We spent a good amount of time hitting the various optics manufacturers at SHOT 2017 looking for the offers for sniper related optics and found some interesting new products.
Leupold – Of course, one of the hot topics on everyone’s mind is what Leupold is going to replace the classic Mark 4 series of tactical scopes with. It appears that their current strategy is to offer new “tactical” models of existing scopes instead of a whole new tactical line of scopes. One of the direct replacements for the Mark 4 4.5-14x50mm scope is their new VX-3i with the large tactical elevation knob. The price point is about the same as the scope it replaces, but we are not impressed with the huge tactical knob up top and it didn’t feel as solid as the old Mark 4 with M1 knobs. The VX-6 HD was touted by the sales rep on the floor as the most appropriate and updated replacement for the Mark 4s, but they didn’t have the specs on elevation adjustment range for us. The one with the most promise seems to be their Mark 8 with the new M5C2 pinch to turn knob up top as well as some increased mounting area on the tube. Price is about $2k. We are going to head back and try to get more specs on the new models from another rep as well.
There is also a new push button dimming option on the Leupold illuminated reticles and it seems like they have the lowest illumination level nice and dim as it should be. More info will be coming as we bring one in for review.
Kruger Optical – Most people figured that there would eventually be a carbon fiber tube scope on the market and a new small scope manufacturer called Kruger Optical has released such a scope and we were initially pretty excited. The carbon fiber tube is pretty neat, but the details need some work. The knobs were mushy and there was some fog inside the tube on one of the lenses of the demo model, but it is made in the USA and we plan to follow the progress to see how the final product turns out.
Trijicon – One of the cool things that Trijicon is showing off is their clip-on thermal optic that mounts to the front of the traditional day optic sight. There is a bit of configuration that needs to be done to co-align the reticles, but once it is setup, it has the capability of detecting temperature variations of .001 of a degree. You literally could see foot prints in the carpet which adds a new means of tracking out in the field.
US Optics – USO has been talking up their new Bravo line of scopes for a bit now and they are finally out there and ready to go and honestly, they look pretty good. The price point is solid and their new features are right in line with other higher end tactical scopes. Right now the Bravo is only available with the Gen 2 EREK knobs in MIL, but other options will be online later. They have 34mm tubes and many reticle options and their new knobs are tool-less so you can “slip your knobs” without any tools. The other big thing with the Bravo series is that they are much lighter than the old classic USO line of scopes. The 1.8-10x is about $1500 (give or take).
Bell and Carlson – We also have been looking at things other than optics and we noticed that Bell and Carlson appears to be working on adding an adjustable length of pull to their new Target/Competition stock we did a on a review on a few weeks back. Nothing firm yet, but we’ll keep you posted.