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When I got the opportunity to review the Kestrel 5700 Sportsman last year, I came away really impressed with the functionality, ruggedness, and accuracy of the unit. The only downside was the lack of support from third parties for connection options using Kestrel’s LiNK functionality.

At the time of my review, the only two devices that could connect to the 5700 were my phone (but only using Kestrel’s app) and my Bushnell Elite 1 Mile ConX. My hope of course had been that both Bushnell and Kestrel would open up compatibility to other devices in the coming months, and from my short time at the Kestrel booth at the 2017 SHOT Show, it appears that’s exactly what they plan on doing.

For 2017, Kestrel has expanded their approved connection options to include the Wilcox Raptar S, Vectronix PLRF25C and I-CUGR, as well as the Steiner M830 R LRF binoculars. Keen eyed consumers will note that the least expensive item on that list is $2500. The Vectronix gear is i the most expensive at $8600+ American. This is definitely a move upmarket from the ~$800 ConX that I reviewed, but I have to imagine that milspec compatibility means milspec contracts. I asked the Kestrel rep working the booth if they were planning to open source their connection so developers could take advantage of the LiNK capability and the answer was a definitive “no.”

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  1. While kestrel makes fine products, it sounds like they are spitting on the civilian market in favor of military contracts. That’s too bad.

    • They’re taking a page out of Colt’s failing business model.

      Another company will step in, their product will eventually blow Kestrel out of the water.

      • Even now the combination of the Weathermeter and BallisticArc on a smartphone gives most Kestrel functions, plus a lot of extras, for well under $100.

  2. I guess I just don’t see the point in having the unit be linkable to your phone.

    Other than sitting on a range how often are you really going to use such a feature? When I’m out in the woods my phone is sealed in a plastic bag and in my backpack. I’m not going to go digging it out to shoot at a coyote or something.

    On top of that, while theoretically useful for certain competition usage, other competitions ban the phone so that you can’t use the data feature to navigate and/or look up other information.

    • The phone is easier to manipulate for gun profiles and data entry. Also, you can hook the Kestrel to a wind vane for continuous weather, while streaming the ballistic solutions to your phone, at your shooting spoliation.

  3. With the iPhone doing away with a headphone jack entirely, all sorts of devices and accessories are going to be forced to go to Bluetooth (microphones, credit card readers, more headphones, etc etc) or I suppose connect via the proper data port as appropriate…

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