Whether shooting, hiking, hunting, birdwatching, or golfing, having a quality optic provides the best outdoor experience. From rangefinders to spotting scopes, top leading companies have been producing scopes, sights and optics to support the adventure of modern outdoor lovers.
With advancement and technology, you are represented with a wide range of optical gear to choose from and get the best deal for your unique requirement. You won’t believe that there are tons of optics out there, and even the most enthusiastic adventurers may not be aware of the advanced technology used in today’s optics and scopes.
To enhance your knowledge, we have compiled this essential guide of outdoor scopes and optics to help you understand the wide range of products available on the market and which optics will assist in advancing the outdoor sports experience. So, without further ado, let us focus on the details of different optics available on the market.
Essential Optics For Adventures In Outdoor
Binoculars or field glasses are designed to assist you to see distant objects. That means you can get up close and personal with distant objects or wildlife. These devices are integrated with two magnifying telescopes attached close together. Binoculars make it easier for the viewers to use both eyes to see long-distance wildlife or objects clearer and wider compared to viewed through naked eyes.
When buying a binocular for the first, you would notice a mathematical equation in the name. It’s a series of numbers to represent the ability or the features of a certain product. That mathematical equation would contain an ‘x’ between them and probably look like 2-8×42 or 8×42.
The number on X’s left represents the magnification power, and the number on the right represents the diameter of an objective lens. For instance, in the above example, you can see that a binocular with 8×42 allows you to make the image of the field larger by eight times compared to what you see through naked eyes.
Or, if you have a binocular with 2-8×42, that means it has a variable magnification that allows you to adjust the magnification according to your requirements instead of staying at a fixed power. In the given an example, the binocular features a magnification power ranging from 2-8x. On the other hand, the second number written after the ‘x’ is used for representing the diameter of an objective lens.
You must know that an objective lens is responsible for delivering a crystal clear image of the field. That means the wider an objective lens is, the brighter and clearer the field of view you have. In addition, an objective lens will let in the ambient light to ensure you get a better view of the target and help you make the most out of your outdoor sports adventures.
The measurements of an objective lens are done in millimeters. The higher the number, the thicker and larger the lens will be. That means it will have maximum light inside to make it easier for you to spot the object or wildlife. You must know that a larger objective lens will deliver a clearer, brighter image.
Before purchasing a binocular, you must define your purpose for using a binocular because there are different types of binoculars available in the market. One of them is bridging binoculars, you should know that it has different features compared to binoculars made for hunting.
There is a slight difference between both purposes, hunters usually use a bino to spot the game, and birders use them to focus on the fine details of a bird they observe from a distance. Professional bird watchers appraise compact and lightweight binoculars to avoid getting tired when holding the bino for a prolonged period.
Plus, there are other variants with larger objective lenses that can deliver crisp and fine details of the field. So that you can adore the beautiful wildlife with your eyes.
Hunters need to be aware of their surroundings and know how to use their eyes to spot their target before shooting. To ease the process, hunters need the right binoculars to observe and spot the target. When looking for the best hunting binoculars, you must consider the durability factors.
When hunting in the woods, it is most likely that your binoculars will get hit, bumped, dropped and knocked around. So, it is better to choose a binocular that is well-built and sturdy to ensure they can withstand harsh hunting environments.
Plus, you should look for a binocular that comes purged with nitrogen and covered in rubber armor. It will make it resistant to water, fog, and shock.
Night Vision Binoculars
Night vision binoculars are designed to make it easier for your eyes to see objects and wildlife, even in low light conditions. Even though these night vision binoculars are often used for military purposes, but today’s any civilian can use this type of binoculars for multiple purposes.
Night vision binoculars are used for raccoon, feral hog, and coyote hunting. You can also use them to view wildlife and outdoor nighttime games like paintball, airsoft, etc.
Monoculars are like small telescopes or a half part of good binoculars. Like binoculars, you can also use a monocular for viewing distant objects and wildlife. The main difference is that you would use both eyes when watching through binoculars, and monoculars will offer a viewing space of a single eye.
You can easily take this scope inside your pocket as a mini-telescope. The best thing is that you can use it for wildlife viewing, birdwatching, hunting, observing the night sky, and even hiking.
Some people prefer buying a monocular instead of binoculars as they are lightweight, compact, and easy to carry inside your pocket. You should find a monocular with sturdy construction so that it doesn’t get damaged if it slips from your hand.
❸ Night Vision And Thermal Scopes
No doubt, humans face a lot of difficulties seeing at night, especially when spotting wildlife or hunting down your potential target. To cater for this demand, companies began to introduce the concept of night vision and thermal scopes to address this problem.
These devices and scopes will help you recognize and spot your target. It will also make you aware of the surroundings at night or under complete darkness. But these are integrated with different technology to deliver the same results or even better.
Most professional hunters often choose a thermal scope than night vision as these are designed to capture heat signatures and radiation to help you identify living things and other objects. Since thermal optics are integrated with heat-detecting mechanisms, they don’t require any light to produce clear images. That means you can use these devices in complete darkness and even spot the smallest creature behind the bushes or heavy vegetation.
Thermal imaging helps in spotting your potential target even in no light conditions. However, some hunters don’t recommend using thermal optics because of their heavy built structure compared to night vision. Also, thermal imaging is quite hard to determine due to a lack of details, which makes it challenging for shooters to take a precise shot.
Overall, thermal scopes are integrated with more features that enable you to recognize or spot your target in complete darkness and daylight. Unlike thermal scopes, night vision cannot provide a clear view of the target. Thermal scopes are integrated with heat sensors, which means you can easily detect the target regardless of the time.
Night vision devices are designed to capture the ambient light available in the environment and reflect it back. That way, it will help you see better in low light conditions. So, no matter whether you are using a night vision scope or night vision binoculars, both will deliver similar results. The moon and stars often produce enough light that enables night vision devices to produce images.
Today, modern night vision scopes are integrated with infrared illuminators to make it convenient to view your target under low light conditions. Even night vision goggles are integrated with similar technology to deliver high precision images. Everything comes with several downsides, and night vision devices are not an exception.
These devices are made from a decent material, which means they won’t perform well in harsh weather conditions. The image intensification tubes are used to amplify ambient lights, which are sensitive and more prone to damage when used in adverse hunting or shooting conditions or sunny lights. Plus, these are pretty pricey compared to other scopes and optics available on the market.
❹ Laser Rangefinders
A rangefinder is among the high-tech gadgets used for measuring distance with the help of a laser beam. Once the beam leaves the device, it reaches the target and bounces back to the sensors. The rangefinder will calculate the time taken by the beam to travel back to the sensors, it helps calculate the distance between you and the object.
With technological advancement and innovation, most laser rangefinders offer accurate measurement or slightly less than a yard. Some models are even integrated with military-grade technology, which can show measurements in decimal points.
Rangefinders For Long-Range Shooting
You all know that estimating the distance between a long-range target and you is nearly impossible with your naked eye. But, like hunters, most long-range shooting competitions allow shooters to use a rangefinder to know about the exact range to their objective.
So, if you are into long-range shooting, you must choose a rangefinder that can measure the distance accurately over 500 yards.
Rangefinder For Hunters
Hunters often use rangefinders to make accurate and precise shots. A Laser Rangefinder helps determine the exact distance between you and your target. You can easily make adjustments in your aim to compensate for the arrow or bullet drop due to wind and angle.
Rangefinders are an impressive piece of equipment used for measuring the distance between two points. However, you must know that rangefinders are essential for bowhunters as they will miss the shoot if they fall short on the distance calculation. So, you should choose a rugged and durable design to withstand adverse conditions.
You must also choose a rangefinder that can work under low light conditions since tons of shooting opportunities often represent themselves at dawn or right before dusk. And you probably don’t want to miss those opportunities, so get the best rangefinder to ensure accurate measurements.
When enjoying your time at the golf range, you can use a rangefinder to measure the distance up to the green so that you won’t have to trick yourself when choosing the best club. But, of course, you all know that hitting with the right golf club will make your shot more accurate and get the ball where it is supposed to be.
Some companies have even designed some specific rangefinders for golf, which will directly focus on the flag. It helps in measuring slope, getting club recommendations, etc. But you must know that these gadgets are not allowed for professional golf tournaments.
❺ Spotting Scope
A spotting scope helps watch distant wildlife or game animals. People often use a spotting scope when they need something that has a wide objective lens and high magnification power compared to a decent binocular. These scopes are available in a wide array of sizes, which are quite heavier compared to monoculars or binoculars.
You would be amazed by their intense magnification power, allowing you to view wildlife and other objects in fine detail. Since these are integrated with heavy and thick objective lenses, which is why you need to place them on a stable platform like a tripod or something rigid for comfortable viewing.
With its higher image quality and higher magnification power, spotting scopes are priced a little higher compared to other types of scopes or devices available for watching distant objects and wildlife. So, if you consider buying a spotting scope, you must prepare yourself for emptying your pockets.
Plus, don’t forget to do thorough research for the right spotting scope for your requirements because, most often, this would be your one-time investment. You won’t believe that some outdoor enthusiasts are even ready to pay higher for the best results that spotting scopes can produce.
So, you better evaluate the available options and choose the spotting scope that aligns with your needs and budget. That way, you won’t have to break your bank and still get the best deal out of the available options.
A gun scope is integrated with several lenses and a reticle to enable you to shoot at your target with precision and accuracy. In simple words, a scope is a portable telescope that comes with crosshairs to pinpoint a spot where your bullet will impact. Today, scopes are used for a wide array of activities like target shooting, tactical, self-defence, and hunting. But the kind of scope you use will vary from one activity to another.
So, it is better to think about the purpose of using a scope before making a potential purchase without prior knowledge. Most shooters like to mount a scope on their rifle or other firearms to improve their shooting accuracy. Even though you can mount these scopes on your handguns and shotguns to shoot with precision and accuracy.
However, you have to choose a scope that aligns with your requirements and budget. Plus, you must buy a scope that can withstand the recoil of repetitive shots and heavy weather conditions. Not all scopes are made equally, which is why not every scope will be suitable for all shooting applications.
For instance, using a scope designed for long-range shooting won’t withstand the adverse conditions represented in a three-gun competition where you are required to have faster target acquisition. Therefore, before investing your hard-earned money, you should conduct thorough research to find a scope that fits your shooting style and budget.
❻ Gun Sights
Most shooters understand the importance of shooting with an accurate aim. To do that, you need an aiming device to integrate with your firearm, which will help you shoot with more precision and accuracy.
Even though modern firearms are integrated with open or iron sights. You all know that factory Glock sights are not made from durable material, and some of them might even make it impossible to shoot in low light conditions.
That’s when a reflex sight comes into play, these firearm sights are designed to level up your shooting experience. Reflex sights usually include a holographic sight and a red dot sight, both are designed to improve your precision without weighing down your firearm.
Holographic sights are compact and have more features compared to standard red dot sights. These high-tech sights are integrated with a series of mirrors and a laser to reflect the small reticle on the shooter’s eye.
Unlike fixed red dot sights, the reticle of holographic sights usually floats so that you can quickly get a clearer aim at the target. You should know that holographic optics are tactically, electronically, and optically superior to red dot optics. Even though they are available at a higher price, they provide value for money.
Red Dot Sights
A red dot sight does not come with magnification, which is why these are designed to shoot at close to mid-range targets. This type of reflex sight often features a red dot to help you with an accurate shooting experience.
A red dot sight integrated with a Light Emitting Diode (LED) to cast a dot on a coated and angled glass. The glass reflects the dot to the shooter’s eye and helps them get a precise aim at the target.
The best thing is that the red dot is visible to the shooter only, which makes it easier for you to target your enemies with a simple aim and pull method.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What Would Be Best For Long-Range Shooting Competitions?
When participating in long-range shooting competitions, it is recommended to use a scope that comes with sufficient magnification power and a multi-coated lens for improving your shooting experience. Plus, you should ensure that it would easily mount on your firearm.
- Is It Legal To Rangefinder During A Golf Tournament?
No, golfers are forbidden to use these kinds of devices during a golf tournament as they can help them measure the distance and slope to deliver the balls to the greens with a perfect club recommendation. However, you can use it during a friendly match with friends and colleagues.
- What Makes A Scope Durable?
There are several factors like aluminum housing, O-ring sealed, purged with nitrogen or argon, etc., that you must consider when choosing a high-quality scope. These factors will ensure that your scope is resistant to water, fog, dust, and shock.
- What Is An Ideal Magnification Power For Binoculars?
If you are buying decent binoculars, it would be better to buy a magnification ranging up to 6-10x. But when it comes to birdwatching, you can use a set of binoculars integrated with 8-10x. It will help in spotting distant objects and wildlife more conveniently.
When looking for a device to bring the object closer to your eyes, you must consider a spotting scope or binoculars to get a clear view of distant landscapes and wildlife. Thermal optics and night vision devices are often usually in low light or no light conditions. And if you are looking for a scope to level up your shooting game, you should choose a high-quality scope or Glock sight to get a better aim at your target. So now that you know no matter what kind of outdoor sports or activities you like, there is a high-tech scope and optic for improving your shooting experience.