Ready to get on target? Check out these top optics.
What are the best optics to come out recently:
- Crimson Trace CTS-1100 Battlesight
- BSA AIR 4-12×44 Outlook Air Riflescope
- RT-S MOD 5 GEN2 6-24X50IR-FFP
- Nikon P-Tactical SuperDot
- Monarch M5 3-12x42SF M BDC
- Revic PMR 428
- Sig Sauer Romeo8 Red Dot
If you've drawn a live breath in the last 25 years or so, you’re more than cognizant there’s been a revolution in how we aim our guns. Not that iron sights are smoldering on the ash heap of history, but the advancements in optics have — for the most part — relegated them to second fiddle. Rest assured, they're in the bullpen, always warmed up if called into the game, but if you’re shooting to get and stay on target nowadays your eye is behind a piece of glass — close-, mid- and long-range.
Read Also: Top Optics From 2018
Is it for the best? Like beauty, it’s in the eye of the beholder. A more complex system, certainly there’s an argument they create stomping room for gremlins to creep into your weapons system. But the results of a fully-operational optic, be it a long-range scope for antelope season or an up-close-and-personal red-dot on a self-defense carbine, speak for themselves. They just plain get you on target and keep you there.
Choices abound in aiming solutions, and not everyone is worth your time and hard-earned money. But we’ve got the inside edge on the glass that will get you (and your bullet, of course) where it needs to go. So, without further foofaraw, here are seven out-of-sight optics that will help you drop your next round exactly where it needs to be.
New for 2019 is Crimson Trace’s new battlesight, the CTS-1100, which offers a fixed 3.5x magnification with an illuminated reticle, complete with holdover that matches most 5.56 rounds out to 500 yards when fired out of a carbine-length barrel. This is a terrific solution for engaging a field of full-sized silhouettes out to standard combat distances or for any hunting for which a large field of view is required. MSRP: $549
Included in the line of BSA air riflescopes is this very versatile 4-12x magnification offering. This scope is built specifically to handle the reverse recoil that tears a normal scope to pieces on the inside. With parallax settings all the way down to 10 yards, this is an ideal setup for close-range pest control, as well as introductory target shooting for new shooters. MSRP: $113.99
The Mod 5 is Riton’s mid-grade line of optics. The 6-24x option of this line provides precision shooters with everything they need for long-range engagements—and for a price that doesn’t break the bank. This optic includes an illuminated reticle, as well as MOA subtentions that span down the entire length of the reticle, thus allowing for less dialing and faster shots. MSRP: $569
The Nikon P tactical SuperDot has offered shooters a lightning-fast ultra-bright alternative to iron sights. With 10 different brightness settings, a shooter can tailor the 2 MOA dot to best suit their eyes and light conditions. The first two settings are even night vision-compatible for the professional or the late-night hog or coyote hunter.
The M5 is built on a robust 30mm tube that gives it enough adjustment to reach out to the long ranges that have become commonplace in today’s hunting scenarios. This new line from Nikon also incorporates its spring-loaded turret cap system for tool-less resets once a shooter has achieved zero. The 4x zoom of the 3-12x magnification range of this optic makes it an ideal whitetail scope with the BDC reticle. MSRP: $499.95
The biggest challenge in long-range shooting is knowing what the environment will do to your trajectory. The Revic PMR 428 is a robust, high-quality optic that incorporates a weather station and ballistic calculator to give you an instantaneous fire solution that requires nothing more than a spin of the elevation turret. Built on a 34mm main tube, the Revic allows for adjustment that will exceed what most rifles are capable of. MSRP: $2,850
The Sig Sauer Romeo8 is the latest evolution of its signature red-dot line. The Romeo8 was designed to meet and exceed the ruggedness requirements of the military, law enforcement and the civilian shooter who is particularly hard on their gear. Sig’s new-for-2019 optic utilizes an interchangeable 2 MOA reticle that can be switched on the fly to four different styles, many of which include ballistic holdovers to accommodate long-range shots. MSRP: $599.99
Scope Out More Optics Info:
- 8 Revolutionary Reticles For Long-Range Accuracy
- Buying the Perfect Precision Scope
- The Best Tactical Red-Dot Performance-to-Price Option?
- Shifting Winds: SIG BDX Changing Shooting For The Better
Vortex knows that for close-in work and general shooting tasks, it’s tough to beat a high-quality red-dot when both fast target acquisition and precision count. The Crossfire is designed to be incredibly light, ultra-compact and extremely durable. The sight features a 2-MOA red dot bracketed by a skeletonized housing unit that features 1x magnification — all from a package that weighs a touch over 5 ounces and measures 2.5 inches in length. MSRP: $220 www.vortexoptics.com
Nikon Black FX1000
Engineered to deliver consistently long shots with confident precision, the Nikon Black FX1000 is a 4-16X50mm configuration poised to be a serious contender in the long-range area. The FX1000 integrates Nikon’s long-standing optics reputation into a first-focal-plane system to create sharp images and ergonomic dialing functionality at any magnification and at any distance. Glass-etched tactical reticles are paired with high-speed turrets to quickly create repeatable distance corrections and intuitive holds. In addition, the FX1000 introductions Nikon’s new Black Return-to-Zero integral zero-stop. MSRP: $650 www.nikonsportoptics.com
SIG Electro-Optics Romeo5 and Juliette4
The Romeo5 compact 1x20mm red-dot provides a 1x aiming solution, ultra-low parallax, unlimited eye-relief and more than 50,000 hours of runtime. The sight also features Sig Electro-Optics’ MOTAC (Motion Activated Illumination) technology, which increases battery life by shutting down the system when not in use and instantly activates the system when it senses the slightest vibration or movement. The Juliette4 is a 4x magnifier designed to work as a stand-alone magnification unit or in conjunction with reflex optics. The magnifier can be adjusted for height and has a PowerCam 90-degree mount so it can be quickly flipped to the side as needed. MSRP: $219/Romeo5; $479/Juliette4 www.sigsauer.com
Leupold Mark 5HD
Leupold touts the Mark5HD as up to 20 ounces lighter than other scopes in its class. In addition, exterior lens surfaces are treated with DiamondCoat 2 for high light transmission, solid edge-to-edge clarity and extreme low-light performance. The Mark 5HD features three revolutions of elevation adjustment to keep pace with long-range rifles and ammo, audible click adjustments on the turrets and a high-speed throw lever. Configurations include the 5-25x56mm and 3.6-18X44mm (pictured). MSRP: $2,400 www.leupold.com
Tract TORIC UHD 4-20X50mm
The Tract Toric UHD (Ultra-High Definition) 4-20x50mm riflescope features an optical design that promotes maximum light transmission using SCHOTT High Transmission glass, ED lenses and a fully multi-coated lens system. Engineered in the United States and built in Japan, the Toric is designed around a 30mm main tube and, despite being a relatively new brand, has gotten up to speed very quickly in regard to packing in all the bells and whistles serious shooters expect — and even a few features that setting the bar, including a very unique reticle system. They’re definitely worth a look. MSRP: $1,154 www.tractoptics.com
March Optics Genesis ELR
The Genesis was born a few years ago by a team of long-range shooters searching for a scope that could be used to shoot more than 2 miles without external influences. According to March Optics, the Genesis “will extend the accuracy capability of modern rifles without the need for modifications, including inclined rails, adjustable mounts or prism systems.” The Genesis ELR 6-60X56mm features up to 400 MOA of elevation, uses first-focal-plane technology — and the design allows the shooter to always see through the central part of the lens to maximize clarity and definition. Also incorporated is the High Master lens system, utilizing ED lenses with high refractive index glass for high resolution and natural color right to the edge of the image. MSRP: $5,000 www.marchoptics.com
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the 2018 Shooter's Guide issue and updated from the 2019 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.
Frank Melloni contributed to this article.