Review: Why You Need Ranging Monoculars


Warning: A Vortex ranging monocular will end up on your “stuff I need” list. Let me sum this up quickly and then I will work through the features: The Vortex Recon R/T and Solo Tactical R/T provide the shooter a compact and robust solution for observation, scouting, and ranging for a price that starts at $169. It is a “wow, I wish I would have thought of it” idea that combines an offset MRAD/MilDot ranging reticle with a simple-to-use high quality monocular.

Vortex is offering these monocular models in 8x, 10x, and 15x magnifications. All the R/T (Ranging and Tactical) models feature the mil-dot reticle and pre-ranged 300, 400, 500 and 600 meter standard man sized silhouettes. Look, range, adjust turrets and shoot. The Mil-Based reticle also allows ranging via a standard mil-dot grid system.


To quickly calculate range without batteries, line up the silhouette outline with a human-sized silhouette for immediate ranging, or use the the Mil-Dots. This method also prevents rangefinder errors due to interference from grass, leaves, or other things that lie between you and your target. Ahh, good old fashioned manual ranging paired with enough magnification to see more detail than an electronic 4x rangefinder would allow. In my opinion, this was one of the top optic products of the 2016 SHOT Show and after testing, I believe it should be in everyone’s kit.


A great pair of binoculars is handy, but they can be cumbersome and heavy. A monocular can be tucked into a jacket pocket or clipped to your belt. Technically, you are getting better optics in a monocular for the money than you would with binoculars simply because you are paying for one eye-full of optics rather than two. The clarity of these Vortex Monoculars is really outstanding considering the price.

I wish they had a focus-free model, current models do feature easy-to-use focusing and ocular adjustment.

When using a Mil-Dot ranging system, the conventional approach would be to find what you are looking for, then get behind your rifle to relocate the target in your scope and use its reticle to measure objects in order to calculate the distance for the shooting solution. With both the Vortex RECON R/T and Vortex SOLO R/T, you or a shooting partner can find and range a target and the rifle only needs to be used to send a bullet.

Some people would ask, “Why should I care?” Largely so that you can range things without pointing a gun at them… at football games, golfing, and keeping an eye on that car down the street all without waving…

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