According to historians, the first documented use of rifles amended with telescopic devices to enhance accuracy dates back to the mid-1800s. In The Improved American Rifle, author John R. Chapman detailed how the earliest sights borrowed technology from traditional telescopes of the period so shooters could compensate for wind and elevation. While fusing telescopes with long guns may have been groundbreaking in the 19th century, 21st-century technology allows shooters to calculate for far more factors that affect a firearm’s effectiveness, and on all types of weapons. This is especially critical for law enforcement professionals, who must make measured decisions while protecting themselves and the public. Here are some technical highlights that designers and engineers have incorporated in the most modern versions of sights, optics and related accessories.
What can’t you use a smartphone for these days? With the Carson IB-700 Hookupz Smartphone Binocular Adapter, you can convert your mobile electronic device into smart binoculars. The adapter securely attaches full-sized binoculars to most smartphone models — including Apple, Samsung, HTC and LG. The combined technology now provides a comfortable viewing stance and the capability to memorialize images as photos or videos, ready for email or uploading directly to the cloud from any scene. MSRP $40.
The Tritium Pro Handgun Night Sight maintains all the valued characteristics of TRUGLO’s Tritium sights to offer great visibility in low-light conditions or total darkness — but with a few key updates, such as the U-notch rear sight to improve accuracy. Most importantly, though, it utilizes Swiss tritium that glows in low light and does not rely on a battery, so there’s no risk of running out of power. MSRP $108.
When you invest in high-powered scopes, you also want to invest in protecting the technology from damage. Sentry’s Scopecoat Scopecover provides a buffer from numerous hazards, such as scratches, dings, dents and the ill effects that come from exposure to harsh weather. Although the Scopecoat Scopecover is sold in small, medium and large sizes, its material blend conforms to the scope so each fit is customized. This ability helps prevent slippage in even the most aggressive actions. MSRP $21.99–$43.99.
NIGHT VISION DEVICESBNVD-SG UL Binocular
The Light Nightlight
NVD’s new ultra-light BNVD-SG UL is a fully functioning dual-tube night-vision goggle weighing in at only 475 grams. But when it comes to operations, there’s nothing lightweight about this model. Engineers optimized the image tubes for both white (P45) and green (P43). They also incorporated full diopter adjustment range and a close focus range of 9.8 inches. Users can slide the 3x magnifier onto each lens or screw it into place. Finally, the lithium AA battery provides more than 40 hours of use. MSRP unavailable.
MARCH OPTICS1-8x24mm “Shorty” Scope
Short and Sweet
The March Optics 1-8x24mm “Shorty” Scope may only measure 8.4 inches and weigh a mere 17.1 ounces, but it powers up to 8x magnification, capable of accurately acquiring a target from significant distances. The small package also houses a 24mm objective lens, fixed 100-yard parallax, an illuminated reticle, tactile turrets and a foolproof zero-set. MSRP $2,195.
FLIR SYSTEMSLS-X & LS-XR Thermal Night Vision Monocular
For those times when you need to see what’s happening in the dark but don’t want to shine a light on your activities, reach for either the LS-X or the LS-XR handheld thermal camera by FLIR Systems, Inc. Each presents enhanced high-resolution color displays, extended range and the ability to produce video output. Also, they both feature the company’s exclusive InstAlert technology, which turns hot objects bright red for quick detection. LS-X has a 320 x 240 sensor and 4x e-zoom, while LS-XR has a 640 x 480 sensor and 8x e-zoom. MSRP from $2,599.
STEINER EOPTICSP4Xi 1-4×24 Riflescope
Ready for a Closeup
The P4Xi 1-4×24 rifle scope by Steiner eOptics may appear small, but don’t judge the device by its stature — its creators certainly didn’t sacrifice any performance potential or versatility to achieve a compact size. This scope captures a field of view of 100 yards at 110-27.5, and enables users to magnify by four settings. This, combined with 11 quality illumination settings, a wind/elevation click value of 0.5 MOA and an operating temperate range of –13 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, allows shooters to use it anywhere, anytime. MSRP $579.99.
BUSHNELLAR Optics Advance Red Dot Sight
On the Dot
If you want to add enhancement tools to a handgun but not bulk or weight, consider the AR Optics Advance Red Dot by Bushnell, released earlier this year. This micro reflex red dot sight is one of the lightest you can find, making it ideal for close quarters. It’s small enough to be attached to semiautomatic pistols, as well as rifles, but powerful thanks in part to its water-, shock- and fog-proof lens that projects a 5-MOA dot for quick, clear target acquisition. MSRP $254.95.
BROWNELLSVortex Optics Razor AMG UH-1 Holographic Sight
Brownells’ Vortex Optics Razor AMG UH-1 Holographic Sight is touted for its durability as well as its fine-tuned focus. The design boasts optimum target acquisition and tracking without compromising peripheral vision. The rectangular sight picture offers zero distortion, and a reticle pattern helps users focus and avoid eye fatigue. Additionally, its housing consists of a shock-proof aluminum base, and the XR Plus windows are designed to be scratch-resistant and shatterproof. MSRP $499.99.
NIGHTFORCESHV 5-20×56 Riflescope
Focus on Function
When Nightforce set out to create the SHV 5-20×56 scope, the goal was to concentrate on optimizing its core competencies. For example, the magnification range doesn’t just enlarge a target, but also preserves the color contrast. The 56mm objective maintains functionality in low light. The exposed elevation adjustment is convenient and the ZeroSet technology resets the scope back to the pre-set zero point regardless of previous elevation compensations. Available with an optional illuminated reticles feature. MSRP $1,195 nonilluminated; $1,345 illuminated.
Read this story in the Fall 2017 issue of FOP Journal.