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(courtesy ammoland,com)

You don’t seriously expect me to publish Leupold’s presser about their VX-3i scope with its Twilight Max Light Management System without making a vampire joke, do you? Does it make game sparkle in the sunlight? What do they want for it? Blood? OK, seriously, we’re now in a new age of “active optics.” For hunters who want to explore this brave new world, the embedded presentation on Leupold Light Management [after the jump] isn’t heavy reading. Suffice it say, learn to shoot with iron sights first, then go all optically operational. Because batteries and bashing about can lead to a blackout and you want that buck, ballistically . . .

Beaverton, OR -( With the recent launch of the Leupold VX-3i Riflescope, Leupold has introduced a whole new way to thinking about, designing and writing about optics.

Leupold changed the conversation from light “gathering” to light transmission, now the optics experts are changing the conversation to light management. Transmission is still a key component, but it’s not the only component.

The VX-3i is the scope that will have you hunting earlier and hunting longer than ever, all thanks to its new Twilight Max Light Management System. Light management, simply put, is a triad of performance; all three elements must be managed perfectly to let you see deeper into the shadows than ever before. Attached are a few resources to help you better understand light management and why it’s a superior way to design optics.

Leupold Light Management


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    • Trying to get as much remaining daylight into a scope is not a new task. They have been doing this for years. Changing the wording still doesn’t mean it would be better than a cheap scope and a spot light(illegal in most states).

    • Yup, they’re running out of ways to improve, other than marketing.

      The very near future will be active optics. Room temperature thermal imaging has become insanely affordable, CAT has integrated the sensor on a cell phone which will be released in a few months at a $699 pricepoint if memory serves. Wanna see the deer that literally are everywhere (in my world anyway)? Look at the thermal image.

      FLIR (the company) has a scopy-looking device coming out this year in around that $6-700 market. I can almost guarantee the mall ninjas will have one available specifically designed for firearms by the next SHOT, to operate ever more operationally. They’re also useful for actual hunting.

      The future is here. Again.

      • Oh, yes indeed.

        I’m very happy the cost on those imager chips is dropping, it will be really neat when they start to show up on a Google glass type device for hunters and other sportsmen.

        Augmented reality IR will be real nice when it shows up on an automotive heads-up display for driving in fog or whiteout conditions.

        What I really twinged on in my first comment was the visceral reaction I had when they spouted that “changing the conversation” line, as that’s one of the antis favorite gun control opening salvos.

        It flat galled me…

        • I definitely understand the frustration with the completely predictable marketing terms – it nauseates me as well.

          Regardless, I know that I can build a sub-$1K thermal scope, so I’m sure someone who can throw a million at tooling can do it far faster than me. Expect it in the next year.

  1. If it works without batteries I would be interested in this new system, but if it takes batteries forget it as sooner than later batteries die, electronics corrode or break their solder joints etc. etc.

    And then of course there is the price. The high end Scopes that are being made today are hitting astronomical prices often way out of the reach of the working man.

    This scope might be really great in rare applications such as when some states allow night hunting for say raccoons but lets face facts most game animals are legal only to hunt during daylight hours and even illegal to hunt before even dusk sets in which of course is for safety reasons so in that situation this scope certainly would not be needed at all.

    I think the same thing holds true for the insane red dot craze and lighted reticule craze. I have one scope that has a lighted reticle and have never once needed to turn on the lighted reticle as the scope has plenty of brightness for every application I have ever used it on. I did not go out and deliberately buy this scope because it had a lighted reticle but rather I actually needed this power of scope for some bench shooting originally and the lighted reticle just came with the scope.

  2. From what I can tell, this is probably using a polarizer and also a coating like in “transitions” eye glass lenses where it gets darker with more light and clear with less light and then using a polarizer to give you the contrast.

  3. There could actually be merit in this generation of scopes. The additional considerations reduce “fog” if you will … which really means improving/maximizing contrast in low light situations. Anyone who has researched optics for Astronomy applications would understand.

    • Optics tend to scatter light internally which degrades contrast and renders images that have less contrast than they should — creating a somewhat foggy image if you will. It sounds like Leupold may have designed for that in this case.

  4. Why do I picture a carny barker with these latest and greatest ads?

    Reminds me of an “all in the Family” moment. Meathead is perusing the contents of the shopping bags that dingbat brought in and everything was marked “New and Improved”. To which he opined,”What were we using before, old and lousy?”

  5. I have avoided active optics because batteries. Actually I do own one: A cheap Aimpoint holo sight. I bought it to test the water, but it didn’t fill the bill.

    If I were to buy an active optic it would be EoTech because they have their s**t together (yeah, I know about the battery issue, so don’t bore me). EoTech is good equipment.

    My ACOG is good for 6-10 years without batteries, and I can handle that.

    Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong will, at the worst possible moment.

    Finnigan’s Corrolary: Murphy was an optimist.


    • Sorry Eotech does not have their (shit) together. You know about the battery issues but what about the thermal drift, failure to return to zero after temperature swings. that whole bit about defrauding the customer part. Go look at their website now, they are offering full refunds on eotech holographic weapon sights. Aimpoint is the de facto standard in red dots. If i’m going to use a red dot i buy aim point. Want a nice, strong single power scope for an AR i buy a trijicon acog. If i want to run a variable power scope for an ar10 or bolt gun i buy night force or schmidt and bender. You get what you pay for and frankly to avoid optics because of batteries is dumb. A single double AA in an aim point will last well over a year if left on. An argument for avoiding optics because batteries would be like me saying i avoid pizza because olives.

      • I don’t like optics that need batteries for three simple reasons:
        (1) They have more components than standard optics and are therefore, by definition, less reliable. More importantly, resistors and LEDs used to illuminate optics are vulnerable to the massive impulse force of recoil.
        (2) If left on, batteries will go dead. While it is nice that a battery will last one year according to your comment, it will nevertheless be dead if someone leaves the optic illuminated while the firearm is stored for a year without shooting. And the batteries could go dead MUCH faster if you leave the optic illuminated with a battery that already had a lot of its juice used up.
        (3) Even if you have a brand new battery and you don’t leave the optic turned on, batteries corrode quite often — so often that I am finding damaged appliances every year in my home. Given that I have about 15 items with batteries, this is NOT a good track record. That means on any give year, there is something like a 1 in 15 chance that your batteries in your illuminated optic will corrode and your optic will not be illuminated … and those corroded batteries may even damage the electrical portion of your optic requiring repair/replacement.
        (3a) You could store the batteries out of your illuminated optic to ensure that they will not damage your optic if the batteries corrode. However, that means your illuminated optic is not available for immediate use.

        That is why I stick exclusively to iron sights for any firearm that I provision for self-defense.

      • 20 years ago Aimpoints sucked. Tasco and Aimpoint were some of the first if not the first red dot sights found on IPSC/USPSA open guns. They were balky and unreliable. Aimpoint wouldnt service them or take them back. Never had a minutes trouble out of my Eotechs.

    • This is especially true when it comes to hunting in late rifle season when it’s well below freezing and you have battery powered gear.

      Range finders, flashlights, gps, digital cameras, all crapped out because of cold (fresh even! ) batteries- even keeping them in an inside pocket wasn’t enough between 0 and 15 degrees.

      Given the prevalence of electronics in the military today, I seriously wonder how the .mil handles this!

      • 1. Don’t buy crappy batteries. Rayovac, Duracell, and energizer only. If buying energizer, make sure to look on the package for made in USA because they’ve been closing USA plants and buying cells from Asia.

        2. Rayovac and duracell (maybe energizer, not sure) all have guarantees. They will pay for your device if damaged by their batteries. This assumed you’re not mixing brands/ages of batteries. I personally have used rayovac’s guarentee when their batteries damaged my gps. They paid to ship it, were quick, and sent me a check for the old retail price of my garmin.

        3. If you don’t need the batteries in a device, remove them from the device.

        4. Don’t buy the highest capacity type (quantum, fusion, eco advanced, etc). They stuff them with more actives, leaving less void = greater chance of leaking.

        5. Leaving your items on will GREATLY increase the chance of battery leakage because it sends the battery into an “overdischarge” state.

        6. If it’s too cold for alkaline, use lithiums (energizer ultimate). They are great batteries, just expensive as hell.

        7. Never buy heavy duty batteries except for very low rate applications…like a clock.

  6. “You don’t seriously expect me to publish Leupold’s presser about their VX-3i scope with its Twilight Max Light Management System without making a vampire joke, do you? Does it make game sparkle in the sunlight? What do they want for it? Blood?”

    Naw. But we hoped that you would make a funny one, at least.

    Then again, undying is easy – comedy is hard. 🙂

    • “Naw. But we hoped that you would make a funny one, at least.”

      It’s HIS website (as he frequently points out), so he’ll be as unfunny as he wishes…

  7. Used battery run optics before. Not now. We used to have to whind our clocks……batterys batterys, batterys…… the only place I really need a battery is in my pickup.


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