFP or SFP reticles and mil or MOA adjustments. A dial travel indicator prevents full-rotation errors. A throw lever makes power changes fast and easy. The LRP complements five other new VX-3i hunting scopes. The VX-6HD line updates the VX-6 with an internal cant indicator and Leupold’s Twilight Max Light Management System, plus ZeroLock dials. A CDS dial marked to match the trajectory of any load you specify is included. The 38 reticles for Leupold scopes include six new designs that help you compensate for bullet drop.
Meopta optics deliver exceptional value, and the company’s newest scopes are found in the ZD 30mm line with 1-4x22mm, 4-16x44mm and 6-24x56mm models. For 2017, there’s also the 34mm MeoTac, an illuminated 3-12x50mm scope. Its FFP reticle has 16 brightness settings. The side parallax dial adjusts focus from 27 yards to infinity. You get 100 MOA of lift from the elevation dial. Also for 2017, the MeoSight III reflex sight is joined by an even more compact MeoRed with 60 MOA of adjustment and 300 hours of battery life.
Targets too far to hit with ordinary optics may be in jeopardy with the new Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56mm F1. Despite its 34mm tube and 39-ounce heft, this illuminated scope is sleek and only 16 inches long. It has features you’d expect from Nightforce: ED glass, a dial for parallax correction, a power ring lever and your choice of either an MOA or mil FFP reticle. You also get 100 MOA of elevation and a built-in zero stop. Another new ATACR, an illuminated 4-16x50mm model, weighs 33 ounces. The 34mm tube features a parallax dial and an MOA or mil-dot reticle.
In its centennial year, Nikon has announced the Black X1000 riflescope, a 30mm 4-16x50mm model with an illuminated MOA or mil, or a non-illuminated MOA reticle. A 6-24x50mm model features a lighted X-MRAD reticle only. The parallax correction dial pairs with a 10-position illumination dial. Target-style windage and elevation adjustments are easy to grasp, and rotation indicators prevent full-rotation elevation errors. The new Black Force1000 serves AR carbines with an illu- minated double-horseshoe Speedforce reticle. Like the Black X1000’s, it’s glass etched. Nikon also offers Black series mounts for these scopes.
Innovations at Schmidt & Bender are often internal, advancing the utility of its riflescopes with features like this year’s “intelligent” Long Range reticle, available in four PM IIs. Without cluttering the field, it helps you hit at distance. It may be the first reticle to include two mathematical formulas, visible at field’s edge, for long shots. The Multi-Turn II “intelligent elevation adjustment” ensures repeatable zeros. A lever lets you lock the dial, release it for adjustment or index a “More Tactile Click” setting so you can better feel each bump. It has a sub-zero stop setting and a dial window to indicate the rotation number. Schmidt & Bender’s Police/Marksman line is better known than the hunting models, now represented by the 34mm Polar line (2.5-10x50mm, 3-12x54mm, 4-16x56mm), the 30mm Stratus stable (1.1-5x24mm, 1.5-8x42mm, 2.5- 13x56mm) and the 30mm 1-8x24mm Exos.
ED glass and target-style, 0.1-MOA locking dials, a 34mm tube and 10X to 50X magnification behind 60mm front glass— these and other features define Sightron’s new riflescope series, the SVSS. Built to deliver precise hits at distance, it has both coarse and fine focus/parallax adjust- ments and your pick of two illuminated and two non-illuminated reticles. There’s also now a line of 1-inch hunting scopes to complement Sightron’s SIH Field Target models. The 3-9x32RF, for rimfires, weighs less than 12 ounces. Sightron’s new SRS-6 red-dot sight features a 6-MOA dot with four brightness settings. It comes with a sturdy mount to fit Picatinny and Weaver rails.
The WHISKEY5 scope delivers sharp, bright images and 5X magnification, and the Gen 2 series has zero-lock dials. The LevelPlex reticle also alerts you to canting, which can cause a miss. This reticle is also available in four TANGO6 models: a 1-6x24mm, 3-18x44mm, 4-24x50mm and 5-30x56mm. The tube diameters range from 1 inch to 34mm, depending on model and magnification. A motion-sensitive switch kills illumination after two minutes of inactivity but restores it instantly when the rifle is moved. With some scopes you’ll get a custom Sig Ballistic Turret for a specific load. Finally, ROMEO6 sights offer a solar-power option to illuminate circle-dot and plex reticles.
With its roots in military optics, Steiner has added several combat sights to its catalog. The M332 and M536 feature an updated quick-release mount for Weaver/Picatinny rails. The R1X reflex sight lets you change from a single dot to a three-dot reticle. The 1-4x24mm P4Xi riflescope has an illuminated reticle with five daytime and six nighttime settings, and a convenient “off” detent between each pair.
The new Z8i series of 30mm riflescopes is Swarovski’s most versatile ever. A “Flexchange” feature on the 1-8x24mm and 1.7-13x42mm models lets you switch on or off a lighted ring around the lighted dot reticle. The Z8i scopes accept Swarovski trajectory-matched elevation dials. Other scope lines from Swarovski include the Z3 and Z5 (1-inch) and Z6i (30mm). The Z3 replaced the AVs, with 3-9x36mm, 3-10x42mm and 4-12x50mm models. The Z6i illuminated scopes include a 1-6x24mm model with extra-long eye relief for scar-free shots with “stopping” rifles. The X5’s 30mm scopes come in 3.5-18x50mm and 5-25x56mm versions, the latter with 0.3- or 0.1-MOA clicks. A window shows the rotation number so you won’t make full-rotation errors.
The ACOG made Trijicon famous, and the company followed with AccuPoint riflescopes for hunters, the RMR reflex sight, and now HD binoculars and spotting scopes—plus illuminated tactical riflescopes and iron sights. Trijicon optics rely on tritium or LED illumination, or both. For 2017, Trijicon has unveiled the 1-8x28mm AccuPower LED riflescope, the latest in a series. It boasts a 34mm tube and lockable, resettable adjustment dials in MOA or mils. A 100-MOA elevation range puts distant targets in reach. The intensity of the illuminated red or green reticle (a segmented circle in the FFP) is controlled by an 11-setting dial with “off” detents between each pair.
Vortex is nos offering a Gen II Viper PST with a zero stop and a fiber-optic dial rotation indicator. Most of the 30mm scopes in this line have 5X magnification ranges, but there’s a 1-6x24mm, too. Scratch-resistant coatings protect the exterior lenses. The Diamondback Tactical Riflescope line brings the best features to lightweight 1-inch tubes that can be mounted low, improving rifle balance. You can choose a 3-9x40mm or 4-12x40mm model. The Wisconsin firm has also trotted out a Razor AMG UH-1 holographic weapon sight with the durability and efficiency of a red-dot sight, plus distortion-free images and reticle patterns specific to holographic sights. This 1X sight has a 2-MOA dot, runs on a CR123A battery and weighs 12 ounces.
The premier Zeiss riflescope series is now the Victory V8, with four 36mm models: 1-8x30mm, 1.8-14x50mm, 2.8-20x56mm and 4.8-35x60mm. The 8X magnification and big glass deliver unmatched versatility and brightness. Yes, you can find 36mm rings, but you won’t have to, as Talley rings are included with each V8 scope, with a “Switchview” throw lever you can install for fast power changes. A Kenton Custom Ballistic Turret comes with some models.
Optics have become steadily more sophisticated, with features from illumination to laser ranging to reticles that track your bullet’s arc for dead-on holds out yonder. Zoom ranges in riflescopes have grown from 3X to 4X, then 5X, 6X, 8X, even 10X. Glass coatings these days make images sharper and brighter, shed rain and shield lenses from abrasion and selectively pass wavelengths of light. But these improvements increase the prices of optics. Many scopes now far exceed the cost of the rifles they serve! Thankfully, your choices abound. Whether your inheritance leaves you too much to spend responsibly or your children need shoes, you have many options.
For more information about the optics and sights featured in the gallery above, please visit the following sites.
Schmidt & Bender
This article was originally published in “Tactical Weapons” November/December 2017. To order a copy and subscribe, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.