Snoop Scopes

Scopes Outside of the Army

The days of sniper scopes being used exclusively for military purposes are long gone.  Of course, the military is the primary user of sniper scopes and, along with the law enforcement agencies, spend the most money on the most up-to-date equipment.   But today there are people who are buying and using sniper scopes in the context of civilian competitions and tactical competitions.  There are those who are interested in collecting and shooting as well as just having the latest, greatest and best sniper scope available.

Military Sniping

Historically, sniper rifles and scopes were usually constructed based on the equipment used by the country in question.  German, Japanese, American and British armies developed weaponry and scopes to their specifications.  These models were most frequently tested for accuracy at the factory and fitted there with the special optical components needed.  Today the military's needs are different.  In the past ten years the 10x scope has been considered to be the best for snipers needing to hit a target at medium to long range.  Body shots from a range of 250 yards to 1000 yards are handled well with this scope.  Now, with the Global War on Terror and the extreme conditions military men find themselves in, a new program is being developed to create a sniper sight that allows shooters to see through fog and haze.  It will also provide for an increase in range, accuracy and lethality in conditions of low visibility.

Law Enforcement Needs

Law enforcement sniper scopes require less power than the military scopes.  With the restrictions on police shooting beyond 100 yards in most cases, a 10x scope is literally overkill.  It produces a  blind and narrow field of view.  Most authorized riflemen shoot at 70 yards, so 6x is likely high enough, and if the environment is urban, 4x is used adequately.  In the German army in WW11, some of the most effective snipers were using 4x scopes, making shots at over 600 meters.  The close proximity of urban policing would dictate the use of lower power sniper scopes than military issue.

Competition and Collecting

Tactical competitions draw more competitors every year.  If a person is using a sniper scope for tactical competitions they might be happy with  a 10x, 6x or 4x scope.  Because the competitor is not under the same stress as a law enforcement officer or a soldier, and because lives don't depend upon range to target ability, a variable scope is a logical decision.  Field of vision is not as critical as in a hostage taking situation so a competitor can choose any magnification without being extreme.  A variable scope from 3x to 10x is a good choice, unless competing at long distances.

The collector/part-time shooter is usually interested in the historical value of the sniper scope, although an occasional trip to the range or hunting is not ruled out.  Such a person can build his set-up using whatever the weapon system requires and will likely be quite happy with his rig.