The first thing I will mention is that the US Optics website is a little rough around the edges,
at least at this time. There is some info, but there are several errors and bugs with broken
images and it makes it hard to get some detailed info at times. It was worse a few days ago so
it looks like there is at least some work being done on it and while this does not reflect
on the quality of the scopes and some may argue
that they would rather they build quality scopes and not quality web pages, but to me, it seems
a customer facing portal to your company should be looking sharp and putting a good foot forward.
But anyway, moving beyond that...
The scope itself appears to be excellent with a good design. The tube is rugged and looks nice
with its green anodized finish. It is matte and tactical in nature, which makes it a little
strange that they would put their US Optics logo so large and in white. Why not a subdued black
color and a bit smaller? Just seems odd and out of place on a scope designed for purely tactical
The knobs on the scope are worth mentioning, as this scope comes with the metric EREK knob with its
90 clicks of adjustment per revolution. The neat thing about the metric version is that it is very
nicely suited for the mil reticules out there. This scope has the nice GAP Mil reticule that allows
for the ability to measure 10 mils below the horizontal. The reason the metric knobs work so well
is because each click is 1cm, and if you remember that a milliradian is 1 measure of unit at 1000
measures of unit and doing a little bit of math, you come to realize that each click of the metric
knob is 1/10th Milliradian, and the knob is conveniently marked as such. So if you need to go 1 mil high
at 100 meters, dial in 10 clicks, or a full decemeter, and you are there. It is different than the
traditional MOA method, but the concepts are the same, you are just using a reticule that is
compatible with the knobs. It is a smart idea and has been growing in popularity.
I have been mentioning it on other scopes, so I'll need to do it here as
well, there is no indicator showing which way is up or down when viewing the knobs while positioned
from behind the scope (shooting position). I prefer there to be a visual reminder, though you can
tell by the direction the numbers are counting. I just like to eliminate as much thinking as possible
during stessful situations.
The T-Pal portion of the scope is the side focus adjustment knob. The normal SN3 has a fixed objective
or optoinal adjustable
objective located up on the objective of the scope, but the T-Pal moves it to a side focus and it
works as one would expect. It is precise and allows for good focus on targets. Having the focus on the
side is a much desired feature, though you do have to pay for it on the SN3, which is a bit odd for
a scope in this price range. This scope was also ordered with an illuminated reticule which
illuminates the entire reticule and not just the center portion as some others do. There are several
steps of brightness and there is no leaking light anywhere I could detect. Though the knob is placed
extremely close to the windage adjustment knob, in fact, the caps actually will touch each other if
you go to pull the cap off of the illuminated controls while the windage cap is still in place. It
can use a little extra room there. The illuminated reticule knob is also directly behind the
windage knob so you cannot see any markings or anything while behind the scope, but that is not too
critical for the illuminated controls, unless you accidentally put it on a low setting which may not
obviously show the user it is still on. The windage knob does have markings indicating L & R direction
that are visable while in the shooting position behind the scope.
The power ring is nicely placed and large when compared to the likes of Leupold or others. It does not
have a protrusion for helping grip the ring like those others, but it is large enough and has nice
checkering on it to easily allow the operator to grip it firmly and adjust the power.
The ring rotates around the tube and does not rotate the eyepiece like the Burris scopes and it
accomplishes everything it needs to. The numbers are well marked with large numbers and a dot on top
to indicate what power the ring is set at.
The reticule is the GAP mil-reticule that expands on the normal mildot reticule concept and is similar to the
MP8 reticule from IOR. It is nicely numbered to help prevent having to count down or up to determine
where you are at, which is especially helpful on the 9 mils that extend below the horizontal stadia.
I would recommend, to reduce some of the clutter and obscuring less of the target,
perhaps half as many numbers would probably provide the same effect (just 3 & 6 for example),
and the numbers along the horizontal are probably not needed, as there
are none above the horizontal and it is the same 4 mils. The half mil marks are only marked on one side
of the stadia and this works well to clearly identify them as the half mil marks. The best part about
the scope/reticule is that it sits in the first focal plane meaning it is always accurate no matter
what power the scope is set at. The picture below was taken while the scope was set at 3.2x while the
picture at the top of the page was taken at 17x. You can compare and see the reticule shrinks and
grows to always allow it to stay accurate. The crosshairs themselves are thick at the higher
magnifications and it makes for difficult precision shooting at a small target, but it also allows
for very good visibility of the reticule in tactical environments where the reticule can sometimes
disappear against the background. The lighted reticule is good for those scenarios as well.
At the range with the scope mounted on a .260 built by KMW, the scope performed very well as you would
expect. The knobs were precise and adjusted easily and with definitive tactile clicks. Shooting through
the box was very accurate with good repeatability. All of the other mechanical funtions of
the scope performed well with no real stories to report. I did like the feel of the EREK knob as it is
easy to grip even with gloves on and has a nice adjustment feel for the clicks.
Of course, everyone wants to know about the optical quality, which is the hardest thing to compare.
This scope has the honeycomb filter that is suppose to enhance low light target detail and allow you
to see into shadows better, but honestly, I'm
not sure I can say I notice a difference and it almost seems like it hinders light gathering and
brightness during normal conditions, but it is very difficult to say for sure. Either way, the
scope has good optics, about on par with other higher end scopes, but I would also say it is probably
not better either, and not quite up to the very high end scopes such as the Schmidt & Bender scopes.
The scope is a very good scope and if you need a custom scope with specific features, USO is the way
to go. I like the power ring and the EREK knob is nice, though S&B is able to get just as many
adjustments (actually more) per revolution with a standard size knob, but the EREK knob offers some
unique and innovative zeroing capabilities to adjust where the bottom of the adjustment range is in
relation to the knob. I prefer the more compact
shape and design of the S&B but the USO does have all the options you could want and you can get
some very unique scopes that fit your specific need, and for that, the USO is hard to beat.