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2018 Optic of the Year

2018 Optic of the Year
Guns & Ammo editors, contributors and staff present 2018’s pre-eminent firearms, optic, ammunition, suppressor and innovation awards. Only products made commercially available this last year qualify for nomination. Candidates that were introduced in 2018, but have yet to be shipped to retailers were excluded from our voting process.

During our roundtable discussions, products developed from the ground up and those that possessed the greatest potential impact to the greatest number of readers were given additional value when scored. When having to decide between two otherwise equally important new products, the more affordable choice typically broke the tie in our voting. This year, we have made our first exception to this rule with the shotgun category.

G&A acquired several samples of each nominee throughout 2018 for a comprehensive evaluation. Products that caused doubt in their reliability and manufacturing methods were eliminated from the list of candidates.

The winner for each category resulted from a point system once three criteria were met: First, the product must have been new and available for purchase in 2018. A line extension of an existing product didn’t earn the points as one possessing innovative features and engineering. Second, it must have demonstrated quality and reliability to a degree that met or exceeded its design objective. Lastly, the winner must offer the greatest appeal to the masses. G&A’s staff awarded points in this third principle following a survey of in-store availability and retail pricing to ensure the product exists and offers great value.

To protect the credibility of the Guns & Ammo of the Year awards, no manufacturers, advertisers or sales representatives were informed of our selection. What follows is a summary list of 2018’s best new products now offered by the firearm industry.

Winner: Leupold VX-5HD

Leupold’s VX-­5HD could become your go-­to scope. With a 5:1 zoom ratio, the VX-­5HD is currently offered as a 1-­5x24mm, 2-­10x42mm (with or without Leupold’s CDS dials), as well as a 3-­15x44mm and a 3-­15x56mm (both with CDS dials standard). Retail prices start at $910 for the low-­power range variants and only climb to $1,430 for the 3-­15X model with the biggest objective lens. If you know your optics, these are awesome prices for a scope with so many practical benefits.

As the suffix suggests, the VX-­5HD features high definition, lead-­ and arsenic-­free, calcium-­fluoride lenses, which means that clarity at any magnification level is as good as an optic costing $3,000 to $5,000. (Seriously, you have to see for yourself.)

Internally, the VX-­5HD is waterproof and fog proof, and has been coated with Guard-­Ion that sheds rain, dirt and fingerprints. The scope has been sealed with Leupold’s proprietary blend of argon and krypton gasses, which protects the scope from the effects of thermal shock, i.e., abrubt temperature changes. (This is even better than the already proven nitrogen technology that every other optic maker also uses.)

The maintube measures 30mm, which means the scope is stronger than traditional optics built on 1-­inch tubes, and the result offers greater field of view and allows for a larger range of windage and elevation adjustments.

Leupold’s new VX-­5HD lineup has everything you need and nothing you don’t.
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