New Monstrum Banshee LPVO

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I stopped by the Monstrum Tactical booth at SHOT Show and was introduced to their new 1-10×24 Banshee LPVO. It is an upgrade in magnification power from the Specter but retains the same T1 reticle. I recently reviewed their Spectre 1-6×24 LPVO and was pleasantly surprised by a bump in optical quality over their offerings from just a few years ago. I hope to get one soon to compare it with the Spectre.

Southern California based Monstrum Tactical is one of the most underrated brands in firearms. Largely lumped together with budget brands like CVLife, Feyachi, and the plethora of random clone brands. I would agree that 8-10years ago, their red dots and rifle scopes were heavier knock-offs of name brand optics. But their new products look radically different.

In the last couple years they’ve quietly been improving the quality of their optics and glass. They still need to improve their turret quality and reticle options, but they’re putting out decent scopes for the price. And their mounts are some of the best for the price.

The Banshee is available through my Affiliate link:
The Spectre is available through my Affiliate link:

New Primary Arms SLx LPVO

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Texas based Primary Arms has grown into an online retailer offering everything from ammo, firearms components, and tactical accessories. They started as an optics company specializing in ARs and innovators in tactical reticles. Their innovation of the ACSS reticle was instrumental in the rise in popularity of LPVO’s in America’s sporting rifle. At SHOT Show 2023 we got a first look at their newest LPVO, the 1-6×24 SLx, which promises a “true daylight bright” reticle.

The SLx is available through my Amazon Affiliate link

2023 Hawke Vantage LPVOs

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Hawke Optics is the UK’s biggest maker of airgun and hunting scopes. With the popularity of LPVO (Low Power Variable Optics) in the AR and sporting rifle market, Hawke has expanded their scope lineup with 3 new LPVOs. You have 4 different reticle options, including their new Fiberdot LPVO utilizes a fiber optic illuminator. It claims to be truly daylight bright with a super fine pinpoint for precision shooters. The Vantage Fiberdot scopes are due to be available in Q2 or Q3.

New Riton Scopes for 2023

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Riton is an Arizona based optics company founded by an Army veteran and Law Enforcement Officer. In honor of their 10th Anniversary, they debuted a revamp of the design of all of their rifle scopes at SHOT Show 2023. I met with Jerimiah Alexander their head of Product Design who walked me through his work.

While a product “facelift” may sound superficial, I thought they were smart design choices which improved usability and ergonomics. I was one of those guys who at first blush thought Riton scopes didn’t have an ocular fast focus because it was completely smooth and flush to the tube; so the knurling is a 100% improvement.

They also introduced a refined Christmas Tree reticle to their 5 and 7 series. The thicker line weight and distance the T-cross makes it more usable at low magnifications to for hunters wanting to get a snap shot. Also notable is the switch to Warne, who make excellent QD mounts.

Last year, Riton dropped the ball in sending me scopes to review. But Jerimiah assures me they won’t make the same mistake this year. I hope he’s right.

Lucid Optics at SHOT Show 2023

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SHOT Show is a great opportunity to meet the people at a brand face to face. But it’s not often that you get to meet a company’s CEO and have him personally walk you through their new products. At SHOT Show 2023 at the Lucid Optics booth, I did just that. Lucid’s CEO, Jason Wilson, showed me their newest Prism scope, red dot, monocular, and spotting scope.

Their products appear to be well made and have impressive specs (and impressive premium prices). I hope to test their products later this year to see if they live up to it.

New Leupold Mk5 HD 2-10×30

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At my visit to the Leupold booth at this year’s Shot Show, I got an opportunity see their newest Mark 5 HD 2-10×30. This scope appeals to that niche of old-school hunters who always insisted that a 3-9x scopes is all you need. But want the extra. This 2-10x scope has the Mk5HD’s bright glass and excellent turrets.

This scope will be releasing soon with a price of $1999 on the Leupold website, perhaps slightly cheaper when on sale on Amazon and select online and big-box retailers.×30-m5c3-ffp-tmr

Don’t be afraid of the Monstrum Spectre 1-6×24

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Chances are if there’s a scope on an AR at the range, that scope is going to be an LPVO (Low Power Variable Optic). LPVO’s are a cross between a traditional 6-10x magnified rifle scope and a red dot because LPVO’s have a low end of 1x, 1.2x, or similar. An LPVO allows you to use them with both eyes opened to quickly engage targets up close at 1x and crank up the magnification to engage targets at 200yrs or more (and especially helpful for older eyesight).

Monstrum is a Southern California based importer and designer of tactical accessories and red dots. I’ve helped install one of their scope rings on a friend’s rifle and was impressed that it had features like Torx screws and recoil lugs. I was aware of the Monstrum brand but didn’t know much about it so I was surprised when Monstrum reached out to me and offered to have me test and evaluate their newest LPVO, the Spectre 1-6x24mm.

The Spectre ships with some nice accessories like flip up lens caps, a kill-flash filter, and one of Monstrum’s excellent cantilever offset mounts. The scope has a 30mm tube, is made of 6061 aluminum, and is nitrogen purged. On initial inspection, the body and components appeared solidly constructed and well made, though I did find some nicks and rough edges on the magnification wheel which was disappointing.

The other big disappointment was that the elevation turret’s MOA markings didn’t line up with the the scope center indicator. This is common with budget scopes and has even been known to occur with better known scopes but it’s always disappointing when it happens. The windage was spot on to the zero so it’s not like Monstrum’s factory couldn’t make better built turrets.

The turrets are 1/2 MOA per click and the clicks were moderately audible and tactile positive though soft. There was a bit of slop in the elevation clicks but when pushed down, they did lock solidly. Both turrets are resettable with a coin.

The magnification dial turned smoothly but was difficult to turn. An LPVO’s central benefit is that it is the word “variable” so not being able to change you magnification easily is beyond frustrating. Thankfully it does have a large fin that helps assist in leveraging the dial but only time will tell how quickly it will loosen up?

The scope has an illumination knob opposite the windage. It is CR2032 powered with 5 brightness settings in red and green which illuminates the center octagon and dot of its MX1 Reticle. The reticle has thick outer T-style hunter crosshair lines a very thin and fine central crosshairs with MOA hashmarks. I found this central reticle structure too faint to use for action shooting without full illumination.

The scope itself performed quite well in my range tests. It has a decent 4″ eye-relief and the forgiving eye-box typical of lower power scopes. It returned to zero in my box test and probably passed my nipple-twister turret test but my results were not definitive.

In target testing at 25yrds it was able to hold its zero after being subjected to repeated hits from my polymer ammo can to simulate heavy recoil. In practical tests with rapid fire on steel plates, I was able to quickly and accurately place my shots (any misses were entirely shooter error). But as mentioned earlier, I found the reticle was too thin to use without illumination.

I came in with low expectations because I really didn’t know Monstrum’s optical products. In overall build and performance the Spectre lives up to the quality and value of Monstrum’s scope mounts and accessories. If you’re hesitant of trying a Monstrum because of their lack of reputation in optics, consider that the Spectre has a street price under $200 and a lifetime warranty from a US based company, and don’t be afraid of this monster value.

This scope is available on Amazon through my affiliate link:

Group: -2
Element: 2

Build: 4
Glass: 4
Reticle: 3
Holds Zero: 5
Box Test: 4
Turrets: 2
Eye Box: 4
Value: 3

Shot Show 2022: Leupold Patrol 6HD

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I was fortunate to get an early look at the soon-to-be released Patrol 6HD LPVO scope at the Leupold booth. This +$1200 scope features Leupold’s legendary glass and quality in a lightweight LPVO with a choice of illuminated reticles. Old school hunters will prefer the simple firedot duplex but most modern shooters will prefer the tactical CM-R2 reticle which is perfectly usable for hunting as well. The additional advantage to the CM-R2 is that the illuminated horseshoe is bright and fat enough to be usable as a red dot at the scope’s true 1x power setting.

Shot Show 2022: Riton Thunder Ranch LPVO

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Riton partnered with the infamous Clint Smith, the founder of Thunder Ranch training center to create a Special Edition LPVO. The Clint Smith designed green illuminated circle/diamond center with BDC and lead reference tics is head-and-shoulders better than Riton’s standard diamond-and-hash LPVO reticle. This 1-6x24mm scope is sure to appeal to tactical and action shooters.