MOST POPULAR SCOPES USED IN LOCAL PRS COMPETITION
A BACKGROUND ON THE 2019 PRS MARKET SURVEY
As we had mentioned in our introductory article, Precision Rifle Components and Wisconsin Precision Rifle Steel Challenge (WPRSC) recently teamed up to share usage data for a wide variety of rifle parts and accessories, ranging from barrels and optics to stocks and triggers.
This data was pulled from 626 registered shooters that participated in WPRSC events over the course of the 2019 match season. Our intention is to display this data in a manner somewhat reminiscent of Precision Rifle Blog’s “What the Pros Use” series, but with a focus on your average local PRS competitor.
TOP OPTICS MANUFACTURERS: WHAT DO LOCAL PRS SHOOTERS USE?
Vortex Optics, thy name is PRS. Among the past “What the Joes Use” articles, there has never been one company that has dominated a product category more than Vortex Optics. Like our recent barrel article, there may be a bit of sponsorship and geographic bias. While there are other optic manufacturers that sponsor WPRSC matches, Vortex Optics is headquartered just a few hours west of The Highlands Sportsmens Club in Barneveld, WI.
Top 12 Optic Manufacturers
#1: Vortex Optics: (286/626)
With almost one of every two optics reported falling under the Vortex brand, it’s clear to see that they’re the current market leader. Geographic proximity and sponsorship program aside, it’s entirely possible that Vortex has dominated this space for two distinct reasons:
1. VIP Warranty Program:
Vortex flipped the optic market (possibly even the entire firearm industry) on its head by introducing its VIP Warranty Program. Not only will they service or replace an optic for manufacturer defects and workmanship issues, but they’ll offer that same level of service for optics that have been damaged or destroyed by the end users, amateur gunsmiths, or random acts of God. If you mess up your optics, they’ll get it squared away, no questions asked. That offers a solid sense of security if you’re throwing down a grand or two for high quality glass. While most manufacturers have improved their warranty program to offer roughly equivalent levels of service, Vortex definitely laid the groundwork for this industry-wide trend.
2: Products At All Price Points:
Unlike the “What The Pro’s Use” write-up where it’s likely the vast majority of Vortex optics reported are from their flagship line of Razor Gen II series, your run-of-the-mill PRS competitor uses a much wider selection of optics based on their individual budget. While the Razor Gen II 4.5-27×56 is fairly heavily represented among competitors, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are even more Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 or Viper PST 6-24×50 scopes on the firing line than their more expensive counterparts. I’ve seen a scattering of 4-16×50 Gen 1 Viper PST’s, 6-24×50 Viper HST’s, and even a few Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 FFP’s at the matches over the course of the 2019 season as well. If you have $2,000 to throw down on glass, Vortex has you covered. If you only have $400 to spend, Vortex has something that will fit the bill as well!
#2: Nightforce Optics: (60/626)
Long known as a high quality premium optic manufacturer, Nightforce’s line of ATACR and NXS optics make up the bulk of the 60 registrants using their scopes in WPRSC matches. Bombproof construction, bright and clear glass, and a wide variety of reticle options. For what it’s worth, the author’s match rifle features a Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 F1 with a TreMor 3 reticle, and has served him well over the past few seasons.
#3: Kahles: (40/626)
The Kahles brand has maintained deep ties with the PRS match community for years. While Vortex may have a home field advantage with Ken Wheeler and the WPRSC, Kahles maintains a similar relationship with Shannon Kay, K&M Precision Rifle Training, and the Precision Rifle Series. Shannon Kay even went as far as designing the SKMR reticle for Kahles line of precision rifle optics! The Kahles K525i, K624i, and K318i can often be found in the hands of some phenomenal PRS competitors.
#4: Athlon: (38/626)
If there is one brand that is aggressively gunning to gobble up some of Vortex Optics’ overwhelming market share, Athlon would be it. From their flagship Cronus BTR series to their $300 Talos BTR 4-14×44 FFP, Athlon Optics have managed to pack tons of features into their optic designs that are typically only offered by competitors at significantly higher price points.
#5: Bushnell: (32/626)
While the Elite Tactical XRS II 4.5-30×50 and 3.5-21×50 DMRII have typically been the most common optic in precision rifle match use, Bushnell also offers practical precision rifle optics through their LRTS line of optics, as well as their new Match Pro 6-24×50 FFP (featuring an MSRP of $500).
#6: Leupold Optics (26/626)
At one point a dominant force in the precision rifle community with their Mark 4 line, Leupold has recently made in-roads in retaking some of their former market share across the PRS world with their Mark 5 HD optic line. Scopes from their Mark 6 line of optics are also sporadically encountered in match use as well.
#7: Schmidt & Bender: (26/626)
I was a bit surprised to see Schmidt & Bender this low on the charts, as they typically do quite well in the “What the Pros Use” article series. The S&B PMII 5-25×56 is a longtime PRS competitor favorite, with extensive use in many law enforcement agencies and government branches over the course of the past decade.
#8: Burris: (22/626)
Offered in 4-20x and 5-25x configurations, The Burris XTR II has a decent following among local PRS shooters. Burris upped the ante further for 2019 with the introduction of their XTR III line of optics, showcasing 3.3-18x and 5.5-30x magnification options.
#9: Tangent Theta: (18/626)
A favorite of those with deeper pockets, the Tangent Theta TT525P features an MSRP of $4,733 ($5,158 for the H.59 reticle variant). The finest optics Canada has to offer, the Tangent Theta optic line features remarkable mechanical precision and top notch optical clarity. If you have four to five grand burning a hole in your pocket and you need to buy some new optics, Tangent Theta has what you’re looking for.
#10: Sig Sauer: (15/626)
Over the last decade or so, Sig Sauer has diversified their product line to an extent virtually unparalleled throughout the firearm industry. From the launch of their own ammunition brand, the creation of a diverse selection of rifle and pistol platforms, and the creation of their own Electro-Optic line, the Sig Sauer Tango 6 has gained in popularity among local precision rifle competitors. The Tango 6 line of optics includes a 3-18×44 and 5-30×56 variant suitable for PRS-style competition. The Tango line of optics incorporates internal electronics featuring a digital leveling system, as well as connectivity through their advanced rangefinder engine equipped with Bluetooth and Applied Ballistics Elite bullet database.
#11: Minox: (13/626)
An excellent German optics manufacturer with penchant for mini-camera production, Minox produces the ZP5 line of optics optimized for precision rifle use. The ZP5 5-25×56 is well known for phenomenal optical clarity, and proved to be the optic of choice for 13 WPRSC match registrants. The only complaints I’ve heard regarding Minox ties to their extensive service lead times due to their need to ship scopes overseas for repair, creating a 6-8 week average turnaround time.
US Optics: (4/626)