Laser Rangefinders

Spec Ops Shooting

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Bushnell makes an entire family of laser rangefinders rated for distances from 400 to 1,500 yards. Their optical quality won't replace a team's binoculars, but they're economically priced, they work, and they belong in every police sniper's kit. Bushnell's 800-yard model really is pocket-sized and very handy. More than a few sniper teams in Iraq and Afghani stan—unable to obtain lasers from their supply system—are purchasing their own Bushnells.

Swarovski has long manufactured high-quality, compact laser rangefinders. Its current model, the Laser Guide 8x30, features superb glass and a greater range than previous models, all the way to 1,500 yards. Technically a monocular, this device is comparable to highend compact binoculars, though its magnification is not as high as a team's typical binoculars. A few years back, Swarovski produced the world's first laser-ranging rifle scope, the LRS, which performed flawlessly for me. But the LRS's hefty price tag—recommended retail of about S3,500—precluded commercial success. Still, I'm confident that one day we'll see laser ranging integrated with a rifle scope.

Vectronix, the military optics marketing division of Leica, produces a high-end, compact laser monocular similar in size and optical

U.S. Marines in Iraq with Designated Marksman Rifle and Vector laser ranging system.

The more advanced Vector IV ranges to 4,000 meters while using an IR wavelength laser beam that's invisible to night vision devices. It, too, measures slant distances.

The most elaborate version, the Vector 21, issued to artillery forward observers and Special Ops teams, integrates all these capabilities with a GPS and small PC, allowing this device not only to determine the distance to a target up to 10,000 meters away but to calculate its location so precisely that a GPS-guided bomb can be plopped virtually atop it. When fitted with a compatible AN/PVS-14 night vision device, the Vector 21 can operate in total darkness.

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