6 Out-Of-Sight Optics For Every Range And Budget


Ready to get on target? Check out these top optics.

What are the best optics to come out recently:

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 moldering 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.

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 six out-of-sight optics that will help you drop your next round exactly where it needs to be.

Vortex Crossfire

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 of Gun Digest the Magazine.


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  1. I would not throw iron sights on the trash heap just yet. Basic marksmanship skills are better taught with them than on scoped firearms. And in close quarters rapid engagements sighting through a scope may be the least of your concerns. There is definitely a time and place for scopes, but iron sights will probably always have their place too.

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