How to Choose Sport Optics

It is very easy to choose a binocular, best spotting scope, or riflescope for many people. They think that a binocular is an instrument you pick up and just look through – simple and easy. They may buy a pretty-looking spotting scope with high magnification and a low price, then mount it on a tripod and they think they are ready to use it and all will be good. They think a riflescope is this black tube with glass installed at each end. So, all they have to do is select a low price, fancy model name along with an attractive color and style. If people do this, in most cases they will be disappointed.

What else is important? What you are going to do and how are you going to use the binocular, spotting scope, or riflescope, and how serious you want to become in your interests will help determine the best product for you. My recommendation is to buy the most expensive optical instrument that you can afford (after you have decided on the type you want) and you will not be sorry! Optics, with proper care, should last many years and the upfront purchasing investment will be well worth it.

For hunters it may make sense to spend more on a riflescope than the rifle as the riflescope is so important in getting an accurate shot – you know the rifle will shoot fine but if you cannot aim it properly to get a precise shot all is for naught. Binoculars and spotting scopes appear to be simple optical devices but in reality, they are complex, precision optical instruments. Riflescopes are even more complex as they have to function with heavy recoil action of the rifle and stand up to this hundreds of times and yet continue to be repeatedly accurate.

An educated consumer will be much happier learning about the various aspects of binoculars, spotting scopes, and riflescopes before making a purchase. This book discusses the basics of sport optics products and gives you a lot of information to digest. It should help you make the best choice considering what you will be using the products for before making your buying decision. In general, with binoculars, spotting scopes, and riflescopes you usually get what you pay for. As the price increases, in most cases, so does the quality of the unit. It is easier to use this guideline for binoculars and spotting scopes because with riflescopes there are so many different types of options to skew the pricing. However, this is just a guideline as I have seen and compared several products costing a few hundred dollars outperform models costing two to four times as much. Be very careful with television, online, and print ads for binoculars that offer you 1000 power, see sharply at 35 miles, and many other deceptive and irrelevant claims, many free extras, and all at a price of $ 19.98 plus shipping and handling. I’ve seen a TV ad for “Zoomies” that magnify 300 times and the optics are put into an eyeglass like frame, noting great for reading books, TV watching, binocular use, etc. – and all for $ 10 plus shipping and handling and get a second one free with order. Do not fall for binoculars (large or small aperture) with powers of 120x, 150x or more as the image will last brightness, have a very narrow field and not satisfactory at all. There are many more similar type horrible products but just ignore them as you will be throwing your money away as they are junk. Stick with known, reputable brands. There is a multitude of binoculars, spotting scopes, and riflescopes available in the marketplace in the U.S.A. from dozens of manufacturers and suppliers and when added to what is available in other countries around the world it is mind-boggling.

It can be very confusing trying to sort through the maze. Most brands are reputable but be careful of unknown brands. To give you an idea of how many models are available at this time in the U.S.A. alone, I tallied the numbers by looking at company brochures and on their websites, by going to numerous conventions and events, etc. If I were to add brands sold exclusively in Europe and other countries around the world, I am sure the models would be increased about 30% to 50%. These are standard optical models and not including specialized binoculars, spotting scopes, or riflescopes. The retail price range for these instruments is below. Due to the large quantity of the various products, I have included images

throughout the book of many of the more popular models.

I cannot tell you which particular binocular, spotting scope, or riflescope is

best for your application as only you can choose the unit best suited for your particular purpose and usage. This book can be a guide to help you make your choice or choices as you may want two or more binoculars or riflescopes for different applications. It is amazing that in some manufacturers’ brochures and websites for binoculars you are told that model “X” is the best for birding, model “Y” is the best for sporting events, model “Z” is best for hunting, etc. Then, they will tell you which riflescope to buy for specific hunting categories. To me this is ridiculous because it depends on exactly what you are going to be doing, under what conditions, and what your budget is. It also does not help you that many

retail store clerks know virtually nothing about the optical instruments they are selling. There are many specialty retail shops and online business (especially in the hunting and birding industries) where the personnel are quite knowledgeable. So, read on and hopefully you will gain some knowledge about binoculars, spotting scopes, and riflescopes.