We reviewed our first Falcon Scope a few months back, the Merlin 10x42T tactical scope, and we liked what we saw for the price range that the scope was offered in, and we even brought some in ourselves and sold them. Since then, Falcon has continued to develop their scope lineup and they went ahead and revised their 10×42 tactical scope and upgraded it in several ways. The new scope is called the Menace 10×42 and while they considered offering both models, they ultimately decided that they could get the price close enough that they could just replace the old Merlin with the new Menace without much of a price increase to the buyer. So here we are with a new Menace in hand and ready to give it a workover….
The Menace scope is may be different from the old Merlin, but they do appear to have the same tube shape. One thing we noticed right off the bat is that the Menace packaging is not nearly as nice as the old Merlin, but to me, that is not much of a deal, as the box gets either stored away or thrown away after you mount the scope, rarely to be used again. So, save the money on the packaging and put it into the scope, which is what it appears they did. The scope also only comes with the single sunshade instead of the two that the Merlin had, but again, the 2 was overkill, and even one is not required as the scope has the same integral 50mm Sunshade as the Merlin did. The scope comes with a lens cloth and an Allen wrench for the turrets, but noticeably absent again is any sort of instructions.
The scope itself has the nice even matte anodized finish. The one piece aluminum tube is nicely shaped and there is a fairly large fast focus adjustable eye piece (diopter adjustment). The eye piece has a rubber ring to help prevent injury if the shooter gets too close to the scope when firing, which can be a problem with high powered rifles as there is only about 3.0″ of eye relief.
Like the Merlin it replaces, the lenses are sourced from Japan and are made to a specified Falcon standard. The big difference is that this standard has been upgraded for the Menace, which now has 92% light transmission vs. the 88% or so for the Merlin. The lenses are all truly multi coated front and back. Like the Merlin, the tube and the majority of the assembly are sourced from China and final assembly and quality control happen at Falcon Optics in the United Kingdom. Falcon indicates that the overall quality has been upgraded where it could be, and the end result appears to be a nice overall product.
The knobs are significantly different than the Merlin and are a completely different shape, with a more tapered appearance and less surface area for markings. I like the look of the knobs better and functionality has not been altered. One of the nice changes to the knobs include directional markings (which way is up) which are visible from behind the scope. This isn’t something critical, but in stressful moments it is nice to have little reminders. There are horizontal hash marks for the elevation knob to indicate how many revolutions you have gone with the elevation knob. When down toward the bottom of the adjustment range all the hash marks are covered, which is fine.
The windage knob also counts up in both directions which is a feature we like in tactical scopes. There are 15 MOA of adjustment per revolution for a total of a factory specified 120 MOA of elevation which is plenty for a 308 to zero from 100 – 1000 without a tapered base. The knobs are also attached using a single Allen screw on both the windage and elevation knob. The upgrade from a Phillips screw to an Allen head screw is very appreciated and the scope does come with an Allen wrench to fit those screws. To “slip” the rings you remove the screw, lift the knob up and then reattach it on the “zero” mark. The knobs have a good audible click but again they continue to have a soft and mushy feel like the Merlin, which we do not like. The adjustments are 1/4 MOA per click in both elevation and windage.
The side focus, or parallax adjustment, is of the same design as the other knobs and is another welcomed change over the Merlin. The focus knob itself is fairly stiff and hasn’t as of yet loosened up any and remains stiff. I suppose this is good to keep the knob where it was last adjusted, but it is a bit hard to turn with just two fingers. That being said, the focus knob works as designed and the scope adjusts to a nice clear picture. The markings on the knob go up to 1000 yards and then to infinity.
The scope is available in both the mil-dot reticule with skeleton large stadia and their MP20 reticule which is the same as the IOR MP8, and is a nice reticule design. This test scope came with the mil-dot reticule as the MP20’s were not quite ready. There is no documentation on the use of mils or anything else, so familiarity of mil-dots is good to have, but of course, you do not have to know mils in order to use the scope effectively. The reticule is a good design with all the merits of the mil-dot design. The skeleton feature on the large stadia doesn’t really do anything or offer any benefit, and I would probably prefer solid stadia lines to help with picking up the reticule in low light conditions or with complex dark backgrounds.
Each lens is fully multi coated front and back and optical performance appears to be good with a bright and clear picture even in dusk/dawn conditions. It is very difficult to compare optics in the modern era (you have heard me say that before), but perhaps it is just best to say I could not find any obvious flaws in the optics that would show me inferior quality and the sight picture was crisp and bright in all the shooting situations I have yet to try it in. It compares favorably with nikons and low/midrange leupolds. The field of view is fairly wide, in fact 3 feet wider than the Merlin at 100 yards, which was another nice upgrade to the optics.
At the range the scope performed well with easy focusing on the various targets at different ranges and in different light conditions. We took it out on an early morning with overcast skies and the scope performed as needed then as well. The adjustments were also easy to use and read; though the knobs probably don’t have quite as good a gripping surface as the Merlin knobs, but it is still very good even with my nomex gloves on during the early morning. The adjustments were precise in all the shooting exercises we performed. Shooting the box showed excellent repeatable adjustments and I could not find any real fault with the scope mechanically, though it was a new scope. It is a solid offering for a tactical scope in this price range and the fixed 10x probably will help with durability. Though I will say I found fault with the cheap flip up scope caps that come with the scope. They really are cheap, a Butler Creek, they are not. The rear eye cover did not have enough spring force and when I fired it would flip down and tap my head during recoil which was extremely annoying, so I removed it and tossed it. The one on the front worked fine but the quality just isn’t very good on them. They have no bearing on the quality of the scope, but I would probably prefer not to have any caps than to have the cheap ones, as it may give the wrong impression on a very nice scope.
In the Merlin review I mentioned that they were a decent competitor to the nice SWAF Super Sniper scopes, I would say that the Menace is even a better competitor with the better optics and overall build quality, but we have not seen good long term durability on these Falcon scopes and would have to give the edge to the SWFA scopes.