SHOT Show Report - Day Two:
I'll never understand why I load up appointments the first day
Yesterday while walking between meetings I stopped by and set up a morning meeting for today with Vanguard Optics . I had met with them a few years ago and wasn't blown away with their offerings and never did anything. Lately there has been a bunch of threads about their spotting scopes being a nice quality and great value and I do know they have a nice tripod line so I decided to take another peek at what they've got.
They have some appealing offerings in riflescopes (nothing really unique) but the Spotting Scopes do seem nice and they are very competatively priced.
I arranged to meet with their sales rep next week back to the store to discuss opening up with them.
Anyone who has feedback on Vanguard please share it with me.
From here I walked over to Konus ; . We signed here at SHOT last year with Konus as we were looking for a decent quality inexpensive option to offer. Their Riflescopes start at under $50.00 for a 4x32 and they have excellent Spotting Scopes all under $350.00. No, their not Euro quality, however, their Konus Pro KonuSpot-70 20x-60x70 #7121B for about $200.00, which includes a Table Top Tripod, Camera Adapter, Carrying Case, Lens Cleaning Cloth and Smart Phone Adapter is an amazing range scope and it pretty freekin' clear. WAY better than I expected for the price.
I saw a couple of interesting optics....
KonusPro M-30 1-6X24:
Engraved reticle with dual illumination
Finger adjustable tactical turret
1/2 MOA adjustments
Sight-Pro PTS2 3x30:
1/3 MOA click adjustment Turrets
Integrated Tri-Rail System
Again, not the best of the best but for sure the best of the lower priced offerings.
Going to the other end of the Optics Universe I headed over to Schmidt & Bender to finally meet Lisa after about a decade of speaking with her on the phone. Sometimes that's just the way it is. You build these great working relationships with folks strictly over the phone for years and then finally get to put a face with the voice. FWIW, Lisa has been the greatest point person. Helpful, knowledgeable and a workaholic which is perfect for me as she is always responsive to my endless e-mails. For those of you familiar with Schmidt & Bender you know that every scope is available in more flavors than Baskin and Robbins offers and getting it right takes a degree from S&B University, or at least that's how it seems.
The new for 2018 I saw are:
3-21x50 Competition Hunting Scope. Improved daytime illumination, 7 power zoom, 34mm tube, auto-off, ST, LT, ZS, CT, DT, MT
1-8x24 PM II Short Dot CC. 8 power zoom, 30mm tube, Illuminated, D, CC, MTC, LT ZS.
These scopes feature Multi-Functional Turrets for Windage and Elevation. MT II at elevation position and DT II at the windage position.
Lever allows switching between locking mode, MTC mode and non-MTC mode with window indicator. Different click values available (0.1 mil, 0.05 mil, 1/4 MOA or 1/10 MOA for both elevation as well as windage turret. Depending on model elevation up to 39.5 mrad or 78 MOA and windage +/- 6.5 mrad or +/- 13 MOA. Visible and tactile indicator for every rotation of the turret.
From here I was off to Flir which was another new brand for us in Mid-2017.
From their website, for those of you who have no idea who Flir is:
"FLIR Systems, Inc. designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and distributes technologies that enhance perception and awareness. We bring innovative sensing solutions into daily life through our thermal imaging systems, visible-light imaging systems, locator systems, measurement and diagnostic systems, and advanced threat detection systems. Our products improve the way people interact with the world around them, enhance public safety and well-being, increase energy efficiency, and enable healthy and entertained communities."
That certainly clears up who Flir is, right? lol
OH, how I love my job.
Here's a bit more off of their site:
"See the world in a whole new light with FLIR’s outdoor thermal imagers. Compact and light weight they’re easy to pack and easy to use, giving you a clear view of what’s around you regardless of how much light is out there. Spot wildlife, keep track of other hikers, and make sure you’re still on that overgrown trail – FLIR imagers make life in the outdoors even better."
"The missions may change, but one thing remains the same: your trust in your gear must be absolute. FLIR’s wide range of tactical optics are mission-tested and combat-proven to keep officers safer. Using cutting edge thermal imaging technology that makes images from differences in heat, not light, they give you a clear tactical advantage, day and night."
"Whatever you’re looking to do—track big game, stop predators from harming your livestock, or find a member of your hunting party in the woods—FLIR thermal vision will help you get it done. Packing the latest in thermal imaging tech that makes images from heat instead of light, you’ll be able to see more of your surroundings than ever."
Basically, if you want the worlds best in Thermal Imaging Optics look no farther than Flir.
I saw some wicked cool products:
Breach PTQ136: "Built for the rigors of law enforcement, the FLIR Breach PTQ136 spots the heat of suspects and objects in total darkness. Featuring the new FLIR Boson core and a compact design, the FLIR Breach offers unmatched tactical awareness. Weighing only 7.4 ounces (210 grams), the FLIR Breach can be concealed in a pocket or mounted to a helmet with its mini-rail feature, while adding minimal weight to officers’ heavy gear. Additional features include onboard recording and seven palettes for fast detection of suspects or evidence, day or night."
ThermoSight Pro PTS: "Invasive wildlife control specialists and tactical professionals understand the significant benefits of thermal imaging technology. Many have gone without this unique capability, however, because buying the best thermal imaging weapon sight is an expensive proposition.
The FLIR ThermoSight Pro Series weapon sights, a new level of performance, compact power and superior value to the sporting, law enforcement and tactical markets.
Powered by FLIR’s newest, compact, uncooled, high-performance 12-micron Boson™ thermal camera core, these next-generation thermal weapon sights set a new standard in thermal image quality, while offering a wealth of innovative and intuitive performance features. Best of all, the ThermoSight Pro models are available at a favorable retail prices below what consumers might expect to pay for other thermal targeting systems offering less performance and fewer features."
We work with a few distributors so that when the mfg has product on back order, or it is a brand you're looking for that we do not normally carry, we can still get it for you. Again, these are normally folks I build phone relationships with but never meet. I stopped by to actually see a couple of voices I knew and now can put a face with them. Makes working together that much better.
BTW, we can access Sig Optics, Nikon Riflescopes, Trijicon, Weaver, Burris, EOTech as well as a few other brands through these channels so even though it's not on our web site please feel free to call us and we can get you a great price, 516-217-1000.
Next I headed over to Steiner ; . We used to do much more with Steiner then we have the last year or so. No real reason other than our sales rep is not very aggressive and it slips our mind.
Something a little different is their New LRF 1700 LASER Rangefinder Binocular:
"Steiner’s new LRF 1700 is an 8x30 Porro prism range-finding binocular that precisely measure distances from 25 to 1,859 yards without refocusing. It also features a scan mode that continuously measures distance to moving targets. The LRF 1700 binoculars are compact, lightweight and easy to use while maintaining the legendary ruggedness of Steiner binoculars."
Last week we posted that the MSR2 Reticle is now available on their M5Xi 5-25x56mm scope. "Working with experts from FinnAccuracy, Steiner has developed an exclusive new reticle for the M5Xi scope line.
The M5Xi is a military grade sniper scope which sets the standard for performance and durability. Crafted entirely in Germany, the optic is hewn from the finest materials and features world-class engineering. This combination allows the M5Xi to provide ultimate long-range viewing and delivery of accurate fire at extreme distances. Because it is assembled to strict military specifications, it can handle the rigors of combat in some of the harshest climates around the globe, delivering outstanding clarity even in low-light conditions.
Improving an outstanding package
While the M5Xi’s rugged effectiveness comes standard, it still remains customizable as shooters may select their preferred reticle. New to 2018, Steiner is excited to announce they will be exclusively offering the MSR2 Reticle in the M5Xi 5-5x56mm riflescope."
Some very worthwhile riflescopes that I was checking out are the:
P4xi 1-4x24 This P4Xi riflescope is a compact, tactical optic that is ideal for patrol rifles and AR platforms. This scope features a proven and versatile 4x zoom system with a true 1x that is perfect for close-quarters engagements and 400-yard accuracy at the highest magnification.
High-contrast optics deliver outstanding results under poor light conditions. Steiner’s P3TR illuminated reticle is quick pointing and offers 11 levels of illumination for day or night operations.
Their T5xi series is made in the USA with German optics. These tactical scopes do not have the exposure that S&B does but they are so worth checking out.
Their H4Xi 4-16x56 & H4Xi 3-12x56 are a great answer to dawn and dusk hunting riflescopes with illuminated reticles and super bright optics.
"High-contrast optics deliver clarity at dusk and dawn with light transmission greater than 90%.
A powerful all- around hunting riflescope. Lightweight, with a large field of view. High light transmission and precise illumination adjustments delivers perfect performance in any light."
I also checked out their HX-15x56 binocular. I've been looking and looking for a high quality, sub $2000.00 15x56 binocular and this for sure is it. Great optics, built Euro great. This @ $1199.99 blows away any of the Pacific rim options that I keep seeing.
Last year when USA distribution of Minox ; was taken away from the company who had been doing it as long as I could remember and transfered to Blaser we sat back to see how this affected the handling of customer service and the way the brand would be handled. We have not brought in any product in 2017 so I went here next to meet with my long time associate from Germany to discuss possibly picking up the relationship again. They have great binoculars and a nice variety of riflescopes in entry level from entry all the way up to multiple thousand dollar tactical scopes. We will be updating our site to include their most recent offerings. Stay tuned.
I then went to have a nice social moment with a fellow optics industry acquaintance, Ilya. Those who read reviews and posts and such I am sure know him. I always like to discuss, with folks who I respect, opinions of optics from the show. We had a great chat about a few of the newer companies and some of the just shown offerings. Was great to enjoy his company and take a breather from the hectic day.
Next up, and thankfully last meeting of the day as I was starting to fade, was GPO, German Precision Optics . GPO started in 2017 with Mike Jensen, former President of Zeiss USA. To be brutally honest, I like the products GPO is offering, however, I think the company name is misleading. Yes, the company is headquarted in Germany. Yes, all products are designed and inspected in Germany before being shipped to the USA. However, all product is manufactured in Japan and China. Not necessarily a bad thing as most optics today are manufactured in the Pacific Rim, however, one would assume that German Precision Optics would be made in Germany. Again, all product, after being made, is sent to Germany for quality control inspection before being sent to the U.S. and the offerings are designed in germany. After meeting with them I get their position of German as ALL QC is done in Germany.
OK, now that I've gotten that out of the way I do need to say that they do have some outstanding optics and Mike knows what he's doing and what the competition is doing.
The Passion HD Series Binoculars can compete with all the top offerings. I would say if you were going to put them into a fair test environment they would be on a table with Swarovski SLC's, Leica Trinovids, Kowa Genesis', Vortex Razors, Nikon EDG's and the like. OH, if you plan to google Passion HD I'd strongly suggest that you word it as "GPO Passion HD Binocular" because if you only google Passion HD you'll get a very different type of result. They really need some guidance with names, lol. The standout one for me was their 12.5x50 Passion HD. Of all the 12x options availablethis gives the sharpest glass, 92/93% light transmission, a wide FOV, great contrast and awesome fit and finish. GPO is even stand up enough to include the tripod adapter (most companies offer this as an additional accessory item). At $1299.99 I think this is a winner.
They have their Passion 3x Series of Riflescopes starting at $299.99 which are GPO's version of the Zeiss Conquest from a few years back. Wow, how shocking that the ex-President of Zeiss would offer a remake of what was a very popular scope and price it below what the Conquest was selling for.
I was impressed with the 4-12x42 which comes with 5 free turrets (223 Rem. / 6.5 Creed. / 308 Win. / 30-06 Spr. / 300 WM) The turreets are already custom cut for the most popular loads.
High light transmission, 3 3/4" ER, exceptional range of adjustments to assist in use of long range ballistic turrets. This is priced to sell at $449.99
We arranged for a promotion on their Passion 6xi 2.5-15x50/56 Riflescopes:
This super-premium 30mm line of riflescopes offers a comprehensive array of features for shooters. The 6X super-zoom allows extreme versatility for close and distance usage. The large internal lenses assure optical brilliance and low-light visibility. This super-premium flagship product is sure to impress the most discerning hardcore trophy hunter.
Super-zoom 6X technology
iControl illumination options
Massive lenses assure optical excellence
30mm main tube
GPObright lens coating technology
PASSIONtrac quick-zero target turrets
Double HD objective glass technology
Introductory Special through the end of February 2018, 10% off. please call to order.
Once again, too many meetings today. I got my after show ice cream cone, Strawberry Cheesecake flavor today. It hit the spot.