Set your sights on these

Daniel O’Dea concludes his roundup of SHOT Show

Last month we gave you a taste of some of the new firearms presented at this year’s US SHOT Show in Las Vegas, yet firearms are just a small part of an event brimming with just about everything Shooting, Hunting and Outdoors Trade. There are purpose-built hunting vehicles through to a ‘backpack toilet’ – seriously – so this time let’s look at a little more product with a focus on optics then a few things best described as ‘Only in America’.

Marveling at advancements in the quality of budget optics during the past decade or so had me wondering: Just where do the premium optics companies go from here? Case in point are Swarovski’s AX Visio binoculars, the latest ‘smart’ binoculars which not only have Swarovski’s renown Swarovision glass, they incorporate visual intelligence which will, at the touch of a button, identify no fewer than 9000 species of birds and animals.

Not only that but you can mark targets or items of interest and, when you hand them to a companion, the unit will guide them to the viewpoint automatically by a series of arrow pointers appearing in view. You can create photos or videos and share with others via the ‘Live View’ function and there’s even a compass mode that’ll provide a course heading to a viewed landmark.

Many of these features may be found in some new digital optics but without the unmatched viewing quality of premium analog lenses. Swarovski put it best describing them thus: “The AX Visio effortlessly combines analog brilliance with intelligent function.” And still with Swarovski, their new EL32 and NL Pure ranges are also worth checking out.

Bushnell’s new Bone Collector 1800 provides a laser rangefinder using applied ballistics software to not only provide accurate ranging out to 1800 yards (that’s 1.6km or one mile!), but ballistics solutions to assist in hitting your target. RRP is only $US199 so hopefully they’ll still arrive at a budget price in Oz.

I won’t even start on night-vision or thermal but there was plenty on display in what is undeniably a growing technology and market. On the ‘nowhere to hide’ front, Thales offer the XTRAIM Weapons sight. Only available to law enforcement and military, it’s a day-night sight with ‘de-camouflage’ feature which thermally highlights by silhouette, targets to be dealt with as required at ranges out to 300m. Scary stuff if you’re on the wrong end of it.

On the civilian side, Trijicon have their IR-Hunter series of thermal riflescopes. Offered in three lens sizes (24, 35 and 60mm) they feature faster system controls with new and improved rotary knobs, along with expanded functionality with USB-C connection for external battery-pack compatibility. A more durable top-mounted battery compartment makes replacement easy, while Trijicon’s latest Q-LOC technology mount provides rapid and reliable fitment. Improved reticle choices include MOA, MRAD, .223 BDC, .308 BDC and .300 BLK BDC.

Nightforce have a great new spotting scope in the CFS 6-36×50 F1 where the CFS stands for Configurable Field Spotting. This new design includes a choice of three first focal plane reticles, a 120-degree rapid focus ring, adjustable eyecup and integrated 1.5^ dovetail base. Compact at 358mm long and weighing just 955g, accessories include a spotting scope accessories cage and platform, allowing the unit to be used in conjunction with thermals, night-vision, red dots, laser rangefinders, data cards and other devices. Reticles include Mil-XTs, MOA-XTs and Horus Tremor4.

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